2018 Mid-Atlantic #1 – The Overview

April 22, 2018

I started to type up my usual competition review, talking about my team and the overall competition and the post started to get way too long. So I decided to break it into two posts. This one is not about my team. So it is probably the more interesting one for any readers out there.

Last weekend was our season opener, Mid-Atlantic #1. It was held at a bigger venue than our usual, the Meadow Event Park in Doswell, Virginia. This venue allowed us to run 8 lanes with ample run out space on both ends. Fantastic! It is a grass playing field with a sand base type of natural soil footing that gives traction and drainage. We were also granted near perfect weather to make for an outstanding event.

Speaking of near perfect weather, we had a warm snap for the weekend, with sun, and luckily a breeze or we would probably have roasted after the chill we have been living in. Although the breeze was a bit much and we had to alter the race list a tad to accommodate for the conditions. But it sure beats the wet conditions that float your litter away like we have had in the past.

The season opener is always exciting. New teams, new gear, new ponies, new people! And there was plenty of all of that.

The Over25 Division was a full division with 8 teams. This is clearly the division I follow the most so I’ll start here.

In O25 there was not too much majorly new going on. Full Cry shuffled to Novice to bring on some new riders and new ponies. The Tie Dye team had a few minor edits, adding Katie full time, and changing their name to Venus Envy. They rode in Intermediate, I believe, just for MA1 since they got locked out of O25 with the team count cap. Corrine joined Border Patrol, with Dave being taken out by his back injury last year. Leigh Anne and Cindy joined forces with the Barberra’s to bring back Bomb Squad. And Julia moved from the Open division to join her family on the team formally known as Chaos, now known as, Not Fast or Furious.

I am very happy to see Bomb Squad back in action. A year of floating Barberra’s was nice for the rest of us teams in a pinch, but I missed seeing them as a regular force on the field. Leigh Anne and Cindy were good pick ups for them too. This team should develop well over the season. This weekend they had Zoe on her new pony, Dice filling in for Lindsey. I think Dice has a lot of potential and seemed to do well for his first competition. Unfortunately they had a pony pull up lame Sunday morning and rode HC for the final session since they brought in a 6th pony. They finished in 7th overall, having pulled enough points in the first two sessions.

Corrine was a really decent pick up for Border Patrol. I did not get to see much of her in action (or anyone in O25 for that matter) but what I did see looked good. I think she has that edge that will fit well with BP. The team had a bumpy start, I believe having issues with one pony in the first session. But after pulling that pony out before the second session, they started to cook. They finished second in the second and third sessions and second overall.

Time Flies was precision, simply clockwork. They continuously had quick clean races. They are a nice solid team, coming back as the same team they finished with last season. They have solid ponies and solid players. They earn their wins.

I saw a new pony on Full Tilt but I did not get to see it in action on the field, only Gen doing some handoffs with it successfully in warm up. Really the only action I saw of this team was Billy smacking into Carol Ann during a hand off. I saw, and heard that. Ouch. It was like watching a train wreck in slow motion. I could see it coming from strides out but there was nothing I could do to stop it. Carol Ann, ever stoic, rode on like a champ of course. Full Tilt, hosting the same riders as the past few years, and the same ponies except for what seems to be their usual new spotted pony, finished in the middle of the pack in fourth.

Joy with Order of the Phoenix, was also on a new pony and they seemed to be getting along well. I did not get to see too much of them but she seemed very pleased with the pony. I did see it do almost a downward dog action in anticipation. Annie was also on a new pony, who was seen maybe two years ago at a pairs, Sunshine, which was not going out. How frustrating. And Sara’s pony seemed to be in over his head. I think those two ponies probably need to go to Novice for a bit. I did not get to see Kim or Carly go at all and only noticed the others because the new pony issues caught my eye. This team had enough pony troubles to finish at the bottom of the division, even with Bomb Squad not receiving any points on Sunday.

I did not see a lick of Not Fast or Furious play. They were always several lanes away from us, and I assume, had nothing dramatic to catch the eye going on. I hardly saw any of Quicksilver either. I did manage to catch a few glimpses of our teammate Kris (on hiatus from GR this year) riding with them. I saw her get a vault on Marvin and looking amazing doing it. That’s about all I managed to see of these two 5th and 6th place teams.

skipping back to Venus Envy, I am so happy to see Katie on a team this year and not floating. I think Venus Envy will be a good place for her to dig in her heels. I am sure they will be back to O25 in the next competition. Which is why I am grouping them here.

As for new ponies, my favorite pick goes right to Katie and her little spotted pony Geronimo. I saw some photos and video of him from over the winter and he looked like he had promise. And in person, he really showed his stuff. Clearly still new to the sport, this is by far the biggest field he has been subject to, but he held his own and did it well. Katie looked confident and solid on him and I can’t wait to see how this pair develops.

