Day 13 – Longleat Park

August 7, 2013

Today was amazing. We all loaded up into the mini bus, including birthday girl, Sophie, and three of her friends, the other Lockyers, Colin and the MGAA team.

We went to Longleat – safari park and animal adventure. We started in the animal kingdom. We got to walk through areas with anteaters, weird birds, meerkats, red pandas, stingrays, porcupines, otters, tortoises, and more. Then we went through the penguin sanitary, the butterfly house, the bat cave, and tiny monkeys. They had ropes that ran over our heads to play on. And a lot of the animals could walk back and forth through the people path. The meerkats were very active and ran back and forth through our feet.

Then we hoped into a boat and toured the river. There were hippos and sea lions in the water. Megan got to feed the sea lions and Annie loved the baby sea lion. We also floated past a few gorilla islands.

We also road a little train around looking at more animals. Then we headed to the mini bus to do the safari part of the park.

We drove to the entrance and there was an area to park and go see the giraffes. They were amazing. Then we walked through the wallaby exhibit followed by the Lemur display.

A lot of the exhibits were open so you were with the animals. And there was staff all over to explain things.

Then we loaded back into the bus and started down the road and through the gates. It felt a little like Jurassic Park.

First we saw the rhinos which I though were flipping fantastic. There were all kinds of gazelle, wilder beasts, zebra, African cows and antelope. Colin was particularly excited about the tapirs.

We eventually drove through lion, tiger and cheetah sections.

I think all of us agree that the monkey part was the best. They climbed all over the cars, pulling off antennas, and going for rides. It was too cool. We had a couple monkeys riding on our roof and a few on our windshield. We saw the monkeys in the car behind us rip off its weather stripping, and a few monkeys with car parts in their mouth.

It was a really fantastic day.

We stopped at a pub called the Old Beams Inn for dinner. Yum.

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Day 11 – Stonehenge

August 6, 2013

*Please note that I normally stink at spelling, but typing all these on my phone is not helping! Hope you can understand. :0)

Today we did a lot of touristy stuff. But first we had to pick up a mini bus. And feeling daring, I went with Rob to pick it up. Yep, drove on the wrong side of the road for the first time. The scary part was that I drove the 6 speed horse van (mom you would have loved to have this back in the pony club days, in automatic) with a trailer attached. It actually drove smoothly, but since the roads are so narrow… lets just say I was liberally on the edge… And over on occasion. But I arrived with everything intact.

We all loaded up, Julia and Leah riding in the other, horse-van-to-be with Colin, and headed out. After dropping the van off to have some work done we traveled though small towns to the legendary Stonehenge.

It was roped off so you couldn’t get close, but still cost 8£ to do the loop. Interestingly there was a guy with a mega phone inviting people to walk through the sheep field and look from there for free. “I am a Druid and I do not agree with the English Heritage and that they will be exhibiting the dead in the new museum.”

Since there seemed to be plenty of other people returning from the field we did that. The catch was that there was a fence up between us and the path around the stones. But we could see the stones and boosted Sammi up to the top to take photos over the fence. Awesome!

Next we drove through Salisbury and stopped at the Salisbury Cathedral. Lets just say, amazing. Really, it was amazing. So much to look at, lots of details everywhere and everything was super old.

Then we headed to Corfe Castle. Which was also amazing. We hiked up and paid the 8£ to explore the whole thing. There was so much to explore and so hard to get photos to justify it. The story behind the castle is also amazing, google it if you are interested.

We slipped over to the Rising Sun pub just down the road from our home for dinner. Again, yummmm. Sitting by the most amazing New Zealander I have ever met, Jazzy. But note, she is my first New Zealand friend.

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Day 10

August 6, 2013

We slept in today. Which was much needed. Then we went over to Rob’s house and him and Colin made us up a real English breakfast. Yummmm.

After breakfast it was unpack and clean time. The loris were unpacked and cleaned out and the ponies were all sorted into their appropriate fields.

The rain rolled in just as we were finishing and we settled down to watch a movie, which I slept through.

We had figured out our 4th pony earlier that morning, Magoo, and were thrilled that Steph Steel offered us Jack to give us a team of five. I think Julia might have cried for joy a little. People are so kind.

Later we went for a trip to the harbor with Juliet, her mom and Elizabeth. It was really relaxing and neat. We got a cup of mixed seafood to share which was really neat. And tasted great. Then we walked on the beach for a while.

On the way back Megan, Sammi and I rode with Juliet with the task of picking up pizza for everyone. We were passing through the neat town of Cristchurch and ended up going for a little stroll. We found a tower ruins. We also saw this big stone structure that has an amazing and creepy story to go with it. Too long to relay here.

