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Tent pegging

Tent Pegging
An officer of the Indian Army tent pegging with the lance
Highest governing body Equestrian Federation of India and International Tent Pegging Federation
Nicknames Tent Pegging, Neza Bazi
First played 4th century BC
Contact Yes
Team members Single or Section
Mixed gender Yes, separate competitions
Type Individual Lance, Individual Sword, Team Lance, Team Sword, Lemon cutting, Half section(Pairs), Single (Indian) file
Equipment Lance, Sword
Venue Tent Pegging Ground
Country or region Worldwide

Tent pegging (sometimes spelled tent-pegging or tentpegging) is a cavalry sport of ancient origin, and is one of only ten equestrian disciplines officially recognised by the International Equestrian Federation. Used narrowly, the term refers to a specific mounted game with ground targets. More broadly, it refers to the entire class of mounted cavalry games involving edged weapons on horseback, for which the term "equestrian skill-at-arms" is also used.


  • Origins 1
  • Essential rules 2
  • Contemporary sport 3
  • Governing bodies 4
    • Members 4.1
  • International Competitions 5
    • First Tent Pegging World Cup 2014 5.1
  • International Championships & World Cup history 6
  • International & World championships 7
    • 2007 International Tent pegging Championship Oman 7.1
  • Popular culture references 8
  • See also 9
  • Notes and references 10
  • External links 11


Cavaliers have practised the specific game of tent pegging since at least the 4th century BC, and Asian and later European empires spread the game around the world. As a result, the game's date and location of origin are ambiguous.[1]

In all accounts, the competitive sport evolved out of cavalry training exercises designed to develop cavaliers' prowess with the sword and lance from horseback. However, whether tent pegging developed cavaliers' generic skills or prepared them for specific combat situations is unclear.[2]

According to the International Equestrian Federation, "most equestrian authorities are of the opinion that tent-pegging originated in India in the middle ages in the battle fields as a tactics used by the horsed cavalry against elephant mounted troops"[3] A cavalier able to precisely stab the highly sensitive flesh behind an elephant's toenail would cause the enemy elephant to rear, unseat his mahout, and possibly run amok, breaking ranks and trampling infantry. However, other scholarly sources suggest that the sport originated earlier in Central Asia[4] or the Middle East[5] and was later on popularised in India.

The term "tent pegging" is certainly related to the idea that cavaliers mounting a surprise pre-dawn raid on an enemy camp could use the game's skills to sever or uproot tent pegs, thus collapsing the tents on their sleeping occupants and sowing havoc and terror in the camp. However, there are few reliable accounts of a cavalry squadron ever employing such tactics.

Because the specific game of tent pegging is the most popular equestrian skill-at-arms game, the entire class of sports became known as tent pegging during the twilight of cavalry in the twentieth century.

Essential rules

The specific game of tent pegging has a mounted horseman riding at a gallop and using a sword or a lance to pierce, pick up, and carry away a small ground target (a symbolic tent peg) or a series of small ground targets.

The broader class of tent pegging games also includes ring jousting (in which a galloping rider tries to pass the point of his weapon through a suspended ring); lemon sticking (in which the rider tries to stab or slice a lemon suspended from a cord or sitting on a platform); quintain tilting (in which the rider charges a mannequin mounted on a swivelling or rocking pedestal); and Parthian (i.e., mounted) archery.[6]

A given tent pegging competition's rules specify the size and composition of the target; the number of consecutive targets placed on a course; the dimensions and weight of the sword, lance, or bow; the minimum time in which a course must be covered; and the extent to which a target must be struck, cut, or carried.[7]

Contemporary sport

Today, tent pegging is practised around the world, but is especially popular in Australia, India, Israel, Oman, Pakistan, South Africa, and the United Kingdom. The Olympic Council of Asia included tent pegging as an official sport in 1982, and the International Federation for Equestrian Sports recognised it as an official equestrian discipline in 2004.

From the results of the 2008 International Tent Pegging Championships, the world's three leading national teams are currently Canada, India, and Oman.[8]

While members of cavalry regiments and mounted police forces still dominate world-class tent pegging,[9] the sport is being increasingly embraced by civilian riders. United States of America has entered this sport 2009. A new team has been established for the United States of America under the banner of United States Tent Pegging Assosiation (USTPA). USTPA is an Alliance Partner of the USEF.

The US Tent Pegging Association group worked on introducing tent pegging on the sidelines of polo in the US. In much of 2000s, USTPA saw mostly solo efforts being made by individuals like Maharaja of Dunlod, H.E Raghuvendra Pratap Singh to promote tent pegging in USA. EFI tent pegging pioneers provided much encouragement to export tent pegging to the US. Also H.E Prince Malik Ata Khan, the icon of modern-day tent pegging supported the idea of formation of USTPA in the early days. All of their thrust was to establish a US Tent Pegging team so that USA could represent itself on the international front. In 2009, in the quest to foster friendly sports ties and compete on the international front, USEF was contacted and efforts were made to field team USA in tent pegging in the then upcoming 2010 World Tent Pegging Championship. USTPA is member of USEF.

