2016 Mid-Atlantic #1, Let the Season Begin!

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

 

2015 MGAA Pairs Competition

September 1, 2015

It has been a busy past few weeks.  I got home from the amazing trip to England and Wales (which I still need to write a wrap up post about!) on Tuesday, unpacked, got in a few hacks and some groceries, washed and repacked, with three days of work in that mix, and headed off to the Sizzling Summer Pairs Competition held at the Jefferson Fairgrounds in Ranson, West Virginia.

This has been one of my favorite competition over the past few years.  Its a relatively close and is an easy drive.  It is pretty inexpensive, and it is very laid back but still competitive and fun.  Last year I rode with Val, who is one of my regular teammates.  We were both brought up through games with the same trainers and have similar styles that work well together.  We rode together again this year as “Scoundrels”.  Two of our other teammates, Matt and Averi also rode together as “Heads of tails” last year and again this year.  It was fun riding together and at the same time also against each other.

I had also decided to take Simon and ride in a second division, intermediate, just to get in a little extra saddle time.  I was super excited that my partner for that division was Mackenzie on one of her second string ponies.  Wooo!  I arrived Friday, set up and spent some time hanging with friends and even managed to fit in a light hack on Poe, who was rather hot after having two weeks off.

Saturday we started with the Intermediate division and I went into the ring on Simon with Mackenzie and I was quickly reminded of why Simon is my second string pony.  My goodness he is slow.  We loped through speed weavers, Simon happily plodding along, and me, already feeling my legs getting an extra work out.

The second race was mug shuffle, one of my favorites.  Mack went first and I was behind the C line waiting to go second.  Unfortunately a rider in the lane next to us had an issue with her pony, who bucked her off, somewhat to the side of Simon and I.  Simon shied back and over a step from her and right into Mack’s path.  She was going rather quick and we smacked.

We smacked hard.

My memory is fuzzy, and of course this all went by in the blink of an eye and I wasn’t fully aware of what happened at the time.  I believe it was just Mack, myself and our tack smacking, and the ponies were perfectly fine.  The girl who fell rolled up and collected her pony, Mack continued along the fence a ways before pulling up and dismounting.  I slid off and stood there for a bit assessing what was wrong.  I took note that one of my billet straps snapped.  I suppose that’s why we have three, but the leather was not worn, cracked or rotted in anyway.  My leg is what hurt the most, in particular my knee, ankle and foot.

Mack and I both left the ring, handing our ponies over to other riders to take them through a few races and prevent any residual fear that they could develop.  Simon is such a drama queen I wanted to make sure he didn’t get too focused on the incident and all of a sudden become afraid of other ponies, games or some other residual fear he could create in his silly head.

Upon later inspection, Mack sustained a boxer’s hand break.  She had a soft cast put on that night and plans for a hard cast soon after.  My knee swelled, and hurt to bend.  Averi jumped in with a knee brace and special anti-inflammatory gel and helped doctor me up so I could still ride with Val in our usual division.  I already ride with long leathers, but I lowered my iron 3 half-holes (got to love half-hole leathers) so my knee didn’t need to bend at all, and climbed up on Poe (with a little assistance, thanks Patti, Kathy and Wendi!).  Val was completely supportive and I went into the ring ready to ride.

Poe was initially a little irritated with me being a little unbalanced myself, and not helping him balance around tight turns.  He attempted to buck a few times when I urged him on with only my left leg, while my right just hung straight down.  My dunks were terrible, and without being able to lean very far I ended up pulling up to drop my equipment, vs dunk it at with some speed.  It also took a moment longer to remount (which was mostly fear on my part) and I had to use my hand to recollect my right iron.  All in all, I rode better than I would have expected and pretty much clean but not my best performance.

Val and I left the first session just a few points in the lead, which was a surprise to both of us.  I was feeling a bit looser by the second session, although I still had to pull up for dunks, and I did miss my first carton dunk. just pure sloppiness.  Of course my missed dunk killed us in that race.  BOOO.  We also had a down hand off in Hug a Mug.  Again, my fault. I brought it in open-end to Val, who is a butt-end taker.  Duh Krista.  But we carried on, Val riding like the pro she is, and me keeping up my end.

Saturday night was fun.  The green pony division rode for about an hour and a half, if not longer, going through game after game.  The whole group was whooping it up and just having a fantastic time.  Those of us spectating and helping set equipment probably enjoyed it as much as those riding, and yelled out a few cat calls to our friends in the saddle.  An excellent catered cookout followed, and lots of socializing before an early bed call.

Sunday I was even looser and could manage to scoop my iron back onto my foot without hand assistance.  although I still pulled up for drunks, actually I pulled up TOO much for dunks!  This was not my best session and I dropped my last mug in mug shuffle. LAME!  We had quoits race in this session, which requires me to remount twice since I cannot reach the bucket from Poe’s back (yet).  But I was happy to have two clean remounts, and I even got the ball on the top of the cone pretty easily, which is a bit of a challenge for Poe and I on occasion.  Poe expects me to be much quicker about it than I am.  So its clearly something I need to work on.  I also missed my second placement in 3 pot, and had to circle back.  Again, LAME.  Val called it, we really need to practice 3 pot race.  I don’t believe I had any other errors, and Val rode excellent as always.

We managed to pull off the win, holding our champion pairs competition title from last year.  Our teammates, Matt and Averi were 6 points behind us, also holding their reserve title from last year, followed by Full Tilt, Shameless and then Quicksilver.

It was an awesome competition. It was big enough to make it competitive, but also small enough to be laid back with ample social time, and a limited rushed feeling some competitions have.

