Mounted Games Bottle Flip Challenge

August 14, 2018

I saw this video on Instagram yesterday by Sid_und_Sunny with #mgbottleflip challenge. Dude does a barrel turn and a bottle flip onto the barrel. What? Yup.

Way freaking bad ass.

Link to post.

So of course I had to accept this challenge. But I was at work so I challenged a slew of MGAA friends in the mean time.

Sadie goes out bareback with a halter and crushes it in style. That kid.

Sadie video

Challenge double accepted.

I got home from work, grabbed Simon and twisted my husband’s arm to come video (mainly pick up and hand me the bottle over and over again).

Krista video

The walk was easy. I got that in about three tries. The canter, not so much. Full disclosure out of 38 tries I got it at the walk once and the canter once. A third of the times I completely missed the barrel. And the one that did stick was right on the edge.

It was such a fun challenge though. And why not? Thanks Sid_und_Sunny for bringing this awesome challenge!

Now who else???

UK Trip 2018 – Day 13

June 26, 2018

Today was our first full day in Paris. We ate, saw the Eiffel Tower, ate, walked, ate, did a night time bike tour, ate, did a little light tourist shopping, oh and we ate some amazing food.

The statues are amazing.

I just can’t get enough photos of the goodies in the pastry shops.

Giant tea plate sized meranges.

This amazing work of delicious art here, I just couldn’t leave it behind. It is full of pistachio cream and fresh raspberries sandwiched in a macaroon.

I ate the glorious thing sitting in the shade by the Eiffel Tower. A moment to remember.

It was a warm sunny day and that called for cooling off.

So we dipped our toes in the fountains by the Tower.

Some video fun in the fountain

and a team shot of course.

A quick French dinner before the bike tour.

While Emma and the team went to ride bikes Krista went for a solo wonder and stumbled over this tack store just before it closed. Right in Paris! It was just by the back entrance to the Aston Martin shop.

A little more wondering around, I grabbed some fruit and then took some metro trains back to the apartment. That’s it straight ahead, bottom floor. Not much to look at from out here.

See Santa there trying to climb over the fence?

Very good fresh cherries.

So for my evening, to relax while the girls are out bicycling I am streaming Outlander (which is available on Netflix here) and munching on cherries and meringue. I confess I am not the best of cyclist and knew the team was extremely excited for this adventure. Since Emma was comfortable doing it on her own I didn’t think it was fair for me to struggle along and slow them down. I can’t wait to hear how it went and they promised to take photos for me to include here. Emma texted the cycling part was complete with many near crashes but all were successful and they had moved onto the boat part.

I was just drinking some apple juice and realized it’s made by my employer! Woo! I have already mentioned I work for a French company. It feels pretty darn cool to have grabbed a bottle of juice, having almost drank it all down thinking, “damn good juice” and realize I am part of that company. Yea!

And they are back from the bike tour!

Emma says the girls were as wreckless as ever. Sadie’s chain broke quickly, and they were not interested in the info at the stopping points.

They said it was all busy streets with lots of cars

But they got to stop for ice cream

That it was hectic and Caroline hit a tree while testing out her bike. But we report no one was hurt. Except the lady behind them in the group appeared to be emotionally damaged from the affair.

The trip eventually switched to a boat. Which is reported to be a bit too long.

I am struggling to stay awake while these photos load so we can get this posted tonight before we crash out. Tomorrow has more adventures and is our last day here.

Emma adds – fruit is delicious.

Sadie says – best cherries she has ever eaten.

Fenya says – Fenya decided it was a good idea to run into a curb on her bike. It didn’t end well. It was an attempt to jump the curb. Nope. (She’s ok).

Today was all about bread. We all gained weight and the bike ride didn’t help us out. The bike guide was named Tobias.

Emma listened to the things they saw. Fenya said she listened once.

They saw the park by the Eiffel Tower, and the Tower itself. It was for the worlds fair, for the grand entrance. And Mr Eiffel paid for it with some stipulations and made a ton of money off it.

They also saw the French institute and the Pantheon, Napoleons tomb, they saw the Louvre, Notre Dame, they learned tons of stuff about these places and lots about the French Revolution.

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.

Mid-Atlantic #3 2018

June 13, 2018

I can’t believe it’s June and we have only had TWO games competitions this year. TWO! This past weekend was Mid-Atlantic #3 and MGAAers descended on Grange Equestrian Center in a frenzy hurting for some Mounted games action.

We were extremely lucky and it remained dry Friday and Saturday, almost too dry. The footing was a bit like concrete with swirling dust clouds by the end of session 2. Certainly not what we were expecting after the non stop rain of the past month.

