Omg omg omg. Mounted games are one of my favourite events to watch, particularly at a place like Equitana. To get the crowd involved, they play lots of pumping, active music on the PA and have an enthusiastic commentator, and of course they encourage lots of yelling and cheering! With those ponies flying along like crazy rockets and riders vaulting on and off with speed, it's impossible to get excited. (Note: LOTS of pics below the cut!)
The teams that competed were Victoria (navy blue), Tasmania (green), South Australia (red), New South Wales (light blue), Western Australia (yellow) and Queensland (I think) in maroon. I believe the games were all Prince Philip games (website), which is a rulebook used by each state's Pony Club association.
I caught two sessions of the mounted games, one indoor and one outside, so there will be a combination of pics from both sessions. (My camera didn't cope too well with the indoor, so those pictures aren't great.)
Tackwise, from what I can recall, all horses were in English snaffles of some kind, probably riding in general/all purpose saddles. (Although, looking back through the photos, I do spy one Western saddle! And some Poley stock saddles) Leg protection was common, as were breastplates. Riders that have a white stripe on their helmets were the last riders to go.
First up, sword lancing! Rings are set up on the ends of the four bending poles. The teams are split into two groups of two, and two riders ride to the far end of the arena. The first rider runs down the line of poles and spears a ring with his 'sword', then passes off the sword to the second rider, and the game continues until all four rings have been collected.
(I'd like to note here that jousting in the PPMG book is different to the game above, in that it uses a metal board with stand-up targets, which the rider must hit with his joust.)
Next came HiLo. Riders all started at one end. Four tennis balls were balanced on a line of cones down the arena. Each rider raced down, plucked a tennis ball off the cone and dropped it in an elevated net, and then raced back to the start.
Following that was speed weavers (pole bending with riders carrying a baton).
The next game was Sock and Bucket. (I think in this case the socks were small bean bags.) From the rulebook: Rider 1, carrying a sock, rides to a bucket on the centre line, drops the sock into the bucket, and then rides on the far end of the arena. They dismount, pick up another sock from the ground, remount and returns to hand the sock to the next rider. The final rider drops their sock into the bucket on the way home.
The next race was the Carton Race. The four bending poles each had a carton on the end, and there was a bucket at the far end of the arena. Rider 1 races down, chooses one carton and rides to the far end, dropping the carton into the bucket, and then races back to the beginning to tag the next rider.
After that came the Litter Lifters race. Four cartons from the previous race were put in a pile (open holes facing the wall) at the far end of the arena, and a bucket was placed on the centre line. Each team has a cane/pole. Rider one races down with the cane to the end of the arena, collects a carton on the cane (without dismounting) and races back to drop the carton in the bucket, and then heads back to the start to pass the cane over to the next rider.
The following race was the Toolbox Shuffle. An upturned bucket is placed on the centre line, and four hammers are placed on the ground at the far end of the arena. Rider one, carrying the toolbox, rides to the bin and puts the tool box on top, then rides to the far end. There, they discmount, collect a hammer, remount, ride to place the hammer in the toolbox, and then head back to begin. The following riders ride down to collect hammers and place them in the toolbox, with the last rider collecting the toolbox on the way home.
Next came the Association Race, of which I only have one picture. Two buckets are upturned, one on the centre line, the other at the far end of the arena. Five coloured containers are used, painted with letters "to suit the country in which the game is being played". (For what it's worth, I don't recall seeing these containers with letters, but they might have been painted on the lids where it wasn't visible to spectators.) Rider 1 begins carrying the first container, with the last letter of the word of acronym to be formed on it. They ride to the first bin on the centre line and put down the container, then ride to the far end to collect the next container (with the second-last letter). They ride back to the first bin and put the container on top and then ride back to the start. Rider two collects the next container and adds it to the stack, and the other riders follow the same way. Any time the stack falls over, the rider has to dismount to fix it.
The second-last race was Pony Pairs. Riding in pairs, the two riders have to hold onto a piece of rope together while riding through the bending poles, without letting go.
The final race (!) was Bottle Shuffle. Two buckets are upturned, one on the centre line and the other at the far end of the arena. The bin at the end has a bottle placed on it. Rider 1 begins holding another bottle, and rides out. They place their bottle on the first bin, and then ride to the end to collect the other bottle. They head back to the start and hand over the bottle. Each rider in turn places their bottle on the empty bin, and collects a bottle from the other bin. Bottles must remain upright (these ones were filled with sand to help).