2018 Mid-Atlantic #1 – Team Gone Rogue

April 23, 2018

My usually competition review got really long so I broke it into two separate posts. This one is about myself, my pony, and my team. The other one is my review of all the other teams, which is probably the more interesting post for anyone that’s not an actual member of my team. That post went live on 4/22/18 and can be found By clicking here.

Saturday kicked off with the first session of Over25 opening the competition at 8am. All in all it was an ok session for Gone Rogue. Nothing fancy but nothing horrible either. We had some bumps and a little sloppiness.

For myself, I managed to pull what I assume is my groin muscle about the third or fourth race in. No major reason, Poe took an awkward step and I must have just twisted oddly and yanked it. But wow, talk about ouch. I sat out the next race and attempted to walk it off, thinking I had just pinched a nerve or something. Sadly that was not the case. This pretty much set the pace for the rest of the competition for me.

It did not bother me much on the ground, or even just sitting on my pony, but when I started out in a race it hurt. Particularly when I needed to brace, brake, turn or perform any skill. Lame. Luckily Poe is amazing and he took good care of me. I used my left arm to brace against my saddle and just rode as gentle and soft as I could. My awesome team was also understanding and we did a few race swaps where possible, but I still managed to ride in most of the races. I wasn’t as fast and my accuracy took a hit, but I feel like I held it together and kept up a mostly clean ride.

After the session I took some Advil and a muscle relaxer which seemed to help.

I started session 2 feeling sore but ok. Of course I yanked my leg again pretty quickly and rode again in awkward conditions. My team is fantastic though and really kept it together. Both Hero and Babyface, our two newer ponies performed excellent. Hero was no surprise, and I was not surprised by Babyface either. Both Matt and Val have been putting so much work into those ponies to get them as ready for the season as possible that their performance was expected. Hero is also an older level headed mount, but Babyface is, well, still a baby. He is easily distracted. To help with this Val has been hosting practices and running multiple lanes in competition format to simulate a competition setting. This effort really showed. Babyface looked like a champ through the first session and although he got a little distracted in session two, Val’s riding is outstanding, and I don’t think anyone would have noticed if they didn’t know she was really working up there.

By the end of session two I was in a lot of pain. Not going to dance around that. The last race was ring the cone, and I really did not want to play. Well I *wanted* to play, but I really should not have and I really did need to sit it out. By that point it hurt to sit up at all and I knew I was pushing myself too far. Val was slated to sit out that race, it being her one and only nemesis, and she offered to step in for me knowing it was the best move for the team. But Averi was not feeling it and said she needed out. So I agreed and I went first. I had a clean passable run, and was heading home when they blew the whistle. The wind was blowing the rings off the poles. Drat. So we reran and my rerun sucked. I got my ring pick but when I got stopped at the cone the wind whipped up and blew my ring off my sword. Fearing that getting back on would really be problematic with my stupid groin issue I attempted to collect the ring mounted, but lacking success, I dismounted. I did manage to remount, although it really did hurt and I am sure I added to the length of my recovery with that one move alone. Sigh.

We did not have as tidy of a second session, with some sloppy mistakes, and my bombing of ring the cone really hurt. Our team’s two flag was rough. I believe Matt was maybe just flying way too fast for his put in and had to circle back for it. I went clean but incredibly slow. Jeeter had some weird freak out about taking a hand off from Hero, which is something new and completely unexpected. By the time Jon got himself and Jeeter sorted, the cone was pretty much under them. Luckily the cone was not knocked over and he was able to make a quick correction. I think Val was a bit taken aback by the extreme speed of Babyface and the cone was past her before she was ready, but again, it was a quick correction. Ugh, not a good race for us. But I guess we got it out at the same time. Bright side!

Earlier in the session Jeeter pulled this freak out at a hand off from Hero thing, and Matt seemed so shocked he just kept on coasting past like it had been a clean hand off. It was such a weird situation and one that needs to be worked on. Both Jeeter getting over his Hero aversion and our reaction time to corrections. We made a point after two flag to not have Matt hand off to Jon. But our usual quick corrections seemed to remain off for the rest of the competition.

Our Three Pot wasn’t bad though, and we managed to make up for our sloppy two flag skills. We placed third in that session, holding second overall by the skin of our teeth (what a weird saying. Who has skin on their teeth?).

