"Anybody can win, unless there happens to be a second entry"
- George Ade
Yet another type of ride?! Yep. I do what I can to keep life interesting. So what is this new adventure? I don't think I've explained it before, but if I have please pretend I didn't and keep reading. It's what the hubs does when I tell him the same boring story for the umpteenth time :)
I had heard rumors that a thing called a hunter pace existed, but had no clue what it was. Once the ladies at the barn caught wind that I do endurance they jumped all over the opportunity to recruit another pacer (I doubt thats what they are called, but lets pretend) and they did a good job of it too. They peaked my interest to a boiling point and I did my research on it.
A hunter pace is a kinda pretend fox hunt without the dogs and fox and potential bloody death (for the fox, not me). It is held mostly on private property so it's a great way to ride places you otherwise wouldn't have access to. There are geographical differences in the rules, but around here they are between 6 and 12 miles in length and usually take a couple hours to complete. There are jumps scattered throughout and you may choose to do them or not without penalty. You get points awarded for completion and if you are lucky enough to win, additional points for that as well. At the end of the season all points are tallied and awards are handed out.
The rides have a start and end time, usually 10-2, and you can show up and go whenever you want to within that window as long as you cross the finish prior to the end time. No big rushed start. Heck, you can go twice if you want to pay for it. Lunch is included and I heard that the food is great. You choose between two groups to "compete" in:
- Hunter: this is a faster pace more typical of a true hunt. I've yet to be able to determine what "faster" actually means but I think it is trot and canter. The optimum ride time is determined by a rider going out on course in a pace that they like and the time recorded. The person who finishes closest (over or under) to that time, wins. Of course you are not informed of the time in advance, so good luck.
- Trail: this is slower. I'm picturing mostly walking and some trotting. This is determined by the 5 fastest times and 5 slowest times being thrown out and then taking the average and awarding that person with a win. Since everyone goes whenever they want and you have no clue which category they are in, good luck trying to win.
It is very intriguing and sounds like a great, laid back atmosphere. I honestly think this is Pete's true calling. He adores running through fields and jumps make it all the better (compared to Gem who adores...um...I'll get back to you on that). The hubs would love it too.
I looked up the local group and they start September 1. Most are fairly close by which is great. They cost significantly less than an endurance ride which puts it in my fall budget. I am hoping to make 1 a month from Sept-Jan which will help get trail miles in and get her fit.