MGAA Mid-Atlantic #1 ~ 2012

Team Old School
Zoe, Carol Ann, Linda, Krista, Kim
Photo: Genevieve Arens

 This past weekend was the big season opener for the east coast mounted games season. We kicked it off with the first edition of the MGAA Mid-Atlantic Series held at the Price George’s Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. Simon and I rode with our team, Old School, including usual team members; Linda, Kim and Carol Ann. We also asked our friend Zoe to join us for the weekend with her pony Cheyenne.

I started off the weekend with a lengthy hack around the grounds and then joined up with teammates and friends for a a nice little practice on Friday afternoon to help work out some of the silliness.

Photo: Genevieve Arens

Apparently it wasn’t enough because the first session on Saturday started out with Simon a little full of himself. This is typical of Simon, and something I just need to expect and work through until he grows out of it. He did a few little rears (I suspect his hooves are only going one or two feet off the ground) and some leaping starts and a few slow take offs when receiving hand offs. We also took out the end barrel in bottle shuttle, which I am blaming on Simon’s silliness and lack of focus. I managed to reset it relatively quickly without needing to dismount, and proceeded on. The rest of the session was pretty clean with very few mistakes team wide.

Photo: Genevieve Arens

Simon took a little lunch time nap in his portable corral while I took my turn as an assistant referee for the intermediate division.

Nap Time
Photo: Me

Photo: Genevieve Arens

We returned for the afternoon session with Simon in full effect. He moved out, he stopped, he turned, and I felt like we were a well matched pair with great communication and a worthy member of our team. I did miss a flag put in the 3 Pot Flag race. It was totally my fault and Simon was right there, ready to help me pull off a quick correction. Otherwise the session was pretty clean for Simon and I, with just a few other mistakes throughout the team.

Zoe lookin good in Navy and Yellow
Photo: Genevieve Arens

That night we had a fun potluck and social affair at our camp site. We got in lots of laughs and took down some good eats. We also took the moment to invite Zoe to be an official member of the team and she accepted! Yea!

Simon first off the Line
Photo: Ashley Desjardins

Zoe fits right in with the four of us and is such an upbeat, easy going person. She is fun and a real joy to have around. She is also a good rider and an asset to have in races. I am thrilled she accepted and is going to be sporting navy and yellow with us. So yea, Old School is now a 5 man team!

Hand off to Kim
Photo: Genevieve Arens

Sunday we woke up from a night of rain to a warm sunny morning. We hit the field feeling good and the team rode very well. Simon and I had a snafu in the Ball and Cone race, which is generally a pretty strong race for us. He is a true fossil pony, and will stand nicely for me to complete technical tasks like balancing tennis balls on the tops of cones. But Sunday, although he was stopping and standing, he kept turning to face the cone when I would lean over to place the ball, thereby putting it out of my reach. We were eventually successful, but it took a few attempts to reach the cone and ate up too much time. I was rather disappointed in this race, but overall, we had a very clean session with just a few mistakes team wide.

Simon waiting for the call to the start line
Photo: Ashley Desjardins

The 15 race session blew past in no time and we found ourselves in a solid second place at the end. The other teams were fantastic. Particularly our friendly favorites, Time Flies, who rock the pink and black gear. They are a fantastic well practiced team, who have a few members that can pull off vaults and reach items floating in buckets of water without dismounting. Two important skills our team very much lacks. Time Flies gives us a real challenge. They push us to try harder, practice more, and push for additional speed and accuracy. And the best part, they are fun and friendly and nothing but enjoyable to ride with. Which is common in the adult division where teams cheer each other on, compliment well pulled off skills and give occasional high fives amongst each other.

Team Time Flies
Photo: Ashley Desjardins

An excellent weekend, with lots of friends, fun, ponies and games. Old School grew in members, and together we have a real challenge to push for this season.

Simon and I got home late Sunday, but I decided not to take our customary Monday off, and we had a nice hack and got in a little technique practice for myself.

Moving into the changeover box for the start
Photo: Ashley Desjardins

In general I am seeing improvement in Simon.  After the first session I was very pleased with his starts, and noticed in some photos that he was out front of the other ponies quite often.  He also has picked up the pace since last year and made the end of the lane in line with the other ponies, and even ahead on some occasions.  His end turns have improved and he has not lost any of his excellent stopping or standing skills.  He has also improved slightly in bending poles, which is one of his worst races.  This weekend he did not drop his shoulder into any of the poles and he even had a lead change around one of them.

The next two weeks I will be going heavy practicing Ball and Cone, flag puts and turning around barrels.

With the first installment of the series behind us, we have four more to up our game and catch Time Flies.

Photo: Me

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