Organizing a Hunter Place (Cross posted on Off Course)
Hey all, the farm where I teach has decided to run a Hunter Pace this fall, and I've been put in charge of organizing it, so I wanted the opinions of the almighty CoTH denizens to tell me what YOU would like to see in a well run hunter pace. We do know it will be open to all disciplines (due to the area we are in), and we will have limited jumps due to being a working hay farm as well, but will have some optional. So what do you want to see? And any suggestions are open! Any any tips for ANYTHING related would be great.I appreciate it everyone!
Well, I like to be able to go singly, in pairs, or in a group of 3. We used to be able to go in a group of 3 at my local series, but then they did away with that.
It kinda stank as is seems there is always one person who is the odd one out.
That is okay if the odd one out is a good rider on a good horse, but I go with friends and used to bring students when I was teaching, who hadn't done one before, or their horses were getting out and about experience and no one wanted to be alone.
Clearly marked paths are also key.
Also appreciated would be any hazards to be clearly marked/made visible - an "invisible" 1 foot wide, by 1 foot deep ditch which was all grown in with grass gave me/my horse trouble once. It was mowed level with the grass on the surrounding areas. Neither one of us knew it was there until the last second - then the horse noticed it - not me. Would not have been a problem if we could have seen it sooner or if the grass was weedwhacked down in it so it was clear what it was. I'm thankful my horse thought it looked odd and didn't get hurt.
My local series offers a course walk the day before as well.
If there are water crossing the footing on those should be very well done because otherwise after the first 20 or 30 riders go through it'll be real sloppy for everyone else and can get dangerous.
Awesome, thanks guys. We'll have a toilet and water access, and will be marking the paths very clearly, we do expect a lot of green horses. I like the idea of single, pairs or in 3s. I'll definitely put that in! Anything else?
I've organized a few in my area. Clearly marked trails are key. A good selection of jumps in varying sizes is always a big draw. We used to hold an event at a place known for its xc course. One year most of it was off limits to the riders and that was a real downer. People enjoy using it as a schooling venue.
Some people complain when a pace is too short (if it takes less than an hour for the fastest groups to complete) and others want a more leisurely ride. If at all possible we add and "optional" loop for those riders who want to go a bit further.
We do trail clearing before the event and if necessary bring in footing, especially before/after obstacles. We try very hard to avoid areas that become deep and boggy or which are very rocky.
Most of all, of course, you need to dial up perfect weather. That's the trickiest one! The event we had this spring had more than 90 riders which was great. However I can remember one that I helped with a few years ago where the weather stunk and we had maybe a third of that .
We try to make ours 5 to 7 miles----some go even farther!
Will you set an Ideal time?
I send out 2 teams a couple days before, they don't know who the other team is,
I try to keep secret who the time setters are, they report to me their times & I
average those for the Ideal time. So only I know the Optimum time!
That way, the time setters can still compete, 'cause they don't know the Time!
I like to keep the first hour for Fast Time teams, 'cause they can create some havoc
if they are really burning!
We have 4 divisions: Junior Optimum, Senior Op, Hilltoppers (I've used their median
time for their score) & Fast Time----we have 2 ribbons for each placing team,
placing to 6th, so if they have more than 2 riders they have to share the ribbons! We
give some prize th the winning teams & have 2 silver perpetual trophies that they
can engrave their names on, for the winning Optimum time teams, either Jr. or Sr.
Good luck! It's a great fund raiser & gets new people out into the country!
Bringing this back up again because we're getting closer! How do you guys mark the trails best? Stakes with ribbons on them? Also, do you generally have everyone follow the same general path and add a loop for the faster/longer paces?