Midsouth Region Pony Club Rally
The Midsouth Pony Club Regional MegaRally was held June 16-25, 2017 at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky. The MegaRally includes separate rallies for Tetrathlon, Show Jumping, Dressage, Combined Training, or Eventing. The C Eventing rally is held concurrent with the region’s annual fundraiser – the Midsouth Pony Club Horse Trials. West Tennessee Pony Club sent teams to compete in both the Show Jumping Rally and the Eventing Rallies.
For Show Jumping Rally, team riders were: Ethan Read, team captain; Grace Read, and Gretchen Nunnelee. WTPC’s newest member, Jaylon Jones, served as stable manager – a valuable and necessary member of every rally team. Jaylon came to Pony Club through the Urban Equestrian Program (UEP) at Southern Blues Equestrian Center, where he has spent the last two years learning about horses and their care. The riders on the team were experienced rally-goers, showing Jaylon the ropes of Pony Club rally. Grace and Gretchen both laid down three clear rounds to come in first and second in their large divisions, with all three of the riders also taking individual ribbons. The team earned a third place finish overall out of twelve teams competing.
Ethan and Grace Read also competed in the Eventing Rally on a composite team, combining with Kaylee vanWinkle of Hunter’s Run Pony Club in Ohio. Gretchen Nunnelee was the eventing team’s Stable Manager. For eventing rally, the riders must complete a jog every morning to show their horse is sound.
They also participated in the vet box after their cross country run, which is great future training for advanced levels of eventing. The stable manager plays a huge role at the vet box! When the horse and rider come in from cross country to the vet box, they are met by a team which includes veterinarians and their stable manager. The vets measure the temperature, pulse, and respiration (TPR) of the horse, and then the stable manager and rider untack and work to cool and walk the horse. The horse is re-checked for TPR until these values return to a normal resting state. The stable manager must be sure that buckets of water for sponging and cooling the horse after the run are ready when the rider and horse come in from cross country. And as the rider untacks, the stable manager ensures all of the tack and rider equipment are labeled and make it back to the barns.
The Novice cross country course was tough, with most of the course jumps at maximum height, with several interesting and tricky “questions” along the way. Torrential rains the night before, courtesy of Tropical Storm Cindy, necessitated some changes on the Novice course at the water complex, as the water hazard was too deep to be safely negotiated, and another jump had to be moved out of a running stream of water! Luckily most other courses were run the day before, with no troubles.
The stadium courses were also full of tricky “questions,” with a surprisingly small number of clear rounds at the end of the day.
The WTPC composite eventing team earned first place out of five teams competing – no small feat with only 3 riders and no drop score! The team also earned second place in Horse Management. Ethan Read earned a fifth place individual award in the Open Novice division in a field of 20 riders.
Another interesting note at the C Eventing rally – one of the teams was a Horse Masters team. These are adults who are over 25, but they can still be in Pony Club, earn certification rankings, participate in Pony Club educational opportunities, and compete in rallies. These riders had a great time and were an encouragement to all. They won the first place team ribbon for Horse Management and the second place overall team ribbon.
The Show jumping team, Ethan Read, Jaylon Jones, Gretchen Nunnelee, and Grace Read, earned third place.
Ethan Read and Grace Read qualified to compete in Eventing rally at the US Pony Club National Championships, July 17-24, 2017. This is also a Festival year, so all activities will be at the Kentucky Horse Park, Lexington, Ky. Find more information at: https://www.ponyclub.org/Events/Championships/
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