2017 Mid-Atlantic #1

May 11, 2017 

The mounted games season really kicks off with MA1, which has historically been at the PG Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, Maryland.  This year it was moved to Mullica Hill, New Jersey in response to an equine herpies outbreak.  

Gone Rogue, my Over 25 team, hit the field with our full usual team of Matt, Val, Averi, Kristin and myself.   Val was on her new ride, Babyface, and the rest of us were on our usual rides.   Game on.  

We held strong through our two qualifying sessions, stepping cleanly into the A final for Sunday.  All in all Saturday was relatively clean and smooth.  We had our usual jell, mostly clean, with just a few fumbles divided up pretty evenly between us.  

We went into the A final and we played hard. We battled it out through the whole session with two teams in particular, Time Flies and Boarder Patrol.   The three of us were race for race, taking turns holding the lead and then swapping back and forth in the top three positions.  It was an awesome final.  We ended in a very respectful third place ahead of Chaos, and left the ring feeling solid.  

The mistake that sticks out to me the most was my bottle during the final.  I am usually a clean center setter, but I pulled the bottle over, and when correcting, knocked it off the barrel.  Booo.  But, focusing on the positive aspects, I did remount relatively quick and without much difficulty.   

I also did inside turns for my end pick in 4 flag, and I am really pleased with how they worked.  The first one, during a Saturday session, was not as smooth, but still felt solid.   We played this race again during the final and this time we asked for the yellow flag to be propped in the #1 pick up position and I started, selecting it on a smoother inside turn. I am very happy with this change in my play.  I credit the Bluegrass Open team I rode with earlier in April for this confidence.  They encouraged me to try it and then praised it’s success.   So thanks Bomb Squad.  

Babyface was awesome.  I am not sure if Val was able to recognize how amazing he was, always expecting the best from herself, but that pony shined.  He is wicked fast and has such a good (although young) head.  He got “stuck” a few times on his end turns, and he got upset in the barns when his buddies left him.  But otherwise that pony has games champ written all over him.  

Another pony I want to comment on, Peyote.  That stinker was so good.  He has had most of his winter off, and he is not the straightest running or smoothest pony even when in work, so I was really floored at how well he did.  I am still apprehensive to say more and jinx us, but he looked like a real games pony out there.  

Matt and Jitter and Kristin and Tex, bah, those four are always amazing, so what can I say? They were just as amazing as always.  

The Open A final was also super hot.  Just like in o25, three teams were really fighting it out hard, race by race.  

I am excited to see how this season goes after MA1 having a head to head final in both o25 and Open (I am sorry I missed the majority of the intermediate and the novice finals).  

Photos: 

This one cracks me up.  Val was like “I need all the rope” and I was like “got ya dude” and just neck reined Poe along.  But you might note, she literally kept 1/2 the rope.  Lol.  We were clean in the qualifying heat but we busted up in the final. 

Averi brought her bottle goat Marshall.  I am not a huge fan of goats but this guy is so cute.  If she walked out of sight he called for her.  So sweet.  

I do not like how I look in this photo (sort of like a cartoon shaped character) but I love Val and I smiling together.  Love that girl. 


My hover pony. Haha 


Trail Report – STRHA Uncle Tom’s Park April Ride 

April 17, 2017 
The Shenandoah Trail Riders and Horsemans Association had a ride on Sunday and I wanted to take part.  But Simon was off on his own adventures so Poe needed to step up.  And he did. Mostly. 

We rode out from Uncle Tom’s Park in Jerome, VA and did a lovely 2.5 hour loop.  Poe was really good for the first hour. He walked and did his smooth little western jog to keep up.  After an hour he started getting a little snarky.  He made a few more faces at the other horses that he was already making.  At one point he really wanted to kick Ellie’s mare.  No idea why. He has never been a kicker.  And he really disliked the mule.  Again, no idea why.  His smooth western jog and working wak started to turn into a jig and the last fifteen minutes of the ride reached a point of suck-dom.  Most of my games pony riding friends probably wouldn’t think twice about his behavior.  But having ridden Simon on trails for so long I am totally over the pony jig.  

Today my upper side abs are worn out and sore and I am so happy with Poe.  This was not his normal job and he did his best and really it was not bad.  Just not as relaxing as I have become accustomed to.  

After the ride we had a potluck which was amazing.  And then an Easter egg hunt!  I had forgotten how much fun egg hunting is!   I even found the egg with the subway gift card! Score! 

STRHA is a fun group.  This is my second year with them and I am looking forward to some fun rides.  Sadly a lot of them conflict with my mounted games competition schedule, but I’ll make what I can.  Oh and Uncle Toms Camp is so neat.  I in life’s a photo of the old pool.  

Performance Trail Challenge – VA Horse Festival 

March 26, 2017

Saturday I took Simon and we went to the Virginia Horse Fesrival at the Meadow Event Park in Doswell, Virginia.  We were entered in two events.  The first one started at 11am in ring 1 and we were tacked and ready.  

This was the Performance Trail Challenge put on by Cornerstone and it had a few regulations and rules to adhere too.  This is why I found myself struggling with bitting Issues.  


So I could not use his normal Little S hack or his backup Myler Combination (without riding with one hand).  So we went with the Dr Cook bitless bridle. 

The top 10 we’re going through to the final on Sunday and I was not expecting to make the cut.  I was number 13 to go and after watching the first two riders, I had reaffirmed that no, we were not making the final.  


I did have a bit of luck and found several people from the Rusty Stirrups Riding Club were there, and a few mounted games extended friends and we had a cheering section in the crowd.  I was smiling like crazy at the cheers. And You know Simon ate it up too. And we got to ask some questions and for advice before our turn too.  It reminded me that horse people are good people.  

When it was our turn we started off and trotted through the poles, one tap, and then Simon bulked at the gate.  Weird.  Then he tried to check out the bucket that was hung right where his head was going.  He was pretty flustered and wound up at that point.  The gate was sloppy. 

We went right lead and did a clean simple lead change, and through the chute.  We stopped at the cone, pivoted and began the L back pattern.  It was not lovely.  See the video. 

On to the drag which actually went pretty well.  Simon wanted to look at it but we mostly went forward, around the bales, and we pivioted and backed.  But then we kept backing and in the wrong direction. I ended up having to drop the rope.  I still am really pleased with this obstacle.  It was a big improvement for us.  

The teeter totter I was not expecting issues at but Simon was not having it so we moved onto the bridges, which I was also unconcerned about. But nope Simon was not doing it. He saw that gap in the middle and nope. We did finished in time, completing the last obstacle by trotting into the box and doing a 360 turn both ways.  

We have work to do but I was so happy with Simon and I had so much fun.  The cheering and support really felt amazing.  


Lindsey and Will at the PA Expo 

March 7, 2017 

This past Saturday I went to the Pennsylvania Horse World Expo in Harrisburg to watch my friend Lindsey and her lovely little pony Will compete in the Trail Challenge.  

The video below shows them going through the course.  They ran out of time on the first half and missed the last obstacle, the two hula hoops on the ground. I believe they needed to do a turn on the haunches or forehand in them but it was not clear to me as just a spectator.  Some of the riders just went over them so around them, some all over them, so I am not clear.  

The second half she also ran out of time during the last obstacle.  She has 2 1/2 minutes per half.  

They did very well and finished 5th in the Novice division. 

Trail Report: Blue Hole / Grove Hollow 

February 17, 2017 
Another amazing sunny day in the 60s, perfect for another trail ride. Last weekend I drove out to Bluehole near Bergton, Virginia, and drove out and parked at Hollow Grove fire road. 
It was being logged (does not appear to be anymore but the sign is still up at the closed gate) so the road in is in great condition. I drove in over all four cattle guards and parked in one of the two circles by the closed gate.  
Someone had built a fort out of mattresses to the side of the parking. Disappointing.  
I went past the gate and headed up the road. The three logging areas to the right looked complete, the roads into the area even have little berms put in. I am so going to have to check out those areas in the future. It looks like the clearing goes up to a ridge and I bet the view is fantastic. I also passed a few nondescript trails, some just trails and others appearing to be trails on old logging roads. I went down one that was in a clearing to the left. It headed down and was surprisingly clear and passable but begin to get narrower and steep so I turned around. 
Hollow Grove turns off to the left but the road continues ahead and becomes 302 Rocky Spar. I continues up this way. Rocky Spur runs along the ridge and the views to the left are amazing. Nothing you can clearly catch on film, and there was a screen of trees between the fire road and the view. At one point you can see the road way ahead and to the left as the ridge wraps around. I did not go that far and instead turned around at another well defined fire road branching off to the right.  
302E Martins Lick, is on the right side and angles down. I turned around at the open gate and headed back towards the trailer instead.  
A little way before turning around I found an antler shed on the ground. Very exciting. 
There were hoff prints along the fireroads and some old pony poo. There is a lot to explore and the roads are good riding. Maybe a bit sunny in the summer. That’s a guess. I am looking forward to checking out this area more.  



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