Blue Ridge Games – Spring Dates

Myself and my friends, Carol Ann, Linda and Kelly, host a mounted games series that we call Blue Ridge Games. We even have our own Facebook https://www.facebook.com/blueridgegames and web page http://blueridgegames.org/ dedicated to it.

We attempt to provide the Blue Ridge Valley with local mounted games competitions, clinics and practice opportunities and I have set up three dates for this coming year so far. 

  • March 18, 2012 Clinic and open Practice
  • April 15, 2012 Clinic and open Practice
  • September 1, 2012 BRG Fair Demo, Shenandoah Fair

These events will be hosted at the Shenandoah Fairgrounds in Woodstock, Virginia and anyone can take part. 

So what is mounted games?

I can best describe it as relay races on horseback.  Riders are generally set up on teams.  The riding area is arranged with matching lanes.  Teams are line dup at one end of the playing field behind a line, one team per lane.  A referee starts the race with the drop of a flag.  The first rider on each team races through an obstacle that has been preset in their lane, and then “hands off” with a teammate who then races through the obstacle.  The finish is called in the order the final rider of each team crosses the finish line. 

Races are generally run one after the other, with the same teams of riders staying in the playing field and completing 10-18 races within a one hour session.  The order of completion in each race gains a predetermined amount of points for each team, and at the end of the session those points are added up for a final score and placement. 

That’s the basics. 

Mounted games gives riders the opportunity to ride on a team, where working together is paramount to completing each race. 

Because all of the equipment in the lane must be left in a specific condition at the end of the race, riders must decide how fast to push their pony without disturbing the equipment.  If, for example, riders are riding around a barrel, and they knock the barrel over, it must be righted and returned to its original position before that rider can continue.  Finding the fastest speed to go around the barrel without knocking it over is a key element in games. 

But generally in games you do not just ‘go around a barrel’.  You most likely need to retrieve an object from that barrel, or place one on it while going around it.  So riders are then required to figure out how close they need to get to the barrel to pick up the object, while still keeping speed and not knocking it over. 

Some races require riders to dismount, retrieve an object and then remount before continuing.  This encourages riders to perform a vaulting mount without the aid of stirrups.  Generally reserved for the younger more agile riders, feats of vaulting onto ponies at a full gallop are spectacles to witness, but they do require a lot of training of the pony and practice of the rider to accomplish.  Spills happen.    

Lots of fun to take part in and with an array of divisions that are directed toward riders of different age and skill level, mounted games is a sport for many. 

I have been playing games since I was 9 years old,  and although Simon just started a year ago, he is already a fabulous games pony.  Simon and I ride on a team, Old School, in the adult (fossil) division.  Being part of a team is amazing, and I will be sure to post about it in the future. 

We generally take the winter months off, although there are still games competitions taking place.  We have our first one coming up at the end of February.  Our calendar packs in after that, with games dominating about every other weekend through October.  No worries, you will hear a lot about it if you choose to follow this blog.

Three of the teams at the Fall Demo 2011

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