Sizzlin Spring Pairs Fun Day – March 30, 2019

April 1, 2019

Saturday Stacey hosted an unscored Pairs fun day at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds in Ranson, WV. It was just for fun and very laid back which was great for a solid competition setting practice. I was very much looking forward to one more competition style practice with my new pony Possum before the season opener in two weeks and I was very excited to ride with my usual Gone Rogue teammate Jon.

I woke up Saturday morning and when I pulled Possum out of the field I noticed he had a bite mark on his forehead and then I noticed a bigger one on his back. The skin was peeled up and it was right in the middle of the saddle area. I felt around it and he ducked uncomfortably away and there was some heat. From there it took me about fifteen minutes to decided a course of action. I put Possum in the trailer, I took Possum out. I grabbed Simon and put him in the trailer, then I decided to unload all the games equipment and put Possum in the trailer too. With both ponies in the trailer, I stood next to it hemming. So I checked my messages. Luckily Val had responded to my earlier message telling her what I found followed by “should I bring Simon or Possum or both?” And she suggested I just bring Simon. Thank you! I needed that. So I took Possum back out of the trailer and put him back out in the field and headed out with just Simon.

I love Simon but I prefer to not compete in games on him. He has absolutely no competitive drive whatsoever. He enjoys playing games slowly, generally with someone still getting their games skills down or learning to ride. He thrives in that situation. But when asked to be competitive he is a pain.

This Saturday was no exception. He started off like a wild man, giving little rears and leaps at the whistle, looking fierce, then loping off slowly shaking his head. He had a lot of up down movement and I felt like a shook up soda bottle. I spent a lot of time kicking, I seemed to flap my arm a lot (not sure how I think that gives him momentum) and yelling at him to go. Sometimes he went slowly. Sometimes he went even slower. Sometimes he didn’t want to break out of the trot, and a few times he moved out a little.

All in all Simon is exhausting to ride.

video of Jon and I:

For myself I did ok. Not my best but not bad either. Some of it was purely Simon. In ball and cone I put the ball down, then he stepped into the cone, I managed to save the ball back off of the cone but then he took the cone out. In bending he smashed into a pole. Just completely ignoring me. But I was the one who popped three balloons instead of two (which was a race he was actually moving out – Simon’s moving out – for). And in founders race I picked up the wrong letter (we were spelling ICK and stupidly I didn’t preplan what I was getting). It was a complete dyslexic moment for me. I was sure I needed the I but heard Linda in the lane next to me yelling “wait which letter” and I had to really think it through before I realized I needed to switch to the C.

Jon was awesome to ride with as he always is. He is so laid back and at the same time encouraging. For races like hula, I knew he wouldn’t let go of Simon until I was on, which worked well and was a race we did super well in. He also has this crazy stirrup up. I am amazed every stinking time he does it. He is also insightful. When I again told him how amazing his stirrup up is he said that it’s the hesitation that puts you in jeopardy. So when you go to get on, have a second of “ah my pony is moving” that second is what looses your timing. Such a good point. We did not miss any hand offs and had a good time riding together.

I wish I had been on Possum but it was still a really fun day.

Spring – Let’s get fit!

March 30, 2019

This is the first winter that Simon has not been kept in shape. With such poor riding conditions preventing me from riding at home because it was either too wet or it was actively raining, and a new pony to get trained up, Simon sat out.

This week I managed to hit up some trails for a quick two hour ride after work. I went up to the VEPCO 240 fire road off Little Dry River Rd and parked at Kritchie Mountain trail and road back that way. I was about 10 minutes in when I heard a car horn from the direction I parked. I kept going but it wouldn’t leave my mind so I turned around and went back. Nothing was out of the ordinary and my mind eased.

I decided to head along the fire road instead, popping out into the electric tower trails and just enjoying the views and nice weather.

This was Daisy’s first ride out in a while as well. I kept it short and slower for her as much as I did for Simon and myself. We are all out of condition.

It was a nice ride.

Gone Rogue Team Practice

March 26, 2019

We had a team practice this past Sunday. All five of us.

I’m just going to say, bring on the season!

Saddle Racks Installed!

March 23, 2019

My trailer tack room does not have a saddle rack built into it. In place of it I have had a folding saddle rack in it with three saddles piled on top of each other. The top one or two usually slide off when I drive, or on occasion all three. They tend to get bunched awkwardly or a flap is folded up and goes unnoticed. There is always a girth or non slip pad falling and going missing in the mess and requiring me to strip out the whole pile and everything around it to find said missing item. And of course I always need the saddle at the bottom of the stack. Murphy’s Law.

I’ve had this trailer for quite a few years and I practically live out of it on the weekends from April till November each year, and quite a bit through the off season too. That stupid folding stand takes up a chunk of space and always seemed to be in the way.

Why I never had the brilliant idea to put actual saddle racks into it until this winter is beyond me. But once the genius (and oh so obvious) idea struck, it was game on.

It took a while to enlist the husband and his handyman skills but today seemed to be the day he was ready to dive in.

I cleaned out the tack room so he would have room to work (I should have taken a before photo!). Mean while he stained a board and then attached the three racks to it.

Next he drilled holes into my trailer (ahhh!) and the board. I was pleasantly surprised he took which end of the bolts would be on the horse side into account. Then I was on one side and he was on the other and together we tightened the bolts and the rack into place.

