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

Please pass wide and slowly 

March 13, 2017 

We have a snow storm rolling in this evening.  The only one we are getting this winter so everyone is going crazy stock piling bread, milk and toilet paper.   I ran my normal errands and Costco was a mad house.  The parking lot looked like it was the Sunday after church rush.    

I managed to get home, and get my outdoor storm prep (stack more wood, find snow shovel, move bales of hay to the field, etc) with enough time to get in a nice road hack.  I have a couple road loops I can do from my house, mostly gravel roads, all about 4-6 miles long.  

I outfitted Simon and I in our safety gear – bright yellow – there is no way a car coming up behind us could miss us.  Heck, we were probably visable from outer space!  Decked in yellow, we trotted on out and got in a nice ride.  We passed cows, sheep, goats, other horses, scary plastic bags, pony-eating-farm-equipment, and plenty of dogs. Simon hardly blinked.  His most challenging part was a one lane narrow section of gravel road directly between two occupied cow fields.  Both herds ran along with us in their respective field.  Simon looked at them and I didn’t want to take my hands and attention away to take a photo, but it was no big deal. On we went.  

We came upon a school bus and four different pickup trucks.  All of which were amazing examples of vehicles coming upon a horse on the road.  I did encounter them all in rather narrow sections of the road, areas that would require a car to take care to pass another car going in the opposite direction.  They all came to a stop or close to it and waved and smiled politely.   

Shortly before the end of the ride a suspected high school or college aged girl came flying up on me, I swear she was picking up speed the closer she got.  I flagged her down and asked he to please pass horses slow and wide in the future.  That even if a horse appears to be comfortable with a car passing, something could cause the hose to startle (an evil leaf, a bird, etc) that horse might then jump in front of or into her car.  

I find it’s important to explain this in terms a driver can relate to. “You could kill me and my horse” *should be all that needs to be said, but it seems that it hits home for them more when you explain that their car and life are in jeopardy.  

I finished my ride, and grabbed the mail on my way up the driveway.  I even had a little more time to get in more wood before the impending storm.   

New Hay Barrels 

December 2, 2016

Today’s project was to construct, hang and load two new hay barrels.  And I am happy to say, project complete.  These two barrels (the two on the right in the photo) were free because they both some some small drill holes in them. The blue one also has an awkward bigger hole in its side (you can see it in the photo).  

The hard part was getting them up high enough to hook them.  Once hug I don’t take them down often.  

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.



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