Games Practice 02/11/18

February, 11, 2018

Two days ago we had a practice and it was freezing. Today we had a practice and it was nice and warm! Both were fun, but I got to say the warmer temperatures were nicer to the joints.

Today’s practice included three of us from Team Gone Rogue; myself, Val, And Jon, and our friend Zoe on her brand new pony Dice. This was Zoe’s second ride on Dice, and his first time playing games. I think Zoe picked a good one. He hardly batted an eye at anything and he seemed pleased to trot on through everything. I believe I caught his very first race, Twitter, and his second, mug shuffle in the compilation video.

We rocked through quite a few races, trying to hit ones today we didn’t get to on Friday. And since it was warm, we ran through quoits a few times. For me I worked on my leaning in quoits, more for my leaning in general than to actually get the ring out of the bucket in competition. I am very happy with myself for touching the top of the bucket, go me! Val of course was whipping around, grabbing a hoop and in most runs (except the one in the video) slapping that ring over the cone. And Jon, his stirrup is so fast. He certainly challenges a vaulter with this skill.

About half way through practice one of the long horns came running into the indoor and started to toss a trash can around. Jon ran over and closed the gates to our section just before another one ran in. Turns out the cows had gotten loose. We called up to the house and they had them rounded us and back in the field quickly but there was a lot of mooing going on for a while. It made for a rather exciting mid practice break.

Video compilation from practice!

April Fools Pairs 

April 3, 2017

Saturday I loaded up the ponies and headed to the Jefferson County Fairgrounds in West Virginia for a two session fun day of mounted games.  

Because it rained like mad all day Friday, the arena was flooded.  It seemed like this happened at every competition last season and I know we are all hoping for a bit better conditions this season.  So hopefully this is not starting us out for a wet sloppy season.  Never the less, the games go on.  (And we do need the rain)

I brought Simon for Kelsey, with this her first competition. She did wonderful with her partner Katie.  It’s thrilling to see riders new to the sport loving it and having fun.  

I rode Poe in session one with Val and her new ride, Babyface. Now Poe, was his typical Poe-self.  I let him totally pick his speed, a little concerned about the uneven, flooded, and rutted footing. He was careful and slow to start, taking his turns at slow-mo speed.  He did pick up his game as the session went on but didn’t put out much effort until the second session.  But really, Poe and I were slowwwww.   I did school the inside turns on 3 mug and am quite happy with how it worked out.  Although I completely spaced on doing inside 4 flag turns. Duh Krista. 

Babyface was excellent and very impressive for being new to the sport.  That pony is just going to keep becoming more and more amazing.  Val kept him in the ring for the heats between ours to keep his buddy company while someone else rode her, so Babyface ended up doing 4 heats in the day.  Although the two were just walking and trotting, he didn’t get to take a time out like the other ponies.  There was less chance for him to decompress and digest what he just learned.  Which makes him even more impressive.  

I rode the afternoon session with Lindsey and her pony Will.  He is starting his second season of games, although he didn’t get out much last year.  He has made massive progress and truely seems to enjoy playing. He still gets a bit anxious when left alone waiting for his turn, which lessens greatly each time he gets out.  

Val and I won the first session, and Lindsey and I finished third or fourth in the second session.  

I love these fun simple competitions.  It’s a great opportunity to work on some skills and try some stuff out in a competition setting.  There are some things you just can’t practice in a practice setting.  Thank you to the organizers for hosting.  

Everyone in all the heats rode well and seemed to have a good time.  There was time to chat and catch up with friends and it’s so good to see everyone after the winter.  

Lindsey, Matt and I decided to grab linner (lunch-dinner) at Panera afterwards and stretched it into a good chat.  It’s hard when all your best-people are games friends who do not live local.  

Photos by: Lindsey M 

Edited to add the photos below: K Hecker

2016 Mid-Atlantic #2

May 31, 2016

Ahhh I am already behind in my blogging of the 2016 MGAA season and its just getting rolling!

Mid-Atlantic #2, May 7/8 was held at Grange equestrian Park in Centre Hall, PA. This is a new addition to the MA series.  Hosted by one of the MA organizing duo teams, it was added to the schedule this year as a fund raiser for the MGAA Equipment Fund!  So the profit goes towards equipment.  It was originally going to be at the fairgrounds in Sussex, NJ but there was a scheduling conflict causing the move to the Grange Park.

It was an awesome competition, as expected. It rained at night, but was nice during the day.  Unfortunate the rain flooded the ring.  The footing was still decent, but there was standing water on top.  Not so nice for the ring crew, getting off the pony, or putting equipment on the ground.  By Sunday, even the cones were starting to float.  The race list was modified to eliminate races that involved things needing to be picked up from the ground (ie. Socks, tools, hula hoops, etc).

