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Central Ontario Pony Clubbers Win National Championship

The Uxbridge-Scugog "Cowboys," representing the Central Ontario Region and the Central Canada Zone, won the Canadian Pony Club 2002 National Masters Prince Philip Games Championship, contested September 8 at Durward Farm north of Port Perry. The team was made up of Brent Couch, Jeff Couch, Mike Durward, Lisa Pascoe and Lorraine Smith. It was coached by Pete Reid.

Second place went to a team from the Alberta North Region, representing the Prairie Zone, including Tasha Briscoe, Morwenna Goodliffe, Jen Grundke, Emily Heffering and Angela Pettitt, coached by Jane Goodliffe. Members of this team were drawn from a variety of Alberta North Branches, and called themselves the "Mohicans."

At the national level, teams play on loaned ponies, with no competitor allowed to ride his or her own pony. This championship comprised two sets of eight games each, with the teams switching between two sets of ponies after the first eight games. Team members tried out all the ponies before the competition. Hard luck dogged the Alberta team as one of its members, Emily Heffering, sprained her wrist during these try-outs and had to miss the first 12 games. Heffering only returned to action when another member of the Alberta team, Tasha Briscoe, was unable to continue in the oppressive heat. Despite these setbacks, the visitors made it a close contest, with the final score "Cowboys" 43, "Mohicans" 37.

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.

The Masters level is for players between 15 and 21 years old.

The 2002 A level Championships, for players 14 years old and younger, will be hosted by the British Columbia Lower Mainland Region at the Southlands Riding Club in South Vancouver on September 29.  A team from the Temiskaming Pony Club will represent Central Ontario at this Championship.