The Intermediate Division had 7 teams. I was lucky to be able to referee the intermediate division so I got a lot of up front spectating action there although I could not spend too much time focused on any one rider or team.

Voltage, the team in orange that mastered the Novice division last year moved into intermediate and seems well suited to the move. They finished in the middle of the pack, with a well deserved fourth place. The newer teams, Hit N Run, and Ponymonium both held their own. A few eliminations hit both teams but I am sure they learned from their mistakes. Promising players that should improve as the season goes.

Switchblade and Sergio led the division, closely followed by the O25 team, Venus Envy. Both teams looked good. Switchblade appears to be somewhat of a reincarnation of the 2017 Intermediate team Bloomability. I believe this is a temporary team, derived from Pony Club that is heading to Prince Philip Cup so they wanted a little team practice in advance. No mater the situation the riders seem to have matured a little over the winter and were really holding up a solid game. They rode well, played smart and clearly have been training. That’s one thing that MA1 shows. Who has been working hard all winter, and who has not.

I was happy to see former Novice player, Jessie on her own pony, Chubs this year. She was new to games last year and borrowed ponies as she got the knack for games. This move went well, both her moving to intermediate and moving to her own pony. Another new match up I noticed, and I believe was a late change in plans, Althea on the pony Althena. Although I can’t handle the paired up names, I really liked this pair together on the field. I actually think Althea looked more confident and comfortable on Althena than I have seen her on most ponies. I am not sure if she is looking to purchase or lease or not, but if this pony is available she would be silly not to snatch her up as her own.

Novice, starting out its second year as an active division, had five teams for MA1. This division is where ponies and riders get their start. It hosts all ages and all riding backgrounds.

I already mentioned the usual O25 team in purple, Full Cry joined Novice to gain some experience for new riders and mounts.

There was also the fun adult team, Wait! What? Sporting royal and yellow. Some of these riders have also been in O25 but have stepped back to gain a stronger riding and games foundation for theirselves and their ponies. I saw some nice work out there from this team. Greg looks like he has come a ways with his pony, as has Susan. John was riding my trusty Simon and he was flying. No, really, they were really cooking it out there! For all three sessions! Go John!

Collision Course had some new younger players looking amazing, up from Kentucky, as well as some adults. Everyone’s favorite player that always has a smile on his face was out there on his trusty Velvet, who had to pull out due to Velvet being a bit under the weather. Laura looked much improved since the fall when she made her debut in pairs in November. And my old teammate from probably a good dozen or more ago back, Lindsay made a come back on a borrowed pony from the lovely Ashtyn, Tug, and held her own like a champ.

Another team of mostly new players, Main Event, took second. Two of the riders, high school aged girls from PA, who were on some well know solid games ponies. One on the legendary tiny little bay, Belle. And the other on Whinny, formally Malibu. They joined another new high school aged rider, Natalie from Virginia on her lovely pony, who was new to games, Prince William. These three did fantastic and were teamed up with a Jenny on her 15 something hand massive horse Bitey. Jenny learned about games two weeks earlier at the Virginia Horse Festival and I think it is safe to say she has “caught the bug”. I am so excited about her enthusiasm. Christopher, who has a year or two of games experience under his belt, and I suspect is around high school aged, joined this team as well. I noticed him pull off a one of his near-falls-but-managed-to-not-fall moves. This whole team has some real promise, I will be watching all of these riders for sure.

Finally we have the creek runners who have clearly been putting in some work preparing for this event. I happen to know that not all of them have been to a games competition before, nor are their ponies experienced, nor do they know all of the rules and races down pat. But they clearly had an interest to learn. They asked a lot of very intelligent questions while working ring crew during intermediate, and really used that ring side time to gain as much knowledge and experience as possible. While riding they also played smart, and although they made mistakes, they seemed to work out when to take it slow and steady and play it safe which is what won them the division. This team has a lot of promise and a real ambition to learn. I am going to be watching this team. I want to see how they progress this season.

During Novice we also introduced Lead Line. We had one pair, the Xs. Val and Jon’s, Paxton and Dexter who played about half the races in each session on half the field length and had a blast.

Sunday they were joined by Lindsay’s boys, who played with them. Blain is off LL but being new to games agreed to play along with his brother and the Xs and give it a try on a borrowed pony. That boy has some skill. He needs to come back and play in Novice and do some damage out there!

All the LL kids were adorable. There were a few bumps to work out on the process but I think LL will prosper and allow some of our riders to come try it out and get an intro to games.

The Open Division was another full division of 8 teams. I did get to sit back and watch some of this division while I took some photos with Matt’s camera. I also love to over analyze Open so here it goes!