Our final session on Sunday went about as well as our second session. Bottle exchange was aweful, like bad. Matt had a crap initial put down, I believe going way too fast. But he had a nice correction. Those barrels are so close together. Averi was going slow but still had to circle the barrel for her pick up, and Jon, having such a reach, also had to do the same. I’ll admit, that knowing that picking up is a crap skill for me, and not having much of a lean, particularly by Sunday, I was going nice and steady for mine, setting Poe at a steady lope, which is why I managed to make it. I am thankful for my short, and super easy pony. On weekends like this one all these training session really paid off, when I knew I could trust him to be what I needed him to be.

My Hug a Mug turn was poor and I did not feel balanced enough to lean for my pick while bracing with my left arm without letting Poe fall into the barrel and take it out so I had to circle the barrel. Again, I wasn’t the fastest. I know I lost us a place or two coasting during the straight aways in races. This was very frustrating because it’s something I had mentally worked on all winter, push push push. In one race in particular I did try to push home some and as a result ended up with my head down and my steering compromised during my handoff to Jon. Ah, it was close and I know I gritted my teeth anticipating some concussion, but luckily Jon was moving out enough to prevent this. It’s nice playing with some solid players. My last race for the competition was Four Flag. Val made the suggestion I do an outside turn vs my normal inside turn so it would be easier on my leg. This was a good call. This was a nice race for us. Smooth.

Flag Fliers finished us out and I sat out of that race. It started with a wonky put in at the end, following by a second wonky put in that went down and the race just stumbled on from there. It’s one of those races that a really good first placement is crucial to set up the rest of the placements.

A little sloppy, some silly mistakes, slow recoveries, a little too much coasting and not enough pushing, and me just rolling along slowly like a Sunday stroll. We finished, I believe, fourth in the third session, and third overall. Not bad all considered. I am happy with out unit, but we have some work to do. I don’t like to pick on each of us, but that’s how we improve.

Analyze and practice.

And generally I know all of us can do better and we each just need the reminder.

Collectively we all need to tighten it up some. Nip in some skills. Maybe look at some orders vs just planning outs. Some of us are clearly better at starting, going last or holding up the middle in different races. We need to remember when to use some haste, like in mistake corrections, and when to check up a tad to get a clean skill. And push, look home and push. No more coasting. Coasting cost us a lot of placings. Mostly on my part this weekend. And more communication. I know I was nice and vocal with Poe this weekend but I don’t think I talked to my team much. Which is not the norm for me. More encouraging “good job!” And “nice run!” And reminders, “set up your turn”, and “push all the way home”. I was way too focused on myself and not there enough for the team.

I am super impressed with both Hero and Babyface. Babyface in particular. I know Val gets frustrated and I know she is working so so hard up there. But he is coming along so nice. And he has so many more gears she has not even tapped into yet (thank goodness). That pony is so rich in potential. And she is bringing him on right. I know it’s hard but she’s making it happen and she still pulls off these moves that are so incredible. And did I mention Babyface is huge too?

Jon also always has and always will impress me. He is the calm and level. Pretty easy going and pops out these insightful notions that leave me wondering, “how the heck did I never notice that before?” He is on another giant horse, and I don’t know how he pulls off his mounts. Jeeter is still moving and Jon has his foot in the stirrup and is just up and flying home. It’s quite impressive. He also has an incredible reach from up there that I am not sure how he works out. We need to keep it in mind too. Although he is pulling off some super human feats, he is not granted go-go-gadget arms.

Matt brings a lot of dedication. He really does practice and work hard, going to the gym on days he’s not riding. He takes it seriously. And I really like him on Hero. I think he is still relaxing into his groove on him, sorting out the little things like bitting, but the pony seems so suited to him. Matt is also easy, he will pop into any race in any position, whatever the rest of the team needs. His vaults are solid and he has recovered well from his shoulder injury last summer. This was his first competition back and he was only out to one team competition on Hero last year before he broke himself, I think.

For me I was super disappointed. I have worked all winter on my mounting races and had really psyched myself up all week to kick butt in them. So sitting them out sucked. I rode in almost all of the other races, but I felt like I was hardly performing and I know I really killed my team. Being the super stars they are they did not make me feel bad about that. But it still sucked. I didn’t go out and bomb each race, and really made very few mistakes, but I was really rather slow. I am generally a steady solid player. Clean and steady. So this wasn’t completely out of character, just really slow to the extreme. And I know I cost us. And that really wicked Adrenalin rush that comes with a sweet clean race just wasn’t coming since I wasn’t getting those wicked smooth races. They were more cobbled together, limped through mediocre practice runs. But that’s ok. It was just one competition.

