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A hunter pace does not equal a free for all

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    A hunter pace does not equal a free for all

    Just a small vent in the hopes that some of the unwashed masses missed the memo on how to behave in public.
    We had an absolutely LOVELY time at the HCIBH hunter pace yesterday, which I wrote about on the CANTER blog...
    But I'm wondering if maybe it's time to put some general rules on etiquette in the flyers for the hunter paces?
    I alway thought that hunter paces drew lots of foxhunters who wanted to go out and have some fun, and maybe bring out the greenies. Yesterday's turnout showed that there are a LOT of folks that had at the very least, never hunted or at most, never learned some basic rules of the road.

    Or maybe these are unwritten rules that were ingrained in me growing up hunting and aren't really common knowledge?

    I tend to have greenie-type horses out at hunter paces because I like the 'choose your own pace' type course, and they are usually fun and low key. Knowing that I travel slower than other people, I watch for groups coming up behind me, find a spot to scoot out of the way and let them pass me. 75% of folks will slow down at least a bit, tip hat or say thank you, and continue on. Everybody is happy.
    Is this not common knowledge?

    In my world, you let people ahead of you know that you are coming up behind them.
    You slow down.
    You ask to move past (if the group ahead is not making it clear that they are going to allow you past)
    You call a side that you'll be passing on.
    You pass at the slower pace until a decent distance away
    You pick up whatever pace you want.

    What not to do:
    GALLOP hell bent for leather up behind a group that is walking.
    GALLOP across the path of a group who is trotting up to a jump (meaning, cross in front of where the other group is landing, because you've gone off course)
    GALLOP behind two people who are slowly cantering, then split the field around said people. (We were cantering slowly, and the two of us had a horse on either side of us galloping past).

    GAH!!
    Your 15 cent ribbon is not worth someone's life.

    #2
    Gently Disagreeing...

    With the disclaimer that I haven't been to a hunter pace Back East since moving to Utah in 1995...but I did my fair share of them in VA dating back to the 70s.

    It used to be that hunter paces were limited to horses that had fairly hunted, with riders who were hunt members. Meaning, you went out on your MADE hunter and competed for either fast time or optimum time. I know even in the 80s we started a few 'open to all' divisions, generally for hilltopping, and I perceive that such divisions have become much more commonplace.

    Now, you reference a 'choose your own pace' division- unclear to me whether it is designed for green horses/riders or whether you simply picked that division for schooling your green horse. By its very definition, you, and any other competitors in that division starting before you or after you, can go as fast, or as slow, as they want.

    You listed the following etiquette rules:

    "In my world, you let people ahead of you know that you are coming up behind them.
    You slow down.
    You ask to move past (if the group ahead is not making it clear that they are going to allow you past)
    You call a side that you'll be passing on.
    You pass at the slower pace until a decent distance away
    You pick up whatever pace you want."

    Those rules certainly apply for general trail riding! But, in hunter paces as with other organized competitions such as eventing, sorry, but the overtaking group has right of way and they do not need to ask your permission to pass. Thus it has always been. Nothing free for all about it. Same as out hunting- when hounds are running you are free to pass any and all going slower than you in the field, with the common sense caveat that you don't blow somebody off of a single track in the woods, for example.

    My suggestion: If you don't want to subject your green horse to the stress of being passed by someone who prefers to do the course at a faster pace, ask to go last.

    Comment


      #3
      That's exactly the sort of thing that makes me think more than twice about taking my ex-racehorse out to hunter paces, much as I love the idea for introducing him to XC (or maybe hunting someday). I'm not ripping his face off to save someone who grew up with no manners.

      I think the problem is that people have so little experience riding green horses or riding in groups out in the open these days, so they don't learn the rules we all grew up with. It just doesn't occur to them what they're doing galloping by. Including etiquette in the flyers or maybe posting them (in the portapotties, if any? ) might help.

      PS Thanks Beverly - much food for thought for me.

      Comment


        #4
        I don't go flying by someone when out hunting either. I will pass because I like to keep up with the fieldmaster but I'll pass at a reasonable speed before I pick up the pace.

