Thursday, 3 April 2014

Super quick update

Sorry guys I'm struggling to do the blog as was in an ITPF meeting for most of this evening

However super quick update :-
Team lance - bit of a disaster as we were just a few points behind South Africa after round A, but Sarah's horse went lame so we had to run with 3 horses for round B. Michael was also on a new horse so we were out of the medals

In pairs I ran with Adrian and after a full house on the first run, we got a bit excited about being in the running and then proceeded to blank in the second run, so some sports psychology needed!

Sarah also had a new horse for the pairs so didn't even have one practice run so although we picked up more points, just not enough

Last day tomorrow!

Acuity Pivothead Glasses!

My mare likes to leap at the start!

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

First and Second Day of Competition

This is a 2 for 1 blog as I've finally had the time to catch up

First day of Competition

Michael accidental bin dismount 
Individual Lance – riders Sarah King, Jenna Copley, Adrian Deane and Michael Smith

Well this didn't go very well for me, as although the practice wasn't bad; my bay got faster and faster, and became very wound up at the beginning. Times were great, as he was running around 6.3sec (per 100m), but this 1.2 sec under the required time, which was great but very difficult to adapt to coming out of the UK winter. So my performance sucked at 2/6 pegs and I was getting pretty depressed about the whole thing.
Speedy photobombing Sally!

To be fair stopping was a bit difficult despite a military Pelham and I’ve taken some pretty hairy corners on the course avoiding the irrigation pipes that are stuck up around 1m into the course.

Rachel testing the club house pool!
The rest of team fared better and GB picked up some good points, but not enough to get into the medals, which were hotly contested with two run offs to determine the gold medal, which was won by Oman.

Lunchtime - we went to the club house for dinner, however together with Rachel I decided the pool looked better, so we stripped off our sweaty gear and headed straight for the newly filled pool. However it was kind of strange tasting and there was plenty of debris floating along with us. However it was heaven.

Following lunch we did the first run of the rings and peg. I had a conflab with Tina, and swapped onto our 5th horse, which had been binned on the practice day, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.

Fortunately I was pleasantly surprised and this was much easier than the previous horse, however despite this I managed to blank completely on the first run at rings and peg (my first run on this horse, but I don’t really have a good excuse).

We had a break for the opening ceremony, which looked good, but seemed to take a long time stood in the sun. The ceremony had a large crowd in attendance, and consisted of the stunt riders, camels and horses laying down, parade of teams and the marching band . 

Following more self- flagellation and the pressure of the crowd, GB came back on form just missing one ring. I was back to being happy following getting a full house and it was a good high to end on.
We finished late and were quite pleased to have a free night with dinner at the hotel

Second day of competition
Individual Sword – riders Sarah King, Jenna Copley, Adrian Deane and Jacky Chandler

Chestnut replacement & team
Another early start – Sarah is getting up at 5.30am, but I decided that a banana was a fine breakfast and hid in bed for another 30 mins! I find going to bed late and getting up this early is beginning to take a toll already.

The team headed to the ground, and this time Jacky was on the horse Michael rode, and the other members were on the same horses, so GB was a team of ginger ninjas, since we don’t have names for the horses (or at least ones people could actually remember) we have settled on Pumpkin for Sarah’s, Tango for mine, Orange for Adrian’s and Fanta for Jacky / Michael’s.

So onto the competition and first run looked good for me picking up nicely, but the next 2 runs were a disaster as I must have changed something and was just over the peg.

After 3 runs we stopped and went back to hotel, which was a shame as it was reasonably cool in the morning and was going to get hotter in the afternoon, but of course the afternoon session is very much for the crowd. 

Team water aerobics

Being team GB we went straight to the pool when we got back for a lovely cool down, oddly we were the only team there… which is confusing, although I did find out tonight that Egypt were looking on enviously but a few of their team cannot swim. I did point out the pool was shallow – so we might be giving out swimming lessons later this week!

The only Aussie in the pool 
At 2pm we headed back to the ground to complete the individual sword.
For me this went better, but not perfect with 4,6,4 as I was still a little late and spinning the pegs out. However, at least a vast improvement on this morning!

