History of Tentpegging
The military exercise whereby a group of mounted soldiers would ride through an enemy camp in a pre-dawn raid, removing the pegs which held the tents in place, with the tips of their sharp spears. Foot soldiers could then attack the enemy as they struggled to get out from under the collapsed tents. Thus giving the practice it’s name of Tentpegging. For many years the horse was the only means of transporting troops, and the lance, sword & pistol were the only weapons a soldier carried, so it can be appreciated that proficiency in the use of these weapons was necessary to a soldier. The Australian Light Horse (www.lighthorse.org.au) used Tentpegging as a training exercise during World War 1. The Australian Light Horse has been demonstrating Tentpegging at Royal Shows as far back as the 1930’s.
The Australian State Mounted Police also adopted Tentpegging as a demonstration of their skill and horsemanship, participating in demonstrations and competitions at Royal Shows.
In 1964 the first Australian Civilian Tentpegging team was formed in Deniliquin, NSW and they were invited to compete at the Melbourne Royal Show. Following this, several other civilian teams were formed and by the late 1960’s Tentpegging had grown across the four eastern states of Australia. This led to the establishment of State Tentpegging Associations and in 1981 the Australian Tentpegging Association was formed with a view to standardising the rules and judging methods throughout Australia.
The sport got its first international recognition when the Olympic Council of Asia accepted Tentpegging as an official event in the 1982 New Delhi Asian Games. Since then countries have been hosting International Events. 1994 saw the establishment of a World Tentpegging Organization, “International Equestrian Tentpegging Association”. International events are becoming more frequent with growth of the sport in countries such as South Africa, Namibia, India, Pakistan, Israel, Great Britain, Netherlands, USA, Canada, and New Zealand.
All Tentpegger’s in Australia are members of a State body incorporated by the Australian Tentpegging Association. A National Championships is run annually.
NSW, Victoria, QLD & South Australia Associations conduct their own State Title Championships annually. Competitions are held annually at Royal Shows and many Country Shows. Festivals & other venues have exhibitions and many Tentpegging Clubs also host competitions throughout Australia each year.