Western Daily Press
Swords, lemons and lances: the testing world of tentpegging
College equine course lecturer Dawn Watkins will be swapping the classroom for India when she manages the Great Britain Tentpegging team in an international competition.
Dawn, a medal-winning international horse rider herself, is managing the British team who will be one of 13 international teams competing between March 22 and 27.
College lecturer Dawn Watkins of the Great Britain Tentpegging team
The Norton Radstock College tutor said: "Tentpegging involves galloping in a straight line with a sword or a lance and hitting a range of small targets, usually wooden tent pegs; you can either compete as an individual, in a team of three or in both classes.
"One of the skills is slicing two lemons suspended from gallows one after the other then hitting a peg from the ground at speed with a sword.
"There is a team of four from Great Britain – in 2010 we won a team gold against the South Africans and we have also brought home silver and bronze medals."
The team includes Jerry Watkins, from Bristol, and Jenna Copley, from Gloucestershire.
The sport is around 2,500 years old and dates back to when Asian armies relied on their skill. Disciplines are:
Tentpegging – performed with either lance or sword at a flat-out gallop. Pegs start at 7.5cm above ground and reduce to 2.5cm.
Rings and peg – with lance or sword, two rings are speared from gallows that are set at throat height and then and then a peg taken from the ground.
Lemons and peg – fruit is hung from the gallows and riders use swords to slice fruit and take a peg.
Sword, lance and revolver – riders use swords to attack dummies between jumps, then use a revolver firing blanks to burst balloons in mid-air over jumps and then use a lance on rings and peg.