On Monday, July 1, five young riders set out from Auckland, New Zealand for a two month tour of North America, preparing themselves for the 2003 Mounted Games World Championships which will be held in Lexington, Kentucky. Thanks to the international date line, they also arrived in Toronto July 1, after a day and a half in the air with stops in Sydney and Honolulu. From now until September, they will practice and compete against North American teams, following a packed itinerary that will take them from Toronto to Chicago, Edmonton, Hamilton, Ottawa, Vancouver and Sonya.
Yes, Sonya. On Sunday, July 7, the visiting New Zealanders will take part in the third and final Central Ontario Region of Pony Club Prince Philip Games meet at the Durward Farm, just northeast of Sonya on Zion Road.
The Prince Philip Cup Games are a team competition played by Pony Clubs around the world. The Games are played by teams of five riders and five ponies, four of which participate in each game. All of the Games are variations on the relay race, and all are great fun for players and spectators alike. Many of the Games require the riders and ponies to run a slalom course around a series of poles from one end of the playing field to the other, where they hand-off something to the next rider on their team. In some races, riders have to vault off of and onto their ponies. This is one of the most photogenic and appealing of all equestrian competitions.
There are three levels for riders under the age of 15 as of January 1st: C for beginners, B for more experienced riders, and A for the top players in this age group. There is also competition at the Masters level for those over 15. The New Zealanders will play at the Masters level, since their ages range from 14 to 19. Canadian youngsters will loan the visitors their ponies for this phase of the competition.
This meet will also decide the final Central Ontario standings, with over 100 players from the Durham, Green Lane, Huronia, Maple, Napanee, Pause Awhile, Pine Ridge, Simcoe, Temiskaming, Toronto & North York, Tynedale, Uxbridge-Scugog and Victoria Pony Clubs taking part. The Regional A and Masters level winners go on to play for the Central Zone Championship against teams from the Western Ontario and Saint Lawrence-Ottawa Valley Regions. The two top Central Zone A and Masters level teams then go on to their respective National Championships. This year, Pacific Zone is hosting the National A level event on September 28-29 near Vancouver, BC. The National Masters Championship is tentatively being hosted by the Central Zone on August 24-25 near Fergus, ON.
Sunday's meet will start at 10 a.m., and spectators are welcome without admission charge. This is an informal event. Food and refreshments will be available, but it's BYOC (bring your own chairs).
For details, please get in touch with Liz or Bob Inglis, Regional Communications Co-Chairs, at 416-493-1223 (office) or 416-491-4230 (home) or via E-Mail at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about New Zealand Pony Clubs and their activities, visit www.nzpca.org.