Trail Fun Day

March 21, 2014

Last Saturday I did something cool (about dang time, it’s been a long winter of crappy blog topics!).  I went to a Trail Obstacle Fun Day, hosted by the Crystal Crown Series.  The CC is host to a series of Judged Pleasure Rides (JPR), which could best be described as competitive trail rides.  They set up a course that covers somewhere in the 6-10 mile range with 10 obstacles along it.  At each obstacle, horse and rider are asked to perform a skill, and are then judged on a 1-10 scale.  All points are added up at the end to determine placement.

 

At this fun day, they had 20 obstacles set up, and riders were welcome to school at their own pace, unjudged.

 

When I got the flyer for this event I immediately invited my games companions, and longtime friend, Val, agreed to join me and signed herself up in the blink of an eye.  Linda, Genevieve and Kim also quickly added their interested.    And we were surprised by yet another friend, Zoe, who came out and took part as well.

 

It was a rather nice day, considering the weather we have been dealing with, sunny, but extremely windy.  Val and I were checked in and were ready to start ahead of everyone else, so we got started as a pair.

 

Simon was initially very engaged and corporative.  We started with the pedestal, and after a few side passes around it, he put his front hooves on it and posed for a photo.  The goal was to get all four feet up, but, we felt we were good with two.

 

Val took on the tire scramble like a pro, which consisted of car tires on the ground that your horse was supposed to walk through.  Next we wig wagged through some pool noodles, got a shaking can in and out of a mailbox, rode through some more noodles and then we went through and backed back out of some weird plastic rail like things.

The rest of the group caught up with us around this point and we crossed the stream and galloped up a hill.  At this point, Simon lost his concentration and he actually… ran away with me.  Yep, Simon galloped away, with me unable to stop him.  Very un-Simon like.  Linda pointed out, he didn’t exactly pass anyone.  I was not afraid, and I did find myself laughing loudly when I realized, I could not stop him.

At the top of the hill we had a photo op, and then moved on to the “non-electric slide”.  This obstacle consisted of two blue barrels, with a white rail held up between them, with colorful plastic rings on the rail.  The task was to slide the rings in one direction, and then to back up and slide them in the other.  Simon was not corporative and spent his time facing the barrels and rings, checking for food and mouthing them.  He was not interested in working with me and standing alongside them.

 

The next stop was at the drag obstacle.  It was a hula hoop with black water pipes attached to it that the rider was supposed to drag off the back of their pony.  Simon was absolutely floored, and both interested and terrified of this drag.  He was totally captivated as everyone else in our group had varying degrees, mostly success, with this obstacle.  He bravely looked on, while everyone else completed the task, and was not interested in taking his own turn.

 

We moved onto the next obstacle, which was a blue tarp on the ground, with a bell hanging in the middle.  The goal was to ride on, ring the bell and ride off.  We all mastered this skill, and moved onto the poncho obstacle, which involved putting a poncho on, and draping it over your pony in various ways.  The wild wind made the poncho more like a cape or super hero wings, but we all aced this obstacle without much more than a blink.

 

Next was a reward obstacle, that included a bicycle leaning into a tree stump, with a basket attached, filled with people and pony treats.  Easy-peasy.  Moving on, we crossed the creek, and picked up the green frog umbrella and posed for photos.  As we were finishing this station, the umbrella blew out of someone’s hand, and Genevieve and Val galloped after it, with Val scooping it from the back of her pony, and returning it to the station.  This prompted someone in the next group to ask, “are those games ponies?”  We all laughed and it turned out they know our teammate who was not with us, Carol Ann.  Yep, it’s a small world.

 

The zig-zag was next, and incredibly easy.  A simple ride in and back out of some zig-zagged ground poles.  Done and done.  And onto the whip.  This was surprisingly easy for all of our ponies, and I even managed to get a few quick videos, which I will try to post on the Blue Ridge Pony Facebook page.  The goal was to whip the whip around while being mounted.

 

The whole event crashed to a halt at the small cross rail jump.  It was photo time and we all had a good time hoping over the jump.  Simon surprised me and managed a few decent hops, without taking any rails with him.  The jump was only 18 inches when we raised it, and smaller to start, but that’s saying a lot for his non jumping person/pony pair.  The Rail was raised and others jumped higher, with Blue taking the award for best jumper, hands down.  She shined.  Val and Zoe and I continued on, while the rest of the group stayed to photo the next groups coming through.

 

We went through the car wash, which Simon had to initially be led through by Sprite.  Very weird for him.  It was some streamers hanging from some trees.  Nothing to extreme and nothing he has not witnessed before.  But apparently, on this day it was too much.  We rode past a barrel with a small bucket on it, and picked up some treats.  This was like old hat for these games ponies who did not bat an eye.  And next was the fish pond.  I found this station particularly inventive.  Riders held a “fishing pole” which was  a stick with a string attached, ending in a magnet.  There was a blue tarp on the ground with bags of treats scattered on it, each with a metal ring to attach to the magnet.  We all had easy success here too.

 

The last obstacle was a rope gate to be opened, ridden through and closed, that we all mastered in minutes.  Which was good because the three of us were wilting like spring flowers in a late snow.  We needed lunch.

 

We hacked back to the rigs, and stuffed our faces.  While eating a neighbor was commenting on how lovely our ponies are and then made a rather odd statement.  She said “You will be out growing them soon.”  Val and I both looked at each other, and then at our stomachs, and then back at the lady.  I said “are you implying we are getting too fat for our ponies?” and she said, “no, not at all, just that you will be too tall for them soon.”.  again Val and I looked at each other, and I replied, “I am 35, I don’t think I am going to get any taller any time soon.”  We all laughed and she said she thought we were teenagers.  This left me caught in an odd compliment, and then made me sad that people still think that ponies are just for kids.

 

After lunch, Val, Zoe and I went back to the course and redid the whole thing.  Simon was a perfect pony and was completely corporative and engaged the whole time.  Where he was completely distracted and busying chewing and nipping Val’s pony Sprite our first ride through, this time he was confident and involved.  Val and Zoe’s ponies were champs as well, and we whipped through the course in no time.

 

We decided that Simon was frustrated and bored in the big group, and the wait time between stations was too much for him the first time through.  I was a little disappointed, particularly because he has done many of these tasks before, and is usually a rock solid pony when it comes to trails and obstacles.  But when people we know were watching he was a  twerp.  But that’s ok.  I had a great time, and I am hoping to do some of the Crystal Crown Series this year, and Val said she would do them with me!  That makes it 100X more fun!

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