2015 Mid-Atlantic #1

May 1, 2015

The mounted games season has started! Mid-Atlantic #1, held at the PG Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, Maryland was held last weekend and I was there with my new team, Gone Rogue.

This was Gone Rogue’s first competition and we had a blast. We were laughing and yucking it up all weekend. One rider on the team, Val, who is taking the first part of the season off to have a baby, came to support the team, cheering for us and giving us her sidelines perspective. At the end of the weekend she pointed out some race order ideas that I really agree with. Great points that were hard to see from the saddle.

Clearly I am excited because I am already talking about after the competition, and I haven’t even discussed the actual competition yet! Organize….

Leading up to the competition, rider Zoe was hula hooping and rolled her ankle, spraining it. We scrambled around for a replacement rider and ended up coming up dry. In the end, Zoe healed faster than expected, and with a calm borrowed pony, Boomer, graciously offered by Stacey Calhoun, Zoe assured us she could do it. Notably, teammate Val, who is eight months pregnant also offered to fill in. She is still actively riding, and took part in a polocrosse tournament the weekend before, but felt her balance was off for all of the leaning and remounting necessary in games. Although none of us jumped on her offer, none of us turned her down either. So it was lucky Zoe pulled through.

Saturday morning dawned and we were up and ready to enter the ring in our new dark grey and yellow gear by 8am. Our division had been scheduled to ride with two concurrent heats. This is not the usual format for MGAA team events and requires heats of teams to rotate in and out of the arena before and after every two races. The idea is to ease the labor on ring crew, although I really do not feel like this helped at all at this event. It also meant that we were in the saddle for well over two hours, in and out of the arena with our adrenaline going up and down. Poe in particular got annoyed. About half way through the session he was beyond fidgety. Grabbing everything in his mouth, pacing around, attempting to crib on everything and just generally being annoying. It also meant when it was our divisions turn to work a concurrent session that took nearly three hours, there were 7 teams resetting for heats of three and four teams. Over kill much? It sucked. Out of the five heat sessions we were at the arena for four of them, riding or working, and had one session to untack and recoup. Sunday was ten times worse with more races in the session. I could complain about this aspect endlessly, but I’ll move on.

Session one went pretty well. I rode really conservatively, but ended mistake free, and was happy with myself and Poe. The rest of the team was on their game and we did very well. The second session was also pretty good, with just a few mistakes. I missed a hand off to Averi, totally my fault, and I could not get back on Poe after agility aces race. I played it smart and ran to the mounting block after two quick attempts of him dancing around. Although I feel I made a smart move it still killed us in the race.

We did well enough in our two Saturday sessions to make it into the A final for Sunday. Yea!

Sunday also went pretty well. I had a lack of trust in Poe in one race and did not put my hand out to hand Averi my balloon stick. It was so silly of me. Poe has excellent breaks. Excellent. And I should have just stuck my hand out. But I didn’t and had to circle to her to hand over the stick. I still rode conservatively, which is something I need to work on. Kristin and I talked between races and I said that I felt like I was checking up way too early for skills, and she agreed. She suggested that when I felt like it was time to start slowing down, to go another stride. I took her advice and it played to my advantage in the next race. I need to keep that up and remember how awesome and responsive Poe is. * Trust in the Poe *

It was an excellent and closely played final session. Border Patrol took the win in style. Going into the second to last race, Time Flies, Full Tilt and our team were all tied. In the end Time Flies beat us out for second, and we managed a healthy third place finish ahead of Full Tilt. Chaos took fifth followed by Black and Blue and Groppits. It was a really good division and I think this season is going to be amazing. I am really looking forward to it!

***Trust in the Poe***

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