        The most enjoyable paces (even on an experienced hunt horse who could care less how fast someone goes by him) have been where the teams respect each other.
        ************
        \"And indeed the love that the horses of the Rangers bore for their riders was so great that they were willing to face even the terror of the Door , if their masters\' hearts were steady as they walked beside them.\" The Return of the Ki

        Comment

          Original Poster

          #5
          Mmm, I'll gently disagree back Though over the last 20 years of my Hunter Pace participation they actually have changed a bit.

          All the foxhunters I know would follow these simple rules, at least in my area we do. And I'm not referring to being in an all-out run out hunting and the fast horse passes the not-so-fast horse--been there, done that, gave plenty of leeway for the horse who might kick out.
          I'd equate this to first flight going blasting right *through* the hilltoppers without warning. Necessary? Nope. Pick a path, follow your buddy around the group, don't go flying through the group, leaving no place for the overtaken horses to get out of the way. (Maybe my description is not making sense, but we had horses passing us on either side, with no ability to move out of the way)

          Regarding the passing party having the right of way, I can agree with you on that, but I will not ever agree with galloping up on top of people without warning. If I cannot hear you, well don't cry if my horse wallops you and breaks your leg if you run too close to me and I don't have time to get out of the way.
          You mention "with the common sense caveat that you don't blow somebody off of a single track in the woods", But thats exactly what I'm saying. There was a distinct *lack* of common sense in this regard.

          Regarding the choose your own pace--I'm referring to the optimum time courses, they are definitely choose your own pace as long as you aren't interested in winning

          Comment


            #6
            Sounds more like there was more to fault. IME, the "fast times" didn't go at the same time (and had a different course) than those doing the "optimum time."

            Plus, usually spacing is enough not to have too much problems. I agree though that people need to learn some manners regarding what to do and what not to do. I've taken several green ones out to hunter paces, and mostly had good experiences. We haven't had the opportunity to get our green ones out this year to HP, but sounds like it's best we didn't!

            Comment

              Original Poster

              #7
              Oh I had some great folks pass by, very mannerly (All of whom I recognized, some NM and some HCIBH members)--it was really only two groups that we had problems with, but my jaw dropped at it.
              And I agree with the spacing--the problems we ran into were groups that had gone off course and looped back around (or they were larking). It was terribly muddy though, so we did more walking than we would have liked, but it was lovely despite the mud and the idiots

              Comment


                #8
                I' m with you, FairWeather...and where I hunt, when you are passing, no matter when or where, you ask permission- or at the very least- announce your intentions (i.e. "passing on your right"). That' s no different from yelling "'ware hound" from behind to the people ahead, or yelling "'ware hole" to the people behind you...its merely good manners and good communication.
                HCIB did a fabulous job yesterday and my really greenie had a great experience...I too appreciate the relaxed atmosphere of a HP which allows people to get inexperienced horses out in hunting- like conditions, yet in a more controlled environment (same for green riders, really!).

                Comment


                  #9
                  I agree with you on properly passing. Last year at the Piedmont Pace we caught up to the pair in front of us halfway through the course. There was no good place to pass them for at least another 6 or 7 jumps. Then we hit an open field and I told them that we aould be passing them on the left. So we swung out and passed.

                  I would never consider passing strange horses on the run on a woods trail. That would seem to be an invitation to get kicked.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Exactly. Many, many rules of foxhunting etiquette have more to do with safety than anything else...

                    Comment


                      #11
                      We have some people that come to the hunter paces at our hunt to use them for schooling for eventing. Then we have other people who come just to hang out. but they are all on the same courses. Lots of the hunt members come, but the paces are open to everyone so we get people that have never even though about hunting before, which is ok too. Our paces are a fundraiser for the kennels.
                      Usually I am just hanging out and taking it easy, but at the last one I entered my young mare in Beginner Novice, and "did it like for real".
                      When I am hanging out, I watch for the people going faster coming up behind me and turn my horse to face them or get out of the way, if I am going faster I try to warn those ahead of me but they also have a duty to pay attention to their surroundings.
                      Regardless of why you are there, if you are bringing a green horse you have a duty to everyone else to ensure that you have some semblance of control before you come out
                      (ie if you will freak out if he runs off in an open field, then you have more work to do at home first).otherwise you are a danger to yourself and everyone else.
                      "Perhaps the final test of anybody's love of dogs is their willingness to permit them to make a camping ground of the bed" -Henry T. Merwin

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by FairWeather View Post
                        GAH!!
                        Your 15 cent ribbon is not worth someone's life.
                        Well not only that, many don't seem to realize that it's a Hunter PACE not a Hunter RACE!

