Early in the fall the International Mounted Games team went to Australia to visit and compete representing the United States Pony Clubs, Inc. The following blog posts are recaps from some of the members of the team. Enjoy!
For more information on this or any of the International Exchanges offered in Pony Club, click
International Mounted Games Exchange by Aidan Doud
The 2016 Pony Club International Mounted Games Exchange in Australia was an experience I will never forget. Two full weeks of making unforgettable friends while touring the most beautiful country was an immeasurable experience, and getting to to end it with a competition in the sport we all love truly made it a once in a lifetime trip.
My favorite part of the tour was definitely our trip down to Phillip Island in Southern Victoria. Every night, the fairy penguins will swim up onto the beach and walk up it into the grass to their burrows. They call this the parade of penguins and it was incredible to see an animal like that in a wild habitat that we would only ever get to see in a zoo back home. Also, the wildlife sanctuaries we visited were amazing. Every single stereotypical Australian animal you could think of, we saw it. From selfies with kangaroos, to watching the sleepy koalas, and sadly for Jaycee – getting pooped on by Australian cockatoos twice in the course of two days.
What I learned during my time traveling with the team, staying in hostels, and staying with my amazing host family is that the lifestyles of the Australians and us isn’t really that different, which I found really surprising. There were many small things we did, said, or ate differently but altogether I felt right at home while being 10,000 miles from home, and I have to thank the Australian Pony Club and my host family for doing everything they could to make our experience an enjoyable one.
What I am going to bring back to my own Pony Club in the Maryland Region is the strong encouragement to get involved in Mounted Games in your local club. To start a team with your friends and go to rallies and competitions and Championships. It is a sport like no other in the world. You’re on a team with your best friends and you have so many opportunities to travel the world and compete. Even better, you have the chance to make friends with people from countries all across the globe who you will never lose touch with and remember forever. I know I am already planning trips to visit friends I have made through mounted games and I encourage you to go out and get a mounted games program started because, trust me, it is a sport you definitely do not want to miss out on. Finally, thank you so much to the United States Pony Clubs, Inc for providing such an amazing opportunity for all of its members to travel abroad and compete, it will stick with me through the rest of my life.