Hunter Pace Fun

This Saturday practically the entire barn emptied out in order to attend a hunter pace put on by a local hunt group. The day was nearly perfect with temps in the mid 80s, sunshine, dry ground, a little bit of a breeze, and low humidity.

From last year, I knew that the course would be about 45 – 50 minutes long with a few water crossing and a bunch of jumps, almost all of which were jump-able for May and I. Last year, we lost a shoe, which kept us from jumping most things, but this year, my goal was to jump pretty much everything.

This year, I also remembered to grab my cambox! While I have the ENTIRE 45 minutes pace on video, I picked out a few clips that are, in my opinion, the most interesting. Eventually, I will get the whole video up on youtube, but that is a project for another weekend. I figure, as a result, it makes sense for this post to follow a similar highlights reel haha.

The start of the pace was a line of a few, smaller jumps, which I think everyone in my group easily popped over. Actually, now that I think about it, May was the least experiences horse in the group, as every other horse had gone at least Training. Oh well, she was the best as far as I am concerned. 😉

When we got to the first water crossing, I had a slight spike in nerves. Last year, May launched herself awkwardly over every water crossing. One of which ended up with the butt of my crop colliding with my lip and lower teeth… which of course left a GIANT bruise and a nearly busted lip. This year, I have a new set of head-shots scheduled at work on Thursday so… COULD NOT afford to have a busted face.

animated-5Luckily, all the work we have been doing with water obstacles seems to have paid off. May took a look at the water, decided where to put her feet, and then stepped carefully through the mud/water/rocks. Good girl!

One of the big elements of this hunter pace is this GIANT HILL coming out of the woods. You can see the video of it in the below instagram post. BUT what you can’t really tell is the fact that May’s ego got a bit bigger than her legs. Halfway up the hill, one of the teammates went to pass us on the OTTB she was riding. Normally, this makes total sense. Big OTTB has a huge gallop stride vs. May and May isn’t one to get pissy.

EXCEPT, this time, May decided she was going to RACE the nearly 17h OTTB. Halfway up the hill, she suddenly SUNK down and TOOK OFF. I took the audio off the video because it was literally just me HOWLING with laughter. Oh mare. ❤

The middle of the pace kind of went along similarly. Although, I could tell May got pretty frustrated towards the middle with the stop/go/stop/go rhythm we had. Luckily, my group was great so we took a nice long walk break in the middle and then spent most of the last few minutes just going forward.

In fact, so forward, that I jumped the biggest XC jump I have ever jumped on May… As we cantered towards the coup in the below video, I was convinced that it was only like BN height. Honestly, I couldn’t figure out why two of our teammates were skipped it. I figured they just weren’t interested in jumping on the slight downhill. So I cantered down to it… and about the time the below GIF starts, I realized it was quite a bit bigger than I anticipated. In true adult amateur form, I proceeded to chip into it.

I later learned that it was about Novice height, but the downhill approach may make it more of a training level fence… go figure. May, as usual, couldn’t have cared less and thought all the jumping was great.

All in all, it was a SUPER fun day. I am hoping to get more media, so maybe you all will get a wordless Wednesday out of the rest of it.

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25 thoughts on “Hunter Pace Fun

    1. This is really the only one in the area that I would consider a real “hunter pace”. When I lived in NY/NJ, the local hunt put on like 7 or 8 hunter paces a year, all from different locations. And they would go for 8 – 12 miles. They were AWESOME, and I really do miss them.

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  1. man i need to come next year and do this with you guys ( I could ride with the slower group of course) HA HA I miss the hunter paces in the NE. Here all they seem to do is trail ride or barrel race. SMH 🙂

    May is the spiciest corgi pony around! YAY

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  2. Super jealous!!! I love this hunter pace! Altho last time i did it, hampton also got frustrated with the stop – go- gallop-stop-go pace and reared black stallion style straight up in the air in protest.

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    1. bahahah. Towards the end we figured out a better rhythm to the whole thing that May was much more appreciative of. The event horses especially are just used to running XC and then being done. So its weird for them, I’m sure.

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    1. Ahahhaha. A hunter pace is a trail ride meant to mimic fox hunt. You go out in teams of 2 – 4, and you follow a set “course”. The course typically includes varied terrain, water crossing, jumps and a “Checkpoint” to somewhat mimic what it would be like to be on a fox hunt.

      Our hunt group runs three “divisions” meant to mimic the speed of each hunt flight. You don’t know the ideal time ahead of time, so you are to guess at how fast you should be going, based on what you know of each flight. We went in the “jumping” division, which mimics the speed of first flight (in theory).

      This hunter pace was, in my opinion, fairly short at about 5 miles. The ones I used to do up in New York would typically range between 10 – 12 miles and take an hour and half to two hours to complete.

      No real rules other than follow the path and stop at the checkpoint haha. It’s a ton of fun!

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  3. So jealous! I went on one and may have cantered over a brick wall and into a tree (the horse and I argued which way to go around it). The horse missed it because I yanked her to the right and took it myself. Shockingly I was unharmed and finished.
    After that my trainer said she’ll never take me again…major heartbreak since we all make mistakes.
    Fingers crossed I get the horse I inquired about, though. He’s incredible and perfect for paces!

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