National competition provided exciting experience for pony club members

Members of Medicine River Pony Club A Team placed third out of five teams at the national Prince Philip Games (PPG) competition

Members of Medicine River Pony Club A Team placed third out of five teams at the national Prince Philip Games (PPG) competition in Lindsay, Ontario, held August 31-September 2.

It was the first year in the pony club’s history that a team had made it to the national level, said team member Shayna Dyrland.

“We were really excited that we made it.” She added that competition at the qualifying provincial level had been tough.

“We worked really good together, we didn’t come in there thinking we were going to win, we were just hoping we’d have fun and just have a good time,” Dyrland said.

Prince Philip Games are fast relay races, played on ponies in teams of five riders. Dyrland is pleased with how she and her teammates performed. The first place team focused only on PPG training, she said, but the Medicine River Pony Club also does other activities

“We just do it for fun and because we can,” Dyrland said, adding that she tried to stay calm and enjoy the games when she was riding.

Coach Renee Duplessis said she wasn’t sure how her team would do at the competition, but is happy with the results.

“They did very well. They kept their heads together and they played their games,” said Duplessis. “It was a good first time to nationals.”

She added that the competition was well-organized. She enjoyed the opportunity to meet other teams.

Duplessis had her team switch ponies during training, to get them used to animals of different speeds, heights, and temperaments. Dyrland said this practice was very helpful.

“I think they were well-prepared,” said Duplessis.

The team will have a new member next year, as one member has passed the maximum age for A Team competitors, said Dyrland. She hopes the team can make it to nationals again.

“We play really well together,” she said. “I’m really happy how our team turned out. It was really exciting going down there getting the experience.”

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