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!
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International Mounted Games Recap
By Dani Drbal
The two weeks I spent in Australia were filled with many new and fun adventures. I would first like to thank everyone from United States Pony Clubs, Inc. who helped in any way to coordinate and plan this trip. Also a massive thank you to Pony Club Victoria for all your hospitality the trip itinerary was extremely well planned and filled.
Upon arriving in Melbourne we were taken to a hostel in the city, where we spent the first night with Team Great Britain and Team Australia. The next day we traveled to The Grampians National Park and along the way stopped to visit Arrarat Pony Club and meet up with Team Canada. During our time in the Grampians we went rock climbing, repelling, canoeing, and on several beautiful hikes. After three days there we ventured back into Melbourne for the rest of our tour. In the city we did lots of sightseeing. I spent a weekend with the Rodgers family who graciously hosted a member from teams, Great Britain, Canada, and Australia as well as another member of the United States Team, and myself. The Rodgers family was extremely kind and welcoming. They made us feel right at home. Saturday morning they drove us to meet up with the rest of the team members for a friendly competition. At this competition we were scrambled onto teams with riders from each country. The competition was so much fun and gave us an opportunity to test out the ponies we would be riding the following weekend for the real competition. That afternoon we enjoyed some time at the beach with our host family. Sunday we met up with kids staying with host families nearby to play laser tag. Monday we were dropped back off at the bus to continue the tour. The remainder of the tour was spent back in the city visiting a zoo, a stallion racing farm, and more. One evening we enjoyed dinner on a river boat cruise with people from Victoria Pony Club who played a pivotal role in the organization of our trip. The day before the competition our team met to discuss strategy and go over last minute details for the next day. The competition was held in conjunction with Whittlesea Show at the Whittlesea show grounds. All the teams played very well. We placed third behind Great Britain, who was a close second to Australia with a well deserved first place. We headed back to the airport early the next morning after hard goodbyes with everyone.
Throughout the course of the trip I learned so much about myself. In such a new environment so far from home each of us was given the opportunity to step out of our comfort zones and try new things. I learned so much about the value of teamwork and friendship. Although we were only there for a short time the friends I have made on this trip will remain with me for the rest of my life and I am so grateful for that. Thank you USPC for this amazing opportunity, which I will never forget.