Tuesday, May 3, 2022

paper chasin' + racin'

A couple weeks ago, the local 4-H club hosted its first annual paperchase to benefit the organization at our local Ag center -- conveniently next door to the iconic Shawan Downs.

Obviously, we're basically professional paper chase jockeys at this point -- PLUS it's always nice to support the local equestrian community. So obviously we'd go! 

"as far as i'm concerned, we won." charlie, definitely
Originally the plan was to make it a nice low key outing geared toward the members of our group with either less experience, or with horses who maybe aren't otherwise up for much intensity. Tho... That plan kinda fell apart with some unfortunate cancellations and it ended up being just Charlie and Punky.

my attempt at photographically representing charles at his full height, standing on his tippy toes 
Which.... Maybe was a blessing in disguise for our less experienced friends who didn't make it. Bc OH MY DEAR GOD, our horses were kiiiiiiiiinda psychotic. But like. For real tho. 

Idk what it was, but good Sir Charles (who, lest you forget, has been shipping out for lessons and such multiple times a month for the last few months YEARS), stepped off the trailer, looked around, and absolutely lost his shit

legit was not a particularly, uh, scenic track around the property....
Maybe bc the whole space and parking and everything was super spread out, with horses visibly moving in the distance in every direction? Who knows. All I know is that Charlie grew about 10 stories tall, and was visibly twitching and tense. 

the course kinda just went around and around and around the two sides of this driveway and all the outbuildings. 
Luckily, tho, he's a good boy and stood (very very tall) for me to get on. And he more or less followed my directions etc. Except, ahem, homeboy straight up jigged for four miles straight. Around a track that honestly wasn't really all that delightful. I'm not sure who planned the event, but they basically just set us out to make the rounds around the property -- circling the out buildings. Going up and down fence lines and tree lines, etc.

two very seasoned TBs who were very ridiculous for what should have been a glorified trail ride lol
It wasn't particularly scenic, and basically at all points you could see horses ahead of you, behind you, and off on other distant parts of the track. 

Now, of course, we're not going to mention that basically ALL those other horses seemed perfectly at ease with their lives lol. Bc Charlie and Punky absolutely were not. Never have I ever been so relieved to finish a paper chase haha omg.... 

basically THIS is where they THOUGHT they were LOL
Honestly it wasn't even really much to write home about... Except y'all already know my intense desire to *document all the things* lol.... Plus, hey lookie -- it's a perfect segue to another recent outing haha. Which... Obviously, clearly our horses just got their calendars confused....

Lol for real tho, no we weren't taking our horses to the Manor races, even if that's apparently where their hearts lie. This event was just for us as spectators / tailgaters, obviously!

squint a bit and Monberg Stream (winner of the 2022 Thomas H. Voss Memorial Maiden Timber) kinda looks like how you might imagine Punky describing his own self lol
Idk what it is about the timber racing season in Maryland but it always catches me off guard -- like I don't even hear about it until it's already over. Maybe bc the Maryland Hunt Cup (our season's pinnacle race) is almost always the same weekend as Kentucky?

but oooof, holy moly, all the horses jumped this penultimate timber terribly in this race...
We were determined to make it to at least one of the races this year, tho -- particularly, those held at the legendary My Lady's Manor estate. And oh man, it was the perfect weekend for it!

they kinda reminded me of this unfortunate bay painted on a clay plate by a local artist that i've had for a few years....
I personally haven't spent much time at these types of events (last time was at Shawan Downs where I basically just posted some pics here; and before that was a blogger meet up at the Gold Cup in Virginia) but.... they're honestly super different from the typical horse trials or FEI events I've attended. 

anywho, tho, yea they all jumped it not great, whoops!
Seems much more geared to the mingling of bougie society, with horses acting as the elegant backdrop rather than the main attraction. Which, ya know haha.... Is it's own special kinda fun, right? Dressing up, competing good-naturedly to see who has the most epic tailgate spread... Ya know, the works!

Plus, obvi, the horses and races DO make for some pretty epic viewing. It's really hard to see the whole race all from one spot -- what with the track being 3 miles long and everything. But we did happen to catch a few influential moments, such as the above. (And have no fear, the jockey walked away while the horse went on to complete the race himself LOL).

it's honestly a pretty bangin way to spend a day!
(also we clearly need a 12yo to help us figure out how to fit 3 people into one selfie!)
Tho let's be real, hangin out at the tailgate eating sandwiches and double triple fisting tasty beverages is always fun, with or without the horses LOL!

this taxidermy fox definitely agrees (?)
SO. With that... It feels like the spring season of a million things to do every weekend has finally commenced haha --- soon to spill into the summer season actually omg!


  1. Sounds like a super fun weekend! I'd love to see a timber race one day, maybe an excuse to come visit :)

    1. they're definitely a very distinct type of horsey event haha -- i think my favorite venue so far is Shawan Downs bc spectators are all up together on one hillside that overlooks almost all of the race course so you can see it all. tho the highest society type races seem to be at the gold cup (dc socialites etc) or the maryland hunt cup. kinda just depends on what flavor event you like, i guess!

  2. Charlie must have heard you mention the timber race at some point. Easy enough to mix up "professional timber race" and "4H paper chase."

    1. lol i'm convinced that's EXACTLY what happened haha

  3. I agree with Carey- Charlie thought that there was going to be a steeple chase. That legit looks like a fun outing though (both of them).

    1. lol charlie would probably like steeple chase -- he likes galloping in company and has a better eye for jumping than his rider LOL


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