TBT – 8/6/15 

August 6, 2015

This is a 20 year throw back to the summer of 1995.  I was 16 going on 17 years old and it was my first year on the USMGA team competing at the World Team Championships. My team and I traveled to England where we picked up some ponies, one named Jess belonged to USMGA at the time. From there we traveled by lorry and ferri with the Draper family.

We headed to Beligum for a scrimmage and a little sigh seeing. I have very fond memories of Belgium and can still picture the field, the barn yard, the barracks and some crazy techno song of the road runner that was played at wake up time every morning.

After Belgium we went on to Germany for the main competition. I remember there being some type of pony issue and we were sent to pick a pony out of a field to use instead.  It was a weird crazy place that is firm in my memory with about 100 horses of all sizes and backgrounds in a big field.  Julia from Canada spoke German and helped translate which were worth trying.  There were also gypsy wagons parked at the facility.  Crazy right? We ended up with a no-name gray pony that I mostly rode pretty successfully.

**This was before digital cameras. So it’s lucky I even have these photos. I am on the gray, second from the right. **

That’s me on the gray one to the right of the USA flag.  We placed second in the world team champs that year, closely followed by Ireland to the right.

On my left, holding the flag, is Collen Rutledge. She was Colleen Morris in those days. Now she is a rather famous upper level event rider.

To The left of Colleen is Mark, Mollie and finally Chis.  I believe Chris is still an active point to point turf rider.  I saw him in a video about the Virginia Gold Cup a year or two ago.  Pretty wild.


After the competition two of my teammates flew out from Germany and one went off on a European vacation. My closest teammate, Mollie, and myself were left in Germany with plane tickets out of London a week later.

I am sure many parents would gasp at two 16 year olds left unsupervised in a foreign country. Gasp away. We rode back to England with the Draper family and Marilyn Hackman put us on a train to London with directions and reservations at a bed and breakfast. Off we went. It was certainly one of the most exhilarating times in my life and I know it helped shape who I am today.
This was before the Internet and cell phones were common. And I don’t believe our parents were aware. We enjoyed our time exploring London and riding the underground. I even got my belly button pierced.
What an experience.

This is one of the reasons I work hard to provide similar (although safer and more supervised, with no belly button piercings taking place) trips for other games riders. Meeting people from around the world, exploring new places, bonding with teammates and trainers, all with the love of mounted games as the glue putting it together, just can’t be beat when it comes to life learning. Not only are these experiences fun but they are educational and they require the traveler to step out and be independent as well as trusting in a team. I really hope these trips mean as much to the riders going on them now through MGAA as they did to me.

Previous Post
Leave a comment

1 Comment

  1. Shirley (Grammie) Newell

     /  August 13, 2015

    great posting and enjoyable reading. We enjoyed Mullica


Leave a Reply to Shirley (Grammie) Newell Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: