Friday, August 30, 2019

friday foto finish: ALMOST TIME!!

Summer is winding down. Students are back in school. And September starts this weekend. Which can only mean one two things: this weekend is Labor Day Weekend here in the US, and, more importantly, we are imminently approaching our ANNUAL LABOR DAY PAPER CHASE EXTRAVAGANZA OMG. Heck yes. 

the original inspiration collage
For the uninitiated, a paper chase is basically a hunter pace. Which, for the un-un-initiated, is essentially a glorified team trail ride with ribbons at the end.

Basically, the host venue marks out a path at some prescribed distance range. The longer ones in our area tend to be about 6-8 miles, and the shorter tracks (like we'll see this weekend) are roughly 2-2.5 miles.

The path gets marked in such a way that you wind through the woods AND through the cross country fields. There are jumps sprinkled around everywhere ranging from 18"-3', tho every jump at this particular venue can be gotten around by those such inclined.

so many primary colors
Teams enter the divisions based more or less on what style of ride they want. For instance, the fast high group goes for speed over the 3' fences, whereas the adult flat might take a more leisurely pace while skirting all the jumps.

Organizers send horses out in advance to ride the track, setting what's known as the "optimum time" for each division. This optimum time is kept Top Secret, however, until all competing teams are finished. So it's basically up to the teams to set their own pace throughout the ride guessing more or less where they should be galloping with reckless abandon, and where walking is more appropriate.

ok ok, i admit it. a craft store barfed all over my coffee table and i am 1,000% cool with it haha
This particular venue - Tranquility -  tends to pad out the times a bit too, encouraging riders to take advantage of schooling all the cross country fences scattered around the fields. Which, considering this paper chase costs $20 per rider and the normal schooling fee is $25....

Well, honestly, my friends and I just tend to treat the whole thing like a glorified trail ride / xc school / party ride, with no real thought to the clock.

betcha didn't expect to see this picture on the blog today, eh? hell yes those are metallic gold hot pants LOL
With, erm, ahem, one minor difference lol.... In case you weren't entirely sure how these pictures were related to the subject of the paper chase, well. Allow me to fill you in.

It all started back in 2016. We were planning on going on the pace with a big barn group. Things were already on the outs with me and Isabel (in fact, I'd barely ridden her at all the month prior...) but we still wanted to make it fun. Plus, barn friend Rachael was getting married soon. So we decided to surprise her with a bridal-shower group theme.

Naturally, complete with matching "bridesmaids" outfits to Rachael's white, plus a special bonnet for Rachael's mare Birdie. And, um, aha, of course -- a set of veils for both the bride-to-be and her Bird. LOL...

and cuffs, obvi
The whole lead up of brainstorming ideas and crafting out all the details was so much fun for the whole group, that we decided to repeat the process again the following year. Minus the surprise aspect, of course. So in 2017 we adopted a "Chase the Rainbow" theme, complete with every color imaginable, displayed as garishly as possible via tutus (obviously) and feathered boas.

Charlie was already nearly a year into his retraining at this point and was starting to feel really solid at N. Getting to jump him over some bigger stuff for us, combined with the whole team aspect, made for a very memorable day <3

so much hot glue, guys
We carried the tradition forward into 2018, this time with a "Jockeys and Racehorses" theme. Other things had been going on that summer (like Charlie puncturing his hoof on that godforsaken piece of mulch....) that had kinda bummed me out. But this particular day ended up being a highlight of the whole year <3

gotta have matching "belts"!!
So... All that brings us to present day: Labor Day Weekend 2019, wherein we are hitting up Tranquility's annual paper chase. This time as Super Heroes. Fuuuuuuck Yesssss.

Not like, any particular specific set of superheroes. Not the Marvel universe or whatever. Just sorta a generic "whatever gets your creative juices flowing" type approach. In my mind, this means lots of primary colors studded with metallic tones, punctuated by gold and silver (and maybe a little puff paint lol).

can you see it yet??
Everyone is kinda following their own destiny when it comes to choosing colors, tho I volunteered to craft up some key accessories to help bring cohesion to the overall look.

We found in the past, especially with the Jockeys theme, that we really didn't need to work too too hard at being Ultra Coordinated. Rather, the theme spoke for itself when there was enough repetition of small details across each horse and rider. Like numbered saddle pads for our racehorses.

oooh, forgot to mention, there will also be CAPES
So to this end, I picked up a whole bunch of felt plus this weird gold plastic-y jersey fabric. Felt is so versatile, it's easy to just cut into shapes and glue wherever.