We picked up pizza then headed to Rob’s house where we ate and relaxed in the hot tub.

It was a fantastic relaxing day.

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Day 9 – Session 3 and the Final

August 4, 2013

To start the day off I picked up 9 sets of sword rings and one set of flags. Yea! Then it was time to ride.

Session 3 was not too bad, just a few stupid mistakes. All in all I would say season 2 was the best out of the three.

Sammi, Julia and Megan are particularly well matched with their ponies. Leah had a slow pony so she switched to Annie’s pony for a few races which is also a fantastic pony. The handoffs were on, it was mostly being out legged combined with the few mistakes being a few too many.

It started to rain pretty heavy towards the end of the six race heat and I stuck around to work assistant ref for the next heat. Everyone was pretty much soaked and we spent some time warming up and drying off and watching the video of some of the riding.

Of course there was some more socializing. And we did get to watch Mackenzie’s final. I also stuck around for the A final while the team mucked stalls and packed up for the trip home later. I really enjoyed the A final. Fantastic riding.

We ended in the E final, slipping over the F one. And ended in 4th in the session. It was on grass unlike the previous sessions and the ground was a bit rough. They took it easy on turns and played very cleanly. I was really happy with their ride and think it was the best one for them of the weekend.

Then it was pack up, load up and head out. Colin drove Juliet’s Lory and I rode shotgun with Leah and Host Megan in the back. The rest if the team piled into Rob’s Lory. And juliet and Sean took the horse van.

On the way home we stopped for fuel and food and a guy was being arrested in the parking lot. There was a helicopter and everything.

We all got back safe and sound and crashed into bed as quickly as possible.

Welsh champs was awesome.

We had a long break after the ride

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Day 8 – Sessions 1&2 at Welsh Champs

August 2, 2013

Today was the start of the Welsh Championships in Chepstow Wales.

The grounds are packed with lorys, trailers and tents and there are games ponies everywhere.

We tried to catch Makenzie in her first session in under 17 but missed it. We did do arena party and take photos of our friend’s team, Dorset Red. During their heat it pour. The rain came and went throughout the day.

Our first session was pretty sloppy. Just stupid mistakes. But by the end of the short 7 race session the nerves seemed to settle a little.

Mark stopped by while we were having lunch and we discussed me picking up some equipment later that evening.

The girls want me to explain (they are dictating right now) that Mark Devit is a mounted games celebrity. He is like the Leonardo DeCaprio of the mounted games world. (Back to me talking) He was really nice and welcoming and made them really feel a part of the bigger games world. He even let the team borrow his extra towel since we did not remember to bring one.

The second session of seven races went a lot better. We got more than double the points we received in the first session. For the most part everyone rode well with very few mistakes.

We spent some time socializing and making new friends. It was tons of fun. I ran into some more old friends including Marilynn Hackman and Elizabeth Draper. I was so happy to see them. They told me that another old friend, Richard was out on his stag night (bachelor party) but would be back in the morning.

A little after the last heat of the day they had a veterans showcase competition. There were 8 teams and they were amazing with tons of spectators. Some of them were vaulting like champs and others not so much. There were a few tumbles and a few riders walked off the field. Rob looked fantastic out there and his team won. I know my team at home, and other fellow adult riders would have really enjoyed it. It made me itchy to join in that’s for sure.

Megan and I met up with Mark to finalize the equipment order and discuss it with the French guy, who’s name eludes me at the moment. It was a good discussion ad everything is square to pick up in the morning.

After a little bit more socializing it was time to get ready for the social (called a disco and a fancy dress). Basically it was a costume party with clubs/teams all dressing a like.

We were cheerleaders, complete with pom-poms. Annie painted USA on our tanks tops and everything was red white and blue, including our makeup, done by artist, Leah.

Juliet, Sophie, and Colin joined us and dressed up as well. We had a special vest and blue wig to top off Colin’s out fit. He even let Leah apply his makeup while Sean puffed my pigtails up.

We marched up to the party and presented ourselves to the costume judges complete with a cheer that Colin made up and led. “1, 2, 3, 4, who’s that knocking on my door?” Lots of fun.

The costumes at this event were amazing. And some clubs had so many people to dress up the same it was crazy. There were crayons everywhere. Mackenzie was a pink one.

There were two separate sets of Smurfs, and some were still Smurf colored the next morning during the final. There were also minions (the yellow things from despicable me) the flintstones and various other cavemen also made an appearance. There were cowboys and Indians, Spartans and Spartanettes, the Harry Potter Gang, a ring master and performers, bachelorettes from my gypsy wedding, and tons of others.

I’ll try to load a little video on another post all it’s own.

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