2018 UK Trip – Day 9

June 22, 2018

Today we left Wales and headed to England for our competition!

Some drive time entertainment compliments of Sadie.

I also believe this was the 6th time they watched Girls Trip. I have not actually seen the movie but I think I know it word for word. It’s better than Fast and the Furious which they seem to like to watch while I drive. It makes me think I am being honked at or something is beeping or blowing up or crashing. Not the best movie for while driving.

The team went by Robinson’s Tack – not the one we usually go to, and picked up a few things. I think we prefer the one we usually go to but this one was nice too.

Then onto New Forest for Southern Champs.

While the team drove in the camper with Krista, Emma rode in the lorry with Mel, Andrew and the girls. She got in some much needed nap time.

We arrived and met up with Sian, Juliette and Maureen who are lending us Wispa. Eliza hopped on her and it was a good match. She is a lovely pony and the Lockyer clan has always been so kind at lending us ponies. Eliza and her look like a good match, and should play well together. Sian had all Wispa’s gear marked and prepared.

Next Steph tried the lovely Max the Upshall’s are lending us. Another wonderful match. He is a neat pony and our most experienced. A solid addition to the team.

I stupidly did not take any photos of the test rides.

I have not been to a competition at these grounds before but the first year I brought a team over Juliette brought us to these grounds for the New Forest Show, which to this day is one of my most memorable over seas experiences.

We said hello to some friends, lots of warm welcomes, we found our way around, and got settled in. We were also excited for showers, although there was only one.

Stupid story here – the team took turns, and I (Krista) went last. I was standing and waiting for the shower (which was sort of like a porta John) while Emma was in it and I stood behind it for a minute, just milling around and must have missed her leaving. So I waited for 40 minutes before I finally asked if everything was all right and realized she was gone. Feeling like an idiot, I jumped in (the briefing was soon) and started the shower up, got wet, soaped up, hands lathering my hair up into a nice soapy cone and the power went out, and so did the water. Boooooo. Worst shower ever. And by the time I got back my dinner was way cold and gross. So long much anticipated fish pie 😐 which later returned as indigestion.

Krista and Emma hit up the briefing and then we all sat down for a team chat and to discuss session one races and orders.

Olivia stopped by to say hello. It was so nice to see her. She rides in heat three in the morning and we are excited to watch her go! She also offered to help us out with ring crew. She is so kind and we are extremely grateful.

Then we passed around team gear (which created some silliness – duh)

These two are always silly.

(Caroline’s favorite photo I am sure)

And now we are all tucked in for an early rise tomorrow. We ride at 8:50 in our first session.

We realize this is a short post for today, but tomorrow will be longer. Today was all about moving in and getting settled here in the New Forest. Tomorrow is game on!

*Wish us luck! We are excited!*

-Fun information for today- we saw some of the wild New Forest ponies on the drive in. They wear reflective collars to help drivers see them. We are told that they round them up and sell the foals off a few times a year. We hear they go for a pretty low price, depending on their color. Sian mentioned that Wispa is a New Forest Arab cross pony. I also remember Sian’s sister’s old pony, Hattie was a New Forest pony. Maureen mentioned that they turn out a few stallions for a few weeks a year, and that they put out quality stallions to help maintain the breed, which has improved over more recent years.

UK Trip 2018 – Day 8

June 21, 2018

Today was a fun day.

The team stayed with Emma at Mel’s and went on a hack down the bridle path. There is one right at the end of the driveway.

Mel got this shot of them before they headed out.

Mel’s view of the crew riding out.

Emma took this photo on the ride.

Emma got this photo on the ride too.

They had a great time.

It was also an amazing weather day. Warm and sunny.

Amy came and picked me up and we spent the day playing around. First we went off on the quad looking for a lost sheep and lamb for Garrin. Which we found! Garrin came down to help collect them – which was neat to watch. I tried to get his whistling for it on video but I wasn’t quick enough.

Amy and I cruised around looking for the missing sheep and lamb.

We loaded up mom and baby and took them back to the field they belonged in and fixed the hole in the fence. Then Garrin noticed another sheep with an issue so he wrangled it and we took it back to the barn. It was quite an adventure and I am grateful to have been able to take part in it.

Garrin and I with the sheep and her lamb

Garrin with the lamb

Quad riding with sheep

Video of our quad ride and Garrin stalking down and scooping up the lamb.

Then Amy and I went on a ride down to the river. I got to ride her trusty pony Goose and she rode her new pony Malibu.

It was a really fun time.

We also got in our yearly selfie together. 😊

Just before Amy ran me back to Mel’s, Carys arrived from school and ran up and gave me the biggest hug. She drove with us to Mels and gave the team the same flying hugs. I was kicking myself for not getting it on video (mainly for Wendi).

On to tack cleaning and pony bathing.

Team work there.

Tilly is bathed and ready!

Loading hay nets and getting the lorry ready to go.

Some of the sleeping youngsters napping behind the stables.

