April 19, 2016
The MGAA games season kicked off this past weekend with the Mid-Atlantic Series #1 competition in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, April 16/17. There were 10 teams in the adult division that my team, Gone Rogue, competes in. We were in the first heat of session 1 on Saturday and hit the field ready for speed.
All in all it was an excellent session for Gone Rogue, with very few fumbles (I actually can’t remember any) and a lot of nice change overs. We finished the session at the top and feeling pretty good about ourselves.
We hit session two in top form, and scooped up the points. We won all but two races, which we took second in. Not bad if I do say. I will credit part of this awesomeness with a practice the weekend before that four of the five of us made. We managed to work out some orders for races like hula and pony pairs that really require team work. This was our only team practice to date, with us living several hours apart. It was totally worth it.
Saturday night we had a grand time hooting it up around a camp fire, sharing pot luck and general shenanigans.
Sunday we went into the A final as the first place team, but of course our scores are wiped clean and we, like all teams, started from scratch. It was a really well matched heat of five top teams. We played well, but not like we did on Saturday. There were a few fumbles, and as usual, in the A final, a fumble takes you out. I don’t remember making any fumbles myself, but I did realize I was riding more and more conservatively as the session went on, checking up more for hand offs and not gunning it out as hard as I should have been. This is a typical Krista move and something I really need to work on. Its just as bad as making a mistake when you add it all up. The fumbles that were made on our team were also very uncharacteristic, and not anything to feel bad about. It was a tough heat. We generally took first or second in most races but had about three dead last races. This is out of 15 races and with our main competitor, Time Flies, mainly napping a more consistent first and second place finish in each race, they ended up grabbing the win with about a seven point lead over us. They played like a winning team and earned every one of those seven points over us. I am mad happy with my team and super proud of us. We played well, just not well enough.
I was, as always, super pleased with Poe. He was his usual bad-ass-rock-star self. He is so responsive at competition, even more so than at home. In session 2 during four flag, I did our inside turn for the end flag pick, and when I said “TURN” he sat and turned so fast I nearly flipped off him, missing my pull. It was a simple quick squiggle back around to pick the flag, and the race proceeded on but I did manage to jamb my leg which ached worse and worse from that point forth, making leaning to the right, and remounting a painful task. Stupid old falling apart body. But hey, not Poe’s fault. He is just too awesome and blows my mind sometimes.
The Fossil/Adult division as a whole was looking great. This division just keeps upping the game. Time Flies was amazing as always. Boarder Patrol was a four man with two new ponies, which showed, but they still brought some real play to the field. I have no doubt they will be back on top before long. Chaos had a minor roster change, and seemed to be having a good time with a fourth place finish. A new team, Bootleggers, held their own, finishing out 5th in the A final, with a meshed up team of new and old. I think they surprised everyone this past weekend.
The B final included the Bomb Squad, made up of three members from the former team Antiques Roadshow. I was expecting a little more game out of this team at MA1, but they did have two new riders and two green ponies, and actually did quite well. Full Tilt was made up of the same riders as last year, but with one their top ponies being replaced by a new pony. I am sure this swap was a big change for them. Groppits, Black and Blue Crew and Quicksilver were in their usual form, having a good time and plucking points across the board.
MA1 was held at the PG Equestrian Center, which is nice in some respects, and lacking in others. But the main pro/con is that there are two rings being run at the same time. Pro; we get through the games efficiently, con; its hard to watch everyone ride. I did catch some highlights, and was amazed with Buckwild. This team just moved up to Masters at this competition from Intermediate last year and they really held their own, finishing in the B final, and looking good at it. They really showed they belong in Masters.
There are also quite a few new formed and refreshed former teams in Masters, and lots of skills across the board. I saw some riders out there looking great on new ponies and others bringing back their usual skill from last year. The A final was a good run, and a mistake really killed a team in that race.
I also caught some Intermediate play, which was well divided between the more experienced teams and the newer teams. The Intermediate A was a well played final, with some competitive teams playing hard. I did spend some time watching the kids on this year’s MGAA International team play and really enjoyed seeing them in action. This is going to be a fun team to work with. Two of them, Eliza (on a new pony) and Steph are on Buckwild, which I already mentioned as being awesome. The other three were in intermediate on different teams. Cora has certainly brought her pony Tank along. They looked like a new pair our there compared to last year. Mackenzie was also on a new pony, Cotton, and she was eating up the field. I was really impressed with both of them. The only one I didn’t catch live was Anna, but I did take the time to watch some video of her this weekend and was also well pleased. It looks like she has put in some practice time since last year.
I am looking forward to MA2 at Grange in three weeks. This is a new competition added into the line up this year and is a fund raiser for the MGAA Equipment Project. The Grange boasts the best ring and camping facilities of all MGAA venues, and is sure to see some teams having working out a few kinks from MA1.
The season is here!
Photo: M Cardamone