May 2014 Taylormade Games

May 15, 2014

Mothers Day Taylormade Individual Games, Damascus, Maryland

 

I left the family visit, and headed to Taylormade Stables for a fun day of games. I got on grounds early so I could help with ring crew and spend some time socializing with some of my favorite people. I also enjoy watching and taking photos of the Master and Intermediate riders.

 

The adult riders showed up for the final division of the day. We were broken into two groups, A and B. Devorah from Pennsylvania was enjoying her mother’s day riding Simon in the B group, with Sarah and a new games rider, Maria. They had a fantastic time, and I was so happy to see Devorah smiling ear to ear and she successfully negotiated races with Simon. They both looked like they were having a grand day.

 

I rode in the A group with Zoe and Carol Ann. Ill start out by saying that I got my butt kicked. Although I am happy to report, it was for the most part, close finishes, with the three of us coming in a stride or two apart. Poe just did not have the starts and speed to pass the other two at this point in our training. Maybe with some more experience, and eeking out some better starts this will change. For most races I felt like Carol Ann, Zoe and then myself were nearly tail to nose, in line, as we made out end turns, and again as we crossed the finish line. It was an exciting competition.

 

Carol Ann performed as she normally does, quick and efficient on her fabulous flying white steed, Zeke. Nothing surprising or out of character there. She took the lead and held it throughout our two sessions. I would expect no less from her. Now Zoe, she really wowed everyone. She was on board a pretty little white mare, Petal, who was a former masters pony, that reached a mind blowing breaking point, that turned into full shut down. Petal has had some time off from the sport, and was placed into the adult division, which tends to be a lot more laid back than the masters division. Both the time off and the division change have really made a huge difference for this pony. Formally soured on games, she came out, and performed like a tried and true games pony. She was fast, turned and stopped. This is a huge move for Zoe, and everyone kept repeating how wonderful Petal looked. And we all meant it!

 

Poe was very responsive the entire day. He was eager to go, and listened like a pro. He did get a little apprehensive on his starts, but not necessarily in a bad way. Starting is something he has little experience with, and he specifically cued in on the whistle at this competition, and began anticipating the start. He would hear the whistle, and instantly retract and bunch up to propel himself forward, but would pause in the process, missing the actual flag drop. By the end of the day he had worked through this, and was make more efficient. And never once did he bulk or lose his forward progress. He was just too eager. The only other skill that was at all off, was when a race would require us to return back up the field, to repeat a skill, which is only done in individual competitions. He moved forward but was slow and totally focused in on me, almost as if he were waiting for me to change my mind. He knew that these returns were not correct for normal play. Other than those two inconsistencies, he was a perfect games pony. I know I say it a lot, but the pony just loves games, and it really shows.

 

I had two horrible barrel knocks. The first one was completely me, as I was coming into the turn, I could see it well out. I turned way too tight, and nailed the barrel with my calf. The second one was on a turn back, to return up the field. Again, I did not set up my turn, and took it out with my calf. I also had a mug pop off in mug shuffle. I am going to have to put some work into that skill at home.

 

As for improvements, if you read my post about Mid-Atlantic #1, just a few posts ago, Poe and I were not bending very effectively. Since then we have put in a little work at home on that skill, and it showed. We bent up and back, back being our weak point, with success in speed weavers, pony express and Canadian race. We even got some speed going on the latter two, and were still successful. This is still something we need to keep working on, and continue to add in more speed, but I am happy with our progress so far.

 

I also tried the left hand turn for our 4-Flag pick up, with happy success. I am not sure how much time it saved, but I felt like I rolled out of the turn and was headed back pretty much in line with Carol Ann and Zoe, rather than a stride behind. Really this is one I would need to have someone time, or watch and give me their opinion on the amount of time it saves, but as for success in the skill, it was spot on.

 

As always it was a good day. I love the laid back fun day at the Taylormades. It is an excellent opportunity to work on skills and try new techniques and speeds. We all left with candy in hand, and Zoe and I stopped for a quick bite to eat at Chipotle on the way home. Yum!

 

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