Saturday night after we were well asleep the rain came back in force, and hounded down. It stopped shortly after the day got started. Not before we were all soaked, but early enough that we were not out in it all day. But the damage was done to the ring. It was soup. Concrete soup mix. The ring there just does not drain. And they added kick boards around the edges a few years ago which just sealed it in even tighter, which leaves a good few inches of water sitting on top of the still rock hard footing. It’s gross. And it layers on and sticks to everything like plaster.

But let’s back up. Both the Open and O25 divisions had over 8 teams (the max amount of lanes that can be run in one heat) entered, 10 for Open and 9 for O25, meaning we had heats to run for those two divisions.

Novice – There were four were four Novice teams and I saw some improvement since MA1 in the ones that were at both competitions. Wait? What? Finished 4th and looked like they had upped their game. I know Greg has been working hard with Tucker, and it’s showing. This is an adult team, with some newer ponies and some newer riders, all sporting fantastic attitudes. I am a bit partial to this team. Not only do I think that all of the riders are lovely, but my favorite blonde is rockin it out there with John. Simon.

Photo: Matt Brown

Steed Demond’s was out for their inaugural competition and they did fantastic. It was wild seeing the youngest Winkler boy riding onto the playing field for the first time. His oldest brother was cheering him on from the sidelines.

Collision Course is a team that’s been rebuilding with new players over the past two or three seasons, a regular team name on the field but with a rotating roster. Peter, the team anchor was riding Texas, Katie’s Curley from Kentucky, and he looked good on her. Now Pete is always one to smile and have a good time, but he looked just as confident on Texas as he did on his own Velvet, which I think is saying a lot. Laura also held her own on Mattie, who I believe is Texas’s grown foal. Laura looked like she was having fun and riding well on Mattie. Val, my own teammate, was also riding on Collision Course on her friend’s Peruvian Paso. The mare is very new to games but did extremely well. But what was so interesting about her for all of us games players was the way she moved, which is apparently a Peruvian Paso thing. Her hooves flip out. At one point she was riding straight towards me and I said out loud “is she going to flip the cones over?” Her owner was standing right near me and we struck up a conversation.

Well she can talk just about as much as I can and I learned quite a bit. Extremely interesting. And her and her husband are just lovely! I hope she gets on her pony and joins us on the games field soon!

Moving on, Mane Attraction. This team was brand new at MA1 and they had a rough start with session 1 here at MA3. I believe Natalie’s pony Prince William was showing off his acrobatic skills and there were a few sloppy beginner mistakes throughout the team, as is to be expected. But they got it together, PW got his feet on the ground, and they pulled off the win. It really excites me to see this much progress and growth in a new team. The adult rider, Jenny, is on a huge horse, huge for games anyway, and she really has the mind for games. The strategy, thinking, “be clean, be sure.” You can see her thinking it out and making connections and strategy. I also love seeing Winny the Pooh (formally Malibu) being so loved and loving her riding back so much. What a wonderful pair. These two look so happy together and do quite well! Natalie and PW are also amazing for being only their second time out. I happen to know she boards with a rather skilled O25 player so she is getting some excellent practice in I am sure, and it shows. Nice work team.

Intermediate – With 6 teams Intermediate managed to run one heat with cumulative sessions. I honestly did not get to watch really any of this division since it was between my riding and working sessions.

Open – This division had 10 teams so it was two heats, and an A and B final. I worked line A for one heat in sessions 1 and 2 and for the A final, which ran 7 teams. Working A gives you a nice uninterrupted place to spectate from but you’re also focused on the A line specifically and you can’t really see all of the action consistently, unless it’s on or near the A line.

This division continues to get better and better and it was really fun having 10 teams out there making it two heats.

Inception looked like they had a groove going this weekend. I saw some smiles from these riders and they looked like they were enjoying their ride. It was awesome to see our Canadian friends back on the field in the open division on Not Fast Just Furious. Collateral Damage seems to be the catch all team, this weekend it had Laura and Emma, who I think we have all been missing on the field and were happy to see back.

The A final group was fantastic to watch. Trouble and Atomic, the two teams new to the Open division are still getting their footing but looked stronger than at MA1. Trouble seems to have relaxed a bit more, and I think will continue to do so as the season moves along. Atomic, quite the opposite, is a very laid back team and maybe needs a bit more Pep but was looking good as well.

Buckwild was only half their normal team with two guest riders. They had some bumps but held their own. Anotha One was an all guy team missing Jen for the weekend, they looked good. Renegades was out with Alicia and Tyler and it was great to see them both on the field. I really don’t have much to say about any of these teams, nothing jumped out at me in particular.

The big Open movement I noted for the weekend was team Ca$h. This team hit the field hard. They looked good, Really good. They were fast and they were clean. I could simply reiterate what I stated about them after MA1, but with more emphasis. This team has a groove. They really seem to enjoy riding together and really seem to have a stride together. Sophie has really hit her prime. Not to come off too typical but the girl has time to focus on her riding (on weekends. During the week she lives in New York City, working and fulfilling a portion of her medical schooling). There was a touch of sarcasm in that statement about “having time” but really, she makes time for her games training and puts it as a priority. And Sophie is into games. Like really into it. She has her new up and coming pony and her current games master. And she is all about it. And it shows. I believe I went on in my MA1 post about Elise also coming into her own with that beast she rides, Smokey, but I really mean that. The girl has got stepped into it this year. There were points where last year she probably would have circled her pony for a vault, but not now, she goes for it and she hits it. It was also exciting to see Kiera on a new pony! She has been on the same pony for quite some years now and she is a quiet elegant rider. She’s easy to miss out there. She’s up and back, done. Seeing her on s new pony, still doing the same, clean quiet up and back, done, just emphasizes, she’s good. I have always thought of her as a smooth clean under estimated player but she earned a lot of respect from me last summer with her riding. I am sure some other people wondered this weekend “Who was that? Oh wait, was that Kiera? On a gray?” Now Shaelyn, she’s just fantastic on that Hope pony of hers. She’s been holding her own on that pony, solid for a while. Finally there is Mitchell and her rocket pony Punk. I got to say, I think this pair looked better than I have seen them before this weekend. There is no doubt he has all the speed anyone would want, and Mitchell keeps him fit and looking good. But on top of that they just seemed to really hit their groove this weekend. I saw them bring it home in quite a few races, pulling ahead or holding the lead, racking up points for Ca$h. Mitch has put in a lot of work with this pony, and he is a lot of pony, and it looks like it’s clicking. Way to go Mitch.

Now Punk Rock Ponies. Sigh, this team. They are good. They are damn good. I am going to sum it up; this team wins all the time because they are that damn good. Well played. Well played.

Scores going into the Open and O25 finals


We had heats in our division so I actually got to see some action of my fellow division players! It was a real treat too!

First I want to say how much I like Zoe’s new pony Dice. He is coming along so nice. That girl can pick a pony. I also really like Joy’s new pony. I believe I mentioned these two in my MA1 post but they bare mentioning again.

Next, Quicksilver was kicking some butt out there. Really, this team was riding a clean game.

We, my team, Gone Rogue, rode as a four man team at this one and it was nice to not have to decide who was sitting out of a race. We eventually had a pretty repetitive order worked out Matt, Val, Jon, Krista that seemed to work out well for most races. We switched it up for a few races to accommodate various skills but for most races we went on with it. Simple.

Poe was ROLLING on Saturday, in the morning he was a little hot even. For Poe that means he gave me a little less time to complete a skill before he was ready to go. I this this photo series from litter is the perfect example of his mind at the time. It was taken by Genevieve Arens who has given me permission to use her work here.

I cropped in for his expressions in the first two images.

Turning to the litter – look at that eye.

Waiting for my pick. (I do a stop and pick)

And now we go

That said, he still waited for my pick. He still had his usual excellent breaks. He was still his rock star amazing self. If anything he was even more of a rock star. He was in “sport mode”. It just took me by surprise.

I will say I totally blew up quoits. I won’t rehash it but briefly. It sucked. I got in my head and it just sucked.

I have a few other things I need to focus on, work on timing change overs and pushing straight aways more, and less coasting. But I am happy with my ride. I had a great time and really enjoyed playing with my team and on my Poe pony.

My teammates are also rockstars living in “sport mode”. Dang I love riding with them. Val is just a beast. What can I say? She’s just incredible and that pony, dang. Her and Bf were a bit off in session 2 but they were nothing short of amazing for the rest of it. Jon seriously doesn’t seem like he took a few years off at all. And I love how he thinks. He is a player you know, KNOWS the rules and knows how to *think* games and efficiency. He comes up with good orders and reasons things are not working that no one else has come up with. Total team asset. And let’s not forget Matt. Chill and easy, Matt is athletic and gets the job done. He is also an excellent starter. And being in the lead position tends to push him up the field and back with more hast.

Good team. Good time. Good fun.

Sadly since MA3, Matt found out his collar bone, which he broke last summer, rebroke, unknown to him. Which means he needs to have the metal plate removed and the bone reset and surgery, blah blah, so he is out for the rest of the season.


I am really sad for him. It’s crushing. We have only had two competitions this year. Two! We still have five team competitions and three pairs competitions left for the year. What a let down for Matt, especially after missing half the season last year. And it’s also a let down for the team. It’s not the same without him.

We shall see what the rest of the season has to hold.

After the riding Sunday

Sock dunk photo – Genevieve Arens

Carton dunk photo – Genevieve Arens

Trail Report: Bear Trap Loop – Fire Road 536 – 5/20/18

May 22, 2018

Since my competition was cancelled this weekend due to the massive amounts of rain we have been getting, and Sunday was the first clear day in a week, I needed to get on a trail. I decided to go south to Augusta county since they got less rain. I also wanted paved parking and an area that I expected to have drained well. So I decided on Bear Trap. I have not been here in years but it was one of my favorite places to ride at one time. There are tons of side trails to explore and plenty of rolling fire roads.

Parking: from North River Rd make a right onto Bear Trap Road. Maybe a half mile up the road on the left hand side is the entrance to 536. In the winter the gate is closed, but the gate was open today. It’s still easy parking across from the entrance on the shoulder of the road. I include the turn and parking on the video in this post.

This is a nice area to ride. It drains well and is lightly frequented. I have seen another person here a few times but not very frequently. I have run into Bear here. One time in particular was during a very dry summer when everyone seemed to be running into Bear, assuming they were coming down more in search of water. I ran into three Bear on one ride. The first was on the ridge top. The second was on the trail back down and the third was on the fire road back out and she had two cubs with her. It was a very memorable ride.

This location also has a lot of mushroom growth in the spring and fall. Lots of colorful jack o lantern mushrooms! Very pretty to look at (but not eat). I have also seen more than one turtle here.

For today’s ride, I decided to do the loop. This runs about 7 miles, is rather slow going, but has a big climb.

Ride in along the fire road, which is nice to move out on. Is smooth and well maintained. The gravel is not too big or bumpy. No bad washouts.

About a half mile in there is a creek crossing. It was pretty average for this time of year considering all the rain we have had. I expected it to be deeper.

At about a mile in there is a specific turn off for the loop. It is pictured above with the sun glinting down on it.

Straight ahead here – the left hand side of the fire road. Today there was an old metal trashcan there.

Years ago I called and asked the Forest Service about some of the side trails in this area and I was told that these are old logging roads that have grown back. I was encouraged to enjoy them, ride out on them, but know thy are not maintained. Some are still marked on maps and some are not. Which can be confusing. In this area there is on on the left we already passed that is marked on the map that is not there.

This is a well used bit of trail. It is a bit uphill but not bad. After a short while it comes to what was probably the end of the logging road. Or more likely a circle, parking area. There are two old parts going left and right that I have ridden in the distant past, but for the loop we want to go over the berm and up the hill. This is where the climb begins.

The last time I was here this circle area was more of a clearing than it is now. The under growth has taken over more in the past few years and it takes a tiny bit of imagination to picture the “circle” part.

Up and over the berm and up the climb. It is still a pretty established trail, easy to follow and clear. And it is a good workout. Simon needed to stop and catch his breath.

I came down it once and it sucked. I got off and hiked, meaning slid down. I did not enjoy it.

At the top, the trail runs into a ridge top trail running perpendicular right and left. For the loop we want to head right. There used to be a very clear mark on the tree ahead to help mark the turn from the other direction, for those going down, but it was mostly washed away now. I wonder if this is a less traveled trail these days. The turn to the left looked pretty over grown too.

The ride from the fire road to the top of the mountain was just about .9 miles I believe. I call it out on the video.

Off to the right it starts off a bit over grown here too. Luckily it clears out after a bit and there were no downed trees to obstruct the path, but there were some branches in the way.

Not too far on there is a rocky area. I used to ride below it easily but it is much over grown below it so I dismounted to check it out and decided to lead Simon over it instead. It’s very short and not that bad at all. I could have stayed Mounted. Honestly I was more likely to fall leading him than the danger being on his back would have posed. I did video this bit and purposefully did not replay it before loading it here.

Most of the trail is like the photo above. Simple. A bit tight, with a few knee knockers. But mostly clear of over growth. Some rocks but not bad.

Eventually it spills out onto the fire road. Going left heads up to the picnic area by the cell phone tower. Which is not far at all. The new 432 is also just to the left as well.

For this loop we turn right and go just a very short ways down to pick up 439 on the right. It’s down hill, slightly steep at first and then less so. It was also a bit over grown at first and then cleared.

Nothing too impressive along here.

It pops back out on the fire road and we make a right. Of course left is another option for miles and miles of fire road.

This is still a nice bit of fire road, with an easy to set good rolling pace. The creeks on the side are generally dry in the deep summer.

The only true fire road turn off you pass is on the right, 536E Shanks Road. But there are tons of unmarked trails. Lots of exploring out here. I remember that’s why I loved this area so much. But I am not as excited about this loop as I used to be.

and eventually back out to the road where parking is. Then drive straight ahead and the road wraps on back out to North River. Simple.

It was a nice ride. And if I lived closer I would enjoy exploring here all over again. But it’s a bit far now so I’ll keep exploring the areas out my way.

Video part 1/2

Video part 2/2

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