I don’t intend to sound like I am beating myself up, crap happens. I am recognizing it and moving on so I can kill it more effectively at the next competition.

It’s been just over a week and I am still sore just sitting and walking. Stupid stupid thigh. I was hoping to ride this past weekend but since I was still sore I decided to play it safe and keep my feet on the ground. I have four more weeks until MA2 to be fully healed so I am going to wait a little longer before I mount back up. I keep running over in my head some things I want to work on. And my practice field is set up and calling my name. “Krista, come play!” But it’s got to wait. I am going to try for Wednesday or Thursday. And maybe wrap my thigh like Cindy told me to for session 2 and 3 (and I literally waived her off – I should have listened to you Cindy).

And again I want to reflect on Poe. Sometimes I get bored with him. He is a fully made games pony these days. And I must say I feel like I did a damn good job training him to be one fine competitor. He has a smart level head and a cool demeanor. He knows “stand” and “wait” and he listens. On weekends like this past one when I was not fully myself, having a pony like him was nothing but aces. All of the work, and there was a LOT of work, that went into his training, came out and proved itself. I could trust him and I could depend on him and he took care of me. And yeah I could probably slack off on his fittness and he probably doesn’t need to be put through as much practice now as I put him through, but doing all of that really pays off.

In the end you earn what you get. If I half assed my training and his training all winter then last weekend would have sucked a lot more for myself and Poe as well as for my team.

And now, bring on MA2!

2018 Mid-Atlantic #1 – The Overview

April 22, 2018

I started to type up my usual competition review, talking about my team and the overall competition and the post started to get way too long. So I decided to break it into two posts. This one is not about my team. So it is probably the more interesting one for any readers out there.

Last weekend was our season opener, Mid-Atlantic #1. It was held at a bigger venue than our usual, the Meadow Event Park in Doswell, Virginia. This venue allowed us to run 8 lanes with ample run out space on both ends. Fantastic! It is a grass playing field with a sand base type of natural soil footing that gives traction and drainage. We were also granted near perfect weather to make for an outstanding event.

Speaking of near perfect weather, we had a warm snap for the weekend, with sun, and luckily a breeze or we would probably have roasted after the chill we have been living in. Although the breeze was a bit much and we had to alter the race list a tad to accommodate for the conditions. But it sure beats the wet conditions that float your litter away like we have had in the past.

The season opener is always exciting. New teams, new gear, new ponies, new people! And there was plenty of all of that.

The Over25 Division was a full division with 8 teams. This is clearly the division I follow the most so I’ll start here.

In O25 there was not too much majorly new going on. Full Cry shuffled to Novice to bring on some new riders and new ponies. The Tie Dye team had a few minor edits, adding Katie full time, and changing their name to Venus Envy. They rode in Intermediate, I believe, just for MA1 since they got locked out of O25 with the team count cap. Corrine joined Border Patrol, with Dave being taken out by his back injury last year. Leigh Anne and Cindy joined forces with the Barberra’s to bring back Bomb Squad. And Julia moved from the Open division to join her family on the team formally known as Chaos, now known as, Not Fast or Furious.

I am very happy to see Bomb Squad back in action. A year of floating Barberra’s was nice for the rest of us teams in a pinch, but I missed seeing them as a regular force on the field. Leigh Anne and Cindy were good pick ups for them too. This team should develop well over the season. This weekend they had Zoe on her new pony, Dice filling in for Lindsey. I think Dice has a lot of potential and seemed to do well for his first competition. Unfortunately they had a pony pull up lame Sunday morning and rode HC for the final session since they brought in a 6th pony. They finished in 7th overall, having pulled enough points in the first two sessions.

Corrine was a really decent pick up for Border Patrol. I did not get to see much of her in action (or anyone in O25 for that matter) but what I did see looked good. I think she has that edge that will fit well with BP. The team had a bumpy start, I believe having issues with one pony in the first session. But after pulling that pony out before the second session, they started to cook. They finished second in the second and third sessions and second overall.

Time Flies was precision, simply clockwork. They continuously had quick clean races. They are a nice solid team, coming back as the same team they finished with last season. They have solid ponies and solid players. They earn their wins.

