This past weekend, I worked at the USPC Championships East. I posted a short recap that was featured on Eventing Nation, so I’ll post it here.
I was working this weekend with GRC Photography at the Pony Club Championships East, held in Lexington, Va. at the Virginia Horse Center. It’s definitely one of my favorite venues to ride at, so I was excited to make the three-hour drive through the mountains on Thursday night.
While GRC covered all disciplines, I covered the eventing. It featured beginner novice, novice and training levels. I remember in years past there were prelim teams. While talking to a PC mom, I learned that the number of teams used to be much larger, especially at beginner novice. The novice was the biggest division this weekend.
I shot eventing dressage on Friday, which was fairly uneventful, save for the massive sunburn I got! But it was a beautiful, clear morning, which was refreshing considering the heat waves we’ve been dealing with on the east coast. I was photographing two rings and standing between the judges, so I was able to hear some comments. It was almost like I was a scribe, except I didn’t need to feverishly scribble things down.
I ended up chatting with a mom whose daughter was riding beginner novice on a 27 year-old horse! He looked great and jumped great all weekend. I can only hope my boys will be as spunky as he was at that age.
On Saturday, I was whisked away on our trusty golf cart to the cross country. It’s a real treat to be given a ride out to the course instead of walking, because it’s very hilly. All of the courses followed a similar track to the VA Horse Trials recognized event in May. I shot the water and bank for training, which rode very well. I only heard of a few falls all day at all levels, and only one required an ambulance. I was done by 12, which is great, since the last event I shot (Maryland Horse Trials) went from 9 a.m.-6 p.m!
I spent the rest of Saturday shooting Games, which is a real riot. Those kids are so bouncy and agile and the ponies really get into it. I also did a little customer service, which I don’t normally get to do. I love looking over people’s shoulders while they look through their photos and hearing their reactions.
Sunday started gloomy and quite cool. I also locked my keys in my car for the first time in my life, but luckily a locksmith came quickly. As a result, I didn’t see the training show jumping. But I did shoot the novice and beginner novice.
I didn’t stay to see how everyone ended up, but I have to say, although I never participated growing up, I think Pony Club is great for teaching kids important horse and life skills. I overheard one dad saying that his child’s team lost points during their inspection because a horse had dirt down in it’s ears! How’s that for attention to detail?
From what I saw and heard this weekend, Pony Club teaches kids to support one another in a team environment and teaches them valuable horse management skills that many of us complain are lacking across all disciplines these days.