Saturday was the date of one of my favorite events all year: the Harvard Fox Hounds hunter pace. If you’re unfamiliar with hunter paces, they’re low-key competitive trail rides which are ridden in teams of two to four (or five, if you’re us) over varied terrain. Before the event, the hosting organization sends out a team of riders over the course to get the ideal time, which remains a mystery to competitors During the event, teams ride the course at what they feel is an appropriate pace; the team closest to the ideal time without being under wins.
|From L to R: Robin & Woody, Richal & Ash, Audrey & Woody, Cara & Gunner, me & Gina.
Yes, we matched. There’s usually a best dressed award!
Overall, the day went pretty well. There were some highlights:
- Gina jumped everything I pointed her at, including large coops, logs of all sizes, and a coffin. A couple of things got a refusal on the first approach, but there was no real nastiness.
- Gunner, an OTTB out on his very first cross country excursion, was very good for his teenage rider.
- There was beer at the potluck.
- Robin had a flat on the way to the event- we stopped to help her (as did a local eventing barn), so we had about 15 minutes to get dressed and tacked up.
- Ash attempted to buck Richal off within 10 minutes of being on course. (Fun side note for any racing fans out there: Ash is short for Ashkal Way, winner of a variety of stakes races and owned by ESPN racing reporter Jeannine Edwards.)
- Woody DID buck Audrey off immediately after clearing a post-and-rail fence. She was fine, and got back on to complete the hunter pace.
- Robin’s Woody laid down with her on him in one of the creeks.
- Cara’s Easy Boots broke. (Both of them.)
- About 100 yards from the finish line, Gina slipped and fell while galloping. I pitched off, she landed on me only minimally, and we are totally fine. My right leg and side are sore, Gina is a little sore, and I definitely need a new helmet, but it could have been way worse!
|Gina refused this coop once, then hopped over it. The approach was a VERY steep, short hill with about one stride between
the hill’s end and the coop. Super fun!