Hunter Paces

Hunter Paces


2023 Hunter Paces

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What is a hunter pace you ask???

The simple answer, a hunter pace is a nice long enjoyable trail ride with family or friends. Now if you want to know how the elusive “ideal time” is calculated, well that’s a little more detailed. It goes back to its fox hunting roots where riders had to hack to the hunt. They had to figure out how to get to the hunt on time with a horse that was sufficiently warmed up, but not too tired to hunt. Since the hunts generally started fairly early in the morning daylight was definitely something that riders had to consider as well. We would usually leave as soon as you could safely see where we were going and head out at a brisk trot and with a few canters thrown in where the conditions were good. Obviously if there was a fairly steep down hill or bad footing we would walk. If we planned things right we would be at the “meet” with time to spare and horses ready to hunt.

Hunter paces developed as a friendly competition where riders would go out on a marked course 4 – 5 miles long and ride at a pace as if hacking to the “meet” and the one closest to the “ideal” time won. The ideal time is usually determined by having someone ride the course at a good “hunter pace” as described above and that becomes the “ideal time”. However, the pace can vary from pace to pace depending on who is riding the course and on what type of horse. I ride the course on two different types of horses and average the time. For those of you who have been coming here over the years know that I ride my courses exactly as explained above. The jumping division is a somewhat faster pace because they end up doing more cantering than the flat divisions. Over the years we have found that many people really don’t care about being competitive and enjoy a more leisurely pace. However, it seemed that the “turtle” award was being contested by many entrants so we have added a new “trail riders” division. This is a more leisurely pace of mostly walking and trotting. I hope this answers some of your questions. – Jackie

Notes for the day of the Hunter Pace