I saw a new pony on Full Tilt but I did not get to see it in action on the field, only Gen doing some handoffs with it successfully in warm up. Really the only action I saw of this team was Billy smacking into Carol Ann during a hand off. I saw, and heard that. Ouch. It was like watching a train wreck in slow motion. I could see it coming from strides out but there was nothing I could do to stop it. Carol Ann, ever stoic, rode on like a champ of course. Full Tilt, hosting the same riders as the past few years, and the same ponies except for what seems to be their usual new spotted pony, finished in the middle of the pack in fourth.

Joy with Order of the Phoenix, was also on a new pony and they seemed to be getting along well. I did not get to see too much of them but she seemed very pleased with the pony. I did see it do almost a downward dog action in anticipation. Annie was also on a new pony, who was seen maybe two years ago at a pairs, Sunshine, which was not going out. How frustrating. And Sara’s pony seemed to be in over his head. I think those two ponies probably need to go to Novice for a bit. I did not get to see Kim or Carly go at all and only noticed the others because the new pony issues caught my eye. This team had enough pony troubles to finish at the bottom of the division, even with Bomb Squad not receiving any points on Sunday.

I did not see a lick of Not Fast or Furious play. They were always several lanes away from us, and I assume, had nothing dramatic to catch the eye going on. I hardly saw any of Quicksilver either. I did manage to catch a few glimpses of our teammate Kris (on hiatus from GR this year) riding with them. I saw her get a vault on Marvin and looking amazing doing it. That’s about all I managed to see of these two 5th and 6th place teams.

skipping back to Venus Envy, I am so happy to see Katie on a team this year and not floating. I think Venus Envy will be a good place for her to dig in her heels. I am sure they will be back to O25 in the next competition. Which is why I am grouping them here.

As for new ponies, my favorite pick goes right to Katie and her little spotted pony Geronimo. I saw some photos and video of him from over the winter and he looked like he had promise. And in person, he really showed his stuff. Clearly still new to the sport, this is by far the biggest field he has been subject to, but he held his own and did it well. Katie looked confident and solid on him and I can’t wait to see how this pair develops.

The Intermediate Division had 7 teams. I was lucky to be able to referee the intermediate division so I got a lot of up front spectating action there although I could not spend too much time focused on any one rider or team.

Voltage, the team in orange that mastered the Novice division last year moved into intermediate and seems well suited to the move. They finished in the middle of the pack, with a well deserved fourth place. The newer teams, Hit N Run, and Ponymonium both held their own. A few eliminations hit both teams but I am sure they learned from their mistakes. Promising players that should improve as the season goes.

Switchblade and Sergio led the division, closely followed by the O25 team, Venus Envy. Both teams looked good. Switchblade appears to be somewhat of a reincarnation of the 2017 Intermediate team Bloomability. I believe this is a temporary team, derived from Pony Club that is heading to Prince Philip Cup so they wanted a little team practice in advance. No mater the situation the riders seem to have matured a little over the winter and were really holding up a solid game. They rode well, played smart and clearly have been training. That’s one thing that MA1 shows. Who has been working hard all winter, and who has not.

I was happy to see former Novice player, Jessie on her own pony, Chubs this year. She was new to games last year and borrowed ponies as she got the knack for games. This move went well, both her moving to intermediate and moving to her own pony. Another new match up I noticed, and I believe was a late change in plans, Althea on the pony Althena. Although I can’t handle the paired up names, I really liked this pair together on the field. I actually think Althea looked more confident and comfortable on Althena than I have seen her on most ponies. I am not sure if she is looking to purchase or lease or not, but if this pony is available she would be silly not to snatch her up as her own.

Novice, starting out its second year as an active division, had five teams for MA1. This division is where ponies and riders get their start. It hosts all ages and all riding backgrounds.

I already mentioned the usual O25 team in purple, Full Cry joined Novice to gain some experience for new riders and mounts.

There was also the fun adult team, Wait! What? Sporting royal and yellow. Some of these riders have also been in O25 but have stepped back to gain a stronger riding and games foundation for theirselves and their ponies. I saw some nice work out there from this team. Greg looks like he has come a ways with his pony, as has Susan. John was riding my trusty Simon and he was flying. No, really, they were really cooking it out there! For all three sessions! Go John!

Collision Course had some new younger players looking amazing, up from Kentucky, as well as some adults. Everyone’s favorite player that always has a smile on his face was out there on his trusty Velvet, who had to pull out due to Velvet being a bit under the weather. Laura looked much improved since the fall when she made her debut in pairs in November. And my old teammate from probably a good dozen or more ago back, Lindsay made a come back on a borrowed pony from the lovely Ashtyn, Tug, and held her own like a champ.

