Pony Club games kids know what’s up. Hang around them long enough and you’ll start questioning why we eventers do what we do. I mean, who has time to fool around with the nuances of shoulder-in when you could be out tearing around the arena in a cloud of dust with your best buds?
Earlier this afternoon I stole away from the hush-hush cathedral of four-star dressage to hang off the rail of a far different competition: the first round of the Prince Phillip Cup Games. This showdown between the top four junior (age 11-14) games teams in the country is an annual tradition and a refreshing breather from the pressure cooker that is the Rolex main arena. Spectator whooping is encouraged (no kidding, the announcer got a wave going down the sideline), there’s pop music being pumped out the speakers, and the competitor dress code is “go neon or go home.”
The competition always kicks off with a Celebrity Games Challenge. This year’s lineup: Hawley Bennett-Awad, Jen McFall, Colleen Rutledge and Allie Blyskal-Sacksen, all of whom were grinning like horse-crazy little girls as they tried their hand at games like Golf Ball & Spoon and Mug Shuffle. Which brings us to the first of eight life lessons we could all stand to learn from Pony Club games kids:
You’re never too old to feel like a kid.
Anyone can fall off. It takes skill to vault back on.
Be generous with high-fives.
Sometimes, it’s OK to stare.
Never let anyone cramp your style.
Teamwork is everything.
And last but not least… when in doubt, pony kick!
Round 2 of the Prince Phillip Cup continues on Saturday morning from 8:30 to 10 a.m. in the Rolex stadium, and an awards ceremony will precede show jumping in the stadium on Sunday. Here’s wishing all four of this year’s team finalists — E. Pennsylvania Avengers, E. Pennsylvania Bloomability, Sunshine Region Lemonheads and Maryland Region Zigg Zaggers — the best of luck this weekend. And most importantly, have fun!
Learn more about the United States Pony Club by visiting the organization’s website here, and keep up with all the latest via USPC Facebook and Twitter.
Go Pony Club Games!