And Done! I put the saddles up and the the other necessities back in. It’s shocking how much more space this created and that’s going to come in very handy when I pack it out for the season in two weeks!

Thank you Rich!

Popsicle Pairs 3 – 2019

March 19, 2019

This weekend was the third and final Popsicle Pairs for the year.  The first one was Possums first time out and as I said at the time, he was like driving a car around with the alarm going off, loud and anxious.  I was not able to make the second PP but Jenny was amazing enough to host Possum for the week and get him there and teammate Jon was awesome and rode him.  I was told he was much improved.

Myself and Matt chatting between races.  (Photo: Genevieve Arens)

The first two were held in the covered arena at PG Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, MD.  The third was at the large outdoor arena at Woodstock Equestrian Center in Darnestown, MD.  This venue would be amazing if it put in stalls and more parking.  It is something like 600 acres of trails with a cross country schooling area, and the large arena has jumps and a dressage ring that can be set up.  This is the same location that Val hosted my 40th Birthday Games Competition at.

Leigh Anne had her first go at being a ref and did a great job.  She also, rode, ring crewed and scored!

The day started off quiet chilly, but it was very sunny and when the wind died down it was sort of warm during the apex of the day.  Val was organizing, and she broke us down into four heats.  Novice/Green pony and three heats of “Mixed” which was a combination of Intermediate, Open and O25 riders.  I paired up with Fred and we were in Mix 3 for the day.

Hug a Mug – Possum and I rolling along. (Photo: Genevieve Arens)

Possum was a bit anxious when we started out, but after the first few races he settled down.  Other than the first PP, this was the first time I have been in a location with enough space to let him really run with some speed and he really enjoyed it.  He kept checking in during the sprints in session one, “you sure I can keep running?”  He didn’t so much bow away from equipment like he has been doing with some stuff at practice as he would sort of scoot a little at the last moment.  Nothing bad and I didn’t miss anything, but just enough of a scoot that my bottle would end up on the edge of the barrel and not the center, or when I placed the toolbox down he scooted just a smidge and I drug it sideways just a bit.  All in all a big improvement.

Val organized, rode and ring crewed, all with a big ol smile on her face. 

For session two he entered the ring quietly, and he seemed to have one of those clicks where he put some of it together.  Run, stop, turn, run, check, turn, run, stop, etc.  He really seemed to genuinely enjoy playing, and was very happy to work.  This pony has such a good attitude.  He did not scoot or bow at anything in the second session except the dreaded balloons.  I did pop them but it involved circling the board and reaching very far while he faced them head on.  except for balloon, I am so proud of Possum!

Elise on Possum in Hug a Mug looking way more like a badass than I did in the same race on the same pony.  (Photo: Genevieve Arena)

After I hopped off from my second session, Elise hopped on and rode him in the final session of the day.  I figured an additional session would be good for him and it would also be good for me to see someone else riding him.  And it was! Elise did a fantastic job with him and made him look amazing.  she pushed him through his turns and he was quick and responsive.  It was certainly a boost for me to see what she could do with him.

Caroline attempting to pop Sadie’s temporary butt implant (a balloon).

As for the rest of Gone Rogue, Val and Jon were in mix 1 and looked amazing.  They won both of their heats against some top Open players.  Babyface has really come into his own.  He was lama-rocketing around with precision and skill like the truly made games pony he is quickly becoming.  Val whipped her skills out at top speed, and together they looked amazing.  Jon was also amazing.  That guy has some skill that just won’t quiet.  I think some of it is from starting games at such a young age, he just has the muscle memory to be amazing, because he always has been amazing.  Jeeter was also right up there running like a pro. These two and their ponies did the team proud.

Val rocking through Hug a Mug (Photo: Genevieve Arens)

Matt rode in the same Mix as Fred and I.  Matt has only been back in the saddle for about two weeks after his very long injury recovery.  I did not get to see much of his ride, but what I did see looked great.  He wasn’t pushing too much and was getting himself and his pony back in stride.  Him and Hero make a really nice pair.

Sadie showing off her temporary butt implant (a balloon down the pants).

Carly was in the second mix with Leigh Anne and they looked like they were having a great time.  Remy is another pony that is really coming into his game and stepping up this year.  Carly had done a fantastic job bringing him along and making him what he is.  And Carly too.  For coming to games so recently, the pair of them have really improved quickly.  Carly did have a small silly tumble at the end which I did not see but I hear it is on video.  She was unhurt and laughed it off.

Caroline preparing for a sock dunk (Photo: Genevieve Arens)

In sum it was an awesome day.

Jenny worked her butt off doing ring crew when she wasn’t riding.

Carly rolling through Hug a Mug (Photo: Genevieve Arens)

Sadie and Caroline being too silly.  They entertained me all day long. 

Possum and I in either two flag or 3 pot flag.  (Photo: Genevieve Arens)

Jenny on her new pony Hacksaw.  (Photo: Genevieve Arens)

Teammate for the weekend, Fred (Photo: Genevieve Arens)

Sadie killing it in 3 pot. (Photo: Genevieve Arens)

I love when photos are synced up like this.  Aidan and Nike and Val and Babyface in Balloon.  (Photo: Genevieve Arens)

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