New and emerging national tent pegging associations have helped spread the sport's popularity. The Australian Royal Adelaide Show,[10] the British Tent Pegging Association,[11] and the United States Cavalry Association[12] now hold annual national championships and demonstrations in their respective countries.

In Pakistan tent pegging is known as Neza Bazi as well. It has been playing in Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and some parts of Sindh and Balochistan. There are many clubs who have owned different and unique style of Turban and Waistcoat to identify their clubs. People decorate their horses for the competition. Every club arrange a neza bazi competition. All clubs are invited to participate in the competition. There are some specific shows being arranged since many decades. National Horse and Cattle Show is one of them. It is held at the Fortress Stadium Lahore every year usually in end of February or at first week of March. Tent pegging is a part of this event. Clubs from all the districts of Pakistan participates there.[13]

Sussex Peggers Riding Club British Horse Society British Riding Club) also holds - and takes part in - annual competitions and demonstrations in the UK and overseas.

The pre-eminent tent pegging games remain centred in Asia and the Middle East, with the International Tent Pegging Championships and the continental Asian Games traditionally enjoying the highest number of competitors and participating states.[14]

Governing bodies

The recognised international governing body of Tent Pegging is International Tent Pegging Federation. The ITPF headquarters are located in Muscat, Oman. It was founded as World Tent Pegging Federation in 2013 by representatives from England, Australia and South Africa, Pakistan, India and others renamed the World Tent Pegging Federation in 2014, and took up its current name in the same year. Equestrian Federation of India (EFI) is the 'Highest Governing Body'. Essentially ITPF is very new and does and does not have full world recognition and not all countries which play tent pegging are its members. Also EFI is the largest equestrian body in the world that recognizes and governs tent pegging competitions.[15][16]

Tent pegging being primarily a foreign game from the Indian subcontinent, is not very popular in the USA. As a need of present times, with tent pegging being played in many countries around the world, USTPA came into existence to promote tent pegging domestically and represent USA internationally in the equine sport of tent pegging in 2009 . USTPA was formed in 2009 in USA . USTPA participated in the 2013 World Equestrian Tent Pegging Championship and put USA on the world Tent Pegging map for the first time in history.

As a conclusion of world championship, in March 2013, WTPF (now known as ITPF) was founded with USTPA representing USA as one of its founding member countries.


  • World Tent Pegging Federation
  • International Equestrian Federation (FEI)
  • Australian Tentpegging Federation
  • British Tent Pegging Association
  • Canadian National Tent Pegging Team
  • Sussex Peggers Riding Club
  • Netherlands Association for Mounted Skill-at-Arms 'Saint Georges' (NVBW)
  • iranian tentpegging Association

External links

  1. ^ "Tent pegging at Hurlingham", Illustrated London News, Summer 1875
  2. ^ Lenox-Conyngham Papers, "Camp on the Raptee River", Cambridge University Centre of South Asian Studies, 16 January 1859
  3. ^ "Tent pegging recognised by the FEI", International Equestrian Federation, 2004, retrieved 19 March 2012
  4. ^ Gen Sir Richard Gale, Kings at Arms London:Hutchinson, 1971, p.9
  5. ^ Prof Philip K Hitti, A History of the Arabs, London:Macmillan, 1949 ed, pp.20-21
  6. ^ "Tent pegging with UNICEF Team Canada", Akaash Maharaj, 2007, retrieved 14 January 2007
  7. ^ Major General RKR Balasubramanian, Rules for Tent Pegging (First Edition), International Equestrian Federation, June 2002
  8. ^ Kangla, 14 January 2008, retrieved 21 January 2008
  9. ^ "Tent pegging competition cancelled", United States Equestrian Federation, 20 January 2004, retrieved 31 May 2006
  10. ^ "Main Arena Program (2013)". The Royal Agricultural & Horticultural Society of SA Inc. Retrieved 12 August 2014. 
  11. ^ "Up in arms to peg back cavalry regiments", Equestrian Today, 15 August 2005, retrieved 2 June 2006
  12. ^ "The National Cavalry Competition", US Cavalry Association, 2006, retrieved 2 June 2006
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Indian riders to the fore", The Sportstar, 22 March 2003, retrieved 2 June 2006
  15. ^ "Times of Oman | News :: Oman all set for International Tent Pegging Federation". Retrieved 2014-08-11. 
  16. ^
  17. ^ "Contacts | International Tent Pegging Federation اﻻتحاد الدولى لﻻلتقاط اﻻوتاد". Retrieved 2014-08-11. 
  18. ^ "Times of Oman | News :: Tent pegging family dreams big". Retrieved 2014-08-11. 
  19. ^ "Times of Oman | News :: SA champions, Oman second at the Tent Pegging World Cup". Retrieved 2014-08-11. 
  20. ^ Maharaj,Akaash (16 March 2007). "Article: Akaash gives details of the events". (Canada). 

