Thursday, June 12, 2014

Riding Weekend Part 2: Charlie's First Hunter Pace

On Sunday Connie trailered Buffy (my neighbor's awesome Perch/TB cross) and Charlie about an hour away to a hunter pace (thanks Connie!). It was Charlie's first time out to an event like this and I was even more excited that Maddy was there so I could share it with someone.

Buffy was the perfect companion: calm, cool and collected the entire time, taking everything in stride and really giving Charlie the confidence he needed to have a positive experience. It was a very low-key pace, no dress code, but I had a few extra saddle pads laying around so I painted them to match.

Charlie, of course, had to inspect every inch of the trailer before we left (honestly I think he was mostly distracted by Buffy's nice butt in the stall next door).

Once we got to the pace we unloaded the horses and I couldn't have been prouder. Charlie stepped off the trailer like a pro. No shenanigans. No dancing or calling out. He stood tied to the trailer, eating grass, while we tacked up both horses, and then walked calmly over to the wheel well and stood like a statue for me to get on.
This looks like a fun place
Buffy the wonder horse

He's sexy and he knows it
Buuuut he's not so good at selfies lol
Much better!
In a hunter pace there is usually a fast and a slow division. Fast, which is what we did, is mostly trotting and cantering whereas slow is mostly walking and trotting. Jumps are scattered throughout the course (which was 5-6 miles) and are usually optional, and ribbons are given out for the ideal times in each division. The catch is you have no idea what that ideal time is since it's generally an average of every teams' times in that class. For me, though, it's all about the fun and experience so we just went whatever pace we wanted and had a ton of fun.

Waiting at the starting line

It was overall a really nice ride with lots of varied scenery, from skinny trails in the woods to winding paths in grassy fields; uphill and downhill; roadways and bridges. Charlie willingly crossed 3 open metal grate bridges with Buffy's encouragement, which is more than some teams could boast. I was so proud of him!

Photo credit: Rough Coat Photography
Unfortunately most of the jumps were toward the end of the ride and by then both Charlie and Buffy were getting tired. So we did some of them, but opted to stay away from any that were a little bigger or scarier. Here are some pics courtesy of Rough Coat Photography:

By the end everyone was a little tired and more than a little sweaty (I'm so glad we opted to go first thing in the morning so we weren't out in the 80+ degree weather later in the day). But boy did we have a good time!

Buffy is smiling for the camera
Honoring the OTTBs!
Pace Maker 6/8/14


  1. This looks so fun! I want to find one near me to try someday!

    1. They're awesome. Look for Paper Chases too (that's what they are called sometimes and those are almost always casual). Great for teaching your horse that trailering off site is fun without the stress of a show.

  2. Hi Lauren! Love your blog, love reading about Charlie (I'm a fellow OTTB owner and lover :-) I wanted to share with you how much I admire your riding form- and say bravo! to you for that terrific classic release over the jump pictured. A very refreshing image to see indeed!

    1. Thanks for the compliment, Karen! I used to jump a lot but have only just started with Charlie so I've been working really hard to try to stay out of his way and let him figure out his form in the air. I was so happy to see this pic on the photographer's website and realize I still got it!

  3. I'm sharing this post on my OTTB.Tees FB page, what great photos! Go Charlie :)