Welcome back to Part 2 of my International Exchange Write Up. In this instalment I’ll be covering the actual competition.
Saturday 7th dawned bright and early. Miraculously I managed to actually eat breakfast, before we started the Written Test. 2.5 hours in exam condition answering questions like the 7 below, was certainly an interesting experience! Sink your teeth into these:
- Traumatic arthritis of the metacarpo-phalangeal joint is also known as?
- Name a muscle in the jaw beginning with a Z?
- Another name for the disease called Heaves/Emphysema?
- What percent of body calcium is found in the bones?
- What is the inflammation of the lining of the abdominal cavity?
- The partial or complete paralysis of the larynx?
- The dark depression or “mark” on the tables of the teeth which disappears with age?
Lunch was build your own tacos followed by the ID rounds. There were 16 tables, each one themed differently. We had to identify different types of shoes (most of which we don’t have in the UK), poisonous plants (again, ones we don’t have here), Veterinary Equipment, famous horses, liquids and powders, bones, tack, western kit…to name just a few. We spent 3.5 hours going round the different tables, again individually, and by the end of it, my brain was fried.
So after these two rounds that make up the individual competition, I came 11th overall…which I was stunned at. I genuinely thought I would do a lot worse than that once we started doing the quiz. It is so unlike our own, with the standard of knowledge being just so much higher. But without sounding too vain, I really am proud of myself for doing that well.
Saturday evening saw us having dinner, before the GB team decided to go swimming at 9pm whilst it was raining…luckily the pool was heated, before jumping into the Jacuzzi! J
Sunday 8th and it was games morning. We had an absolute blast doing this round, although we were knackered by the end of it. We had to put a bridle back together blind folded, bandage a front leg, a hock and a head (!), plus a load of other things. There is a wonderful photo of me doing charades…I was trying to act out a parallel oxer!!! We all worked so well together that we were the 2nd highest scoring team in the games section behind the Canadian team. In the afternoon we went to a local horse show and watched a “Hunter” class, which is completely different to our own “Working Hunter”, therefore I found it fascinating to watch.
We then headed back to the hotel to shower and change into a dresses and Union Jack scarves before heading down to the presentation dinner. As it was the Canadian Thanks Giving weekend, we got to experience a proper thanksgiving dinner of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and vegetables followed by pumpkin pie.
In the end Team Great Britain came an amazing 3rd in the teams behind Canada and America whose quiz format we were using. Naturally they found it a little easier than we did, however we held our own as they said to us. My team mate Vic…who is the smartest cookie, came an amazing 4th overall, with myself being the next best Brit in 11th. Then it was time for some hard-core dancing until midnight before heading to bed and finally getting a lie in!
Monday was filled with some sad goodbyes with the other teams. It’s funny how after only 10 days together the other international teams felt like family to us, so saying goodbye was difficult to say the least. I have made some brilliant friends from Canada, Australia and the USA, and I hope to be able to see them all again in the future.
Monday evening we flew home to Heathrow where my mum was waiting to give me a massive hug! Saying goodbye to my team mates and our chaperone was super hard, and it wasn’t until I got home that it really sunk in that it was all over. This has been a goal of mine since 2011, and I’ve had 7 months of looking forward to going that I hadn’t really given much thought to how I would feel afterwards. Grateful, is certainly one feeling I’ve had, but also a really profound sadness that my Pony Club journey is almost at an end. Next year is my last year, and it will be my last year doing our own Quiz, so I am planning on making the most of it.
There are, I’m afraid, a few people I would like to thank for helping me on this journey. First up, Lucy Thomson, our Centre Proprietor, owner of LHS and general awesome business woman. Thank you for always being so encouraging and kind to me over the last god knows how many years. From giving me my first job, to the handful of impromptu lessons I have been honoured to have with you over the years, we are so lucky to have you steering the good ship Lavant! To all the parents of my quiz team members I have had the honour to work with, thank you for letting your children get involved, and I hope they have enjoyed the experience as much as I have. To Emily, Laura, Phoebe, Livvy, Lydia, Paige, Rose, Amelia and Melissa. Thank you for being my team mates over the years and helping me “get this gig”, you’re all nutters, but then again all the best people are.
To the dream-team of trainers that is Denise Pattison and my mum Jane. To Denise Pattison, thank you for all the time and effort you have put into the quiz the last few year, for taking over the training, and for all the training and help you have given me and all the other kids as well. Also thank you for keeping my mum sane (and sometime not so sane) when you were both having issues with specific rounds!
My mum Jane, for deciding to create a team back in 2010, for originally heading up the training, and still helping train all the teams for the last 8 years now that Denise is at the helm. Thank you mum for helping me get to represent my country…without you Lavant wouldn’t be doing the quiz, we wouldn’t have 3 National Championship titles, and I wouldn’t have been selected. I know if you are reading this you would say I managed it on my own merit, but you set me on this path without realising the final outcome, therefore you deserve an award, but for now “Best Mum in the whole universe” will just have to do!
Finally a massive thank you to all at the Pony Club for giving me this opportunity. To Mary, Becky and Martin for interviewing me and selecting me. To Kirsty at Pony Club Head Office for all your help and organisational expertise, you deserve a medal. Ruth our absolutely fantastic chaperone for looking after us and helping us throughout the 10 days. Finally my world class, sister’s in arms, hard-as-nails (some of the time, when heights weren’t involved), Great-Britain-Girl-Squad Georgia, Lucy and Victoria. We had an absolute blast, got on far too well and I will cherish every memory of this trip with you for the rest of my life. Thank you for making it such a dream come true!