Mid-Atlantic #3 – 2014

August 6, 2014

 

This past weekend was the Mid-Atlantic #3 competition in Mullica Hills, New Jersey. I missed this competition last year because I was in England for an MGAA trip. In the years prior to that, this competition had been hit or miss. Going back to my Masters team days, one year I got eaten up by baby wolf spiders, which I had allergic reaction to. Another year my pony, Osh Kosh, popped a splint. There have been people that have been flipped over the less than desirable chain link arena fencing. One year, my friend Val’s pony, had a collision in 3 Mug and had to be taken to the horse hospital. I believe it was last year that the rains were so intense that campers were flooded out, and the Sunday riding had to be cancelled. This competition has tended to hold an unknown factor that always makes me just a little weary of it.

 

This competition is also usually HOT, as in high temperature, high humidity, and strong sun. This year the weather actually worked out better than could have been expected. The temperature stayed mostly in the low to mid 80s. It was generally overcast, and cloudy. There was rain at night, but not too much to make the arena too mucky to compete in, and no tents were seen floating away. For the most part, it was dry, although humid, during the day. One of the features this grounds has, that makes it excellent for camping, is about a half dozen large covered pavilions. Tents can be set up under them, and campers can socialize under them, safe from the sun and rain.

 

Our group took advantage of this and set up at the pavilion by the barns. Our tables and chairs stayed dry at night, and we had a nice large lighted hangout area for socializing. Excellent.

 

For the actual competition, team Old School was a little mixed up. Carol Ann opted out of the competition, and we were planning to go at it as a four man team. But we got lucky on the Thursday night before the competition and managed to pick up rider, Kristin and her pony Tex, from Pennsylvania. She brought along her cheery personality, and laid back attitude and made a perfect addition to the team. Linda was on her new pony, Diamond. Linda had just purchased this mare, and she was very new to the sport, although she did excellent, and Linda and her are going to be amazing as they grow together. Averi also rode a different pony, this one a long time games pony, Ducky. Kim was on her usual, Chip, and I was on Poe.

 

There were eight teams in our division, splitting us into two heats. The divisions were staggered, so riders could watch the other heat of their own division, which was really enjoyable.

 

We went into our first session on Saturday at about lunch time, and rode really well as a team. I was impressed with how well we meshed. We did not set up race orders in advance, although we did select who was out of each race. We figured with so many unknown ponies, we would be better to work the actual orders out as we went. And I was surprised at how well this flowed for us. I don’t think we ever felt rushed, or uncertain of who should go when for any of the races. Linda did excellent on Diamond. She kept the pony slow, so she could teach her the skills, and Diamond appeared to be listening and enjoying her new sport. The pony is built low in the front, which is different than what Linda is used to. Linda is already working to bring her off her forehand, to help improve her turns, and knowing that she was not the best at turning, Linda took that into account when selecting races to be out of.

 

My challenge was my back and neck, that were making it hard for me to reach far and turn sharply, I was in Carton Race in the first session, and realized that was a mistake, because the big swing from the carton pull, hurt, and I had to slow up significantly to get my dunk at the end of the arena.  We took this into account for the rest of the competition . This included taking me out of Bottle Shuttle, where I would have to lean and reach across a barrel at speed. Poe and I were well connected. He was listening and had his game face on. I said “woe” and he woed. I was very happy with him and myself.

 

Our second session went very similar, with us all smiling, high fiving and cheering each other on. We had a few mistakes, that killed a few races for us, but we also had some wins when we were accurate. I think we were mostly pretty spot on, although the other teams were all hot, and really pushing faster and more accurate as well. The competition in this division is just getting better and better. Our Saturday did go pretty well considering, and it was just enough to squeak us into the A final as the 5th team.

 

Saturday night (as well as Friday night) was a fun event, with socializing, shared dinner, roasted marshmallows, and a lot of laughing. We had a fun little camp set up with myself and Averi along with some of the riders on Groppits, and visits from riders on Red Solo Cup, Time Flies and a few others. This is always one of the best parts of competition, spending time with friends.

 

Sunday we entered the A final, with all teams starting back at 0 points. We rode well, and continued to have a fun time, with lots of cheering. We were tied for second place, three races from the end, but a few mistakes were all it took, and we ended in a close point 4th place. Time Flies held the lead by about ten points. They were followed by the other four teams, with just a few points separating each, with Red Solo Cup in second, followed by Border Patrol, Old School and then Groppits.

 

I am very happy with my riding, and Poe’s performance. I did hold back in my bending quite a bit, and probably could have pushed him a little faster, particularly going away. I did circle the cone in Ball and Cone race one time, and I did not make a handoff on Saturday with Kristin in joust. It was my fault that I did not ride in close enough to her to make the reach. But otherwise I rode rather clean and went home very happy with my performance.

***riding photos***
Compliments to A Brenegan
And thank you G Arens of EquiStar Photography.

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