Disaster then struck as Fanta has gone lame, so we were down a horse. Tina wasn’t prepared to put anyone on the bay (“Speedy Gonzales”) as he would be unlikely to go under the gallows. So we had to run with 3 riders.

Getting some tips from Amer of Pakistan (now training UAE)
Despite lots of practice at home, again I was rather non-pleased with my performance, with just one orange on the first run and an orange and draw on the second peg. 

Everyone did reasonably well and we picked up more points, however not having a 4th rider is going to be disappointing when it comes to looking at the team points table.

We arrived back late at the hotel and had another free night, but we invited the Aussies over for a social evening.

However I have now failed to get the blog done before midnight!

Monday, 31 March 2014

Oman World Championship Day 1 & 2

Welcome back to the blog, I've been slightly remiss on blogging, but I shall endeavour to restart!!

The team arrived in Oman late on Thursday, as you can see we don't travel light!!

After a rather leisurely breakfast on friday we went to the grounds to inspect the course and check out the club house.

The club house was beautiful and had a rather stunning swimming pool, although was lacking in water - we hope this will be filled ahead of the competition.

Saturday was a busy day for me and I spent it working on the ITPF documents and speech writing. This was ok whilst the team were back at the venue, but I did feel a little put out after seeing them all enjoy the pool.
Today we got up at 05:30 to have breakfast at 6am ready to leave in plenty of time for the draw of horses.  The British, Australians and South Africans were ready on time and waiting for the rest of the countries. I am coming to the conclusion we may be given slightly earlier times to encourage some of the others to actually be on time…  I’m all for leaving it later, but the team insist on being punctual.

The team order was drawn first, and GB are the eight team to run in competition. The horses were then drawn, and after 2 horses being drawn for each team, we inspected the horses and microchips were read to confirm the identity of each horse.  Following by another round of drawing the last 3 horses.  This did make the whole procedure rather a long time!!

Once we had drawn the horses half the teams practiced, including GB, and the other half went back to the hotel to return in the afternoon.

GB managed to draw 4 chestnuts and 1 bay horse, so we are very much a team of brown horses!

Practice went well with lots of swapping and trying out different horses. Finding equipment was a bit hairy and seemed very much a free for all, this meant we were very glad that everyone has brought their own bridles and in my case my usual stock saddle.

I got given a bay horse to ride and stuck with him for the entire session; however after the first run it did take me a long time to pull him up!

The others all coped well with their horses and were getting to grips with them, we have a few jumpy ones, but nothing nasty.

Practice came and went too quickly, and we only managed 5 of our 6 runs before the track closed.
In the afternoon we mulled over the horses with a team session in the pool

The evening event was at the town hall with the launch of the new International Tent Pegging Federation logo, World Cup and website.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Day 8 - Last day of competition

Today was a bit grey and cold, especially compared to the other mornings. The competition started reasonably promptly with the pairs class running first.

One rider has to carry sword and the other lance, Adrian was paired with Michael and I was paired with Jacky. However we swapped horses, as the chest infection has knocked Jacky for six, so we tried her on my slower horse that doesn't fight at the start.

Jacky's boy is rather cute and closer to the ground, so I went for sword whilst she had lance. Our first run I wasn't quick enough to adapt so was late, whilst Jacky go her peg, and on the second run I got my peg whilst Jacky was to the side. Just a shame, as the morning was low scoring with bronze being won with 3 pegs (18pts)!

Team sword came next, first rounds were a bit patchy on some of the starts, but all team members contributed points

The competition broke for lunch and we then found it was raining, this wouldn't stop competition in the UK, but here everything normally stops for rain

The course was harrowed and deemed fit to run, so we continued with the last 3 rounds of team sword, again starting was get tricky but we were together.

The harrowing worked well, but the remaining ground was getting slippery.

After a break for the medal ceremony the rain kept coming, so the final indian file was cancelled and the competition ended at 5pm.

After this life got crazy as we told we had to pack and be ready for the awards evening by 6.30pm, cue panic and fast packing.

The Brits were requested to load their luggage on the bus, which we were confused with as our flight is at 9.15am in the morning, however we were assured we would have a hotel and a PRO to look after us.

The awards ceremony was hot and lengthy as included all the local competitions as well as the International Competition. This was followed by a quick dinner and straight on the bus.

