Hunts Post reporter tries pommel horse experience at Louis Smith’s gym

LOUIS Smith pulled off a seamless performance that he made look effortless.

The next morning I hit the same pommel Louis trains on to see just how hard it really is. The short answer is: it’s hard!

After a short warm-up with coach Adam Scott, I was taken through the basic moves that Louis learned when he was eight.

Under the watchful eyes of Cameron MacKenzie and Owen Harrison, I completed the first step: mounting the pommel.

Although a keen sportsman, I used muscles I didn’t even know I had and instantly felt the strain.

It got immediately harder as I attempted the ‘leg in’ – flinging your leg over the pommel, under your arm and hoping it lands between the handles.

That was it, anything else was impossible and my body had endured enough.

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A few more attempts proved futile and as I rested, Owen strolled up to the pommel and performed a handstand and dismounted perfectly.

He told me he is further advanced than Louis was at his age and suddenly being upstaged by an 11-year-old doesn’t feel so bad.

The feeling of achievement was completely wiped out as Cameron tells me that my trick, is only part of one of the easiest moves on the pommel, and part of one of the seven moves required to be called a routine.

Final score: Louis Smith – 16.066, Hywel Barrett – 0. Still, there’s room for improvement.