Monday, June 29, 2020

did somebody call a doctor? hunter pace edition

Happy Monday, everyone! Teresa is this week's official virtual cookie winner -- since she correctly guessed our weekend plans based off just a single picture of arts and crafts.

But really, is anybody actually surprised? Y'all should know by now that whenever the hot glue gun, felt patches, and fabric paint busts out, it's hiiiiighly likely we'll be setting off on another themed hunter pace haha.

big bay club!!
Tho I admit, everything about this ride was sliiiightly thrown together at the last minute. But with all the pessimism swirling about a potential "2nd Wave" of the pandemic this coming fall, when we heard Tranquility had rescheduled the Memorial Day hunter pace it was a no brainer.

bc obvi what's a hunter pace without some crafts?
As was our theme for the day, naturally: surgical scrubs, EMT labels, and obviously more than a few bio-hazard warning signs LOL.

here's Austin modeling the pretend "surgical cap" bouffant thingys i ordered...
We had a great group for the day too -- our perennial buddies from Isabel's old farm, plus a couple lesson mates from Charlie's farm. Six horses in three trailers, with everyone staying more or less contained within normal social bubbles.

pictured: one very skeptical TB lol
All of the horses had a reasonably fair amount of experience too. It's not unusual for our group to have a mix of very green and more seasoned horses, but actually for this ride everyone was pretty much down for everything -- including some CRAZY FUN gallops haha. Yesssss!

ok so it wasn't our costume A-Game, but we tried!
Charlie, for his part, was WILD, omg. Omg omg hahaha. He was snorting and prancing and cantering in place, and just generally being oh-so-very impressive haha. But also just so so so good <3 <3

It's fairly natural that any horse might not like to be last when all the other horses are galloping away, but oh well, Chuck! Sometimes you have to let the greener horses be in front!

feeling READY!
Anyway, tho, we actually normally don't make it to the spring pace bc in normal years it's held Memorial Day Weekend, which we usually spend competing at Loch Moy. Instead, we typically do the fall Labor Day pace -- which is a shorter track of roughly 1.5-2 miles. This spring track is quite a bit longer, typically 6-8 miles, tho this year was 5.5

lol who needs a theme anyway when you have so many fun friends??
Given that distance, we don't typically warm up before leaving the starting line. The ride starts off in the woods anyway, then spits you out into some lanes surrounding the pastures. So there's plenty of room to get moving around and jumping little logs before you reach the xc fields.

charlie's favorite spicy little nugget friend Austin and his rider C!
Basically, the way the ride works is you enter a class as a team, then try to get as close to the pre-determined optimum time as possible. Only catch is.... the optimum time is a secret haha. So it's up to the riders to decide how fast to go. Some areas are better suited for walking, some for galloping lol -- and you essentially just do whatever feels right.

Bentley came along for the ride too -- with plenty of warning signs LOL
The organizers know what's up, tho, and always pad out the times with the expectation that riders will pause along the way to have fun schooling all the various xc jumps strewn all over the place. And this farm has A TON of jumps, oh man. 

wheee jumping things!!! see the snoopy paining??
Esp jumps in the 2' - 2'6 range -- there are so many options all over the place, it's a really really really great farm for taking a young horse out for mileage and experience.

They don't have many jumps above N, but that's ok too, ya know? Like, I definitely wanted to jump stuff with Charlie, but it didn't exactly need to be a super serious schooling either haha.

i kinda love these twisty table things
And Charlie was obviously wonderful. We got to do a few lines of nicely sized fences, but mostly just galloped around and jumped whatever the horse in front of us jumped LOL.

we jumped this corner too, while Rachael and Cherry showed that ramp who was boss
We also got SUPER LUCKY with the weather too, thank the lort. Originally we were expecting highs in the 90s with sun and humidity. But... somehow, the cloud cover stuck around with a persistent cool breeze. Especially in the woods it was downright pleasant.

yay for fun horsey adventures!
Plus recent thunderstorms meant the ground was in fairly fantastic shape too, tho I iced Charlie's legs afterward anyway. All the horses seemed really comfortable running and jumping on the ground and I don't recall seeing anybody slip or anything either.

heck yes for professional hunter pace riders lolol
So ya know. All in all, basically a perfect adventure for getting out with the horses after being cooped up in quarantine for so long.