                        Personally, I think it's a darn good idea to pass out flyers with a general hunter pace etiquette. There seem to be at least 2 or 3 groups that I encounter at every pace I attend whom seem to have no clue. Around here I would say that Hunter paces are NOT largely attended by foxhunters. Heck I know people that have never even been on a trail ride that all of the sudden declared they were going to a Hunter pace! All of the hunts put on and host Hunter paces but many other groups do as well. They are attended by a variety of riders of all disciplines IME.
                        Last edited by LookinSouth; Apr. 14, 2008, 07:32 PM.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          OP:

                          I think the rules you posted are rules for general riding and not for just HP's.

                          I feel your pain. We had a very young one out at the HP yesterday, who behaved and was a gem, however, there were a few yahoos that really got my blood boiling.

                          Simple rule: JUST BE SAFE AND POLITE.

                          That just about covers it!!
                          FREE TACK/APPAREL ADS: BITS AND BARTER BOARD: http://bitsandbarter.proboards.com/i...ay&thread=5450

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Hmmm, I guess nostalgia ain't what it used to be...

                            Fairweather, in theory I agree with you about not galloping up without warning- if I were the galloper I sure wouldn't do it for safety reasons- my own as much as anybody elses. I guess I'm just having trouble visualizing how that could be achieved, any horse I've ever ridden gives me plenty of warning that 'something' is approaching from the rear. And if one is motoring along in heavy woods, depending on the bends in the trail, one might not be aware until a few feet behind that one has a slower group in front. I know that happened to me once, when whipping in and barreling through the woods and had to come to a screeching halt six inches behind a hilltopper who had fallen a half-mile behind the hilltoppers group- a BIG no no!

                            Perhaps I can clarify with a skiing analogy- if I just feel like puttering along on my skis at a non-Olympic downhill pace, I have every right to do so, but I would be really stupid to do that in an area where a really fast skier wouldn't even see me until it was too late.

                            If what you are talking about is yahoos charging through a group or at close quarters, then yes, I can agree that they are at best having brain farts. But then, once upon a time, we had outriders all around the course to at a minimum yell at such people to quit being idiots. The outriders also yelled at people for failing to yield right of way to the overtaking group. Every now and then, just like out hunting, you'd get someone whose horse refused a fence, and that someone would just expect the world to come to a standstill until he/she got that horse over that fence, forgetting the get out of the way/go to the rear NOW rule.

                            I suppose we can agree that 'notification' by the overtaking group is the polite thing to do in all cases- but it isn't a case of permission, whether hunting or pacing. It's a rhetorical 'Mind if I pass?' if it isn't simply a 'coming through on your right' situation. Because the group or individual being overtaken must do the polite thing and get out of the way asap.

                            As for optimum division being 'pick your own pace,' well, I would say that is a BIG difference from what I am accustomed to. Back in the day, optimum time was defined as the ideal time over the course 'as hounds run,' meaning a three to five minute mile depending on terrain and who set the time. So, if I'd paid an entry fee to run a course under that definition, and ended up having to walk in the woods behind a slower group for a half mile, well, I'd not be happy because that isn't what I paid to do.

                            Elghund, you blow me away with your description of last year's Piedmont course, and I think you might have Mrs. Randolph spinning in her grave, too. Course must have changed substantially since I last did it, but it was the same the years I did it, just reverse direction in alternate years. I can only think of one spot on the course I rode where you couldn't have passed someone. In any event, staying behind another group for six or seven fences is just not right. The group in front of you should PROMPTLY have pulled aside, even if that means stopping altogether to wedge themselves off the trail somehow (though again I cannot picture that on the Piedmont course!). THAT is the proper etiquette for that situation in hunter paces!

                            Comment


                              #15
                              I agree with all that say etiquette goes BOTH ways. It's no fun to be in the jumper division of a Hunter pace only to get trapped behind Suzie and Sally mosying along at a walk in the woods in the Leisure division who make a HUGE ordeal about groups passing them AT A JOG when the request has been made timely and politely. Been there done that too, very annoying.
                              Last edited by LookinSouth; Apr. 14, 2008, 04:31 PM.

