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Southern Run Pony Club Makes A Clean Sweep At Regional Dressage Rally


Catherine Waddell on Nike

Olivia Mogridge on Scout

(left to right) Olivia Futch, Chaffin Smith, Grace Berry, Katherine Waddell, and Stable Manager lauren Chandler
By Evie Tumlin

Thirteen members of the Southern Run Pony Club (SRPC) attended the Deep South Pony Club Regional Dressage Rally in Gulfport, MS on June 1, 2013. Ten children went as competitors and three C-1s went as volunteers to learn.

Three trailers, (one borrowed from Harold Holman, the farrier for SRPC) and eight ponies left Oxford, MS on Friday morning May 31, traveling to Gulf Port, MS.  This was the first mounted rally for all of the riders on the teams, who had all just recently become Pony Club D-1s. 

Each team of four riders and a Stable Manager picked a theme. “The Lion Kings” were Grace Golden on Gold, Libby Ty Bauer on Gracie, Olivia Mogridge on Scout and Julia Jennings on Black Jack.  “The Seahorses” were Catherine Waddell on Nike, Olivia Futch on Sassy Seahorse, Chaffin Smith on Taffy and Grace Berry on Peter Pan. The Stable Managers were all rally-experienced D-3s: Elizabeth Hubbard (The Lion King Team) and Lauren Chandler (The Seahorses team). 

The three C-1s who went to help with the rally were Alexa Sinha, Libby Sleeper and Karen Guzman.

The first Rally experience is always a challenge for the enthusiastic parents.  They were wonderful at helping to prepare the tack room equipment and steer the kids to the practice sessions for the Quadrilles and all their Dressage test practices.  It was a huge project to get everyone organized in what to wear, what to bring, what to study, getting hotel rooms, arranging drivers, and deciding what time to leave on Friday morning. The shock always comes for parents, though they have been warned, that once on the grounds and the trailers emptied into the barn, their children are on their own! They are always supervised by the judges, as well the more experienced team members. They are safe and always within reach of adults and never left alone. However, for first timers it is always a little like weaning a foal on the first day!

Pony Club encourages responsibility and independence, plus having the parents’ “hands off” eliminates any potential conflicts. These parents were wonderful sports! They all presented themselves to the authorities for their volunteer assignments. And so the games began!

The Rally was held in one day, which made it pretty exhausting for everyone. Judges were Vicki McGowen and Betsy Gosling. The riders rode under each judge once, with one ride inside, and the other outside. 

In the afternoon, the riders had the option of performing a solo Freestyle, a Pas de Deux, or a Quadrille.  All three SRPC teams had prepared a Quadrille. They began learning Quadrille movements in January of this year in regular lessons and at Pony Club sessions with trainer Evie Tumlin at Cedar Wind Farm in Oxford, MS.  Eventually, they were able to put it all together and perform the 2011 USDF Basic Level Quadrille Test.  Evie also put their music together, using theme music from The Lion King and The Little Mermaid.

During the competition C-1 volunteer Libby Sleeper was scribing for a Dressage Judge, while the other C-1 volunteers Karen Guzman and Alexa Sinha were “shadowing” the Stable Management Judges. As parents were learning their jobs, the kids were absorbing all the information and having the wonderful experience of being responsible for their own ponies’ care, and for their feed and tack rooms.  Most importantly they were learning team work. As a rule, everyone learns at Rally!

At the end of the day when all the scores were in, the SRPC teams placed well. The Lion King team was first, and Seahorses second, in Riding; Seahorses were first and Lion King, second, in Stable Management. Lion King team was first, and Seahorses second, in the Quadrille. Julia Jennings on the Lion King team was awarded the highest overall Dressage score on Black Jack. The Seahorse team brought home the Ray Stronsky “And a Mighty Fine Ride It Was” Trophy. 

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