Another team of mostly new players, Main Event, took second. Two of the riders, high school aged girls from PA, who were on some well know solid games ponies. One on the legendary tiny little bay, Belle. And the other on Whinny, formally Malibu. They joined another new high school aged rider, Natalie from Virginia on her lovely pony, who was new to games, Prince William. These three did fantastic and were teamed up with a Jenny on her 15 something hand massive horse Bitey. Jenny learned about games two weeks earlier at the Virginia Horse Festival and I think it is safe to say she has “caught the bug”. I am so excited about her enthusiasm. Christopher, who has a year or two of games experience under his belt, and I suspect is around high school aged, joined this team as well. I noticed him pull off a one of his near-falls-but-managed-to-not-fall moves. This whole team has some real promise, I will be watching all of these riders for sure.

Finally we have the creek runners who have clearly been putting in some work preparing for this event. I happen to know that not all of them have been to a games competition before, nor are their ponies experienced, nor do they know all of the rules and races down pat. But they clearly had an interest to learn. They asked a lot of very intelligent questions while working ring crew during intermediate, and really used that ring side time to gain as much knowledge and experience as possible. While riding they also played smart, and although they made mistakes, they seemed to work out when to take it slow and steady and play it safe which is what won them the division. This team has a lot of promise and a real ambition to learn. I am going to be watching this team. I want to see how they progress this season.

During Novice we also introduced Lead Line. We had one pair, the Xs. Val and Jon’s, Paxton and Dexter who played about half the races in each session on half the field length and had a blast.

Sunday they were joined by Lindsay’s boys, who played with them. Blain is off LL but being new to games agreed to play along with his brother and the Xs and give it a try on a borrowed pony. That boy has some skill. He needs to come back and play in Novice and do some damage out there!

All the LL kids were adorable. There were a few bumps to work out on the process but I think LL will prosper and allow some of our riders to come try it out and get an intro to games.

The Open Division was another full division of 8 teams. I did get to sit back and watch some of this division while I took some photos with Matt’s camera. I also love to over analyze Open so here it goes!

Best new gear – Ca$h. I am so attracted to their gear. Eye catching, simple and somehow flashy all at the same time. I love the little touches like the $ used in place of the S for the team name and riders names. The details on the saddle pad and the helmet covers. The Open division is really the only one that saw new team gear this year. Renegades was also looking good in new team jerseys that completely caught my eye. Anotha One sported some simple cool looking white shirts with their logo too. Nothing dramatic. Just simple and clean.

Open did have some new teams, the aforementioned Ca$h, which is essentially the former team, Crash, minus Julia who moved to O25. This team picked up Elise, who really seems to have come into her own on that Smokey pony of hers. Sophie has really hit her prime. And Keira, she is one of those “sleeper” riders. Quiet and easy to miss, but just killer. This team looked promising and finished right in the middle of the pack. This could be a really good season for them.

Former Intermediate team, Trouble made the jump to Open this year, picking up Cora, who was also making the jump from Intermediate and team Full Throttle and they picked up solid Open player Adrianne. Although Trouble struggled a little they did a good job. They have the speed and they have the skills they just need to finalize when to use them and when to be a bit reserved. They had a decent showing for stepping into the field with the big boys and hopefully they can now have a sigh of relief and come out more settled next round. Breath. Think. Play smart. Then breath again.

Some of my favorite up and comers formed up to make Atomic. This team slipped in a few decent runs, quietly and smoothly. They have a little tidying up to do, and I know this team has it in them to sneak on up. I think some of them tend to be under rated. I hope they prove me right and show the skills I know they all have.

Buckwild is another team I like to watch. Those girls can really pull it off sometimes. They are good little riders and they have some nice little self made ponies. They lost teammate Steph this year and picked up Abby. Jaycee is on her new pony, which she looks amazing with. What a good match. This kid has come so far in her riding and is the calm to the rest of Buckwild’s storm. This weekend the team didn’t seem to be ON. Not OFF, but they just didn’t seem to have their groove quite right. I am sure this won’t last though and they will be tagging the heels more closely of the older riders at the next competition.

This leaves the top three of the competition, and also the top three of the past season or two; Punk Rock Ponies, Anotha One, and Renegades.

PRP has been around for something over a decade now, and mostly unchanged from the past few years. Same riders and same ponies. You know that saying, ‘what ain’t broke-‘. Well yeah. These girls, excuse me, ladies, just crush it. We are talking full adult, working, ones married, we have a lawyer, a nurse, dental school, and shoot, I am not even sure. My point, these are not just some kids in their prime. Well, with one exception. The dude. Aidan. He is the young one on the team and he works to hold his own on this highly skilled team. This kid, has been hard working, mature and dedicated since he was 11 years old and playing in intermediate. “Kid” is really the least appropriate name anyone has ever called Aidan. PRP won each session and finished with 220 points. 30 in the lead over second place. Ouch.

Now, Anotha One is a no joke team as well and they also sport a young athletic adult roster, with medical degrees and working professionals. And I believe an MMA fighter. Their young buck, Coltin is a fire fighter and EMT attending college, and he is one heck of a starter on his lanky pony Po. Anotha One has been battling pony issues the past few years, working hard to have a solid string of made sound ponies. Jen was on a new mount this weekend, Mouse, and they looked amazing. I was very impressed. Jake was on a borrowed pony from PRPs, even in competition these teams are friends. He really rides this pony, Bibbs well. The team looked good but a little out of practice, and at that level, a mistake and you’re done. I happen to know that they had a tough winter and I suspect they were unable to get in much riding or practice because of the weather. I am sure now that the season is turning they will be hitting the next competition hard.

Renegades is also a more northern team that had some winter weather conditions to contend with as well. They also sport adult careers and professional lives. Another lawyer is riding on this team as well as a teacher, this team keeps a larger roster, accommodating busy lives outside of horses. Renegades saw a few rider changes this year. They picked up Rachel and Krista. Krista in particular has really clicked with her pony after the past season and was ready to step up her game. I think this was a really good move for the team. Steph, who was formally with Buckwild, was filling in for Alicia at this competition while Alicia is away at vet school. Steph was on Alicia’s pony Sky and they looked awesome. Way to go Steph! Kimi, the young one on this team, is a team regular and rides her pony Willow. This pony is so fast. So so fast. Her stride just eats up the field. Kimi is a quiet and accurate player, do not under estimate her. Renegades had a solid game but some mistakes hurt them, but they still finished a solid and tidy third.

I have been sitting on this for a week waiting for some photos to include but that’s not really happening. So I am going to move forward and publish it with what we have here. Before it’s such old news it’s just blah.

And now the too long wait till MA2.

Well, and the second MA1 post, which will probably be boring to anyone not part of team Gone Rogue since it will just be about myself, my pony, and my team.

Ta ta for now.

Games Practice 4/7/18

April 7, 2018

This weekend was suppose to be the first pairs competition of the year, but the was calling for a foot of snow so the competition cancelled. Then Friday night the snow cancelled! It was crazy enough to have a foot of snow coming in April anyway.

Since I had the day free I took Poe over to Carol Ann’s and met up with her and Natalie for a games practice. And note, it did flurry pretty much all day. Pretty heavy in the afternoon.

It was a good practice. Poe was a bit sluggish, and a little lacking in his responsiveness towards the beginning of practice. But we got our jell as we went along. I am particularly happy with our ball and cone. Each run was nice and solid. It’s still a total hit or miss in competition depending on Poe’s attitude for the session. But we are not playing it at Mid-Atlantic #1 next weekend anyway (no complaint from me).

I am also pleased with my mounting. I had quite a few mounts and all felt strong and successful. Sadly several of the mounts were so to oops in races. None were that bad except for my 3 mug. It’s not a good race for Poe and I to start with and I am trying it in the opposite position which is just stupidly painful. On past ponies this has been a race that has that sweet rolling feel. But Poe and I just do not have that slickness in this race.

This is the first time I have really gotten to meet Natalie (other than a brief hello I. Passing last year) and her pony, William. This would also have been their first competition this weekend. I was pretty impressed with how far along they are in their games training for being so new to the sport. I can’t wait to see how they do next weekend.

Carol Ann, as always, was on par. Her and Puck were rocking some skills. That pony has come a long way, and he is quick too.

I think we are all ready for the weather to clear and the games season to kick off next weekend.

Virginia Horse Festival – Mounted Games 2018

March 25, 2018

This weekend was the fourth Virginia Horse Festival held at the Meadow Event Park on Doswell, Virginia. Meadow Event is known as the birth place of secretariat and the original birthing stalls still stand today for touring. This is a nice facility with an open and airy 142 stall barn, 4 outdoor arenas and one covered arena. The festival is three days, with demos and clinics going in all of the arenas and vendors in the convention hall.

The first two years we had a demo, and last year I came and did the Cornerstone trail challenge and an obstacle challenge. Lots of fun. This year MGAA was invited back to do a demo and a clinic and we also had a booth. My usual teammate, Matt organized it all, which is a lot of work. He did an awesome job.

Matt put together three teams of riders from different divisions and levels, which shows our variety. And we raced through about 11 races showing our sport. You’ll notice in the photos, Hero Kids donated shirts in colors to represent the Police, Armed Forces and EMS for our teams to ride in. We even had little Dexter on leadline taking part and being helped along by his fabulous “driver” Leigh Anne.

We started off warming up around the ring while our wonderful equipment crew got us set up. I talked about Mounted games and MGAA over the PA during this time. Then I handed the mic over to Leigh Anne who continued to talk to the crowd, explaining what we were doing, all while leading Dexter. She did an amazing job and didn’t even sound winded.

After our hour of races we switched to clinic mode and had four clinic riders come in on their own mounts. Each one was paired up with a rider. Leigh Anne hoped on my pony Poe and paired up, Kenzie on Simon paired up, Matt on Hero and Virginia on her Buckskin. So each clinic rider had their own personal instructor and partner. John set up several races and each pair took turns going through the races.

Meanwhile I spoke to the crowd about Mounted games and MGAA and narrated what the riders were doing. Some of our remaining riders went to the sides and took questions and talked to interested parties one on one.

It seemed to go very well. Our clinic riders were all extremely successful with amazing horses. I was highly impressed with all of them.

After the riding was complete we headed over to the booth and talked to some more people about games for the afternoon and evening before heading home.

It was an excellent day. Good weather and wonderful people. Bring on the games season! Two weeks!

PA Horse World Expo 2018

March 5, 2018

This past weekend was the Horse World Expo in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. I spent two days up there.

Saturday I left home in the dark with both ponies, met Lindsey along the way, and arrived a little after 9am. We checked in and then We helped Fred and Caroline get the equipment to the arena.

Soon the rest of our MGAA crew showed up and we all got racked up and ready to showcase our sport in the large stadium arena. Ironically the arena with more seating is a smaller riding space. We were staged and ready with excellent ring crew, an outstanding announcer, and a top rated referee.

I didn’t get any photos of poe! How horrible of me!

There was a driving demo in before us, and when it was our turn to go in, we entered, going right, and the driving exited behind us from the left. Poe and I led our group, followed by Lindsey and Simon. Poe was brave going in, with the stands across from us being rather empty, but once we were in and turned the corner and he saw the full stands behind us, his big pony pants were gone. He sucked in on himself, began jumping out lines (which Carl got down in record time, really, he was like super-liner). I held on, pushed Poe along, chuckled to myself that it would be hilarious to fall off before we even got started, and rode on. He settled in after the rest of our crew caught up and passed him. Relaxing and becoming more brave as we got started and a race or two under way, his head got into work mode and he forgot to be afraid.

Mean while Simon was busy showing off, nose flares, bouncing along, like some type of fancy show cob, full of energy and fire, tail flagged. Lindsey looks great up there on him, mane flying in front of her.

We broke into out four mixed teams and the show got on. I rode with Brett, Jaycee, Caroline and Ben. We did a great job jumping to it and getting our job done. It was a great time riding with new people, and no pressure. There was no scoring or placing to worry about, we were just demoing our sport. It was a good opportunity to remind myself “don’t over check for your put” which I did, ” don’t over check for your put” which I did, “lean for your pick” which I didn’t, and so on.

The demo went on for about an hour, mean while the bleachers co to yes to fill out, one side was picked, the other not so much. At the end we greeted people and introduced or ponies, handing out pamphlets on MGAA. It was very successful. And a very fun time.

Saturday night we headed back to Lindsey’s, put up ponies, grabbed a good dinner and hit the sack early. Then back to the expo early Sunday to spend the day working the booth, talking about games all day! What could be better?

MGAA board member and Over25 rider, Fred, organizes the whole thing and worked nearly the whole event. Amazing dedication. And amazing turnout!

Daisy loved being in the booth and was a big attraction herself. I took her for one walk around the expo and then out for a quick bathroom break. Look at how well she walked in the parking lot!

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