The masters division was a good show. This year we have quite a few new teams, with riders mixing it up.  Which certainly makes it more exciting.  Anotha One has come out as a power house, with some of our stronger male players and equally strong ladies.  Another killer team, Renegades has been formed this year consisting of some of our old-hat stand out riders matched up with some up and coming players.  Adrenaline Rush, has shuffled their team roster a bit and is really hitting the field hard.  There is also Buckwild, who moved up to Masters this year.  They have been holding their own and proving that they do belong in Masters.  Previous teams like Punk Rock Ponies, Northern Lights, Inception and Crash need no introduction and are still contenders.  Not much has changed there.

I did not get to watch too much of intermediate during this competition. Sometimes you just need a break to tack up your pony, grab something to eat, or sit down for a few minutes.

Fossils is always a good show, and since it’s the division I compete in, it’s the one that gets the most action on this blog. We ran 8 lanes, and had 7 fossil teams for this competition, so we were able to run 3 cumulative heats for the final placing.  Sometimes this is really fun, being able to count each session and ride in a larger heat.  It is pretty cool to have seven teams going at the same time.  It adds a whole other complex when you look at scoring.  In a well matched competition, no team can ‘take an easy session’ knowing they just need to make the A final.  Its *Game ON* for the whole competition.

This competition was no exception to the point to point and head to head racing this division is providing. Time Flies brought their A game, as always, and were ON as always. My team, Gone Rogue, stayed close in points with Time Flies throughout the whole competition and finished just two points behind in the end.  When total points are well into the 100s, 2 points is such a small margin.  These two teams are by no means the only two riding at the top.  Border Patrol, Bomb Squad and Full Tilt were also major contenders with Quicksliver and Groppits also showing some skills.

My personal performance was ok on Saturday. I was not bad but not my best either.  I felt much more ON on Sunday and felt like my level of play was more at my usual standard.  My team was awesome as always.  Val had to sit this one out so Heather took her place and was amazing.  This girl and her pony are skilled and fast.  Any team will find them an asset.  And, most importantly, Heather was so much fun to ride with.  Her laidback personality really fit with our team, and I would be privileged to ride with her again!

I want to give a shout out to Brinley, who helped me warm up and untack Poe throughout the weekend. She is amazing and took great care of him.  She was a life saver!

My memory is a little fuzzy so Ill leave the competition there. I cannot remember how Masters or Intermediate placed, or how Fossils placed behind my own team.  But it was a great weekend.  And I think the MGAA Equipment Fund got a tidy chunk towards equipment!

ma2 2016 poe 02 dina

Photo cred: D Dungee

ma2 2016

Photo cred: J Northington

2016 Mid-Atlantic #1, Let the Season Begin!

April 19, 2016

The MGAA games season kicked off this past weekend with the Mid-Atlantic Series #1 competition in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, April 16/17.  There were 10 teams in the adult division that my team, Gone Rogue, competes in.  We were in the first heat of session 1 on Saturday and hit the field ready for speed.

All in all it was an excellent session for Gone Rogue, with very few fumbles (I actually can’t remember any) and a lot of nice change overs.  We finished the session at the top and feeling pretty good about ourselves.

We hit session two in top form, and scooped up the points.  We won all but two races, which we took second in.  Not bad if I do say.  I will credit part of this awesomeness with a practice the weekend before that four of the five of us made.  We managed to work out some orders for races like hula and pony pairs that really require team work.  This was our only team practice to date, with us living several hours apart.  It was totally worth it.

Saturday night we had a grand time hooting it up around a camp fire, sharing pot luck and general shenanigans.

Sunday we went into the A final as the first place team, but of course our scores are wiped clean and we, like all teams, started from scratch.  It was a really well matched heat of five top teams.  We played well, but not like we did on Saturday.  There were a few fumbles, and as usual, in the A final, a fumble takes you out.  I don’t remember making any fumbles myself, but I did realize I was riding more and more conservatively as the session went on, checking up more for hand offs and not gunning it out as hard as I should have been.  This is a typical Krista move and something I really need to work on.  Its just as bad as making a mistake when you add it all up.  The fumbles that were made on our team were also very uncharacteristic, and not anything to feel bad about.  It was a tough heat.  We generally took first or second in most races but had about three dead last races.  This is out of 15 races and with our main competitor, Time Flies, mainly napping a more consistent first and second place finish in each race, they ended up grabbing the win with about a seven point lead over us.  They played like a winning team and earned every one of those seven points over us.  I am mad happy with my team and super proud of us.  We played well, just not well enough.

I was, as always, super pleased with Poe.  He was his usual bad-ass-rock-star self.  He is so responsive at competition, even more so than at home.  In session 2 during four flag, I did our inside turn for the end flag pick, and when I said “TURN” he sat and turned so fast I nearly flipped off him, missing my pull.  It was a simple quick squiggle back around to pick the flag, and the race proceeded on but I did manage to jamb my leg which ached worse and worse from that point forth, making leaning to the right, and remounting a painful task.  Stupid old falling apart body. But hey, not Poe’s fault.  He is just too awesome and blows my mind sometimes.

The Fossil/Adult division as a whole was looking great.  This division just keeps upping the game.  Time Flies was amazing as always.  Boarder Patrol was a four man with two new ponies, which showed, but they still brought some real play to the field.  I have no doubt they will be back on top before long.  Chaos had a minor roster change, and seemed to be having a good time with a fourth place finish.  A new team, Bootleggers, held their own, finishing out 5th in the A final, with a meshed up team of new and old.  I think they surprised everyone this past weekend.

The B final included the Bomb Squad, made up of three members from the former team Antiques Roadshow.  I was expecting a little more game out of this team at MA1, but they did have two new riders and two green ponies, and actually did quite well.  Full Tilt was made up of the same riders as last year, but with one their top ponies being replaced by a new pony.  I am sure this swap was a big change for them.  Groppits, Black and Blue Crew and Quicksilver were in their usual form, having a good time and plucking points across the board.

MA1 was held at the PG Equestrian Center, which is nice in some respects, and lacking in others.  But the main pro/con is that there are two rings being run at the same time.  Pro; we get through the games efficiently, con; its hard to watch everyone ride.  I did catch some highlights, and was amazed with Buckwild.  This team just moved up to Masters at this competition from Intermediate last year and they really held their own, finishing in the B final, and looking good at it.  They really showed they belong in Masters.

There are also quite a few new formed and refreshed former teams in Masters, and lots of skills across the board.  I saw some riders out there looking great on new ponies and others bringing back their usual skill from last year.  The A final was a good run, and a mistake really killed a team in that race.

I also caught some Intermediate play, which was well divided between the more experienced teams and the newer teams.  The Intermediate A was a well played final, with some competitive teams playing hard.  I did spend some time watching the kids on this year’s MGAA International team play and really enjoyed seeing them in action.  This is going to be a fun team to work with.  Two of them, Eliza (on a new pony) and Steph are on Buckwild, which I already mentioned as being awesome.  The other three were in intermediate on different teams.  Cora has certainly brought her pony Tank along.  They looked like a new pair our there compared to last year.  Mackenzie was also on a new pony, Cotton, and she was eating up the field.  I was really impressed with both of them.  The only one I didn’t catch live was Anna, but I did take the time to watch some video of her this weekend and was also well pleased.  It looks like she has put in some practice time since last year.

I am looking forward to MA2 at Grange in three weeks.  This is a new competition added into the line up this year and is a fund raiser for the MGAA Equipment Project.  The Grange boasts the best ring and camping facilities of all MGAA venues, and is sure to see some teams having working out a few kinks from MA1.

The season is here!

Photo: M Cardamone


England and Wales August 2015

July 29, 2015

You might have noticed (but probably did not) that I added a new category to this blog page titled, “England and Wales August 2015”.  I am very excited to announce that I will be traveling to England and Wales, just over two weeks from now, with an amazing Under 17 team.  The team is made up of four girls and one boy ranging from 14-16 years old.  They will be traveling with myself as coach and manager, and chaperone Alicia.

We will be spending the first two days in London.  We will do some sight-seeing, traveling on the underground, and staying in a cool hostel.  I also booked us a team building session at an Escape Room.  I think this will be really exciting for everyone, and I can’t wait to see how the team works their way through it together.  In case you have not heard of an Escape Room, it was featured on the TV show, Big Bang Theory, this past season.  The team gets locked into a theatrical room, ours will be the Pharaoh’s vault, and the team will have to follow clues to figure out how to get out of the room with an hour time limit.

After London, the plan is to drive to Bristol, England, stopping on our way to see the Uffington White Hose, which is a large etching into the side of a hill with a white caulk base dating back to the bronze age.  Once in Bristol we will do some more sight-seeing and exploring.  Bristol is a rather artsy town, and the home of Banksy, a world-renowned graffiti artist.  This summer Bristol also features Shawn the Sheep, from Wallace and Grommet, statues all over the city.  There are also outdoor nature things to do like a visit to Cheddar Gorge and other landmarks.

After two days in Bristol we are onto Wales, where we will do some sight-seeing, and riding while staying with some friends.  The end of the week will be capped off by taking part in the two-day Welsh Championships at the David Broome Centre in Chepstow, Wales.  This is an amazing opportunity for the team, who will be riding in the Under 17 division, against some really amazing games riders including some of the best in the world.  They will also be able to watch some of the world’s top games riders playing in the Open division.

We will be posting during our trip so check back to this page to follow some of our adventures.  The fun starts the weekend before we leave with a training camp.  Then we shove off August 12th for a whirl wind two weeks.

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