Gunnar watching the haylage going into the nets.

And lots of time playing with dogs.

And then we had dinner compliments of Mel and Andrew who decided our oven takes way too long so made us food!

Gunnar does dishes.

He is the cutest

Building castles.

Trampoline with a pup

After dinner the team gave Grace and Lilli a little coaching session.

Video of practice:

Gunnar’s girth is a 16″ dressage girth.

and now it’s movie time.

interesting stuff for today – I learned some about Welsh sheep, which is the breed Garrin has. The sheep sometimes remove some of their own wool, which is what we were noticing on the sides of the road. The shepherds do shear them for the heat. He did some already and is doing the rest next week. He usually burns the wool since it is not worth the price of selling. They raise the sheep for meat not wool. Which is why the paint spray on some sheep to mark who they belong to or what not wouldn’t mess up the wool.

So the males go to meat. Generally they geld them just a few days after they are born to make them better for meat. Also they dock the female sheep’s tales but not the males. He said the females so they don’t get maggots (which I believe is why they do it in the USA) and then they don’t the males since most go to meat anyway but that they can look in a field and pick male from female quickly.

2018 UK Trip – Day 7

June 20, 2018

Hello Wednesday.

We woke up to a slew of messages from people trying to help us sort out a 5th pony. What a great community. We feel very embraced and supported and are extremely grateful for all the help and well wishes. Seriously, thank you guys.

And feeling loved by the games community, we were off to ride two ponies this morning (in the lovely Welsh rain). We got in a nice little practice, sorting out who fits which pony best and who fits them second best. Since we won’t be trying two of the ponies until Friday night at the competition we want to have options. From what I know of the ponies I think I have the two most suited riders in mind for them, but you never know who is going to match up with which pony the best. So options.

It was a good wet practice and by the end the 5th pony was sorted back out. Again, what a wonderful community we have in this sport. That’s a happy team right there.

And now we are about to head out to Pritchard’s Tack Shop. This is always an exciting part of the trip.

There are two tack shops we frequent on these trips and it seems one is always a hit and one is a miss and I can never tell which team will like which one. They are a good compliment to each other, one is big and fancy with newer stuff. The other is more of a maze where you have to dig around to find that diamond.

This year the big hit for Sadie and Caroline was the (free) mechanical horse.

Another quick Tesco run to prep for the weekend. Afterwards I took a mini break on WiFi to sort out why my phone was acting up. As soon as I connected it updated. Now it seems to be working fine. This was the actual reason for yesterday’s delayed blog posing (I think).

Back at Mel’s and the girls decided to wash the camper.

and then play with Tilly and Gunnar.

A little more pony riding and playing.

Grace let Eliza ride her show pony Scotty! Look at this little pony go. And only 5!

Video of Scotty

Then dinner time. Emma and I found these neat soups in Tesco. We are trying them out tonight with some Naan (they were great) And of course chicken fingers (by request) for the meat eating kids. Fenya passed on the soup and picked pizza.

The girls want their family and friends to know that Emma and I are feeding them well. They are only now resorting to eating styrofoam.

It is 10pm now, still light out and there is a screaming-running-around-craziness going on. Maybe they need to do laps up and down the driveway tomorrow?

Side note – amazing sunset.

The oven is tiny so it takes a lot of rounds to make dinner. Emma is cooking tonight.

And now for some card play. This involves slapping the table – and like most things, a lot of screaming.

Fun fact – Emma’s home town is the place Velvetta was invented. And the town was originally named Cheesecock, NY, now known as Monroe, NY. They do have a cheese festival every year.

2018 UK Trip – Day 6

June 19, 2018

After yesterday’s driving and adventures I slept great last night. So did everyone else (which also made it possible for my good night’s sleep). We were up and ready to roll out of our camp this morning. We headed just a short ways to Harlech Castle.

It was in a really cool cliffside town and was a really neat castle. I caught some education while exploring and learned that the ocean did come up to the castle when it was built. The boat landing and Trebuchets are visible and reconstructed down the bottom (but I did not hike down. Now I wish I had). This is where the Irish brought supplies in. Back in the 1400s (or 14th century maybe) a storm formed the dunes along the coast and it pushed the ocean out. The fields in front were marsh lands until they drained them sometime ago to make more farm land.

It’s a pretty cool castle and a very neat town.

Video of castle.

Then we hit up some ice cream at The Castle Creamer. And not just any ice cream but award winning ice cream. I got a half scoop of honey and a 1/2 scoop of elderflower. It was so good. Sadie was the most adventurist and got Seabuck Thorn and Elderflower (she did not like the Elderflower). The proprietor was also so welcoming and explained the flavors. When he scooped up the honey flavor, actual honey leaked out. Yum.

Video of ice cream.