Best new gear – Ca$h. I am so attracted to their gear. Eye catching, simple and somehow flashy all at the same time. I love the little touches like the $ used in place of the S for the team name and riders names. The details on the saddle pad and the helmet covers. The Open division is really the only one that saw new team gear this year. Renegades was also looking good in new team jerseys that completely caught my eye. Anotha One sported some simple cool looking white shirts with their logo too. Nothing dramatic. Just simple and clean.

Open did have some new teams, the aforementioned Ca$h, which is essentially the former team, Crash, minus Julia who moved to O25. This team picked up Elise, who really seems to have come into her own on that Smokey pony of hers. Sophie has really hit her prime. And Keira, she is one of those “sleeper” riders. Quiet and easy to miss, but just killer. This team looked promising and finished right in the middle of the pack. This could be a really good season for them.

Former Intermediate team, Trouble made the jump to Open this year, picking up Cora, who was also making the jump from Intermediate and team Full Throttle and they picked up solid Open player Adrianne. Although Trouble struggled a little they did a good job. They have the speed and they have the skills they just need to finalize when to use them and when to be a bit reserved. They had a decent showing for stepping into the field with the big boys and hopefully they can now have a sigh of relief and come out more settled next round. Breath. Think. Play smart. Then breath again.

Some of my favorite up and comers formed up to make Atomic. This team slipped in a few decent runs, quietly and smoothly. They have a little tidying up to do, and I know this team has it in them to sneak on up. I think some of them tend to be under rated. I hope they prove me right and show the skills I know they all have.

Buckwild is another team I like to watch. Those girls can really pull it off sometimes. They are good little riders and they have some nice little self made ponies. They lost teammate Steph this year and picked up Abby. Jaycee is on her new pony, which she looks amazing with. What a good match. This kid has come so far in her riding and is the calm to the rest of Buckwild’s storm. This weekend the team didn’t seem to be ON. Not OFF, but they just didn’t seem to have their groove quite right. I am sure this won’t last though and they will be tagging the heels more closely of the older riders at the next competition.

This leaves the top three of the competition, and also the top three of the past season or two; Punk Rock Ponies, Anotha One, and Renegades.

PRP has been around for something over a decade now, and mostly unchanged from the past few years. Same riders and same ponies. You know that saying, ‘what ain’t broke-‘. Well yeah. These girls, excuse me, ladies, just crush it. We are talking full adult, working, ones married, we have a lawyer, a nurse, dental school, and shoot, I am not even sure. My point, these are not just some kids in their prime. Well, with one exception. The dude. Aidan. He is the young one on the team and he works to hold his own on this highly skilled team. This kid, has been hard working, mature and dedicated since he was 11 years old and playing in intermediate. “Kid” is really the least appropriate name anyone has ever called Aidan. PRP won each session and finished with 220 points. 30 in the lead over second place. Ouch.

Now, Anotha One is a no joke team as well and they also sport a young athletic adult roster, with medical degrees and working professionals. And I believe an MMA fighter. Their young buck, Coltin is a fire fighter and EMT attending college, and he is one heck of a starter on his lanky pony Po. Anotha One has been battling pony issues the past few years, working hard to have a solid string of made sound ponies. Jen was on a new mount this weekend, Mouse, and they looked amazing. I was very impressed. Jake was on a borrowed pony from PRPs, even in competition these teams are friends. He really rides this pony, Bibbs well. The team looked good but a little out of practice, and at that level, a mistake and you’re done. I happen to know that they had a tough winter and I suspect they were unable to get in much riding or practice because of the weather. I am sure now that the season is turning they will be hitting the next competition hard.

Renegades is also a more northern team that had some winter weather conditions to contend with as well. They also sport adult careers and professional lives. Another lawyer is riding on this team as well as a teacher, this team keeps a larger roster, accommodating busy lives outside of horses. Renegades saw a few rider changes this year. They picked up Rachel and Krista. Krista in particular has really clicked with her pony after the past season and was ready to step up her game. I think this was a really good move for the team. Steph, who was formally with Buckwild, was filling in for Alicia at this competition while Alicia is away at vet school. Steph was on Alicia’s pony Sky and they looked awesome. Way to go Steph! Kimi, the young one on this team, is a team regular and rides her pony Willow. This pony is so fast. So so fast. Her stride just eats up the field. Kimi is a quiet and accurate player, do not under estimate her. Renegades had a solid game but some mistakes hurt them, but they still finished a solid and tidy third.

I have been sitting on this for a week waiting for some photos to include but that’s not really happening. So I am going to move forward and publish it with what we have here. Before it’s such old news it’s just blah.

And now the too long wait till MA2.

Well, and the second MA1 post, which will probably be boring to anyone not part of team Gone Rogue since it will just be about myself, my pony, and my team.

Ta ta for now.

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  1. 2018 Mid-Atlantic #1 – Team Gone Rogue | Blue Ridge Pony

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