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Can someone explain a Hunter Pace?

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  • Can someone explain a Hunter Pace?

    What are they? I believe they are done in pairs, but thats about it- thanks!

  • #2
    This would probably be a better question to ask on the Fox Hunting forum, as hunter paces are usually put on and hosted by hunt clubs. They actually have nothing to do with show hunters and, depending on the area and the hunt, are closer to a cross country round or a day in the hunt field.


    • #3
      It actually has nothing to do with hunters as in hunter jumpers...more akin to foxhunting. I've done a few but not sure I'm super qualified to explain...

      Basically you're given a map and a course. Complete the course getting as close to optimum time as possible, time starts when riders leave and both riders must finish the course together. There may be required or optional jumps or obstacles (water crossings). Depends on how they judge it but for some, going faster than optimum time places you lower than those who went longer than optimum time.


      • Original Poster

        Ok, thanks! I'll post it on there too!
        I just posted it on here because some people at my barn (mostly show hunters) were thinking about doing one to keep their horses 'fresh'.


        • #5
          I've done a couple (though I'm an eventer) and thought they were tons of fun!

          The course included some cross-country jumps- mostly really inviting ones like logs, coops, etc and some stadium jumps all set in a big field. There was an option to go as a group or to go individually. There was an optimum time to make it around the course in and fall/refusals counted against your final score.

          We have a great time doing them!
          Cascadia- OTTB mare. 04/04-05/10
          If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever


          • #6
            They are terrific fun. It's a nice ride across country, usually over obstacles, and it's generally at a slower pace than a typical cross-country ride. We usually trot some and canter a bit over the course, rather than keeping a steady pace the whole time. Different paces will use different methods for calculating the time, so we are sometimes under and sometimes over using this method..
            Life would be infinitely better if pinatas suddenly appeared throughout the day.


            • #7
              My 8 year old daugher and I just did one around Thanksgiving and it was super fun. It was an 8 mile ride through hunt country in Bucks County, PA. We rode through fields, across rivers, through the woods. We went very slowly and enjoyed the ride.

              I jumped the jumps, but there was a way around each one. My daughter decided not to jump at first, because she was nervous, but by about 1/2 way through she was jumping everything she could find.

              You need to make sure your horse is ok about water crossings and that he won't freak out if a large group takes off without him, but otherwise, it's not anymore difficult than a trail ride. You should go. We had a blast.


              • #8
                Where I live - we have a "series" of 5 paces at different fixtures during the summer. They are sponsored by the local hunt club and are a fund raiser of sorts for them. They are open to everyone - just not hunt club members.

                You go out in teams of 2 or 3. In ours - there are 3 "speed" levels. The ones that gallop the whole thing...the walk/trot/canter medium speed...and then the walk/trot only speed. The gallopers go out first so you don't have them flying up on walk/trotters.

                The course is around 5 miles here. The objective is to navigate the course at the correct "pace". Each speed has a recommended mph - say 3 mph or something. You have no idea how long the course is before you start - but the goal is to maintain the proper pace for your division throughout the course and the closest team to the recommended time (which would be the recommended mph x the length of the course) wins.

                There are jumps (usually around 30) - which all are optional. Ours range from 18 inch logs on the ground to 3 ft cross country coops. I usually pick and choose which ones I want to jump. The terrain varies from open fields to woods to stream crossings to around farms.

                My horse (show hunter) LOVES to go. You do need a horse that can deal with scary/new obstacles without too much drama....one that is willing to cross water....one that can deal with seeing other teams of horses around him and possibly be passed by some. (Most people are really polite about passing though and slow to a walk to do so.) It is a good workout for him as well.

                I know a lot of people in my barn won't go because they worry about their show horses getting hurt. It isn't recommended that you wrap your horses legs for these since they go through water...and woods...and it would be easy for brush or something to get attached to the boots and drug along...

                It really helps for your first time out if you can pair with someone who has a horse that has gone before - or is a fox hunter - a nice steady eddy type who might help calm your horse. Thankfully - my best horsie friend is a fox hunter and has a wonderful dead calm Canadian sport horse who has acted as a babysitter for my flighty, spooky horse over the years so now he is seasoned at this.

                And I agree - not much more difficult than a trail ride.


                • #9
                  I love hunter paces- it's like a hunt without the hounds. We have two divisions- trail rider and hilltopper. You want to go at an apprpriate pace for your division, as has been mentioned. Mostly, I like to go for the social aspect. The paces where folks start at a lodge for breakfast and then meet back later for lunch are my favorite! There are usually refreshments for you and your mount along the way. I don't aim to compete, but simply to enjoy a day in the fields. 8-)


                  • #10
                    The ones in my area work like this:
                    The hunt master rides the course to get the optimum time. This is kept a secret, but the goal is to come as close to the optimum time as possible. You ride in teams, usually 3-5 riders. There are different divisions, each with their own optimum time, so each division has a winning team. The divisions are based on speed. The lowest division will walk/trot the course and go around the bigger jumps. The highest division does a lot of cantering, jumps everything and is expected to finish fastest.
                    They are super fun, and definitely a big social event!