Unicorn Simon 

May 14, 2017 

Yesterday I did pony rides at a birthday party and Simon got to be a unicorn for the day. Doesn’t he look cute?


STRHA Judged Trail Ride

May 12,  2017 

This past weekend was the Shenandoah Trail Riders and Horsemans Association (STRHA) Judged Trail Ride – part of the Crystal Crown series.  I am a member of this club and was happy to support the JTR. But sadly, my usual JPR, JTR crew were all busy so I signed up and headed out alone.  

This turned out to be better than ok as the pair in front of me asked if I wanted to join their drafty duo.  I feel like the three of us got along really well and I had a blast with them.  They were also kind enough to share their video/photos and agreed to become super famous on this blog! I would love to do a JPR with them again in the future.  And now we are also Facebook friends, which we all know makes things *real! 

Below is pictured my new JPR BFFs Lacy and Andrea.  

It was a rainy gross morning, but the rain did start to let off after the first part of the ride.  

Lacy rode Gunner, her gorgeous Friesian cross (Tb I think).  She beasted obstacles.  

In this obstacle you needed to collect the umbrella from the trash bin, open it and hold it over your head, close it back up and return it to the bin. Simon was a little silly for this one and although we were successful it was not smooth.  

*beep beep* back up the hill trough the wig wag.  I think we got a 7 or an 8.  We defiantly tapped some poles and crushed a cone. 

This is one of the obstacles Simon kicked ass at, gaining a solid 10.  The goal was to push the bar around 360 degrees.  

Simon was a little unsure of this obstacle.  You had to walk back and forth over it three times without touching it.  We were successful with some caution. 

You will have to check out the video below. It shows a few obstacles.  

Ring jousting.  Using a wiggly driving whip, collect 4 rings, getting smaller in size, without hesitating or stepping back.  Games skills came into play and we got a 10.  We were told it was the second 10 on that obstacle of the day.  

Andrea backs her big ol beast, Quin, up the hill through the wig wavy poles.   

Andrea doing the umbrella challenge. 

Andrea riding through the water obstacle.  It had a blow up whale and also a kayak, complete with Elli’s dog Doc sitting in the kayak.  That part made me so smiley.  
 

2017 Mid-Atlantic #1

May 11, 2017 

The mounted games season really kicks off with MA1, which has historically been at the PG Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, Maryland.  This year it was moved to Mullica Hill, New Jersey in response to an equine herpies outbreak.  

Gone Rogue, my Over 25 team, hit the field with our full usual team of Matt, Val, Averi, Kristin and myself.   Val was on her new ride, Babyface, and the rest of us were on our usual rides.   Game on.  

We held strong through our two qualifying sessions, stepping cleanly into the A final for Sunday.  All in all Saturday was relatively clean and smooth.  We had our usual jell, mostly clean, with just a few fumbles divided up pretty evenly between us.  

We went into the A final and we played hard. We battled it out through the whole session with two teams in particular, Time Flies and Boarder Patrol.   The three of us were race for race, taking turns holding the lead and then swapping back and forth in the top three positions.  It was an awesome final.  We ended in a very respectful third place ahead of Chaos, and left the ring feeling solid.  

The mistake that sticks out to me the most was my bottle during the final.  I am usually a clean center setter, but I pulled the bottle over, and when correcting, knocked it off the barrel.  Booo.  But, focusing on the positive aspects, I did remount relatively quick and without much difficulty.   

I also did inside turns for my end pick in 4 flag, and I am really pleased with how they worked.  The first one, during a Saturday session, was not as smooth, but still felt solid.   We played this race again during the final and this time we asked for the yellow flag to be propped in the #1 pick up position and I started, selecting it on a smoother inside turn. I am very happy with this change in my play.  I credit the Bluegrass Open team I rode with earlier in April for this confidence.  They encouraged me to try it and then praised it’s success.   So thanks Bomb Squad.  

Babyface was awesome.  I am not sure if Val was able to recognize how amazing he was, always expecting the best from herself, but that pony shined.  He is wicked fast and has such a good (although young) head.  He got “stuck” a few times on his end turns, and he got upset in the barns when his buddies left him.  But otherwise that pony has games champ written all over him.  

Another pony I want to comment on, Peyote.  That stinker was so good.  He has had most of his winter off, and he is not the straightest running or smoothest pony even when in work, so I was really floored at how well he did.  I am still apprehensive to say more and jinx us, but he looked like a real games pony out there.  

Matt and Jitter and Kristin and Tex, bah, those four are always amazing, so what can I say? They were just as amazing as always.  

The Open A final was also super hot.  Just like in o25, three teams were really fighting it out hard, race by race.  

I am excited to see how this season goes after MA1 having a head to head final in both o25 and Open (I am sorry I missed the majority of the intermediate and the novice finals).  

Photos: 

This one cracks me up.  Val was like “I need all the rope” and I was like “got ya dude” and just neck reined Poe along.  But you might note, she literally kept 1/2 the rope.  Lol.  We were clean in the qualifying heat but we busted up in the final. 

Averi brought her bottle goat Marshall.  I am not a huge fan of goats but this guy is so cute.  If she walked out of sight he called for her.  So sweet.  

I do not like how I look in this photo (sort of like a cartoon shaped character) but I love Val and I smiling together.  Love that girl. 


My hover pony. Haha 


Poe Conditioning Continues

May 10, 2017 

Two weekends ago was the Mid-Atlantic #1 competition and Poe was getting a little tired towards the end of day two.  So I am digging in a bit more on his conditioning.  

We have been doing some farm hacks and a little hill work at home.  Which is pretty usual for us.  And yesterday I descided to take him for some mountain work. Mind you, light mountain work, but I knew adding the uneven footing and the constant up and down would step up the work out.  I also needed a change of scenery.   

Poe is not the loveliest trail pony, and after having Simon for trails, I am totally over riding anything jiggy or spooky.  Poe is not usually jiggy, at least for the first hour in a group but not so much on his own.  But he is aware.  He constantly scans his surroundings, keeping an eye out for any pony-eating obstacles.   So as a rider I need to be engaged.  

So my goal was to keep the ride between 1 and 1 1/2 hours and to finish on a positive – unannoyed – note for both of us. I also selected Slat Lick since it is a much more frequented area than most I go.  Just in case.  

We arrived and started off on the shortest loop.  We did a lot of waking (Poe needed his eyes to be scanning his surroundings and not looking at his footing) but we got in some elivation and Poe enjoyed marching through the water and different surroundings.   1 hour and 15 minutes later we were done and loading up to head back home.  Success!   Every spring I seem to hit a few conditioning rides on Poe and I am always surprised at how good he is.  Maybe I need to reevaluate Poe and trails.  

Photo of the Day 

May 9, 2017 

I love this photo of Open riders Regan and Aidan.  This was from a fun pairs day this Spring in Ranson, WV.   

The social aspect and teamwork mounted games provides is amazing with this sport.  No other horse sport requires riders and horses to work so closely.  

Photo creds: M Brown 

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