2019 Horse World Expo

March 13, 2019

MGAA returned to the Horse World Expo which was held the first weekend in March at the Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg, PA. The Horse World Expo is a 4 day event that features two (heated) indoor arenas, stadium style, with a massive convention hall attached that is full of vendors and booths. There is also a round pen where instructional demos are done and two class rooms set up for informative lectures. The expo touts itself as the largest equine expo in the USA.

This year MGAA had a booth and performed a demo from 4-5pm on Saturday in the Equine Arena.

The demo was for a full house, standing room limited.  We brought in four teams well mixed of all levels, ages and experience players.  We had little Dexter on Leadline popping into different teams as a 5th rider to take part, always to a loudly cheering crowd.  He held the spotlight for sure.  We had some of our new Intermediate, just moved from Novice teenage players, we had some solid experienced Intermediate teens, a few of our Open level experienced players, and of course a strong representation from our O25 adult riders.

I feel strongly that showcasing all of the diversity in games is key in these demo settings.  People continuously said “I didn’t know adults could do this!” or “This is for all ages?”  One lady told us later in the booth that she thought everyone out there was a kid until the end when we rode around the edges saying hello and handing out pamphlets.  It also shows that not everyone is vaulting on and off with a high leg at a gallop.  That yep, your kid can be on leadline, some people just trot, everyone makes mistakes, mom and dad can do it too, gaited ponies, we had one of those out there as well.  I think having some slower riders also makes it easier for the crowd to see what is actually going on.  So while one rider trots through two flag, the crowd can digest the pattern, and then the Open rider in the next lane flies through at a gallop, the crowd can appreciate what they just did so quickly.  Having the teams mixed also made it possible for them to finish up about the same time as each other.  We didn’t keep score, but it kept things evenly matched and rolling nicely.

Team Gone Rogue was in full effect, with four of us riding, and Matt, just back to riding two days early after his long injury recovery standing in as referee.  Carly and I were on the Navy team together, me on new-to-games Possum, and Carly on Diane’s new-to-games pony Blinkin.  Both ponies were a little anxious, as were many of the experienced ponies, but they both did fantastic.  The crowd was loud, and it was a whole new atmosphere for them.  We both kept them slow and mostly trotted, with a few canters thrown in.

(I think I see Kelly and Linda – in pink – in the first row back there behind Lauren and Dusty.)

In retrospect I wish I had pushed Possum out a bit more, I think he could have handled it.  But at the time I just wanted him to have a positive experience where he took in all of the atmosphere and left feeling solid about that.  For myself I was very focused on him and not so much on my skills.  I didn’t make mistakes, but I was not as refined as usual.  For example, I pulled my flag weird, cleanly, but weird.  I had kept both hands on the reins and my seat well planted until the last moment, where I leaned less than usual and just whipped my hand out at the last moment to grab the flag.  This seemed to be my manner for the competition, butt in seat, legs engaged, two hands on the reins, until the last moment, minimal lean.  That of course is not going to be necessary as Possum adjusts more, and we do not normally ride to such a crowd.  Carly rode Blinkin like a pro.  She is a good rider and her ability to jump on and go really showed.  She knocked a pole in the first race but flipped it up mounted.  #skills

(Yep, I am sure that’s Kelly and Linda all the way to the right in the first row.)

Val and Jon were both on the yellow team and they were flying.  Babyface looked great and not at all nervous.  Val said he was really on and listened and performed like a pro.  I really did not get to see much of her playing but what I did see looked great.  I also didn’t get to see much of Jon, but I caught his 4th rider flag pull in flag fliers and it was perfect.  very Open rider solid at a solid gallop.  Jeeter finished soaked in sweat.  I expected both of them to ride like the long time professionals they are.

All of the riders did great.  Our Navy team, which also included Caroline, Fenya, and Maggie, was so fun to ride with.  Caroline had a last minute pony swap when her usual pony was not getting on the trailer that morning.  She grabbed her mom’s pony Nemo and rode him like a champ.  She started most of the races and did so strongly with a smile.  Fenya, as expected, was just lovely.  When asked where she wanted to go “where ever”, just completely easy to work with.  Her pony was also a bit wound up and she did a great job keeping her moving and playing her game like nothing was out of the ordinary.  This was my first experience with Maggie on the field and she is a lovely person and was really fun to play with.  She pulled anchor for us in most races and did so smoothly.  Her pony is a strong quick thing and she rode her excellently and made her look easy.  This was a lovely team and it was fun to get to know each rider better.

The booth was also super busy all weekend but especially after the demo with people getting information after seeing how fun it looked.  Jenny and I closed up the booth for the night on Saturday.  As always I really enjoyed talking about games, and could do so endlessly.  We were busy right up until close handing out pamphlets and answering questions.

Our VP Fred arranged everything.  It was a tall order and included setting up the booth, making sure it was manned, arranging riders, and filling in last minute gaps for sick or injured people.  He did an amazing job.  Our booth looked great and the demo was well received.  Definitely a score for mounted games!

A new friend in the crowd caught mug shuffle!

When we first went into the ring while it was being set, everyone rode around the edges letting their ponies see everything while smiling, making eye contact, and waving to the crowd.

Jon finishing up balloon race.

Dexter was the crow favorite and I believe he ate up every minute of it.

Leigh Anne with a solid stack spelling GAMES.

A friend in the crowd caught this.  Its Possum going slowly in flag fliers.  You can see how delicate I was with him.

Caroline and Maggie in tire race

Eliza probably had the hardest job of everyone.  She was injured the weekend before and was unable to ride, so she volunteered to lead Cheddar.  That pony loves his boy, but he is a little beast for adults, a true pony.

A friend in the crowd caught this litter race.

The booth in all its fineness, youtube games play list running and equipment on display.

Jenny and I

Possum getting ready to ride.

 

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