Notes and references

See also

In George McDonald Fraser's Flashman novels, title character Harry Flashman served in a lancer regiment, and frequently mentions tent pegging and his broader skills with the lance.

Popular culture references

In this edition of Penta Grand 2015, the Great Noida Horse show was also organised. It included an open competition for all riders of the country in 68 event disciplines including show jumping, pegging, endurance, hacks, gymkhana events. Various categories for participation of children were available in the gymkhana events.

The Asian & International Tent Pegging Championship 2015 was held at GautamBudh University, Gr. Noida, New Delhi from 10 to 15 March 2015. Sudan won the Gold Medal. The countries participated are Sudan, Oman, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Jordan, Russia, India, USA, Pakistan, Great Britain, Lebanon and Germany.

2015 Asian & International Equestrian Tent Pegging Championship, New Delhi. These are the only International Events hailed as Mega Events in Tent Pegging being held in New Delhi over the years considered because of various factors with the maximum participation from the countries all over the World. No other Tent Pegging International Event held anywhere in the World over the years can be compared with it. No other country has the availability of resources that India has in terms of horses and expertise.

2013 World Equestrian Tent Pegging Championship, New Delhi. USA made history in March 2013! Team USA was represented by Ahmed Husain Zubair under the banner of USTPA (Trademark registration filed in 2011) participated in the 2013 World Equestrian Tent Pegging Championship and put USA on the world Tent Pegging map for the first time in history. At the conclusion of this world championship, in March 2013, WTPF (now ITPF) was founded with USA represented by Ahmed Husain Zubair from USTPA as one of its founding member countries.

  • The 2007 International Tent Pegging Championships were held in Muscat, Oman. This event was rare of its kind as each continent was represented by a single national team: Europe by Britain, whose team came from the Household Cavalry and the Royal Horse Artillery; the Middle East by Oman, whose team came from the Royal Cavalry; Asia by Pakistan, whose team was under the patronage of Malik Ata Muhammad Khan; Africa by South Africa, whose team had been selected from national civilian trials; the North America by Canada, whose team was led by Akaash Maharaj and last year's champion, India, whose team came from multiple branches of their armed forces.[20]

2007 International Tent pegging Championship Oman

These International Events in Tent Pegging being held in New Delhi over the years considered because of various factors with the maximum participation from the countries all over the World. No other Tent Pegging International Event held anywhere in the World over the years can be compared with it. No other country has the availability of resources that India has in terms of horses and expertise.

International & World Championships are held among countries consisted on different number of teams. Venues are selected through negotiations. There are major events in tent pegging. Oman, South Africa, Pakistan, England, India and Australia hosts the international championships regularly. Other countries also organize the events at different times.

One of the first International tent Pegging Championships were held in the State of Hyderabad, India in 1985 with many International Teams participating under the aegis of Equestrian Federation Of India (EFI).

International & World championships

* The World Cup began in 2014

Year Host Nation(s) Final Venue Final
Winner Result Runner-up

Al Rahba Farm, Muscat, Oman,
 South Africa
758.5 points
South Africa won by 65 runs  Oman
693.5 points

International Championships & World Cup history

South Africa won the event by a total of 758.5 points and clinch the enviable honour of being the first world champions. Oman got second position with 693.5 points. Sudan, who finished with 654 points, took the third place.[19]

South African team with World cup trophy 2014

After the formation of the federation, the world body decided to launch their own World Cup competition. The first and the inaugural Tent Pegging World Cup was organised by the Oman Equestrian Federation (OEF) at Al Rahba Farm, Barka, Oman from March 31 to April 4, 2014. The participant countries were Pakistan, Oman, Qatar, Yemen, Iraq, Egypt, South Africa, Britain and Australia who qualified the Sudan and Pakistan qualifying events in January and February respectively.[18]

First Tent Pegging World Cup 2014

Since its formation the ITPF has organised several international competitions.

International Competitions

The ITPF has 28 members countries in beginning. Following are the members of the federation. Oman, Pakistan, Yemen, India, USA, UK, Australia, Afghanistan, South Africa, UAE, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Norway, Sudan, Qatar, Netherlands, Namibia, Lebanon, Kazakhstan, Jordan, Israel, Iraq, Egypt, Iran, Germany, Canada, Bahrain, and Denmark.[17]

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