The journey to Lahore got us to the airport just after 12.30am, and we soon discovered that there was no hotel, only a cafe where we were left. This was a disappointment as we didn't get much sleep, and combined with the flight meant a long travelling time and in award ceremony blazers for the boys!

To add further insult to injury PIA were extremely unhelpful, the team carried the team equipment for Tina and Jacky, and despite having 2 spare paid for tickets PIA insisted on charging a considerable sum for excess baggage and were initially funny about the lance tube which has traveled many times before on PIA.

All in all this was a rather bitter end to the trip, and it is disappointing PIA couldn't be more helpful

Finally I am now home safely and reunited with my horses!

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Day 7 - 4th day of competion

Well not really my thing, so I think I was so surprised at getting the first one I forgot about the second and  peg... Michael held up the GB side with a full house, but then on the second run didn't get the blade square on the second orange so wasn't awarded the slice and drew the peg.

Jacky and Adrian both suffered with horse issues, so this was not a very high scoring event for GB :-(

Team Lance
Ironically GB seems to do well on the little 2" pegs, we did 2 runs on cardboard 6cm, then 1 run date palm 2", and second round 1 run 6cm cardboard and 2 runs 2" date palm
Me, huzzah and thanks to Norman!! 6,6,6,6,6,6
Adrian 6,0,6,6,6,6
Michael 6,2,0,6,6,6
Jacky 0,2,0,6,0,0

Little bit sad we were 2 pegs short of pipping Australia, however we have sent Jacky to bed with a lemsip and antibiotics so we are hoping tomorrow will be GB's day.

We went to the Chenab Club tonight, which was a dinner hosted by the Small Trade Association of Faisalabad, the dinner was good. Jacky opted to stay behind to try and recover a bit more, which is wise as most of these nights end up being late!

Also the rest of the teams are currently partying on the roof tops and the GB lads haven't erm well quite made it that far and are currently asleep fully dressed - I did wonder whether to wake them, but opted for retreat....

Tina Update

Tina had a fractured upper femur and was transferred to Islamabad and had a successful operation to stabilize the fracture.

Tomorrow we will know how soon she will be able to return to the UK. The first physio session has taken place and apparently Tina thinks no pain, no gain!

Our friends in Pakistan have been an immense help especially Awais Waisti and Brig. Sardar Effendi. Michael spent 9 hours on the road yesterday for a flying visit courtesy of the Brigadier, but still managed a full house in lemons. 

Tina is in good spirits and continues to manage the team from her hospital bed!!

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Day 6 Rest Day

Today we had an early start to head to the Mona Remount Depo, which is around 2.5 hrs from Faisalabad.
Today I am not feeling quite so chipper, as Jacky has shared her cold with me so I have a very croaky voice!

The bus journey was long, but our police escort seem to thoroughly enjoy putting on the lights and sirens to accompany us. Good news is that we seem to fly through the tolls.

Mona is stunning, its one of the most manicured places I have seen in Pakistan with everything spotlessly tidy.

We had high tea on arrival which consisted of samosas, peppery egg sandwiches, some other savory nibbles and deep fried strands of some thing, which was a bit like a strand of doughnut deep fried in sugar.

Then two carriages of 4 in hand arrived, and two carriages of 2 in hand. All pulled by either Suffolk punches or Percheron's. We all climbed aboard and were treated to a carriage tour of part of the Mona facility.

This included a heavy horse breeding section, donkey breeding sections.

The tour halted at the Mona polo ground and there was a show put on for us which included vaulting, laying down horses, dancing horses and a tent pegging display.

Adrian in the British Quarters
We then moved onto the Arab and thoroughbred breeding section, all are kept in spotless paddocks with round field shelters.
My favorite part was the Arab babies where they had put out raw cane sugar for us to hand feed them. The babies squabbled and bustled for prime position and being pure Arab were all gentle but skittish and licked all sugar off everyone's hands.
We also saw the breeding mares with foals
Finally we saw the British built buildings at Mona which we beautifully maintained with highly polished brass.
We sat down for lunch which was also good food and included freshly churned butter and bread.

We then headed back on the bus for the trip back to Faisalabad