The sight of mountain boarder Jon Strike being taken for a ride by his dog has amazed many around Chippenham and Corsham.

Now he has upgraded to a faster model – a horse – as he trains for the national championships of the latest sport craze, horseboarding.

The series of competitions starts this week in South Wales and will conclude at Bowood, near Calne, in six months time.

The activity involves being strapped into equipment that is like a skateboard but has larger tyres and suspension, and being pulled at up to 30mph by a galloping horse.

His safety is in the hands of rider Anita Walker, who first encountered the sport at last year’s Bowood country and game fair.

They met at Jollyes Pet Superstore at Hathaway retail park, where Miss Walker is assistant manager and Mr Strike, 31, arrived to buy dog food pulled by his Husky German shepherd cross Khan.

Miss Walker, 35, said: “I thought ‘this guy has to be on my team’.”

Mr Strike, of Pound Pill, Corsham, said: “Khan is full of energy and it’s the only way I can wear him out.

“A lot of people stand aghast. He’s over-friendly with other dogs so if he sees one he’ll leave me having to rebalance and trying not to get pulled into a lamppost.

“Anita saw me and asked me what I was doing. When I told her I’d been boarding, her eyes lit up and she said I might be the perfect candidate.”

Miss Walker, who lives in Pewsham and has been riding since she was five, started off training her cob cross Miss Xofinni to pull a collapsible wheelbarrow.

Now she is busy practising with Mr Strike at a farm at Bremhill, near Calne.

He said: “The difference is, the horse is going to go whether I’m ready or not.

“The dog’s a bit like a motorbike, the horse is more like the power of a sports car, you go about 30mph on the straight. I have to shout when I fall off because they’ll keep going without me.”

They are looking forward to getting in the arena as team Predator.