Mid-Atlantic #3 2018

June 13, 2018

I can’t believe it’s June and we have only had TWO games competitions this year. TWO! This past weekend was Mid-Atlantic #3 and MGAAers descended on Grange Equestrian Center in a frenzy hurting for some Mounted games action.

We were extremely lucky and it remained dry Friday and Saturday, almost too dry. The footing was a bit like concrete with swirling dust clouds by the end of session 2. Certainly not what we were expecting after the non stop rain of the past month.

Saturday night after we were well asleep the rain came back in force, and hounded down. It stopped shortly after the day got started. Not before we were all soaked, but early enough that we were not out in it all day. But the damage was done to the ring. It was soup. Concrete soup mix. The ring there just does not drain. And they added kick boards around the edges a few years ago which just sealed it in even tighter, which leaves a good few inches of water sitting on top of the still rock hard footing. It’s gross. And it layers on and sticks to everything like plaster.

But let’s back up. Both the Open and O25 divisions had over 8 teams (the max amount of lanes that can be run in one heat) entered, 10 for Open and 9 for O25, meaning we had heats to run for those two divisions.

Novice – There were four were four Novice teams and I saw some improvement since MA1 in the ones that were at both competitions. Wait? What? Finished 4th and looked like they had upped their game. I know Greg has been working hard with Tucker, and it’s showing. This is an adult team, with some newer ponies and some newer riders, all sporting fantastic attitudes. I am a bit partial to this team. Not only do I think that all of the riders are lovely, but my favorite blonde is rockin it out there with John. Simon.

Photo: Matt Brown

Steed Demond’s was out for their inaugural competition and they did fantastic. It was wild seeing the youngest Winkler boy riding onto the playing field for the first time. His oldest brother was cheering him on from the sidelines.

Collision Course is a team that’s been rebuilding with new players over the past two or three seasons, a regular team name on the field but with a rotating roster. Peter, the team anchor was riding Texas, Katie’s Curley from Kentucky, and he looked good on her. Now Pete is always one to smile and have a good time, but he looked just as confident on Texas as he did on his own Velvet, which I think is saying a lot. Laura also held her own on Mattie, who I believe is Texas’s grown foal. Laura looked like she was having fun and riding well on Mattie. Val, my own teammate, was also riding on Collision Course on her friend’s Peruvian Paso. The mare is very new to games but did extremely well. But what was so interesting about her for all of us games players was the way she moved, which is apparently a Peruvian Paso thing. Her hooves flip out. At one point she was riding straight towards me and I said out loud “is she going to flip the cones over?” Her owner was standing right near me and we struck up a conversation.

Well she can talk just about as much as I can and I learned quite a bit. Extremely interesting. And her and her husband are just lovely! I hope she gets on her pony and joins us on the games field soon!

Moving on, Mane Attraction. This team was brand new at MA1 and they had a rough start with session 1 here at MA3. I believe Natalie’s pony Prince William was showing off his acrobatic skills and there were a few sloppy beginner mistakes throughout the team, as is to be expected. But they got it together, PW got his feet on the ground, and they pulled off the win. It really excites me to see this much progress and growth in a new team. The adult rider, Jenny, is on a huge horse, huge for games anyway, and she really has the mind for games. The strategy, thinking, “be clean, be sure.” You can see her thinking it out and making connections and strategy. I also love seeing Winny the Pooh (formally Malibu) being so loved and loving her riding back so much. What a wonderful pair. These two look so happy together and do quite well! Natalie and PW are also amazing for being only their second time out. I happen to know she boards with a rather skilled O25 player so she is getting some excellent practice in I am sure, and it shows. Nice work team.

Intermediate – With 6 teams Intermediate managed to run one heat with cumulative sessions. I honestly did not get to watch really any of this division since it was between my riding and working sessions.

Open – This division had 10 teams so it was two heats, and an A and B final. I worked line A for one heat in sessions 1 and 2 and for the A final, which ran 7 teams. Working A gives you a nice uninterrupted place to spectate from but you’re also focused on the A line specifically and you can’t really see all of the action consistently, unless it’s on or near the A line.

This division continues to get better and better and it was really fun having 10 teams out there making it two heats.

Inception looked like they had a groove going this weekend. I saw some smiles from these riders and they looked like they were enjoying their ride. It was awesome to see our Canadian friends back on the field in the open division on Not Fast Just Furious. Collateral Damage seems to be the catch all team, this weekend it had Laura and Emma, who I think we have all been missing on the field and were happy to see back.

The A final group was fantastic to watch. Trouble and Atomic, the two teams new to the Open division are still getting their footing but looked stronger than at MA1. Trouble seems to have relaxed a bit more, and I think will continue to do so as the season moves along. Atomic, quite the opposite, is a very laid back team and maybe needs a bit more Pep but was looking good as well.

Buckwild was only half their normal team with two guest riders. They had some bumps but held their own. Anotha One was an all guy team missing Jen for the weekend, they looked good. Renegades was out with Alicia and Tyler and it was great to see them both on the field. I really don’t have much to say about any of these teams, nothing jumped out at me in particular.

