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Thursday, 14 February 2008

It's horsesurfing - a shore winner of an extreme sport

This daredevil duo were onto a shore winner yesterday when they hit the beach for the latest extreme sports craze - HORSESURFING.

The British-invented sport combines the technical skill of surfing with the raw power of horse riding.
A towing rope is attached to a special saddle so the surfer can be pulled through the water as the horse and its rider gallop alongside.

Horsesurfing: The British-invented sport combines the technical skill of surfing with the raw power of horse riding
As speed picks up the boarder hits waves and is thrown into the air - where they can pull flips and tricks before landing back down and racing on.
Horsesurfing is the brainchild of stuntman Daniel Fowler-Prime who thought up the idea with friends when they grew bored of their existing hobbies.
Daniel, 28, of Bude, Cornwall, said: "We always felt we were missing something in terms of the potential of horse riding, then one day it just clicked.
"We'd tried attaching mountain boards to motorbikes and cars and I realised there was no reason not to try it with a horse.
"It just feels amazing - you have the power of the horse and the power of the wave which are two of nature's most inspiring forces.
"Once we'd mastered normal horsesurfing we started to add stunts for the rider to give it an extra edge. Who knows what will come next."
Horsesurfers use wakeboards or kiteboards, which are like small surfboards with feet straps.
They are pulled through shallow water by horses on the shoreline in a similar way to water skiiers are behind a powerboat.
Daniel is a professional stunt horse rider and has appeared in films such as the Da Vinci Code, Kingdom of Heaven and Vanity Fair.
He has been riding horses since he was 17 and took up surfing eight years ago - but it was not until recently that he realised the potential for combining the two.
He and his 16-hand grey thoroughbred Rohan have built a trusting relationship and he says the horse is perfect for surfing.
They practice their sport on the sands at Bude, Devon, and Watergate Bay and Perranporth beach in Cornwall.
"Rohan's a professional - he probably knows what he's doing more than me," said Daniel.
"He loves the buzz of pulling someone through the waves and doesn't mind a stunt rider at all.
"Sometimes new riders are apprehensive because horses can be unpredictable and they get excited when they know they'll get to run.
"For me that's the beauty though - there's a raw surge of natural power you wouldn't get from any other combination. It's a mind-blowing experience."
Daniel also runs the British Extreme Horse Riding Association, which looks for new ways of pushing the boundaries of horse riding.
He has now launched Britain's first horsesurfing school, the Bude Horsesurfing Club, and will be running week-long courses this summer.

Details are available at www.extremehorseriding.com.
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