Wilts & Glos Standard 15 Feb 2012
Aldsworth accountant Copley gets GB call-up
5:50pm Wednesday 15th February 2012 in
- By Danny Hall » Sports Editor
JENNA COPLEY has been selected to represent Great Britain in the biggest tent- pegging event on the international calendar.
The accountant from Aldsworth will travel to India next month to compete in the Asian and International Championships being held from March 23 to 28.
She believes it will earn her a unique place in this unusual equestrian sport.
“I will be the first woman to compete internationally as previously such events have been held in countries like Oman where women are not allowed to compete,” she said.
“It is the most important tournament in our sport, with the national federations of every country where tentpegging takes place being invited.
“Of the countries that matter in the sport, I believe only the Australians will not be there. It is terribly exciting just to be selected.”
A keen show jumper, with a fondness for polo and polo cross, Jenna was introduced to tentpegging at the Cotswold Fun Ride a couple of years ago by Major David Puckey, who is the mainstay of the British team.
Gerald Nott and Jerry Watkins join Copley and Major Puckey in the four-strong GB team heading to India under the guidance of team manager Dawn Watkins.
The sport of tentpegging has its origins in the military and it is extremely popular in India.
Essentially, the classic discipline involves a rider, at full tilt, spearing a symbolic tent peg in the ground. Other routines include ring jousting, where the galloping rider tries to collect a suspended ring on the end of his or her lance, and a class where the mounted rider uses a sword to stab a mannequin.
Copley has made great strides since taking up the sport and ended the British season at Brackley in Oxfordshire with an excellent third place behind the winner, Major Puckey.
“I feel I am getting better and better and one day I will beat David Puckey,” she insisted.
Sub-zero temperatures are making life difficult for Copley as she prepares for the championships, however. “I’d love to get on the grass but that has not been possible with temperatures of -8C,” she said.
“The indoor arena I use is not really long enough so I am going to get in touch with Inglesham Polo Club which I believe has a suitable indoor arena and ask if they will help.
“The next task is to get myself riding fit.”
Although the teams don’t take their own horses – drawing pool horses in India – the GB Team may have some explaining to do at customs as in addition to their own saddles, they will be taking their own swords and lances.