INTER PACIFIC EXCHANGE 2010
The team included:
|Sean Mitchell || Caledon PC || WOR|
|Eliza Culbertson || Carolina Region || USPC|
|Charlotte Harman || Land o' Lakes || SLOV|
|Connie McLellan ||Opportunity PC || NS |
Coach: Cathy Armitage BCLM
Chaperone: Jennifer Hanson NBPEI
Report by Connie McLellan, Opportunity Pony Club, Nova Scotia Region
The Inter Pacific Exchange of 2010 was hosted by the Hong Kong Pony Club and visiting teams were fortunate enough to get to visit both Hong Kong and mainland China. The journey of reaching IPE 2010 was a long one, as the competition was originally scheduled for 2009 but due to the swine flu outbreak it was postponed until 2010. Luckily for me, the team members chosen to represent Canada in 2009 were the same members who got to compete in 2010.
The Inter Pacific Exchange normally consists of the participating countries taking part in dressage, cross country, the Kangaroo Cup and the Nations Cup show jumping competition, but China does not have cross country facilities so it was not included in the 2010 IPE. In 2010 there were five competing counties which consisted of Canada, USA, Hong Kong, New Zealand, and Australia.
For me the trip started out by flying to Ontario to meet the other 3 riders, coach and team manger. The whole team got along great and soon become friends. We spent a few days in Ontario doing a bit of riding at a local stable and shopping for our dress uniform for our formal dinners.
We then made the long (14 hour) flight to Hong Kong, China. From the moment we arrived in China until the moment we stepped back on our plane to Canada, we were treated like royalty. The Hong Kong Pony Club went above and beyond to make IPE 2010 phenomenal.
We stayed the Beas River Country Club in Hong Kong, which is home to the Hong Kong Jockey Club and about 200 thoroughbreds, for the beginning of our trip. All five competing countries met at Beas River and this was where the opening formal dinner was held and the team members from all over the inter pacific got to know each other.
While in Hong Kong we went on a tour of the Hong Kong Jockey Club stables, a private riding stable and a public riding stable. The horse world is very different in China as no one has the land to keep a horse at home, so they are all boarded at stables. The riders rarely own their own horse and never get to go on hacks or trail rides, as there is no land, thus no trails to do so.
All of the teams traveled together by bus into mainland China, and thankfully we had no hold ups at the boarder. Once in mainland China we stayed at an absolutely stunning country club/riding resort called Camelot. Camelot is owned by a former Chinese Olympic rider and had a full hotel, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, gym, roof top courts, two restaurants, multiple double decker stables (to conserve land stables are two stories high) indoor and outdoor riding ring and mare and foal facilities. All of the horses we used in competition lived at Camelot and all of our riding and competing was done at Camelot Stables. The majority of horses in China are off the track Thoroughbreds, with the exception of a few imported ponies and Warmbloods.
We first had a draw for our dressage horses. Each team drew four horses and then each member of the team had the opportunity to ride all four of the horses, and together decide who was best suited for each horse. I was very pleased with my horse for dressage as I was lucky and got a 16.3 hh Warmblood (my favorite breed (). He was only 5 yrs old and although very well behaved he was quite heavy on the forehand. I had a decent dressage score and my other team members also did quite well, landing Canada tired for second with Australia. To break the tie rider marks were compared and since we had better rider marks Canada came second overall in the dressage competition, which we were very pleased with.
We then had the Kangaroo Cup, which is a scramble team competition and is not for points, but to get know the other riders. Each team was made up of one rider from each country and also one of the Chinese stable boys who worked at Camelot, and didn't know a word of English. The language barrier proved to not be a problem, we started competing and we found other ways of communicating. The Kangaroo Cup started out with PPG style events on 12 hh ponies, my team had a little stallion and he was quite saucy so we didn't fare well in those events. We then continued on to sporting events, such as a bike race on miniature bikes, rock climbing, swimming rely, and basketball. The Kangaroo Cup turned out to be almost everyones favorite event and was so much fun( Everyone had a lot of laughs and there was a few minor injuries sustained which added to the humour.
The Nations Cup Show Jumping event was the last event held and the winner of the Nations Cup becomes the overall winner of IPE. We had another horse draw and got different horses for the show jumping. This time I got a 16 hh Thoroughbred who was 12 yrs old and I was a bit leary of his jumping ability, but he turned out to be a great jumper. The Nations Cup was made up of four jumping rounds. Two rounds were held at night in an outdoor ring with lighting and the other two were held the following morning. The time allowed was very fast and almost all riders had time faults. My horse was a star and only had one rail down in all four of our rounds. I was very pleased with my show jumping and Canada ended up in a very close second to Australia. Australia were the overall IPE winner, but the whole Canadian Team was very happy with our performance and pleased with out second place finish.
We also did lots of sightseeing and shopping in China between our days of riding. The weather is very very hot and humid in China so we only rode in the early morning or evening to make the work a little less stressful for both horse and rider.
After the Nations Cup was complete all of the teams headed back to Hong Kong where we had our closing banquet, traded clothing, pins, etc.. with other riders and did a bit of sightseeing around the amazing city of Hong Kong.
I was gone a total of three weeks for the IPE competition and it was an extremely memorable and very enjoyable time. I am very glad that I had the opportunity to partake in such a competition and I made many friendships with riders from lots of other countries. I would strongly recommend the Inter Pacific Exchange to other Pony Clubbers and it is definitely the best experience that I have had in my 11 years of Pony Club.