A Nostalgic Games Practice / August 31, 2019

September 2, 2019

Sunday was back to Woodstock Equestrian in Darnestown, MD for a games practice. This time we were joined by the Nostalgia games team. This team is made up of some older games players that have been away from the sport, and for some, away from horses, for a over a decade (15 years even!). They have joined forces to make a come back at the Mid-Atlantic #5 competition being held in two weeks in Leesburg, VA. The riders have been taking part in practices for the past few months, honing their skills and getting their riding muscles back while learning some of the new races and getting acquainted with the new equipment.

We had a nice group of eleven for this practice and managed to run roughly two to three games at a time rotating through a nice list of games in two hours.

For my own ride I really focused on riding and not getting caught up chatting too much. This is a weakness for me since games practices tend to also be my social time and I am very social. Possum had three weeks off while I was away, he did the one day Pairs right when I got back and a few hacks out at home through the week but he has lost some of his stamina. We went hard for the first hour, moving from lane to lane quickly and he was starting to get tired. I slowed the pace and gave him some rest breaks between races after that but by the two hour mark he was done and was sure to let me know.

I did take note that he did a good job going straight for the first portion of practice but as he started to get tired he was less straight and tended to fall in on myself, and at times felt disconnected from front to back. I feel like this is progress since he used to not be straight the whole time.

This is also the first games practice where I was truly focused on technique with him and not just basic games patterns, staying straight and close but not too close to equipment. Progress! It was a big step up milestone in his training. I worked on harder S turns and cut ins and moving out more for placements and picks since I was gaining a good games check vs just a whoa or an unpredictable amount of check. I also worked on my check and whoa-stand timing and felt I was much closer to where I want to be. I am particularly happy with our association and four flag.

I also put a little work into three mug and did balloon, which he is still shying from on his first real pass. He is fine with balloon at home, and away from home he is fine walking past it and the noise, but he still says on his first moving pass. There is progress with it but it’s still a project. I assume one day I’ll go to do balloon in a practice with him and he won’t shy and it will be a surprise to me. “He got it!”

It was a really fun practice and well worth the drive and effort. I met up with my parents for dinner before driving back home and had a lovely time with them. This made the trip a bit more worth while since a Woodstock practice tends to be a full day event for me with a good solid 5 hours of driving round trip.

Two weeks until MA5! Bring it!

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