Wednesday, October 21, 2020

hunter paces #4lyfe

Just the other day.... A couple weeks ago.... Ahem. Way back over Labor Day weekend, Tranquility Manor Farms held their annual Fall Hunter Pace!! And obviously, we just had to go -- considering it's become a bit of a tradition around these parts.  

charlie looking majestic before we set off
Things are a little bit different now in the covid-era, but it actually worked out perfectly for us. Instead of hosting a single-day event, Tranquility decided to spread the pace out over the full weekend. Riders would sign up in advance for an available time slot (first come, first serve) over Friday evening, Saturday, and Sunday. 

In this way, Tranquility could better manage the number of people onsite at any given moment, while still ensuring everyone who wanted a time could get one. Works for me!

lol just kidding, take a look at this goon haha. i swear, the longer you look, the funnier it gets
Actually, it worked especially well for us, because it turned out there was kinda a large contingent of friends from various barns who wanted in on the fun -- just under 10 of us. But with scheduling shenanigans being what they were, it actually worked out better if we split into two groups that went on separate days.

And since there are always more horses wanting to go places than there are trailers, the Chucklesmobile (and, by extension, Charles himself) ended up signing on for double duty: We'd go with both groups, Friday and Sunday, and provide transport for different friends each time.

hangin with charlie's spicy little nugget of a friend, while the mares are off doing god only knows what
This ended up sorta kinda working out okay-ish for Charlie. Mostly. Haha. Meaning.... He was downright perfect on Friday (today's post), tho I opted to take it sorta easy to "save him" for Sunday. But then he was a fricken spastastic maniac on Sunday (post for some other day) soooooo.... oops? 

Oh well, tho. C'est la vie, I guess. 

Anyway. Tranquility's Fall Pace is held on a shorter course (2-2.5mi) than the Spring Pace (6-8mi), but it's still virtually the same idea. Teams of riders can navigate the marked track at whatever speeds they see fit, pausing to jump whatever jumps they see fit. Every jump can be gotten around for those not inclined, but there are also entire fields full of jumps that you might want to stop and school.

evening riding means hella sunbursts all over the screen <3 <3
Each division has an optimum time (for instance, entrants in the "Walk-Trot" division have a different time than those in the "Some Jumps" class, which is also different from the "High Options" group), and the teams that finish closest to this optimum time (which is secret!!) win.

We usually have a mix of green and experienced horses, and enter the "Some Jumps" division. Honestly, tho, we really don't ride for time. This type of event is essentially a glorified trail ride with some xc schooling and galloping thrown in for good measure, let's be real haha. 

familiar jumps are still fun jumps
Tho.... It ended up on this particular ride that a couple unexpected curveballs sorta slowed us down. First of all, the track (which is always different) ended up having a ton of downhill runs. There had been a fair bit of rain the day before too, so everything was a bit mucky and slippery. Idk about you guys but... Eh, running downhill in slick mud isn't really our jam. 

More than that, tho, our Friday group ended up being a wholesale showdown between the mares and geldings. Charlie and his spicy little nugget of a pony friend, Austin, were absolute perfect gentlemen as always. But the two ottb mares - Cherry and Marlee - were.... having a day

recently learned while setting up for tranquility's starter trial that they don't like using this coop for shows. apparently the wrought iron design can be downright catastrophic if a horse slides into it.... legit never considered that, oops. luckily charlie always jumps it beautifully!
But ya know, it's schooling, right? And our group philosophy has always been to ride to the lowest common denominator. If any member of the group - be it horse or rider - needs things to slow down, for any reason, we make it happen, ya know? 

And whether these particular mares agreed or not (hint: they did not), they needed things to slow down a bit, lol. So, especially at the beginning of the ride, Charlie and Austin spent a fair amount of time kinda standing around, waiting for the mares to get around to catching up lol. 

wheeee jumping with frens!!!
Eventually, tho, everyone kinda settled - just in time for what was hands down the best part of the track: After reaching the bottom of what had felt like a never-ending descent downhill, we finally faced an enormous uphill treeline gallop (complete with little logs and such along the way) that spit us out into one of our favorite schooling spots near the road. 