As much as I love horse showing, and lessons, and training, and all the "serious riding" things... sometimes you just have to get out and have fun and enjoy just living in the moments with these amazing animals.

Also I hope you enjoy the video haha.... there was something like THIRTY freakin minutes of footage on my helmet cam, and whittling it down to just the most action-packed moments was a fun challenge lol. Mostly bc.... Yea this is definitely the kind of ride I love to relive again and again haha.

Some fun key moments include:
- Most of Charlie's xc schooling starting around 1:46
- That time we almost accidentally murdered a fawn around 2:23
- More xc schooling at 3:48
- Punky trying to lose his shit at 5:07
- Trying not to die going down a steep slippery slope at 5:37
- Galloping flat out around 7:12
- Laughing uncontrollably while Charlie flips out and bolts at a tiny jump around 9:24

Plus ya know.... So many other fun moments and oh my god so much running around hahaha.

obviously all recorded on ye olde helmet satellite camera for your viewing pleasure ;)
So ya know. It was a weekend well spent lol - and I'm already looking forward to next time!

Do you like this sort of group ride too? Is your horse good in a group, or kind of a spaz? Or have you not had a chance to try it before? Anybody else trying to get in on adventures while the gettin's still good? And assuming the world hasn't completely ended by Labor Day.... anyone wanna come out for the fall pace with us too?!??


  1. You always have the best times at these things. Wish I had a teleporter to join.

    1. i wish you could come too - pretty sure you'd have a blast haha!! it's such a long drive but like.... they're normally on three day weekends annnnyway and you could totally make it like a "camp" experience by staying an extra day or two and mixing in a lesson or schooling or all the things!! just saying ;)

  2. I would love to join you in the fall. Not to jump but I could take video. :)

    1. ha that would be awesome -- and it's worth noting, no jumping is required! everything can be gotten around and riders can jump or not jump as they see fit ;)

  3. Looks like fun! One of these days we'll ride together again.

    1. definitely!! charlie still wants to go trail riding at fair hill again haha

  4. FUNFUNFUN!I love your recaps of these paces and your crafting skillz are always A++

    1. lol i admit to being slightly disappointed in pulling together the costumes -- esp after how fricken amazing our super heroes were last fall haha. but damn it was fun :D

  5. OMG this is always my favorite event of the year, lol!I FIGURED thats what the crafts were for but was thrown off by the timing...
    I'm so glad you were able to participate and have such a good time. I kinda love Charlie's surgical cap the most :)

    1. lol definitely not our normal timing haha, but 2020 is anything but normal at this point hah! and yes omg so fun -- the surgical cap things were a little silly and we didn't really have enough time to make the most of them, since obvi we weren't supposed to linger around on the grounds... but still, it worked out haha :)

  6. "Charles I want to live" made me LOL!

    I did a hunter pace as a kid on a 12.2hh pony and loved it! What could possibly go wrong with sending three 13 year old kids out by themselves into the forest?

    Turns out nothing - we won the damn thing!

    I'd live to do it again, but I've never heard of one in my area. I don't know that anyone has the land/facility to host it around here.

    1. oh man that's so awesome that you guys won too!! these really are the most fun types of events, and they honestly don't seem that complicated to run. but yea, you need space for it, while also not being too overly particular about a whole bunch of horses running over the same exact track all day long...

  7. Hunter paces sound like so much fun, I wish we had something like that here! Glad you managed to get out there and I hope restrictions will continue to allow you to visit Charlie!

    1. thanks yea barn restrictions have been lifted for about a month and a half at this point! here's hoping it stays that way haha

  8. Omg that looked like so much fun! And that fawn spooked me- good boy Charlie!

    1. oh my god that fawn haha.... it was totally invisible in the grass!! i can't believe charlie didn't really react to it hahaha

  9. What a fun weekend! I am glad you were able to get it in, gotta grab whatever you can while its out there- haha panic hoard the memories.

    1. Now that’s the kind of hoarding I can 100% get behind ;)

  10. Sounds like so much fun! I've never actually done a hunter pace, but I bet Shiny would be game!


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