Ireland Day 5

Guest blog by Genevieve

Saturday was a gorgeous 65-70 degrees with a light breeze and blue skies. I was up at 8 to care for my pony and prep for my session at 10. The rest of the team got in a bit more rest before their heat following mine at 11:10. I was very rushed to get ready as I had not yet found my team until about 20min before our ride time (so I didn’t have a jersey or pads). The team is very nice with Jesse, Jenny, and Jamie (along with myself, Genevieve) representing Quark. Here the teams do not have cool names but instead represent the counties that they come from within their country. My first heat was a little rough, I jumped off backwards at the canter and took a tumble but my pony waited for me and we finished the race. We also struggle with hand offs because Freddie was afraid of the fast ponies. We finished up that session with mostly 5th/6th/7th place finishes out of 7 teams.

Team USA had a very tidy first session, all the players had good vaults and strong hand offs. They were being regularly announced as in the running for 4th place out of 9 teams (historically the most teams in one heat for a competition in Ireland). The announcer called them USA or would announce by their pony names, “Here comes Batman” or “the pony is bucking home”. It was a fun way for them to engage us foreigners.

I took a nap before my next session and the kids spent some time eating and socializing. As I tacked up, the Irish kids asked me what Baseball was and how the rules work. They were excited that my brothers had played and could only reference the ‘Wii’ when it came to fouls and home runs. They also tried to say the TH sound in Three with some success and we tried to say Three with out pronouncing the H as they do. It was a fun way to connect with the kids and learn about differences in culture and speech.

My second session was very clean for me personally with no real mistakes and good solid vaults, my team was in 3rd or 4th consistently with one tidy 2nd place. I started every race and that allowed them to do handoffs at speed, the adjustments worked well.

Jill’s pony Batman came up lame for the second session so she took my pony into her second heat which threw off their rhythm a little. They had some petty mistakes but the announcer routinely encouraged them on with the other top teams. There were some very nice vaults and steady rides in the second session for team USA and by the end they had some very clean rides.

We spent the next few hours socializing and having a wonderful Irish meal catered by Tynnans (Miss Anne’s sister’s Diner). We then went out to see a hunter page that had already ended and found ourselves playing with some of the Irish u17/u14 kids. They taught us that to “Leg Up” means to run as fast as you can and that “Fine Lad” means that a person is good and trustworthy. They also don’t have trash cans, but instead have “bins”. They tell time a bit differently too, 8:30 is half-eight, 9:30 is half-nine, etc. These differences were neat to learn.

Finally we went to a Pub for a quiz session on IMGA and Ireland games rules or celebrity figures. It was well organized and fun, we all got very competitive with our teams and did very well making it into the top points. Eliza and Emma were with three Irish boys and they were recognized as top U12 quiz team. The back of the pub was arranged more like a large dining hall with black lights and booth seating. The quiz went quite late and we were all ready to get back to our beds at 11:30 for tomorrow.

Photos coming soon.

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