Most of the jumps along the treeline are just like piles of rotten logs and mulch and whatnot, honestly haha, plus a small assortment of coops and barrels etc. And we've jumped them all a million times over the years. But damn, it is Fun. Every. Time.

fun fact: this was the first ditch charlie ever jumped, way back in 2017!!
Charlie especially loves running and jumping and following his friends haha. Sometimes I swear he goes slow on purpose just so he can fall in line behind someone. In this case, even little pony Austin was able to outrun monster truck Chuck. 

And it was just.... great, ya know? Once in the little schooling area, we continued jumping around over all the little things up there -- like the pheasant feeder and a line from the ditch to a house. And stood around for a while watching everyone else school too. 

kinda love this chonky red roll, tbh
Tho, when I looked back over the video afterward, there were a couple jumps out there that I wished I'd taken a shot at, too. But ya know, I figured since we'd be going back two days later, I'd get straight to them then. Haha. Famous last words.... Oh well tho. 

Again, more on that second ride later haha, probably. Wasn't really a big deal at all, but it turns out I guess wild gallops across the field with friends should probably not be such a frequent occurrence for Charles, lol, or else he risks entirely forgetting the rules of civilized discourse...
wheeeeee poneh jompies!!
Honestly, tho, it really doesn't matter. Like I said, we've jumped almost every jump at Tranquility a million times over the years, and these rides are more about fun with friends than anything else. At some point I'd like to get back for a more proper school, but eh. This was plenty good 'nuff as far as I'm concerned!

All our group had fun too, although, ahem, cough cough, the mares were decidedly less well-behaved than they had been during our Spring outing.... Everyone finished strong tho, which let's be real -- that's kinda all that matters.

the mares were almost never close enough in front of the camera for a decent helmet cam screen grab, sorry :( they finished strong tho!
It was also kinda nice being out for the evening ride too. It was a different sort of mood than a weekend ride, if that makes any sense. Like, the light was different, it was the "end of a long week" kinda vibe where we were all able to just sorta sit back and enjoy that Friday feeling. 

Obviously the days are getting shorter and shorter now, so these sorts of rides won't even be possible pretty soon.... But maybe that was part of why it felt like a special stolen treat haha. 

honestly these rides are some of my all time faves <3
So, all told, we were very slow around the course -- taking something like an hour or a little more to get around the ~2ish mile track. Super fun, tho, and as is my habit, I condensed it all down to three and a half minutes of helmet camera action for your viewing pleasure lol.

It's been kinda a wonky year for helmet cam videos -- as in, there really haven't been many at all... But the outings we *have* been able to get out on were super fun. So I'll take it. And who knows, maybe more to come soon!! 

Fall is definitely my favorite time of year, and I'm really loving these hunter paces and derbies and trials and whatnot (vs an actual full fledged three phase event...). So hopefully there will be more chances lol.


  1. I'm glad you've still been getting out of the barn and doing outings with your pals!

  2. These things always sound like a total blast, i am sad we don't have them here! So glad you had a fun evening

    1. i honestly don't know why they're not more common!! i guess the events are derivatives from fox hunting, so areas without that history might just not realize how fun these things are haha

  3. That looks like a fun day. Mares, tho.....
    they have started having derbies here this year. mostly to make up for the loss of shows. I hope they continue.

    1. oooooh that's exciting about the new derbies!! maybe Carmen has one in her future???? :D

  4. Doing a hunter pace with Emma and Charlie is on my bucket list.

    1. heck yes haha -- if you find your way here, we'll scare up a horse for you and find a way ;)

  5. Charlie watching all of those ponies walk through the gate, I got strong vibes like Father Charlie making sure his ducklings are in a row

    1. aww haha, that's adorable and also 100% spot on lol <3


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