The big Open movement I noted for the weekend was team Ca$h. This team hit the field hard. They looked good, Really good. They were fast and they were clean. I could simply reiterate what I stated about them after MA1, but with more emphasis. This team has a groove. They really seem to enjoy riding together and really seem to have a stride together. Sophie has really hit her prime. Not to come off too typical but the girl has time to focus on her riding (on weekends. During the week she lives in New York City, working and fulfilling a portion of her medical schooling). There was a touch of sarcasm in that statement about “having time” but really, she makes time for her games training and puts it as a priority. And Sophie is into games. Like really into it. She has her new up and coming pony and her current games master. And she is all about it. And it shows. I believe I went on in my MA1 post about Elise also coming into her own with that beast she rides, Smokey, but I really mean that. The girl has got stepped into it this year. There were points where last year she probably would have circled her pony for a vault, but not now, she goes for it and she hits it. It was also exciting to see Kiera on a new pony! She has been on the same pony for quite some years now and she is a quiet elegant rider. She’s easy to miss out there. She’s up and back, done. Seeing her on s new pony, still doing the same, clean quiet up and back, done, just emphasizes, she’s good. I have always thought of her as a smooth clean under estimated player but she earned a lot of respect from me last summer with her riding. I am sure some other people wondered this weekend “Who was that? Oh wait, was that Kiera? On a gray?” Now Shaelyn, she’s just fantastic on that Hope pony of hers. She’s been holding her own on that pony, solid for a while. Finally there is Mitchell and her rocket pony Punk. I got to say, I think this pair looked better than I have seen them before this weekend. There is no doubt he has all the speed anyone would want, and Mitchell keeps him fit and looking good. But on top of that they just seemed to really hit their groove this weekend. I saw them bring it home in quite a few races, pulling ahead or holding the lead, racking up points for Ca$h. Mitch has put in a lot of work with this pony, and he is a lot of pony, and it looks like it’s clicking. Way to go Mitch.

Now Punk Rock Ponies. Sigh, this team. They are good. They are damn good. I am going to sum it up; this team wins all the time because they are that damn good. Well played. Well played.

Scores going into the Open and O25 finals


We had heats in our division so I actually got to see some action of my fellow division players! It was a real treat too!

First I want to say how much I like Zoe’s new pony Dice. He is coming along so nice. That girl can pick a pony. I also really like Joy’s new pony. I believe I mentioned these two in my MA1 post but they bare mentioning again.

Next, Quicksilver was kicking some butt out there. Really, this team was riding a clean game.

We, my team, Gone Rogue, rode as a four man team at this one and it was nice to not have to decide who was sitting out of a race. We eventually had a pretty repetitive order worked out Matt, Val, Jon, Krista that seemed to work out well for most races. We switched it up for a few races to accommodate various skills but for most races we went on with it. Simple.

Poe was ROLLING on Saturday, in the morning he was a little hot even. For Poe that means he gave me a little less time to complete a skill before he was ready to go. I this this photo series from litter is the perfect example of his mind at the time. It was taken by Genevieve Arens who has given me permission to use her work here.

I cropped in for his expressions in the first two images.

Turning to the litter – look at that eye.

Waiting for my pick. (I do a stop and pick)

And now we go

That said, he still waited for my pick. He still had his usual excellent breaks. He was still his rock star amazing self. If anything he was even more of a rock star. He was in “sport mode”. It just took me by surprise.

I will say I totally blew up quoits. I won’t rehash it but briefly. It sucked. I got in my head and it just sucked.

I have a few other things I need to focus on, work on timing change overs and pushing straight aways more, and less coasting. But I am happy with my ride. I had a great time and really enjoyed playing with my team and on my Poe pony.

My teammates are also rockstars living in “sport mode”. Dang I love riding with them. Val is just a beast. What can I say? She’s just incredible and that pony, dang. Her and Bf were a bit off in session 2 but they were nothing short of amazing for the rest of it. Jon seriously doesn’t seem like he took a few years off at all. And I love how he thinks. He is a player you know, KNOWS the rules and knows how to *think* games and efficiency. He comes up with good orders and reasons things are not working that no one else has come up with. Total team asset. And let’s not forget Matt. Chill and easy, Matt is athletic and gets the job done. He is also an excellent starter. And being in the lead position tends to push him up the field and back with more hast.

Good team. Good time. Good fun.

Sadly since MA3, Matt found out his collar bone, which he broke last summer, rebroke, unknown to him. Which means he needs to have the metal plate removed and the bone reset and surgery, blah blah, so he is out for the rest of the season.


I am really sad for him. It’s crushing. We have only had two competitions this year. Two! We still have five team competitions and three pairs competitions left for the year. What a let down for Matt, especially after missing half the season last year. And it’s also a let down for the team. It’s not the same without him.

We shall see what the rest of the season has to hold.

After the riding Sunday

Sock dunk photo – Genevieve Arens

Carton dunk photo – Genevieve Arens

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