Winter Practice 12/30/18 Almeda Farm

Jan 1, 2019

The last practice of the year was attended by a nice group of Val, Jon, Tommy, Linda, Carly, Jenny and myself and Matt standing in the coach.

Possum was awesome. He is catching on quickly. Linda and I were the first two in the ring and I got him through three solid races pretty quickly. He had a nice solid woe and his turns were pretty spot on.

Possum took most of the handoffs pretty well, especially towards the beginning of the session. He got a little less patient as he grew tired. And the bigger horses seem to intimidate him a bit more. This is certainly something we can work with. He also did balloon race like a champ. Last week he was not so sure of those colorful wobbly balls. Although Matt seemed to make him a bit nervous. I’ll put that on Matt since he always seemed to be flapping or clicking or making some sort of odd noise and motion when we were near him. Matt is going to make sure he is desensitized.

He is still horribly out of shape, and the weather sure is not helping. And we spent the last 30 min working on just standing quietly and watching.

Jenny brought her new ride. She was a very chill and laid back pony during the session and Jenny made a point of riding her all over and standing at different points in the ring. She trucked on through balloon like a champ too. The pony was not phased. She is also horribly out of shape but Jenny has already gotten some weight off her. I think this pair have some excellent potential.

This week we were joined by the infamous teammate Jon. This dude just picks up and goes. No big deal. Like he hasn’t been out of the saddle or missed a single practice. His encouraging words were also very welcome.

Since both Hoke parents were in attendance we also had Dex and Pax building some castles while we practiced. Paxton so politely pointed at Possum and told me “pretty”. As Jon said, kids don’t lie about things like that. What a sweetie pie.

Carly and Remi look good every week and I am thrilled with her dedication. Not only does she ride well but she is a pleasant smile and warm laugh. I love having her and Remi a part of our team already.

Part time Rogue, Tommy made an appearance with his trusty pony Charlie. Always a pleasure but I don’t think I got to say more than two words to him through all of practice. We were always on opposite races.

Linda and the amazing DJ joined us and it was good to play with them again. Linda got me and Possum started on handoffs at the beginning of practice. I did not realize that DJ is old enough to drink these days. He’s a super star.

And Matt. I can’t wait till he is back on his pony, and I am sure he feels that way more than I do. But it’s great to have him along and giving pointers. He’s an excellent teammate.

Our little video

Until next Sunday.

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.


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