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2017 Quiz Exchange Diary

Read about the adventure of Lucy Stammers from the East Essex Hunt Pony Club, who was part of the team representing GB at the 2017 Pony Club International Quiz Exchange to Canada.

 

 

 

Day One - off we go!
Quiz Exch 2017 1We all met at Heathrow Airport on Saturday 30th September 2017, very early in the morning. We all looked tired already, but we were all extremely excited as to what was to come on our trip. So, after our first photo as Team GB with our bold Union Jack flag, we checked in and headed to our plane.

After a very long 9 hours, we reached Vancouver, Canada, where we were met by a minibus that took us to the first hotel. We were already all bonding well as a team and our sides were already hurting from all the laughing (little did we know we were going to form six packs from our hilarities!)

At the airport we settled in and went downstairs to meet Val Crowe, who was organising the whole trip, as well as the Australian team, who had endured an even longer flight. We all introduced ourselves and went to meet the American and Canadian teams who were full of energy at dinner.

After having a lovely dinner whilst getting to know each other better, we returned to the hotel where we had a quiz practice. Val introduced some of the games that they play as part of their quiz in Canada, and although we had been up for about 24 hours by this point, we had a good go at the questions and realised we weren’t as bad as we thought we were going to be!

Day Two - trip to Whistler

Quiz exch 2017 2 We all woke up early for our days trip to Whistler and were incredibly excited to see a yellow school bus waiting outside to take us! We had a quick photo (feeling like complete tourists) and hopped on board. After dropping our bags off at the next hotel, we begin the two-hour drive to Whistler.

On arrival we had a hot drink to warm us up, as it was a little chilly, and then jumped on the first cable car up to the top. At the top of the mountain the view was absolutely breath taking. We could see snow on the tops of some mountains in the distance, so we took lots and lots of photos, including some in front of the Olympic flag, as the winter Olympics had been held in Whistler a few years ago.

So, after feeling rather hungry from all the photo taking, we headed to lunch. Then came the peak to peak; a huge cable car that goes from one mountain across to another, with a massive drop underneath. The couple of us who were not the keenest of heights, tried to look at the views without looking down on the way to Blackcomb Mountain.  The view was definitely worth the ride! We took lots more team pictures with Cosyberry (Willberry’s relation) and went back to Whistler.

After returning to the bottom of the mountain we had just enough time to grab a delicious ice cream that Val took us to. Once we got back to Vancouver we went for pizza at Boston Pizza, and then went to bed!

Day Three - more sights to see
Day three was Stanley Park day, which meant a trip to the Vancouver Mounted Police and Vancouver Aquarium. At the mounted police, we had a tour by a police officer who told us all about the mounted police force there and gave us a chance to ask lots of questions, which was interesting. We could go into their tack room and see their tack, as well as meeting all their horses. After a couple of hours there, we went onto the Aquarium where we had lunch before looking around. Later that afternoon, after going back to the hotel, we had a long chat with the Canadian team about the quiz at the weekend and the style of their questions so we knew what we were to expect. We went to dinner at a Ukrainian restaurant, which was different and interesting to experience a different culture.

Day Four - Granville Island
We set off mid-morning to Granville Island. Here we went shopping and got to explore the markets which was lovely as we could see different foods and see what varies from our markets here. After lunch we hopped back in the taxis and headed to the ‘Flyover Canada’. This was a simulator which took you on a ride over Canada and it felt as if you were hand gliding. It was at a dock where there were lots of cruise ships and we saw some sea planes land and take off which was wonderful!

After a few hours there, we headed back to the hotel where we got ready for dinner. It was a buffet on a small cruise ship, with live music and the views were incredible! It was at sunset, so we managed to take some brilliant photos in front of Vancouver’s skyscrapers and the bridge. It was an enjoyable evening and we had a great time chatting with all the other international teams.

Day Five - shopping and fighting!
Day five, we had a late start, so we decided to have a look around the shops in Vancouver. The city was so clean! After lunch we left for paintballing, which was a 20-minute drive away from the hotel. Everyone put their gear on and prepared for war! The teams were split up so that everyone could continue to bond, and the fight commenced! For those of us, who weren’t so keen on playing, we shot at targets (good practice for tetrathlon!)

That evening we went to one of the Pony Clubs in Vancouver for a quiz evening. It was a practice round of a few of the games that we were going to get at the weekend in the competition. Some of the members and parents volunteered to help run the evening which was lovely, and everyone was really friendly. Before the games started, we had a tour around their riding school. It had multiple arenas and a small cross-country course. It was interesting to learn how different it was to back home. In the games, we went around in our teams and had 10 minutes at each station. There was Pictionary, charades, taboo, and some others. Some of the terminology was different to ours, but overall it didn’t go too badly! We came third, not far off the Americans, so we were quite pleased!

