2018 Mid-Atlantic #1 – Team Gone Rogue

April 23, 2018

My usually competition review got really long so I broke it into two separate posts. This one is about myself, my pony, and my team. The other one is my review of all the other teams, which is probably the more interesting post for anyone that’s not an actual member of my team. That post went live on 4/22/18 and can be found By clicking here.

Saturday kicked off with the first session of Over25 opening the competition at 8am. All in all it was an ok session for Gone Rogue. Nothing fancy but nothing horrible either. We had some bumps and a little sloppiness.

For myself, I managed to pull what I assume is my groin muscle about the third or fourth race in. No major reason, Poe took an awkward step and I must have just twisted oddly and yanked it. But wow, talk about ouch. I sat out the next race and attempted to walk it off, thinking I had just pinched a nerve or something. Sadly that was not the case. This pretty much set the pace for the rest of the competition for me.

It did not bother me much on the ground, or even just sitting on my pony, but when I started out in a race it hurt. Particularly when I needed to brace, brake, turn or perform any skill. Lame. Luckily Poe is amazing and he took good care of me. I used my left arm to brace against my saddle and just rode as gentle and soft as I could. My awesome team was also understanding and we did a few race swaps where possible, but I still managed to ride in most of the races. I wasn’t as fast and my accuracy took a hit, but I feel like I held it together and kept up a mostly clean ride.

After the session I took some Advil and a muscle relaxer which seemed to help.

I started session 2 feeling sore but ok. Of course I yanked my leg again pretty quickly and rode again in awkward conditions. My team is fantastic though and really kept it together. Both Hero and Babyface, our two newer ponies performed excellent. Hero was no surprise, and I was not surprised by Babyface either. Both Matt and Val have been putting so much work into those ponies to get them as ready for the season as possible that their performance was expected. Hero is also an older level headed mount, but Babyface is, well, still a baby. He is easily distracted. To help with this Val has been hosting practices and running multiple lanes in competition format to simulate a competition setting. This effort really showed. Babyface looked like a champ through the first session and although he got a little distracted in session two, Val’s riding is outstanding, and I don’t think anyone would have noticed if they didn’t know she was really working up there.

By the end of session two I was in a lot of pain. Not going to dance around that. The last race was ring the cone, and I really did not want to play. Well I *wanted* to play, but I really should not have and I really did need to sit it out. By that point it hurt to sit up at all and I knew I was pushing myself too far. Val was slated to sit out that race, it being her one and only nemesis, and she offered to step in for me knowing it was the best move for the team. But Averi was not feeling it and said she needed out. So I agreed and I went first. I had a clean passable run, and was heading home when they blew the whistle. The wind was blowing the rings off the poles. Drat. So we reran and my rerun sucked. I got my ring pick but when I got stopped at the cone the wind whipped up and blew my ring off my sword. Fearing that getting back on would really be problematic with my stupid groin issue I attempted to collect the ring mounted, but lacking success, I dismounted. I did manage to remount, although it really did hurt and I am sure I added to the length of my recovery with that one move alone. Sigh.

We did not have as tidy of a second session, with some sloppy mistakes, and my bombing of ring the cone really hurt. Our team’s two flag was rough. I believe Matt was maybe just flying way too fast for his put in and had to circle back for it. I went clean but incredibly slow. Jeeter had some weird freak out about taking a hand off from Hero, which is something new and completely unexpected. By the time Jon got himself and Jeeter sorted, the cone was pretty much under them. Luckily the cone was not knocked over and he was able to make a quick correction. I think Val was a bit taken aback by the extreme speed of Babyface and the cone was past her before she was ready, but again, it was a quick correction. Ugh, not a good race for us. But I guess we got it out at the same time. Bright side!

Earlier in the session Jeeter pulled this freak out at a hand off from Hero thing, and Matt seemed so shocked he just kept on coasting past like it had been a clean hand off. It was such a weird situation and one that needs to be worked on. Both Jeeter getting over his Hero aversion and our reaction time to corrections. We made a point after two flag to not have Matt hand off to Jon. But our usual quick corrections seemed to remain off for the rest of the competition.

Our Three Pot wasn’t bad though, and we managed to make up for our sloppy two flag skills. We placed third in that session, holding second overall by the skin of our teeth (what a weird saying. Who has skin on their teeth?).

Our final session on Sunday went about as well as our second session. Bottle exchange was aweful, like bad. Matt had a crap initial put down, I believe going way too fast. But he had a nice correction. Those barrels are so close together. Averi was going slow but still had to circle the barrel for her pick up, and Jon, having such a reach, also had to do the same. I’ll admit, that knowing that picking up is a crap skill for me, and not having much of a lean, particularly by Sunday, I was going nice and steady for mine, setting Poe at a steady lope, which is why I managed to make it. I am thankful for my short, and super easy pony. On weekends like this one all these training session really paid off, when I knew I could trust him to be what I needed him to be.

My Hug a Mug turn was poor and I did not feel balanced enough to lean for my pick while bracing with my left arm without letting Poe fall into the barrel and take it out so I had to circle the barrel. Again, I wasn’t the fastest. I know I lost us a place or two coasting during the straight aways in races. This was very frustrating because it’s something I had mentally worked on all winter, push push push. In one race in particular I did try to push home some and as a result ended up with my head down and my steering compromised during my handoff to Jon. Ah, it was close and I know I gritted my teeth anticipating some concussion, but luckily Jon was moving out enough to prevent this. It’s nice playing with some solid players. My last race for the competition was Four Flag. Val made the suggestion I do an outside turn vs my normal inside turn so it would be easier on my leg. This was a good call. This was a nice race for us. Smooth.

Flag Fliers finished us out and I sat out of that race. It started with a wonky put in at the end, following by a second wonky put in that went down and the race just stumbled on from there. It’s one of those races that a really good first placement is crucial to set up the rest of the placements.

A little sloppy, some silly mistakes, slow recoveries, a little too much coasting and not enough pushing, and me just rolling along slowly like a Sunday stroll. We finished, I believe, fourth in the third session, and third overall. Not bad all considered. I am happy with out unit, but we have some work to do. I don’t like to pick on each of us, but that’s how we improve.

Analyze and practice.

And generally I know all of us can do better and we each just need the reminder.

Collectively we all need to tighten it up some. Nip in some skills. Maybe look at some orders vs just planning outs. Some of us are clearly better at starting, going last or holding up the middle in different races. We need to remember when to use some haste, like in mistake corrections, and when to check up a tad to get a clean skill. And push, look home and push. No more coasting. Coasting cost us a lot of placings. Mostly on my part this weekend. And more communication. I know I was nice and vocal with Poe this weekend but I don’t think I talked to my team much. Which is not the norm for me. More encouraging “good job!” And “nice run!” And reminders, “set up your turn”, and “push all the way home”. I was way too focused on myself and not there enough for the team.

I am super impressed with both Hero and Babyface. Babyface in particular. I know Val gets frustrated and I know she is working so so hard up there. But he is coming along so nice. And he has so many more gears she has not even tapped into yet (thank goodness). That pony is so rich in potential. And she is bringing him on right. I know it’s hard but she’s making it happen and she still pulls off these moves that are so incredible. And did I mention Babyface is huge too?

Jon also always has and always will impress me. He is the calm and level. Pretty easy going and pops out these insightful notions that leave me wondering, “how the heck did I never notice that before?” He is on another giant horse, and I don’t know how he pulls off his mounts. Jeeter is still moving and Jon has his foot in the stirrup and is just up and flying home. It’s quite impressive. He also has an incredible reach from up there that I am not sure how he works out. We need to keep it in mind too. Although he is pulling off some super human feats, he is not granted go-go-gadget arms.

Matt brings a lot of dedication. He really does practice and work hard, going to the gym on days he’s not riding. He takes it seriously. And I really like him on Hero. I think he is still relaxing into his groove on him, sorting out the little things like bitting, but the pony seems so suited to him. Matt is also easy, he will pop into any race in any position, whatever the rest of the team needs. His vaults are solid and he has recovered well from his shoulder injury last summer. This was his first competition back and he was only out to one team competition on Hero last year before he broke himself, I think.

For me I was super disappointed. I have worked all winter on my mounting races and had really psyched myself up all week to kick butt in them. So sitting them out sucked. I rode in almost all of the other races, but I felt like I was hardly performing and I know I really killed my team. Being the super stars they are they did not make me feel bad about that. But it still sucked. I didn’t go out and bomb each race, and really made very few mistakes, but I was really rather slow. I am generally a steady solid player. Clean and steady. So this wasn’t completely out of character, just really slow to the extreme. And I know I cost us. And that really wicked Adrenalin rush that comes with a sweet clean race just wasn’t coming since I wasn’t getting those wicked smooth races. They were more cobbled together, limped through mediocre practice runs. But that’s ok. It was just one competition.

I don’t intend to sound like I am beating myself up, crap happens. I am recognizing it and moving on so I can kill it more effectively at the next competition.

It’s been just over a week and I am still sore just sitting and walking. Stupid stupid thigh. I was hoping to ride this past weekend but since I was still sore I decided to play it safe and keep my feet on the ground. I have four more weeks until MA2 to be fully healed so I am going to wait a little longer before I mount back up. I keep running over in my head some things I want to work on. And my practice field is set up and calling my name. “Krista, come play!” But it’s got to wait. I am going to try for Wednesday or Thursday. And maybe wrap my thigh like Cindy told me to for session 2 and 3 (and I literally waived her off – I should have listened to you Cindy).

And again I want to reflect on Poe. Sometimes I get bored with him. He is a fully made games pony these days. And I must say I feel like I did a damn good job training him to be one fine competitor. He has a smart level head and a cool demeanor. He knows “stand” and “wait” and he listens. On weekends like this past one when I was not fully myself, having a pony like him was nothing but aces. All of the work, and there was a LOT of work, that went into his training, came out and proved itself. I could trust him and I could depend on him and he took care of me. And yeah I could probably slack off on his fittness and he probably doesn’t need to be put through as much practice now as I put him through, but doing all of that really pays off.

In the end you earn what you get. If I half assed my training and his training all winter then last weekend would have sucked a lot more for myself and Poe as well as for my team.

And now, bring on MA2!

MGAA Mid-Atlantic Games #5

Tuesday ~ October 16, 2012

This past weekend my team, Old School, attended the Mid-Atlantic #5 competition at the PG Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, Maryland.  It was the last competition in the series, and also the last big competition of the year. 

Team Old School: Kim, Krista, Carol Ann, Linda
Photo: Genevieve of EquiStar Photography

I arrived Friday afternoon and set up camp.  Linda and Kim were not too far behind me and the three of us got in a nice little hack that evening.  Simon got out a few leaps and I got to loosen up my muscles.   I have said it in past posts, and it still stands true, the Friday evening hack really makes a difference for me and for Simon.  I am always happy when I am able to work it in. 

Simon chilling in his portable paddock

After the hack we grabbed a bite to eat and then socialized with our friends Nancy and Kelsey.  Friday night the temperatures dropped into the 30s and it was cold.  Daisy and I snuggled into our usual bed with the addition of an electric throw blanket.  It made all the difference.  I had to turn it off during the night because we were too hot. 

Picking up in the Bottle Shuttle Race
Photo: Genevieve of EquiStar Photography

Saturday morning came on with nice crisp air and Linda whipped up a warm breakfast for everyone before we got mounted up for our first session of 12 races.  As usual we started with the Speed Weavers and 3 Mug Races which are not Simon’s strongest but the rest of the team made up our slow poke time.  Flag races are always good for me and we had a nice team run through 2 Flag and Twitter.  I was a bit apprehensive for the Bottle Race since I had a terrible practice with it on Thursday, effectively coming out of the practice with 0 to me and about a dozen to the bottle.  But we pulled it off smoothly.  And continued to ride as a clean and competent team through the rest of the session with Founders, Joust, Pony Pairs, Association, Stepping Stones, Ball & Cone and 9 Ring races.  We left the ring in the lead with 38 points and Time Flies holding second with 33 points followed by Red Solo Cup and Mischief Managed. 

Avery from team Mischief Managed
Photo: Genevieve of EquiStar Photography

We spent some time assistant referring and working ring crew and then returned for our second session of the day.  We started this set of 12 races off with Flag Fliers and 4 flag, two excellent races for Simon and I, and my team kept up their momentum as well.  I started us off in Tool Box and although the race was clean, I really need to work on my toolbox placement (mental note). We kept it clean with Balloon, Litter and Hug A Mug Races.  But two teammates had some difficulty in Mug Shuffle (way to coordinate it into the same race!).  We tried switching up and putting me in 4th position for Sock Race, which proved to be a bad decision as I missed my double dunk, effectively killing us in that race.  We held strong in Pony Express, Quoits, and had a fantastic run through Windsor Castle Race.  But we ended with a sloppy Sword Race and a ring being knocked to the ground by a teammate.  Not a bad session all in all, but not as clean as our first session, and Time Flies got their act together and snatched up some points.  We came out of that session in second behind Time Flies by one point with something like 69 and 68 points.  Red Solo Cup was standing somewhere around the 55 point with Mischief Managed quite a ways behind perhaps in the 30-40 range.    

Masters Riders in the Flag Fliers Race
Photo: Genevieve of EquiStar Photography

After the riding finished on Saturday we had our annual MGAA meeting and announced the election results.  It was a nice opportunity to meet up with some fellow members and have an official catch up discussion.  We followed the meeting up with a fantastic potluck dinner back at camp.  Linda prepared some pot roast and Joy prepared some chili and the rest of us supplied some sides.  We stuffed our faces and then ate mummy cupcakes by Linda, and chocolate cake by Carol Ann.  Annie pulled out a Jiffy Pop, which was semi successful, with tasty popcorn, but ended up on fire. 

 We spent the rest of the evening roasting marshmallows, which Carol Ann takes the blue ribbon at.  She even roasted me two to perfection, which I promptly made into a chocolate gram cracker smores.  Yum.

Carol Ann the marshmallow roasting master

Jiffy Pop with Annie and Linda

Saturday night was not nearly as cold, and we woke up ready to hit the field for the final session consisting of 15 races. 

Linda’s Mummy Cupcakes – yummmmm

Generally I start off my first session riding at my worst and improve as the sessions stack up.  One teammate seems to work on the complete opposite and starts off clean but ends with some bumbles.  We should try and get on the same page with that, because it would really help our points totals!  The other two teammates generally ride pretty evenly across the board, with very few mistakes spread out pretty evenly.

Kim successfully got this sock dunked in the Sock Race
Photo: Genevieve of EquiStar Photography

I feel I pretty much held true to my typical and rode a clean, although not very speedy final.  My teammate opposite seemed to perform a lot cleaner than usual for most of the session, which is fantastic.  One teammate was having an off day, which left us with a few more mistakes than usual and was very frustrating for her.  We have all been there.  It sucks. 

Masters Rider Kelsey placing the ball in the Windsor Castle Race
Photo: Genevieve of EquiStar Photography

We Started off with Simon’s favorite (not), Speed Weavers,  with a teammate taking pole.  Bottle and Twitter were fine, but in Carton, there was lapse in thought and we accidentally sent rider 4 out too early and had to recall her, which is an elimination.  I’ll take the blame on that one, as I was telling her to move up.  But we stayed strong through most of the session, playing Sock, 4 Flag, Joust, Hula Hoop, 3 Mug, Ring the Cone, Pony Pairs, 3 Pot Flag, Tool Box, Windsor Castle and finishing with Flag Fliers.  Time Flies kept  up the year’s tradition and crushed us for the blue.  We ended up in second, with 113 points followed by Red Solo Cup with 100 points and Mischief Managed in purple bringing up the tail. 

Linda and Blue
Photo: Genevieve of EquiStar Photography 

Mischief Managed had an excellent showing for their first competition as a team, and are going to be a rival next year when they get the bugs worked out.  I think I speak for the entire division of adult riders when I say that we are all happy to have them join us.  As always everyone in our division had a great time, lots of comradely, with hugs and waves at the closing.  I know at one point I got Simon to pick up some hoof and move out a bit on the way home, and it seemed like every team was cheering him on.

Mischief Managed rider Devorah dunking her sock
Photo: Genevieve of EquiStar Photography

I love riding in this division, and although MA#5 was fun, it will be a long winter until we get to meet up on the field again for Mid-Atlantic #1 and the start of the 2013 season.

team Old School: Kim, Carol Ann, Linda, Krista
Photo: Genevieve of EquiStar Photography

Masters Rider Annie and Bella
Photo: Genevieve of EquiStar Photography

Pulling a flag in Flag Fliers Race
Photo: Genevieve of EquiStar Photography

Masters Rider Claudia vaulting on her pony Galaxy
Photo: Genevieve of EquiStar Photography

Simon is such a good pony
Photo: Genevieve of EquiStar Photography

Joust Race

Monday ~ October 15, 2012

Joust race is one of the favorites of most games riders.  It is generally played at full speed.  The joust rod is heavy and awkward and handing it over at full speed can be challenging.  The joust board is a specialized piece of equipment that is relatively expensive in comparison to all other pieces of games equipment and not everyone has one to practice with at home.  The targets make a loud clanking noise when they are hit down and some ponies find it a bit scary.

In this photo, Simon and I are in the second rider position. He is pushing hoof up the field and I have just successfully speared my target down.
I love Simon’s face in this photo. It matches how I think he feels playing this race, like a bad ass. I love my pony.
Photo: Genevieve of EquiStar Photography
Mid-Atlantic #5 October 14th, 2012

In the joust race two riders on each team start at either end of the field.  Rider one starts with a joust rod in hand, and gallops up the field, spearing down one target, and then continues to the end of the field.  Rider one then hands the target over to rider two, who returns up the field, also knocking one target down.  Rider three and four continue the pattern.

Here is the official MGAA instructions for the Joust Race from the 2012 Rulebook followed by the diagram of set up.

Click on the link below to see a youtube video of my team playing Joust Race last June at the Mid-Atlantic #2 competition in Doswell, Virginia.  This was Simon’s second competition.

MA #2 2011, Joust – Old School

And here are a few more Joust Race photos.

Masters Rider at Mid-Atlantic #4 2012
Photo: Genevieve of EquiStar Photography

Teammate Carol Ann at Mid-Atlantic #5 2012
Photo: Genevieve of EquiStar Photography

Intermediate Rider at Mid-Atlantic #5
Photo: Genevieve of EquiStar Photography

MGAA Mid-Atlantic #1 ~ 2012

Team Old School
Zoe, Carol Ann, Linda, Krista, Kim
Photo: Genevieve Arens

 This past weekend was the big season opener for the east coast mounted games season. We kicked it off with the first edition of the MGAA Mid-Atlantic Series held at the Price George’s Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. Simon and I rode with our team, Old School, including usual team members; Linda, Kim and Carol Ann. We also asked our friend Zoe to join us for the weekend with her pony Cheyenne.

I started off the weekend with a lengthy hack around the grounds and then joined up with teammates and friends for a a nice little practice on Friday afternoon to help work out some of the silliness.

Photo: Genevieve Arens

Apparently it wasn’t enough because the first session on Saturday started out with Simon a little full of himself. This is typical of Simon, and something I just need to expect and work through until he grows out of it. He did a few little rears (I suspect his hooves are only going one or two feet off the ground) and some leaping starts and a few slow take offs when receiving hand offs. We also took out the end barrel in bottle shuttle, which I am blaming on Simon’s silliness and lack of focus. I managed to reset it relatively quickly without needing to dismount, and proceeded on. The rest of the session was pretty clean with very few mistakes team wide.

Photo: Genevieve Arens

Simon took a little lunch time nap in his portable corral while I took my turn as an assistant referee for the intermediate division.

Nap Time
Photo: Me

Photo: Genevieve Arens

We returned for the afternoon session with Simon in full effect. He moved out, he stopped, he turned, and I felt like we were a well matched pair with great communication and a worthy member of our team. I did miss a flag put in the 3 Pot Flag race. It was totally my fault and Simon was right there, ready to help me pull off a quick correction. Otherwise the session was pretty clean for Simon and I, with just a few other mistakes throughout the team.

Zoe lookin good in Navy and Yellow
Photo: Genevieve Arens

That night we had a fun potluck and social affair at our camp site. We got in lots of laughs and took down some good eats. We also took the moment to invite Zoe to be an official member of the team and she accepted! Yea!

Simon first off the Line
Photo: Ashley Desjardins

Zoe fits right in with the four of us and is such an upbeat, easy going person. She is fun and a real joy to have around. She is also a good rider and an asset to have in races. I am thrilled she accepted and is going to be sporting navy and yellow with us. So yea, Old School is now a 5 man team!

Hand off to Kim
Photo: Genevieve Arens

Sunday we woke up from a night of rain to a warm sunny morning. We hit the field feeling good and the team rode very well. Simon and I had a snafu in the Ball and Cone race, which is generally a pretty strong race for us. He is a true fossil pony, and will stand nicely for me to complete technical tasks like balancing tennis balls on the tops of cones. But Sunday, although he was stopping and standing, he kept turning to face the cone when I would lean over to place the ball, thereby putting it out of my reach. We were eventually successful, but it took a few attempts to reach the cone and ate up too much time. I was rather disappointed in this race, but overall, we had a very clean session with just a few mistakes team wide.

Simon waiting for the call to the start line
Photo: Ashley Desjardins

The 15 race session blew past in no time and we found ourselves in a solid second place at the end. The other teams were fantastic. Particularly our friendly favorites, Time Flies, who rock the pink and black gear. They are a fantastic well practiced team, who have a few members that can pull off vaults and reach items floating in buckets of water without dismounting. Two important skills our team very much lacks. Time Flies gives us a real challenge. They push us to try harder, practice more, and push for additional speed and accuracy. And the best part, they are fun and friendly and nothing but enjoyable to ride with. Which is common in the adult division where teams cheer each other on, compliment well pulled off skills and give occasional high fives amongst each other.

Team Time Flies
Photo: Ashley Desjardins

An excellent weekend, with lots of friends, fun, ponies and games. Old School grew in members, and together we have a real challenge to push for this season.

Simon and I got home late Sunday, but I decided not to take our customary Monday off, and we had a nice hack and got in a little technique practice for myself.

Moving into the changeover box for the start
Photo: Ashley Desjardins

In general I am seeing improvement in Simon.  After the first session I was very pleased with his starts, and noticed in some photos that he was out front of the other ponies quite often.  He also has picked up the pace since last year and made the end of the lane in line with the other ponies, and even ahead on some occasions.  His end turns have improved and he has not lost any of his excellent stopping or standing skills.  He has also improved slightly in bending poles, which is one of his worst races.  This weekend he did not drop his shoulder into any of the poles and he even had a lead change around one of them.

The next two weeks I will be going heavy practicing Ball and Cone, flag puts and turning around barrels.

With the first installment of the series behind us, we have four more to up our game and catch Time Flies.

Photo: Me

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