Like these circular star emblems in various color combinations, that all have safety pin backings so they can be put on outfits, saddle pads, bonnets, what have you. Or the "belts," which are actually just strips that can be pinned or velcroed to the front of anybody's existing outfit, should they be inclined in that way lol.

The gold material we're using more for stuff like cuffs, and probably some manner of boot topper and maybe helmet stuff too. TBD at this point lol, tho my mind is swimming with all manner of ideas haha.

my vision, guys. true grace and beauty!! i can't fucking wait hahaha
PLUS, haha, Plus -- obviously we need capes. Duh.

I picked up some extra material for lending to other riders in our group should they need it, but hopefully it'll be a motley assortment LOL. Also I hope you appreciate the inspiration pic I mocked up, using one of the "landing" pictures from our ultra-glorious-droppage moment during that Sally XC lesson a couple weeks back haha. hahahahaha.

So. Ya know. You could say that I'm pretty excited lol. Obviously skeptical and superstitious as always, bc it's Charlie after all. Charlie, due for his shoes next week so naturally we're already down a nail in one shoe with the others looking mightily dubious.

But whatever tho. Idc what it takes, but come hell, high water or lost shoes, we are getting dressed up as superheroes and taking pictures of it, dammit. LOL.

Plus, of course it goes without saying that the day's true joy will come from galloping around on our precious unicorns in the company of good friends and yada yada yada... But let's be real, it's all about them pics ;)

Anybody else got some exciting plans for the weekend?? Or wanna come tag along with us?!? ;)


  1. I truly underestimated your crafting abilities on this one. These are going to come out amazingggg!

    1. we are #dedicated2thecraft lol.... i can't freakin wait tho :D one of these years you need to get down here and come with us - either with opie or we'd hustle up a horse haha

  2. Yeah - sounds super fun!! I remember your pics from last year and how good you guys looked. I hope you have a fun day.

    No big plans here, so I should totally drive down and take pics for you guys. lol It should only take me 12 or so hours?

    1. we got super lucky last year bc austen was able to stop by with her super nice camera, thus the extra nice pictures lol. this year we won't be so lucky, but i'll have my faithful old helmet cam strapped on and ready to roll!

      but ya know, it's a good ol' time for riders and non riders alike (obvi, with the tailgate) so ya know, what's a little 12hr drive between friends, right?? ;)

  3. holy shit are you sewing what is all this??!!!

    I'm sad I won't be able to make it this year - usually we go to Maine over labor day weekend - but uh maybe next year i'll ditch out. The superhero theme is amazing. take lots of pics!!

    1. lol you bet your bippy i'm sewing!! and gluing, and snipping, and, uh, clicking "buy now" on amazon LOL

      but yes you absolutely must come down one of these years! they have a spring pace too, tho that's usually the longer 6-8 mile format. still loads of fun tho ;)

  4. SUPERHERO THEME OMG. That's amazing, I can't wait to see y'all's finished outfits!

    Hunter paces aren't really a thing here, sadly, but someday I'll either have to organize one or do a hunter pace vacation bc they look like a BLAST.

    1. ha honestly there really isn't much to organizing one. and frankly, the formal organization to all this is almost incidental to what more or less amounts to our interest in playing dress up with the ponies every now and then. you could just as easily do something similar with friends around halloween or whatever ;)

  5. I just added 'riding in a cape' to my bucket list. Can't wait to see the pics!

    1. Ha yessss! I’ve never tried it before and am a little concerned the capes we made will be annoyingly long. But hey, it’ll be fun and that’s what matters lol ;)

  6. You ladies are going to look fantastic. If you were closer I’d join up in a heart beat. Paces are my favorite thing. No plans here really. Going to a red neck fair at the speedway is about all

    1. Tbh a red neck fair at the speedway sounds pretty fricken great to me also like possibly there may be all manner of glorious deep fried concoctions to be had haha - enjoy!!

  7. Replies
    1. Thanks hopefully we will get some good ones!!!

  8. cant wait to see the finished product! Sounds like so much fun!

  9. Your creativity astounds me! I can't wait to hear how the day goes. This is always one of my favorite posts from you!!

  10. I love making costumes and themed events!! Have fun, I can't wait to see the final results!

  11. These rides always sound like such a fun time! Can't wait to see the pictures.

  12. oh my god, this is AWESOME! I can't wait to see the costumes.

  13. I'm so glad I'm behind at blog reading, because that means I have less time to wait to see this in all its glory!
    LOVE a good theme. Especially when horses are involved.


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