                              Comment


                                #16
                                always two sides

                                No question that etiquette goes both ways and I' ve been on the other side, as well. I think Fairweather was mainly referring to the "Yahoos" (the ones who don't even have the sense to pull their horses back to a walk or trot through the horrendously deep, shoe- sucking, tendon- pulling slop...and there were a number of those yesterday as well (the one advnatage of being the slowest person on course is that you DO get a chance to see everyone pass you by!).

                                Comment


                                  #17
                                  Beverly: You would normally be right about piedmont. However, the one year we looped out and then came back and jumped a coup into the woods. From there we had several jumps in the woods or after very brief forays out into open fields. The open fields were just not long enough to pass.

                                  How the pace is run can make a difference. Here in VA. All of the fast time riders go first. Then the optimum time over fences goes. In all honesty, the winners in the optimum time oer fences are usually the fastest teams not including fast time. Its pretty much a hand gallop or canter most of the way. Saturday, at bull run, was the first time I ever remember walking a stretch on a course. It was just so hot, we didn't feel it was worth it. So we walked a downhill stretch in order to let the horses recover. Even with that walking stretch we were only 2.5 minutes off the optimum on about a 3.5 miles course.

                                  I've seen most people who have greenies or are planning to go slow, wait until the end of a division to go.

                                  Comment


                                    #18
                                    The one that just happened in aiken, had three different divisions, and three different routes.

                                    They intersected each other occasionally, which was cool, because you got to meet other folks, see what everyone was up to, say hello, etc......

                                    But kept it very organized!!
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                                    Comment


                                      #19
                                      Originally posted by FairWeather View Post
                                      Just a small vent in the hopes that some of the unwashed masses missed the memo on how to behave in public.
                                      We had an absolutely LOVELY time at the HCIBH hunter pace yesterday, which I wrote about on the CANTER blog...
                                      But I'm wondering if maybe it's time to put some general rules on etiquette in the flyers for the hunter paces?
                                      I alway thought that hunter paces drew lots of foxhunters who wanted to go out and have some fun, and maybe bring out the greenies. Yesterday's turnout showed that there are a LOT of folks that had at the very least, never hunted or at most, never learned some basic rules of the road.

                                      Or maybe these are unwritten rules that were ingrained in me growing up hunting and aren't really common knowledge?

                                      I tend to have greenie-type horses out at hunter paces because I like the 'choose your own pace' type course, and they are usually fun and low key. Knowing that I travel slower than other people, I watch for groups coming up behind me, find a spot to scoot out of the way and let them pass me. 75% of folks will slow down at least a bit, tip hat or say thank you, and continue on. Everybody is happy.
                                      Is this not common knowledge?

                                      In my world, you let people ahead of you know that you are coming up behind them.
                                      You slow down.
                                      You ask to move past (if the group ahead is not making it clear that they are going to allow you past)
                                      You call a side that you'll be passing on.
                                      You pass at the slower pace until a decent distance away
                                      You pick up whatever pace you want.

                                      What not to do:
                                      GALLOP hell bent for leather up behind a group that is walking.
                                      GALLOP across the path of a group who is trotting up to a jump (meaning, cross in front of where the other group is landing, because you've gone off course)
                                      GALLOP behind two people who are slowly cantering, then split the field around said people. (We were cantering slowly, and the two of us had a horse on either side of us galloping past).

                                      GAH!!
                                      Your 15 cent ribbon is not worth someone's life.
                                      I am running a hunter pace May 18 and what you said is in our rules. We ask that if a team passes your team without slowing down and asking that you tell us at the end of the pace and we will talk to them and if we feel they were not playing safe and fair they will be taking out of running for the ribbons. We have the rules in our mailer and say if you do not play by them we can ask you to leave.
                                      AilleXWest
                                      www.gypsystoychest.com Adult Toys and Home partys

                                      Comment


                                        #20
                                        A whip doesn't slow down and shout out which side he's going when he rides through the field out hunting. It's WARE STAFF and you'd better get the hell out of the way! It's up to those riding in the field to BE AWARE. Just as those riding slower should be.
                                        ... _. ._ .._. .._

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