Day Six - Vancouver
We had a very early start to get to Vancouver airport for our flight to Kelowna. The plane was very small, with propellers on the outside. After a 40- minute flight we arrived in Vancouver and it was beautiful. We drove to the new hotel, which we would be doing the competition in as well and it was a really nice hotel, with a pool and hot tub. We unpacked, and all headed out to lunch in a Dutch restaurant, which did massive pancakes. After having eaten so much we thought we were going to burst, we all went bowling, which was next door to the hotel (as was the restaurant). The bowling alley was really cute as it had smaller balls than in England and only five pins to knock down. It was a really fun afternoon and lots of us somehow managed to get some strikes! That evening we went for dinner at The Old Spaghetti factory and had last minute training from Val back at the hotel afterwards.

Day Seven - ropes and riding
We were up early again because today was the day for the trail ride and the high ropes at Myra Canyon. We had high ropes first, so we put our helmets on and got stuck into the challenge. There was a higher course which a lot of the girls did, but some of us preferred to stay on the lower one. We then had the trail ride, which we were all very eager for as we hadn’t ridden all week. We all chose our horses and got on them in their ménage. After adjusting stirrups and having a quick trot around, we headed on our trail. The terrain was very bumpy and rocky, with a few slopes to walk up and down. It was beautiful scenery and we all thoroughly enjoyed it, even though it made us all miss our ponies back home! We were then driven back to the high ropes where we met the other teams and sat around a bonfire eating pizza and toasting marshmallows, which the American team taught us to do professionally!

When we arrived back at the hotel, we all put our team kit on for team photos and the youth committee meeting that we were allowed to sit in on. This was a really interesting part of the trip as we were able to see what the Canadian Pony Club youths talk about and how it differs from home. During the meeting they asked for the members opinions on a lot of things, such as some team kit, so they all got to have a say if they wanted to. After the meeting we were all set on becoming reps for our areas and branches and centres back home, so we are all going to apply to become ambassadors in the UK. During dinner, all the teams went around and exchanged their branch or area pony club badge with other teams, which was a really lovely touch.

Day Eight - the competition begins
The first day of the competition. Another early start, because we had our two-hour paper at 9. It felt like an exam all sat at tables in silence. The questions were degree level and challenging. After a quick lunch we then did the ID tables. There were 15 tables which 15 items on each and we had to match the number of the item to the answer on the sheet. It gave you more answers than the number of items you had, which made it a lot harder. Once again, they had a lot of different items that we don’t have in England, which made it a bit tricky, or different terminology for the item. There were various tables such as shoes, diseases, bits, vet equipment, famous horses, feeds and clips (such as a headcollar clip). After about three hours in there we headed upstairs for a rest before dinner. After dinner, we decided to go for a swim. It was cold, dark and raining outside, but we thought it would be a lot of fun, and it was!

Day Nine - competition day two
Quiz exch 2017 4 This was the last day of the competition and it was the games. We had 15 games and we had 10 minutes to complete each one. Our favourite game as a team was gestures, which was similar to charades and we also enjoyed bridle relay, which we had to put a bridle together blindfolded. We did really well in the games and won some of them! That afternoon, all the teams, including the national ones, were taken by buses to a local horse show. We got to judge the fancy dress and enjoyed once again learning about how their shows are different to ours. That evening we all got dressed up for the banquet and prize giving. Our team all wore navy dresses and union jack scarves and we looked brilliant! We finished in 3rd place, which was very close to the Americans 2nd place, so we were very happy! One of teammates, Victoria, managed to come 4th overall, which was a fantastic achievement! When the prize giving, and banquet was over, we had a party, which was fun but also sad as we had to say goodbye to the other teams who we had all become close with over the week.

Day Ten - homeward bound
Quiz Exch 2017 3 Day ten meant home time for us. We packed our bags in the morning and went to lunch in the Dutch restaurant again with the Australian team as their flight wasn’t until late that night. We took a long walk down to the marina and did some last-minute souvenir shopping, before getting on the bus and heading for the airport. We had our first flight from Kelowna to Vancouver and then our long 9-hour flight back from Vancouver to Heathrow, London. Once we were back in the UK, it meant goodbyes to the team. This was very emotional as we had become very close during the trip, especially as we not only became a team, but we became friends.

This exchange was honestly the best experience of my life and I don’t think that anything can top it! I loved it so much and I have made friends for life, not only from my team but all across the world! I have learnt so much, not only about horses, but other countries and Pony Clubs. I would like to thank everyone that selected me to take part as well as everyone who helped me get there. The Pony Club is a wonderful organisation and I never want to grow too old to leave!

 



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