Val was as always awesome to ride with.  We really mesh well together and have very fitting personalities and styles that compliment each other.  I also love hanging out with our other teammates Averi and Matt which we had ample time to do.  And of course it was a joy to be able to spend time with all of our other friends, which is usually a little strained for time at other competitions.

It was one awesome weekend!

When I got home I found a huge bruise under my arm, along with several smaller ones under my other arm, along my side, hip, knee, down my leg and on my ankle and foot.  They are healing up quickly though and are not holding me back.  I dropped my saddle off at Martins Harness Shop in Dayton, Virginia to get my billet repaired.  Mr. Martin is an older Mennonite gentleman that not only knows his stuff about leather and tack of all types, but can make magic happen.  He looked at my billet and was impressed that it broke when it was in such good condition.  He promised to have it repaired and ready for me when I get back from this week’s out of town adventure so I can start prepping for the next one!

WHOOPS! looks like I ran out of media space.  Ill have to upgrade that when I get back next week.  More photos and video for this post will be added then!
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Day 8 – More Tack Shops (and rain) 

August 20, 2015 

***quick note. We are posting additional photos to our Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/blueridgepony ***

Guest blog by team member Bella 
This morning we woke up at 8:00 am! (We were supposed to get up at 7:20 but Kaja, Jaycee, Elise and I might hit snooze a few times.) Once we were up and moving all of us took a trip to another tack shop because we had to get 2 more stirrup irons and leathers. We drove about 30 minutes to Chepstow, Wales to Ride and Stride tack shop. (Let me just say the ride there was filled with lots of group singing.) 

We only found 1 pair Composite stirrups at the first tack store so we went to another one that was 30 minutes away from Ride and Stride. 30 minutes later we arrived at John Ayers tack shop. There we found more stirrups irons and leathers. 

After we got what we needed from the store we proceeded to drive to St. David’s where we went around the shops. We went into Jack Wills where Coltin bought something for his Nan. (Shoutout to Nan Mcbain). We also walked into a few more clothing shops. We finally found a store called Rossiters which we all adored. It was almost like a Hallmark and Pier 1 Imports on steroids. After we got some gifts for our loved ones we went home to the Lockyers. 

We waited around for about 45 minutes for the farrier to come to do the ponies feet. We got Holly, Skippy and Foxy’s front feet shoed and trimmed all around. Once they were all finished with their feet we took the ponies out for a hack. 

Emma lead us some crazy way where we had to run through a large amount of stinging nettle. THANK GOD none of us got it but it was definitely an adventure! When we got home from the hack we went to dinner at Cripple Creek Inn which was filled of giggles and American stereotypes. 

On the drive home we saw a hedgehog crossing the road. Kaja, Elise and myself all jumped out to try and catch it. I tried to grab it as it ran in (what I hadn’t realized) was stinging nettle! As soon as we shut the door of the car Alicia, Coltin, Krista, Jaycee and Emma thought it would be hilarious to drive away. So Elise, Kaja and I all sprinted up the road to try and catch the car! Kaja mad it because she was ahead of us. But then they drove some more and Elise and I were still sprinting to the car – finally we got in and headed home. 

Tonight consisted of a lot of packing for this weekend and hearing Alicia talk to her beloved puppy Cricket over FaceTime. It was a great day and I can’t wait for tomorrow! 

  ***the photos will not load here. I’ll post them on our blog’s Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/blueridgepony ***

 

Day 7 – Castles and Zoos 

August 19, 2015
Guest blog by team member Elise 
We got up at 7:30 and mucked the stalls, fed, and watered the 3 ponies we had here. Mrs. Lockyer graciously went and picked up two more ponies today, to complete our set. We decided to go back from Wales to England, to the Bristol zoo. We had a wonderful day at the zoo! Some of the favorite exhibits were the lions, the seals, and the butterfly exhibit. In the seal exhibit, you can walk through a viewing tunnel to watch the seals swim right over you! They were even spinning and swimming upside down. 

Some of the kids went on a high ropes course. It was cool to watch half of the team, navigate the zip lines, hanging logs, and other tricky obstacles. 

After the zoo, we traveled to Ragland Castle.  It was so interesting to see the welsh ruins, including the moat, and the dungeon! Later that night we took our first ride on the ponies. I personally really enjoyed Foxy, he was quick and I agreed with him very well. Kaja immediately clicked with Holly, a smaller refined bay. They make an amazing pair! Coltin and Jaycee both switched ponies often, but rode each pony very well. Bella rode the ponies very well, but will most likely be suited for our fifth pony who is arriving at the competition. We had a delicious dinner cooked by Mr. Lockyer, and then we settled down for the night. 

Today was so much fun, I can’t wait to see what’s next! 
****more photos to come.  They wouldn’t all load on here****

  
    
                     

  

    
 

   
    
 

We Moved to Wales! – Day 5

August 18, 2015

Yesterday we moved to Wales.  It was mostly a relaxing day. We met two of our loaned ponies, Foxy and Spot!  Everyone wants to ride both of them.  But since Spot competed yesterday and traveled today we are giving him the day off.  

I was very excited to see Chrissy and Emma.  The Lockyers are always fun and I feel right at home with them.  Yea!  

We got the sleeping arrangements sorted out, visited the Lockyer ponies, saw an unwell hedge hog on the road, watched some games videos and goofed around.  Alicia was awesome driving the tiny hedge lined back roads.  And… well, it was a good day.  

Not much to report. Tomorrow we plan to head to the Bristol zoo and get some riding in.   

  
   
    
    
    
   

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