This year’s X-games may have passed by in a haze of skateboards and exhaust fumes, but those still mourning the end of the sporting calendar’s biggest display of extreme action can now find solace – and an adrenaline fix – in a new high-speed past-time.
This is horse-boarding; the most recent craze to crash into the world of extreme sports. A terrifying cross between skate boarding and water skiing, with the added challenge of horsemanship, it’s most certainly a sport best suited to those who enjoy life in the fast lane. Balance is also vital, with contestants attempting to stay upright on a mountain board whilst being pulled along at speeds of up to 35mph. The terrain is often uneven and boarders must take into consideration the unpredictability of their four-legged teammate, if they plan on remaining vertical. Races are completed over a distance of one hundred metres and involve two teams; made up of a board rider, horse rider and of course, a trusty steed.
‘it’s the modern version of chariot racing’
The sport has certainly gone from strength to strength since its creation by professional stuntman Daniel Fowler-Prime; who first came up with the idea after experimenting with an old mountain board on his friend’s farm in 2006. Of course, some may question the appeal of being dragged around a muddy field at speeds of over 30 miles, but for Daniel Fowler-Prime there is no better feeling, ‘it’s the modern version of chariot racing’ he argues.
The Extreme Horse Riding Association meanwhile claims that the sport combines the ‘excitement of horse racing with the extreme nature of mountain boarding’, guaranteeing ‘an action -packed spectacle for contestants and spectators alike’. For these modern day gladiators, the ultimate challenge is presented annually, at the National Horse Boarding Championships – a series of five events held over the summer, where participant’s teamwork, courage and agility are put to the test.
…a focus on aerobatics over raw speed.
However, you’d be wrong for thinking that the concept of horse-boarding is solely restricted to landlubbers. In fact, it’s sister sport – horse-surfing – has garnered equal attention in recent years. Like the name suggests, a surfboard takes the place of a mountain board, whilst the proceedings tend to be more stunt-orientated, with a focus on aerobatics over raw speed. But despite these differences, there is no doubt that both sports require perseverance, nerve and a fair bit of horse power.
Image courtesy of the Extreme Horse Riding Association
The following video gives you a good idea of the extreme sport, horse-boarding: