Winter Games Practice – 12/17/18

December 17, 2018

We took a week off from practice but were back at it again yesterday.

We had a nice group of five; Val, Carly, Jenny, Carol Ann, and myself. And I had my new pony, Possum, in tow. He did quite well considering I had picked him up less than 24 hours earlier and he is incredibly out of work.

We cruised through an array of races and enjoyed each other’s company.

A little video of our fun.

Neville Becoming a Games Pony

November 30, 2018

Gosh I am enjoying this pony.  He is just so easy going.  Two weekends ago was his first games practice, and other than a small introduction to the equipment, it was the first time he had played any games.

Needless to say he did not bat an ear.

This past Sunday was his second practice and he did excellent.  The previous weekend I mostly walked and trotted and at this practice we added in some cantering and also some additional races.  He is just so easy going and happy to please.  Whatever you want him to do he is happy to do.

He did a few typical new games pony moves, like, “do you want me to bend or go right next to the line of poles this time?” and “Should I really canter since its only three strides?  Well ok, as you wish.”

He has really nice breaks and his turns are already good.  I felt him give me a bit of a roll back this Sunday, and I think he could easily turn his hoof to a full out rollback with very little work.  That’s his quarter horse side coming out.

I am throwing in voice commands, “Whoa” and “Stand” and he listens to them.

This weekend we also popped him over a small jump, you know, just to see if he jumps.  Val was the brave one of us non-jumpers to give it a go.  We do not suspect he is an actual jumper, but he was ok with it.  Just like everything else asked of him.  I felt like he said “you realize I have to go over that if you want me to go that way right?” and then “Well ok.” and over he went.

Here is some video of the smarty pants Neville playing games.

And here is some video of Mr. Nev doing some flat, hopping over our little jump, and a 360 view of his loveliness.  (don’t mind the dirt/mud on his legs).

Practice Season is back in effect!

November 23, 2018

Its that time of year again! Winter Practice Season!

This year we are at a new indoor, since the one we have used the past few years was sold.  We made our debut at Almeda Farm in Boyce, Virginia last Sunday for a two hour practice session.

We are really happy with this new venue. So far it’s just lovely people and a lovely facility.

It was just four of us to start off.  Val, Carly, Zoe, and myself.

I brought Neville for this practice, which was also his first time really doing games.  I have to say he was amazing.  This pony is just so easy going and willing to do whatever is asked of him.

We went through a nice easy rotation of races.

We focused on skill vs speed.

And goofed around having fun while we played games.

I am looking forward to our next practice on Sunday.

And then one the following Sunday.

With day light savings and work work work during the week I am only able to get time with the ponies on the weekends. During the week it’s just feeding in the dark.

This is the first winter I haven’t been able to make it home in time for an afternoon ride a few days a week before dark.

So weekend games practices and a few trail rides will be my the limited ride time of my near future.

Bring on the games!

November 2018 Mid-Atlantic Pairs #3

November 20, 2018

Earlier this month we had a pairs competition at Meadow Event Park in Doswell, Virginia.  This competition was the final wrap of the season, and we were lucky enough for decent weather that was not even too cool for November.

At Doswell we are able to run 8 lanes out in the big parking fields, with a massive run off and optimal distance between lanes.  This is the only venue like this and its quite enjoyable.

Zoe and I rode together and took our time working on some training.  She was working on adjusting her pony’s speed back and forth.  Cantering away, but walking back, and changing it back and forth at her pleasure to help teach him that its not all running.

I worked on pushing Simon at some key points, like turns, and just had a good time being laid back.  He was his usual frustrating self.  Slow, fast, and everywhere in between.  He even decided he wouldn’t go to a barrel in one race.  sigh.

I love the pony and he loves playing games at a slow speed, helping new people learn.  But he does not seem to really enjoy playing even close to the level I need him to be at.

Out side of riding I also organized this competition.  This is the first competition I have completely used the race list guideline to develop the race list for.  I think it worked out really well.   It was actually quite easy and I felt the sessions were pretty balanced.  I will certainly be more dependent on this guideline in the future.

Pairs is also tough to have a full set of accomplished officials.  But it is a good chance to get some new people out there filling those roles.  Two of our refs were brand new and I think they both filled the roll well.  We also had some new faces leading ring crew and again, everyone did a fantastic job.

Carl debuted a trial video set up across line A.  This new set up is amazing and has the capability to video lines A and C from both sides all onto one screen located in the equipment trailer for easy viewing by the ref.  I am excited to adopt this system next season!

Finally I want to close this post by thanking Carl and Patti in particular.  The three of us set up the entire field on our own, Carl doing the heaviest lifting.  He had to resize the prepared measurements at the last minute do to a snafu with the fencing set up.   The three of us were out there until well past dark setting the ring, and Carl was back out there at 5am in the rain putting in some finishing touches.  Not to mention that Patti and Carl brought the equipment down for the event!

Thanks everyone, it was a nice close to the season.


Mid Atlantic #6 – October 2018

October 23, 2018

The season wrapped up with the last team competition of the year.  MA6 was held for the last time at the PG Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, Maryland.  We have out grown the facility, which is a good thing to have ample growth, but its also a piece of nostalgia for those of us that have been playing for a long time.

Team Gone Rogue was two riders short for this competition so we were joined again by Tommy.  He is always a pleasure to ride with and his personality meshes so well with our team.  We were also joined by long time friend Lindsay who has been out of the sport for about ten years.  I believe the last time she really played was when we rode together on an Open team.  You would never know she was away for a decade.  She was still smooth and accurate, and as easy going and simple to ride with as she ever was.  Nothing has changed.

Our first session was ok.  We were all playing decently, nothing spectacular but nothing too poor either.  Simon was a little wound up, but he was moving out so that worked.  Our second session was horrendous.  We uncharacteristically dropped and missed things all over the place.  The only one on the team who didn’t look like a boob out there was Lindsay.  Again, she just rolled along, nice and smooth.  Simon was a total jerk for the second session.  He switched from not wanting to go near equipment to trying to run it over.  I was so frustrated with him at the end of the session that I was ready for pony burgers for dinner.  If there had been any doubt, which there was not, that I need a new pony, this certainly cleared it up.

We wound up in the B final, which was no surprise after our afternoon session.  Luckily we did end the season strong and came into the B final with our heads on.  We rocked the session pulling out 11 firsts, 3 seconds and only 1 third.

We also finished fourth in the series, thanks to our strong start to the season before we lost Matt to injury.

As for the Novice division, I was lucky enough to coach this team pictured below, Main Attraction, and they really rocked it.  This team started the season as a scramble team, stuck together, and improved with each competition.  They absorbed knowledge like sponges and used it out on the field with excellent play.  Each of their three sessions looked good and they took the blue for MA6.

They are also the series champions with blue ribbons all over the place.  They really earned it and the work they have all put in has really paid off.

I also managed to snag a snap shot of their placings for the final session and they really did amazing.  They consistently got first and second with just one third and one fourth place finish during the 15 race final.

After the final session the referee asked to speak with three of them.  uh oh! But it was a compliment and feather in their caps.  He said that they had improved so much this season that they need to move up to intermediate next season.  A fourth rider was also encouraged to move up but given the option to stay behind if she felt more comfortable since she has a bit of a challenging pony.

With smiles on their faces the four of them have decided to move up to intermediate together and continue on as a team.  I think this is an excellent move for them.  They all get along very well and work together smoothly.  Their skills compliment each other and I think the unity will aid them with the transition to a faster field.  They also made my day by asking me to continue on as their coach next year.  I cannot wait to be part of their growth and help them as they continue to improve!

We also had a fist time player in the Leadline division, Mr. Wesley.  He rode trusty Simon for all three sessions and did an amazing job.  I can say without a doubt that his favorite race was the balloon race, which he did awesome at.  Wesley is an excellent teammate and enjoyed cheering his teammates on and high fiving them after each race.  He rode with his new friend Bennett and his cousin against the mighty X’s, Dexter and Paxton.  Everyone rode very well in the Leadline division and were awarded trophies at the end.

Wesley was also helpful when it was time to untack Simon, and helped by taking off all the boots on his own.

So that wraps up another season of team competition.  We just have one pairs competition left in November and then its onto a winter of practices and prepping for the 2019 season.  Team Gone Rogue is planning to come back five strong with Val, Jon, and myself sticking around, and the return of teammate Matt.  He just had his final surgery and is recouping and healing up so he can be ready to start back on the field come spring.  We are also picking up new a new Rogue, Carly.  This was her and her pony’s first full season and they grew and improved with each competition.  Carly is a really fun person and her attitude and dedication will match the rest of us perfectly.

We are also anticipating a new pony for myself.  Hopefully I can get the shopping underway soon and I am keeping my fingers crossed for an easy and quick shopping experience.  Simon may be a decent back up pony for me but he is certainly not first string material and I am excited and eager to train something new.

Bring on the winter practice sessions!

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