Friday, August 1, 2008

vegetarian on a sheep station the size of a small state

Its kind of strange being a vegetarian on a sheep station in the outback with 30,000 sheep on 126000 acres.
One day we drove for 4 hours and only got around half of it. Yesterday I tried working as a jillaroo (ranch hands are called jackaroos here and female ones jillaroos), we had to try to figure out which ewes were pregnant (dont ask but it involved udders), luckily I want to be a vet so could put it down to scientific discovery.

Tour and competitions were so much fun will tell more when I get back to wireless world but in the meantime hope the photos tell the story.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Tour Photos!

I love Australia!!

Here is a link to a few photos showing what I've been up to in Aussie Land 
(petting kangaroos at the caversham wildlife park,Scenery in Swan valley, trail riding in brigadoon, low ropes course at Fairbridge)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

and we're off

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Before Australia

Preparation, Fundraising and Training camp

Photos from Izzy to Aus Gala:
Dinner Tent:
Silent Auction Tent:
Jump donated and Built by Eric Bull (Thank you!):
Games Demo (me on Timmy and other Izzy on Robin):
Preparation and Fundraising

The good news came in December, I had made the International USA PC mounted games team to compete in the International tournament in Australia, something that had been a goal for two years since my first try outs for the team. I joined Mounted Games across America (MGAA), the specialist games riders organization, to help boost my experience. (Greta from my MGAA team Fast Forward had been on the winning 2007 International mounted games team. My pony Timmy was also chosen to be used for the International competition held in US at the Kentucky Horse Park). Much to my excitement when I got the letter , I had not only been selected but also named captain of the USPC mounted games team. Thanks to my references Pam French and Michelle Reilly. The news came in January, to make the trip happen each team member (there are 5 of us) had to raise $4,000, which was recently increased to $5,000!

The task of fundraising started at the National
USPC conference where I took part in the international exchange seminar and worked their booth. I left armed with bags of dog and horse cookies to sell at $5 and $10 depending on size. My first targets chose the $5 bags and I began to realize (math is my strongest subject) that it would take a long time to reach $4,000 just selling cookies. I decided to design and sell t-shirts which I sold at $20 a pop. That was a better bet. Everyone pitched in to help sell at rallies. Thanks Mountain Skyline PC, Old Dominion Region, and tack shops and a team trip to the Prince Phillip games cup at Rolex horse trials, which offered a games/horse enthusiast market and some good sales people. Thanks to Chaney Detmer-Lillard, Liz Riley, Kelly and Meredith Dauzat. But this still only made a small dent in the $4,000. So then we worked the businesses. Thanks to Plain Dealing, Dover Saddlery and Old Dominion Equine. Most businesses said they hadn’t got a budget for sponsorship but would give goods to an auction. And if there is to be an auction, there has to be a party and that’s where the idea of the Izzy to Aus Gala started. I realized that in Charlottesville/Albemarle people love a party and that’s how fundraising happens.

didn’t know how to do it but Pony Club moms and sponsors, Pam French, Hillary Horn, Amy Hurt, Vicky Mullaney,Alicia Milligan, Jackie Pimentel, Pattie Boden (of Animal Connection), Rob and Ann Riley did. Thank you so so much, they helped me design the tickets, organized and made the food, organized the auction donations, begged for tents and drinks and generally were the most wonderful organizers. Party was lots of fun! Thanks for coming everyone and even more thanks to those who couldn’t come (it was a busy graduation, Belmont weekend) and were kind enough to send in donations anyway. All I had to do was get a team member to come and do a games demonstration which was lots of fun. We made a great big dent on the team goal (now increased to $25000), with a total fundraising donation from all the different activities of $8000), we are only a $1000 away as we speak so I think they will let us get on the plane tomorrow. We also raised lots for the fund to support the Instructor training program. I learnt a lot during the fundraising process and hope that in the future I can put it to work for other deserving causes.

See photos above of the Izzy to Aus Gala, and below for the list of the business contributors in goods or money therefore sponsors of the team, lots of individuals too but I am guessing that they may be shyer, so not naming names but thank you all so much from the Pony club,
Farmington Hunt, Tricounty/Scottsville, and St Annes Belfield School community.
Thank you:

Acqua Clean Pool Service, Pedro and Jackie Pimentel
Animal Connections, Pattie Boden
Boars Head Inn
Brant Gamma Photography
Brickland Eventing/Emily Beshear
Dover Saddlery
Eric Bull
Farmington Hunt Club
Gib/Addie Evarts
Grayson Farm, Mr and Mrs Schmidt
High Point Farm, Mimi Osborne
'Judy B'
Kiki Osborne
Kim Severson
Ko (photographer)
Lily Bennett
Martin Horn Associates
Mountain Skyline Pony Club
Old Dominion Equine Associates, Keith Brady and Jeff Beshear
Old Dominion Region
Pine Knot
Plain Dealing Farm, Wachmeister/Strinis
Plain Dealing Farm/Molly Bull
Pony Academy, Diane Hawkins
Red Light Management/Dave Matthews Band
Redlands/Rachel MacMahan
Warren Hill Farm, Riley Family
The Jefferson Inn, Richmond
Tricounty riding club
Toad Hollow Farm & Renee Shifflet
Tunner Family
Veritas Vineyards
Virginia Horse Trials, Brian and Penny Ross
Virginia Polo, Lou Lopez
Virginia Tent Rentals, Mr and Mrs Nunally,

Training Camp

With only two weeks to go to Australia the team was headed to training camp in New York State. The 4 of us were in the car going through Pennsylvania and the traffic was terrible, the journey endless (we did get lost a few times J), our chaperone Janey McFawn was driving, suddenly the cones surrounding the roadworks gave us an idea. (anyone who knows games knows that cones and the ability to weave around and retrieve objects from them, play a big part in Games), the back windows came down and me and Izzy Brace while being cheered on by Carin and Kathryn, knocked cone after cone. A good job was done and our boredom was gone. The traffic behind us probably had a strange idea of what the international US mounted games team as advertised in the dirt on the back of the SUV was going to training camp to learn!

That was the most fun we had for the first three days, 15 games ponies to ride gathered by the wonderfully hospitable Crowley Family (thank you, thank you, thank you, especially for the wonderful veggie food) meant that we could ride two sessions of 4 hours per day, that’s a lot of games riding (and falling). We soon learnt that though we might be good at games individually as a team, we hadn’t clicked together quite yet. Rachael our coach, (its great to have a coach after being self taught, games is not big in Old Dominion Region), was on a mission to fix that and by the last day we were in sync and in form and beating whatever opponents were thrown at us. We were not to be like the England soccer team after all! (ask my Mum).