The 2019 Inter-Pacific Exchange is being hosted by Hong Kong, June 30-July 13. Teams from Hong Kong, New Zealand, Canada, and Australia will join the United States team for two weeks of training, competing, and cultural experiences. Follow along with team members as they recount their experiences. First up, Ella Groner (team member from the Maryland Region) gives us a recount of their week of training and the beginning of the exchange!

On Wednesday (June 26) evening, team members; Cooper M, Kaylee V, and Team Manager, Janna R arrived at the beautiful Firefly Farm in Glenmoore, Pennsylvania, hosted by Coach Nicole L. On Thursday (June 27), we watched pacing practice by Pony Club members in the advanced pony club camp held at the farm. To our great entertainment, one of them got dumped but like a true member, jumped up and got back on. It was inspirational and motivated us to ride. 😉 After that, they went back and jumped Nicole’s horses Bug and Avery. They practiced switch riding because in Hong Kong our team will be riding a lot of different horses, primarily off-the-track Thoroughbreds. The racing industry is very strong in Hong Kong and we were glad to be able to practice riding horses of similar background!

They then went to eat lunch at the famous “WaWa” in PA and got the full WaWa experience.

After the switch rides, they went with the advanced camp kids to canoe at the Brandywine River. They had a very entertaining trip with multiple tipped canoes and lots of screaming. Cooper got to use his water-front rescue skills to help them unflip a very water-filled canoe.

Friday morning (June 28), team members; Ema K and Ella G arrived and everyone had a morning dressage ride and afternoon jump session. We finished the evening with a cookout with the EPA region. It was great to meet the Pony Club folks from up there and talk to them about the exchange. Maybe one of those kids will be on a future exchange after hearing about the trip.

Saturday morning (June 29) we headed to Newark airport. After a 16 hour flight we finally arrived in Hong Kong at 7pm Sunday evening (June 30). We briefly met the team members from the other countries in the lobby, ate some pizza, then it was off to bed.

Monday morning (July 1) Ella, Ema, Cooper, and Nicole went for a nice bike ride around the city with some of the other coaches and managers. We had orientation at 11 where we met everyone and learned about all the fun things we’ll get to do while here. The afternoon was free so we took advantage of the opportunity to go explore the local mall, it was huge! There were so many stores. The highlight was getting to have bubble tea. We got thoroughly lost on the way back, but stayed positive and found our way eventually. Good team bonding experience.

We are currently back from the mall and getting ready to head out to the welcome dinner. Stay tuned for some pictures from the dinner!