WELCOME TO THE 2021-2022
WESTERN CAROLINA HUNTER PACE & TRAIL RIDE SERIES
The 2021-2022 Western Carolina Hunter Pace & Trail Ride Series will be underway shortly and we eagerly anticipate enjoying your presence as a part of it all. We currently have fifteen events tentatively scheduled, with the possibility of a new group joining us. The regular season is followed closely with cumulative awards and ribbons going to high score individuals in each division and special attendance plaques at our special Year End Awards Gathering and Trail Ride.
Hunter Paces vary in different parts of this country, but everywhere that I’ve ever heard, they are a fun way to get out and about with our horses, enjoy trails we normally don’t have access to and compete in a friendly game. As with recent seasons, the Western Carolina Hunter Pace & Trail Ride Series Events will normally be between six (6) and twelve (12) miles in length. The individual flyers should also give you some brief info as to the terrain and any other particularities to that individual Event. The past couple of years, many of our organizers have offered a shorter "Mini Pace" for those of us with very young, old, or recovering mounts (or selves), and it looks like that will continue. It will be noted on the event flyer when a "Mini Pace" will be offered. These are not competitions, but riders will still receive a Series point for attending and supporting.
The Field Hunter Division will continue very much in the traditional manner with an “optimum time” set prior to the event by a rider who has ridden the trail at a Foxhunting Pace. A timekeeper will track “on-course” time for each team and the team coming the closest to the Optimum, whether over or under, will be declared as winner of the Field Hunter Division for the respective Event.
Our Trail Rider Division has been created from the more traditional Hill Topper Division in which the trails are taken at a more sedate pace. The terrain and scenery are expected to have much to do with these ride times. The winning time for the Trail Rider Division will be determined by averaging the middle half of the ride teams. For example: if there are twenty (20) teams, the time of the fastest five (5) teams and the slowest five (5) teams will be put aside and the middle ten (10) team times will be averaged. A maximum time limit may be set by some organizations and riders will be notified of this in advance.
Each group uses their own varied terrain and thus each Event tends to have its own distinctive flavor. And speaking of flavor, fox hunting has always been very much a social event. Thus, most of our Hunter Paces continue to offer a variety of foods, according to season and preferences. Normal fare can be anything from soup and a sandwich in the fall, thru chili or stew during the winter, or cold salads and picnic style sandwiches for the warm weather rides. Coffee, soda, tea, cookies and/or cake, chips and other accompaniments as well as apples or carrots for our mounts are also usually offered. As trying to estimate the number of riders and food quantities needed, can be difficult, some Organizers opt to have a caterer on site for riders to either brown bag or purchase their lunch. When this is the case, the flyer will make notation of it and entry fees are lowered accordingly.
Lest our riders get too taxed with their riding efforts, and to allow our mounts a short respite, there is usually a required rest stop, generally three (3) minutes, about half way thru the course at which riders are offered such refreshments as water, juice, cookies, candy and/or the traditional “stirrup cup”.
Jumps vary in size and style according to the group and terrain and are traditionally taken by the Field Hunters. However, in this Series ALL jumps are optional, and riders may enjoy or avoid them at their personal preference and that of their mount. Because we are concerned about safety, we strongly recommend ALL riders wear helmets while those taking jumps are REQUIRED to wear protective head gear.
Attire, once similar to the formal hunt suits, has also become relaxed in this area. Over the years the Paces in this Series have totally dispensed with any dress requirements and there is even the annual Halloween costume contest where you might find all manner of strange creatures riding about! But normally, breeches and shirt, jeans and sweatshirt, slacks and tee-shirt, for examples, or basically any comfortable, neat, safe riding attire is fine. Likewise, the focus of your mount's attire should be on safety and comfort whether that means English, Western, a mixture, or something entirely different.
Once again Lou, our official photographer, is looking forward to joining us to make permanent records of our fun. Remember to smile when you see his camera lens pointed in your direction, and don’t be shy about asking if you’d like some posed or “pre-planned action” shots of you and your mount. I may occasionally be seen with camera in hand as I try to cover alternate locations or fill in. Whether we capture your photo candid or posed, there’s never any obligation; purchase if you like or just enjoy seeing yourselves on the website. Stop by my rig (black F150 Extended Cab w/turtle top & old gray 2-horse trailer) or Lou’s black Escape anytime to visit or pick up photos you’ve ordered earlier and prepaid. Now that we’ve entered the digital age, we try to have photos posted to the website by the weekend following an event and they can be ordered thru the site using PayPal or via email and mailing your check. Orders will go into the photo lab upon receipt of your payment and we can mail your photos, bring them to the next Hunter Pace or drop them at Re-Ride for you to pick up at your leisure. Your preference.
So, now that I have (hopefully) covered all bases, explained away all questions and calmed all concerns, we look forward to having you come out to join us for this upcoming 2021-22 Pace Series. And in case you have any questions that I’ve missed, please call or drop me an e-mail, I’ll be happy to answer any further queries. We want YOU to join US. Really, you’ll be glad you did; and better yet, bring a friend or two!