Two teams with members of the Uxbridge-Scugog Pony Club will carry Central Canada's colours in the National Masters Games Championships, set for Sunday, September 11, at Durward Farm north of Port Perry. A mixed Uxbridge-Scugog/Durham Pony Club team and the Uxbridge-Scugog "Charlie's Angels" team won their way to the national championships by finishing one-two in the Central Canada Zone championships, defeating teams from the other Central Canada Regions.
Contesting the championship with the local players will be teams from Western Canada. The Pacific Zone will be represented by the "Island Girls" from the Comox Valley Pony Club in the BC Islands Region, and an unnamed team from the BC Lower Mainland Region. The Prairie Zone is sending only one team this year, perennial contenders "The Mohicans" from the Alberta North Region. "The Mohicans" were national champions in 2003, and runners-up in both 2002 and 2004.
The national championship will be decided by five sets of races, each on a different string of ponies. At this level, all teams ride borrowed ponies, since transporting ponies across the country is impractical. Mounts are normally supplied by the host Region, but if a team from the host Region represents its Zone, its members are not allowed to ride their own ponies in competition, as this would give them an unfair advantage over the others. The teams will switch mounts after every three games for the first three sets, then after four more games between the fourth and fifth sets. The championship comprises 17 games in total, barring tie-breakers.
The Games are a team competition played by Pony Clubs around the world, played by teams of five riders and five ponies, four of which participate in each game. All 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 many of Sunday's scheduled races, riders have to vault off of and onto their ponies.
The Masters level is for players between 15 and 21 years old. The 2005 "A" championship, for competitors up to 14 years old, was held on Sunday, September 4 at Whitemud Equestrian Centre near Edmonton.
Durward Farm is on Zion Road, the first road north of the village of Sonya, leading east only off Simcoe Street. Competition is scheduled to start after lunch (the morning being spent in pony try-outs) at roughly 1 pm. Spectators are welcome without charge.
For more details e-mail Bob Inglis, Central Ontario Regional Communications Chair, or call him at 416-493-1223 (office) or 416-491-4230 (home).