25 Rider Practice

April 8, 2019

Saturday was calling for gorgeous weather and the season starts next weekend so it was just right for a good practice session.

Val did the planning and made it an open invite. On Thursday it became clear that the numbers were high enough that it would be best to rent the ring so we could have it all to ourselves for the duration and not have to work around Or move any jumps or the dressage ring they often have set up at one of the ring. And we wouldn’t have to share the ring with any non games riders.

We were headed to the county facility, Woodstock Equestrian in Beallsville, Maryland and they were kind enough to process Val’s reservation through last minute. As mentioned in previous posts, Woodstock has a massive ring, decent parking, water, and there is cross country schooling and over 600 acres of trails. Anyone wanting to ride at the facility would still have access to all of that, as well as the ring before we started and after we were done. In fact non games people rode horses into the ring as we were pulling out.

We ended up with 25 riders from Open, Novice, Intermediate and O25. Some people started later than others and some finished earlier than others so we only had all 25 in the ring for an hour or so. But with 6 lanes set up and running everyone had a game to play and people to play it with.

Although we have been practicing all winter, we have only had one practice with the whole team mounted. Val, Carly, and I made nearly every Sunday practice, and the two of them managed quite a few other sessions as well. Jon made quite a few, bit Matt was not cleared to ride until about a month ago so he attended a few practices on foot and helped with equipment. We were lucky on Saturday and our whole team was able to take part mounted.

I brought Simon along for a newer player to ride. He seemed to have a really good time and Simon always enjoys working with newer riders. Possum was a bit wound up and screamy in the beginning. During and between games he would look for Simon but he came back to focus when I asked and still played his game. I am not sure how much of it was having Simon there and how much of it was being in a ring full of other ponies that had him charged up. He still pawed and did not always stand quietly but he quieted down after about 20-30 minutes. This all made it an exceptionally good practice for Possum and I on a distraction level.

We rode for about three hours. He started to slow down after about two hours and towards the end he was done done. Like get off now. The footing there is a bit deep and it was a lot of work to walk across on my own two feet so I know he was working.

Carly and Remy looked good. That pony cracks me up. He is bubbling with personality. Carly mentioned he was in isolation at home for causing trouble with the other ponies and they needed to prevent anyone from getting hurt due to his shenanigans.

Matt and Hero looked good as well. You wouldn’t know Matt has been out for nearly a year and just back on for a month.

Jon and Jeeter also looked good. Jon’s leans looked like they were particularly on point. And of course his mounts are just amazing.

Val and Babyface were lama-rocketing around like champs. That pony has really come along and Val looks she is still in her prime. Of course some of that is natural and some of it is experience/muscle memory, but Val also practices and rides everyday. She works for it and it’s showing.

So yeah, basically the whole team looked good. I might be a bit bias but again, the work being put in is shining through.

So that’s it, the last group practice for myself and Mr. P. before MA1. It’s crunch time! Packing and hacking all week!

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