Drill that Skill!

July 30, 2015

This weekend we jump back into the Mid-Atlantic Games Series with the third installment, in Mullica Hill, NJ.  One of the members of Gone Rogue had minor surgery a week ago and had to pull out of the competition.  With such short notice this left us with just four riders and ponies instead of our usual five.  Most games teams try to keep a five head count because each race requires four riders and ponies, making it possible to have one rider pony combo to sit out.  Its nice to get a mini break, but more importantly, it allows the team to sit out their weakest rider in each race.

Poe and I are pretty much good to go in any race.  Particularly since we are now outfitted in a saddle that does not roll around.  Although over the past two years bottle shuttle has become my nemesis.    Knowing I’ll have to be in this race which is being run twice throughout the competition, I spent last night’s riding session drilling the crap out of it.  I placed, I picked, I placed, I picked, back and forth.

I was working on my bottle placement on the middle barrel for positions one or three when my husband came out.  Having this spiffy new iPhone 6 with the new “slo-mo” video feature, he agreed to record my placement.

I have to say, this is a pretty bad ass feature on the iPhone 6.  I cant wait to try it out this weekend.

(well sorry, I can’t seem to figure out how to get it to come up in slo-mo.  Which was the whole coolness of this post.  lame)

England and Wales August 2015

July 29, 2015

You might have noticed (but probably did not) that I added a new category to this blog page titled, “England and Wales August 2015″.  I am very excited to announce that I will be traveling to England and Wales, just over two weeks from now, with an amazing Under 17 team.  The team is made up of four girls and one boy ranging from 14-16 years old.  They will be traveling with myself as coach and manager, and chaperone Alicia.

We will be spending the first two days in London.  We will do some sight-seeing, traveling on the underground, and staying in a cool hostel.  I also booked us a team building session at an Escape Room.  I think this will be really exciting for everyone, and I can’t wait to see how the team works their way through it together.  In case you have not heard of an Escape Room, it was featured on the TV show, Big Bang Theory, this past season.  The team gets locked into a theatrical room, ours will be the Pharaoh’s vault, and the team will have to follow clues to figure out how to get out of the room with an hour time limit.

After London, the plan is to drive to Bristol, England, stopping on our way to see the Uffington White Hose, which is a large etching into the side of a hill with a white caulk base dating back to the bronze age.  Once in Bristol we will do some more sight-seeing and exploring.  Bristol is a rather artsy town, and the home of Banksy, a world-renowned graffiti artist.  This summer Bristol also features Shawn the Sheep, from Wallace and Grommet, statues all over the city.  There are also outdoor nature things to do like a visit to Cheddar Gorge and other landmarks.

After two days in Bristol we are onto Wales, where we will do some sight-seeing, and riding while staying with some friends.  The end of the week will be capped off by taking part in the two-day Welsh Championships at the David Broome Centre in Chepstow, Wales.  This is an amazing opportunity for the team, who will be riding in the Under 17 division, against some really amazing games riders including some of the best in the world.  They will also be able to watch some of the world’s top games riders playing in the Open division.

We will be posting during our trip so check back to this page to follow some of our adventures.  The fun starts the weekend before we leave with a training camp.  Then we shove off August 12th for a whirl wind two weeks.

Kentucky Equestrian – What is Mounted Games

July 28, 2015

This is a rather good video blog about mounted games, done by Kentuckyequestrian.com. It features riding video from the IMGA World Team Championships that took place earlier this month at the Kentucky Horse Park.  14 different countries sent teams to this competition, with USA pulling the win.  Check it out.

Games Practice 7-26-15

July 27, 2015

Early yesterday morning, teammate Val and I met up to get in a practice before our next big competition this coming weekend.  We went through just about every race, covering all of the skills, in a 2 1/2 hour time slot.  We flew through races with it just being two of us, setting up three at a time.  running through each two or three times, and then reset another set of races.  One of would walk the ponies while the other reset.

Val had a baby this spring and missed the first half of the games session.  This will be her first competition back.  You would never know she had her second child less than two months ago.  She was vaulting left and right.  She missed a few and had to go at it again, but she never chickened out or used her stirrup.  She probably did an easy two dozen vaults through our practice.  Her skills were also not lacking a thing.  She shuffled, placed, picked, grabbed, and turned without a miss.  Her pony Sprite, who is in his early 30s, also looks amazing.  She has been riding him daily to get him fit and it shows.  He flew through practice with rippling muscles and a flared nose.  He was hot as a pony less than half his age.

Val insisted I discuss how on point I was at practice. Several times she said how much speed I have put on since the winter.  I have to agree, I feel like I riding more to my ability and adding speed back into my skills.  Having a saddle that does not roll when I attempt to mount up, or when I lean over is also making an incredible difference.  Being able to climb on is huge.  Every time I am expecting my saddle to start sliding around.  But its not!  And each time I get a little grin on my face.  Being able to lean easier is also making a huge difference.  This is a little harder for me to keep convince myself of, after two years of sliding all over the place, but I got it!  Woo Whoo!

Val and I both rode extremely accurately.  We handed off with speed in and out, and didn’t drop a single one.  We both left practice feeling really good about ourselves.  Having a good practice before a competition always spikes the excitement.  I can’t wait to arrive at MA3 this Friday (the drive there SUCKS).  Yea!

We practiced too hard for photos but I snapped one of Val and Sprite during a water break. 

  And I snapped this one of me after we finished riding and loaded up and about to pull out.  I am blowing out a sigh of exhaustion.  

 

Ketchup in the Tail? 

July 14, 2015

Have you seen this thing going around on social media about putting ketchup in a horses tail to help make it whiter?  I kept seeing it and I decided to give it a try.  I actually did two trials.

Trial ONE – Spike

I was already giving Spike a bath so why not try it?  I washed his tail out like normal, using equine shampoo.  Then I squeezed in a ton of ketchup.  I really worked it in too.  I let it sit, impatiently, for about four minutes before I washed it out.  I brushed his tail out and let it dry.

Result – I think its whiter?  It looks a lot whiter, but I have only given Spike one *real* bath that included tail scrubbing.  So I didn’t really have a control factor to compare it to.  (I also did not get a “before picture)

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Trial TWO – Simon

I had also decided Simon needed a bath so I figured, why not try it again.  I have given Simon plenty of bathes so I will know more easily if his tail looks whiter.  Like with trial one, I washed his tail out with equine shampoo, rinsed, and then applied ketchup liberally.  This time I let it sit for closer the seven minutes before washing it out.  I brushed his tail out and let it dry.

Result – It was whiter for sure.  Not like blindingly white, but certainly whiter than it normally comes out with a good washing.

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Conclusion – If I have some ketchup laying around and am having an enjoyable pony bathing day, I think I will probably add this into my routine.  If I did halter classes or high end hunters or show ring stuff, I might be more into it too.  But I do not have anyone judging the shade of white my pony’s tail is, so its not that big of a deal to me.  So I am not going to rush out and pick up the biggest bottle of ketchup to keep in my wash kit for every competition I go to.

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