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!
Go Pony Club Games!