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British forces eye medal chances at new international equestrian championships

British soldiers have been invited to compete at the first international tentpegging championships in Jordan this week.

The British Tentpegging Association was invited by the International Tent Pegging Federation (ITPF) to send a team of serving riders to compete in the inaugural event, held at the mounted police unit in Zarka from 5 to 11 October.

The British authority has been working with Army Equitation to put forward a strong team, who will compete against seven other nations.

Team manager Jerry Watkins, an experienced international tentpegging competitor, told H&H: “The competition is a fairly substantial military sporting event involving a significant number of nations.

“All the GB service riders are experienced and effective. This is a fine opportunity for them to display their individual and team skills. We all feel positive of our chances of coming home with a medal.”

Riders were chosen based on their results this season.

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Tentpegging is the collective name for mounted skill at arms, based on the cavalry sport of removing wooden “tent pegs” from the ground on horseback, using a sword or lance at the gallop.

The historic discipline dates back around 2,500 years and has military origins. Now the modern sport has grown to welcome civilian competitors and serving riders compete alongside civilians as teams, pairs and individuals across the country.

The riders are: Gunner Billy Robinson (Kings Troop Royal Horse Artillery) , Major David Puckey (Royal Logistic Corps), Lance Bombardier Justin Boyles (Kings Troop Royal Horse Artillery), Bombardier Tom Jenks (Kings Troop Royal Horse Artillery) and Major James Ware (Royal Logistic Corps).

Bombardier Jenks, who competed on the British side at the German International Cavalry Festival last year, said: “I’m most looking forward to the chance to go out and compete in completely new, challenging environment and help the sport grow.”

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