Next was driving. And more driving. And, more driving. Oh and it was almost all super narrow hedge lined roads. Up and down mountains. Through rain and clouds. Curves, more curves, hit the breaks, hedges, hit the breaks, swerve, gas up, break down, hedges. The 3 1/2 hour drive took 5 1/2 hours. We got a little video but it in no way shows how narrow the roads were. The drive exhausted me.

Video clips of the drive

But we made it back to Mel’s. Woo! I fell asleep for 10 minutes and then it was time to go ride at the Pony Club grounds! Woo!

Unfortunately we found out tonight that one of the ponies we were going to be using this weekend not longer has a ride. So we are scrambling to find a ride for it or a replacement pony. We have quite a few leads out so we are sure something will shake out.

Eliza and Sadie made us all pasta for dinner and now we are relaxing and getting ready to call it a night. The cell reception is too weak to load the photos and videos on this post so I’ll put it up in the morning when we head out to ride again! Woo!

Not at all a surprise – Caroline and Sadie are the loud, squeaky ones. Caroline in particular has the squeals and screams down. Those two could use a hamster wheel. They also do a lot of gag noises at gross sounds, smells and words. Caroline and Sadie both are a constant chatter. If they have no words they just make odd noises.

Also not a surprise – Fenya and Steph are the quiet ones. They can both get loud too, but they are no contest for Sadie and Caroline. I hear both Fenya and Steph right now while excitedly chattering while they are playing a round of cards.

Eliza falls in the middle. She doesn’t have the high pitch of the squeakers, but she is louder than sweet Fenya.

Words from Sadie:

Hi Blog! This is really Mrs Kristal Wilson Moistdoon. I would like everyone to know that Sadie is my favorite person on this plant. Amen. She is my queen 👑.

2018 UK Trip – Day 5

June 18, 2018

This morning we left the race track camp ground, hit up Tesco and headed for Snowdonia in Wales. We made a quick stop along the way to stretch our legs and take in some scenery (and skip rocks).

We arrived at our new camp ground only to check in and then rush back off to hit up Zip World Velocity 2. Not going to lie, I was a bit nervous about this. This zip line boasts it is the fastest in the world and the longest in Europe. 118mph, 222 height drop, 1555 meters long. Sounds cool, but once we got sight of it, the starting point way way way up there in the cloudy distance, the lines going all the long long way down and past the reception point, my nerve was a little weak.

The girls were so excited. Crazy excited. There was no way we could back out.

And they needed two persons over 18 to accompany them, as in, actually go down at the same time as them. Not just watch. So we weighted in (I *might* have been slightly hopeful I wouldn’t make weight) and suited up.

This kid here was about doing back flips in excitement. She cracks me up.

Then we were loaded onto a bus type of vehicle and were driven to the first line.

This one was easy. Emma was tribute and volunteered to take the first group of Fenya, Sadie, and Caroline. I went second with Eliza and Steph. You can see their whole run from being strapped in until they landed in the video in this post.

Then Steph, Eliza, and I went. It was amazingly awesome. Outstanding view, fast, high up, wow!

Once we caught our breath we loaded back onto the bus for the next line. The drive took about ten minutes and we just kept going higher and higher, switching back and forth on the dirt track. We drove into the cloud and finally reached the top. At this point I wondered if I put some rocks in my pockets and insisted they reweigh me if I could get out of it. I mean, we were really really high up! We were in a freaking cloud! They had a wood stove going up there it was so cold and wet and just, ahhh!

But nah, it was going to be amazing.

Video of the zip line adventure:

This time Steph, Eliza, and I went first. It was awesome. I imagine it is what flying would feel like. Totally worth it. It was a super cool experience at a really neat place. Well designed and set up, they did a fantastic job of checking and rechecking all the gear and straps, and seemed to have a well established process.

Ok so you see the blue lake down there? We flew all the way down there, over it and to the other side. From up where this photo was taken.

This statue is where you walk back to the reception area. Pretty fitting.

Now we are driving back to the camp ground and we have stopped at a lake in Snowdonia for some sight seeing and rock climbing. We saw this area last year but didn’t have time to stop and it’s so gorgeous. You can’t really see them in the video but there are old old stone walls going up and across all over the mountains. I can’t imagine what it took to build them initially.

Can you spot the pink and purple? That’s Fenya and Caroline.

Emma. Those stone walls are all over the mountain behind her.

while I am typing this the team decided to climb to the top of the mountain behind the camper. Initially it was to check out these bags we could see a ways up. Which turned out to be full of rocks, we assume to be helicoptered away. But that turned into a mountain topping hike.

video of some views.

After this adventure wore the girls out we drove a little farther and stopped for dinner. With the adrenaline crash hitting, food in the belly, and the exhaustion from all the climbing on rocks (and intense narrow twisty road driving for me) we are ready to crash hard now that we are at camp. Oh and it’s raining and chilly. I of course am loving that.

I should also add that Emma and I are getting pretty handy with the camper. Gray water and pee dumped, clean water filled, lights and electric working properly, we have the gas/oven situation figured out. Go us!

%d bloggers like this: