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 


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

Practice at Fine Idea Farm! 

September 20, 2016

At the beginning of the month I spent a week in Maryland riding ponies.  I started the trip at Fine Idea Farm with a mounted games practice.  Farm owner, Abby, hosted myself, teammates Val and Matt and Abby’s German exchange games player, Tim.  

This was Tim’s first ride on Jeeter, who was being let to him by Val for a pairs competition the following weekend.  This is the first time we met Tim and he was a lot of fun.  He also rode Jeeter very well and pushed him to be a more agile games pony!   

This is also the first time I have bee to FIF and woe.  Abby has really done a lot with the place in the past year.  The barn is so nice, and the property is well laid out and just lovely.  

Ride and Lead

July 28, 2016 (second post today!)

(I typed this last September but never seemed to get the video to load.  Lets try again!)

CLICK this – Ride and Lead video

I played his race a long time ago when it was called “Grooms Stakes” in accordance with the British Pony club.  I think we played it when I was on the Pony Club International team in the early 90s riding in Northern Ireland, and I do remember playing it at IMGA Worlds in Germany, I think.  And possibly at another international competition back in the 90s.

Other than that, I have not seen this race played much until this summer when I took a team to the Welsh Championships in Chepstow in August.  It is a complicated race, and it took the team a few minutes to get it down, but they rode it very well in the competition.  I remember it feeling really cool to ride it when it went smoothly, and it is really cool to watch as well.

I talked about it with the kids on the team as well as Alicia, and we all think it would be a neat race to introduce in the fossil division at MGAA Nationals next summer.  Our reason for picking fossils, is that the fossil teams, as a whole division, are generally calm, cool and collected.  Most of these riders have the ability to think their race out in advance.  It is no more complicated than hula hoop or pony pairs races, and doesn’t have to be done at excessive speed to come off well.  It is also a race that is great for vaulters, but is also easy for stirrup mounters (which I am one of).

Using the names of my own team to make it easier, here is how the race would be played.

Set up:

Rider One – Krista, riding her own pony Poe, and leading Matt’s pony Jitter starts behind the A line.  Rider two, Matt, standing on the ground, holding rider 3, Averi’s pony, Sparkles, stands behind the C line.  Rider 3, Averi, standing on the ground and holding rider 4,  Val’s pony Sprite stands behind the A line.  Rider 4, Val, stands on the ground with no pony behind the C line.

There is a line of 4 bending poles.

Rider one, Krista, rides her pony Poe, while leading rider 2, Matt’s pony jitter, up through the poles, bending as she goes.  After she crosses the C line, Matt, holding rider 3, Averi’s pony Sparkles, mounts his pony jitter, taking her from Krista.

Krista dismounts behind the C line, and hands her pony, Poe to Val, the 4th rider.  Krista is done the race.

Matt, crosses the field, weaving through the poles on his pony, while leading Sparkles, back to the A line.  Averi is standing behind the A line, holding rider 4, Val’s pony sprite. After Matt crosses the line, Averi mounts Sparkles and then, leading Sprite, she heads up the field through the poles.

Matt and his pony Jitter are done the race.

Averi crosses the C line, riding her pony sparkles and leading Val’s pony Sprite, and stops at Val, who is waiting on the ground holding rider 1, Krista’s pony Poe.  Averi and her pony Sparkles are then done the race.  Val mounts Sprite, and weaves back through the poles to the A line, leading Poe.  When Val crosses the A line with both ponies, the race is done.

Yeah, a little complicated, but nothing too challenging.

 

 

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

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