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A hunter pace does not equal a free for all

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  • SonnysMom
    replied
    I was at a hunter pace a few years ago and was trotting with a fence line down one side and the road down the other. I was an area about 14 feet wide. I had a group come galloping up behind me with no warning. For some reason my normally sane QH lost it and cantered sideways into the road. What really pissed me off is the group got maybe 50 yards past me and my companion and came down to a walk. They never acknowledged I was having trouble. There was no reason for them to blow past us and then walk. Once I got back on the grass my companion and I wound up trotting past the group that just had to gallop past us. We actually were polite and asked first.

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  • LookinSouth
    replied
    Originally posted by BuddyRoo View Post
    Okay then...so as someone who has never been to a HP nor a hunt, I'm finding myself confused. Because there is one local HP that a friend has been encouraging me to do for some time now--and I've gotten the impression that it is A) very very laid back B) teamed according to intent for the HP--ie: if you are truly competing you are grouped accordingly and sent out ahead. If you're a newbie or slower or not planning to really "compete", you are grouped accordingly and sent out towards the back.

    I got the impression that it was basically a trail ride at speed with optional jumps. Something I myself would really like to do on my very very seasoned trail horse/low level jumper (amongst other things).

    As such, I think it would be very nice to have the etiquette guidelines sent out with the registration because I'd sure hate to commit some serious faux pas.
    Some HP's ARE designed so that the faster groups go out first and the slower groups later or vice versa. However, around here groups are generally given a time in advance OR they just check in between the opening and closing times; let's say between 9 and 12:00. Therefore, it is possible for someone in the Jumper group who will be doing all jumps and alot of cantering to pass by a number of groups in slower divisions. Most of the paces I've done each division competes against themselves so the jumper division isn't competing against the hilltoppers etc..but they can still be out riding at the same time.

    Your right, a hunter pace actually is a laid back organized XC ride with optional jumps. The division that you choose will determine your appropriate "pace". However, I personally would never canter or gallop past a slower group even if I had a wide berth in a field. This could likely upset riders in a slower division. Granted, in the IDEAL WORLD everyone that attended a Hunter pace would likely have very experienced trail horses or hunt horses and be familiar in the open themselves. All of their horses wouldn't care if others blasted by them in a field. This is not the case though. There are many riders/horses that attend hunter paces that have little to no experience riding in the open or rarely travel beyond a trot in the open. Such people would likely find it difficult to control their horse if another group blasted by them in a field or on a trail whether there is a wide berth or not.

    In my opinion you are better off to be overly polite and cautious when approaching other teams rather than simply assume. It makes for a more pleasant experience for all.

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  • BuddyRoo
    replied
    Okay then...so as someone who has never been to a HP nor a hunt, I'm finding myself confused. Because there is one local HP that a friend has been encouraging me to do for some time now--and I've gotten the impression that it is A) very very laid back B) teamed according to intent for the HP--ie: if you are truly competing you are grouped accordingly and sent out ahead. If you're a newbie or slower or not planning to really "compete", you are grouped accordingly and sent out towards the back.

    I got the impression that it was basically a trail ride at speed with optional jumps. Something I myself would really like to do on my very very seasoned trail horse/low level jumper (amongst other things).

    As such, I think it would be very nice to have the etiquette guidelines sent out with the registration because I'd sure hate to commit some serious faux pas.

    I know that on the trail, we encounter yahoos from time to time who gallop up behind on narrow trails with no good spot to move over, stopping once their horses' noses are up our bums--so I definitely understand a lot of the positional "etiquette".

    But if I were passing a group in a field I would not assume that I needed to slow down as long as I can offer them a reasonably wide berth and let them know I was passing. So without some indication from the organizers or old pros, it sounds like I'd be offending someone too.

    Thanks for posting as I guess I need to be prepared to ask a LOT more questions.

    Leave a comment:


  • Beverley
    replied
    Like Fernie Fox, I've been kicked badly out hunting- the offending horse sucked back at full gallop and shifted his rear end to nail me, my horse being smart enough to see it coming and shift away. That was a case where I wish I'd been tailgating instead of following at proper distance, he couldn't have gotten me then!

    I agree with Artillery Hill, if you KNOW you have a kicker, whether hunting or just trail riding, you should affix the ribbon AND keep to the rear. That's just good manners- you are choosing to ride a horse with this problem, and so you pay the price by doing your best to keep from causing a problem for others.

    That said, I do agree with Xeroxchick's sentiment- EVERYBODY needs to keep their horses from tailgating, ALL THE TIME. Even the saintliest and steadiest of horses is going to get grumpy from getting banged from the rear all day long. If I am a member of a field I'm going to tell the offender, politely but directly, that he/she needs to quit running into my horse. If the problem persists, I'm going to have a discrete chat with the relevant Master whose job description includes having discrete chats with such offenders about fixing such problems.

    I did once, when guesting, have a member of the host hunt sheepishly ask me if she could go behind me, because she had been having braking issues with her horse, was trying out a new bit that day, but wanted to follow someone who was okay with it if things went bad and her horse ended up bumping the one in front. I cheerfully gave the okay- she was planning ahead for the possibilities, after all. Worked fine. This is truly a situation where asking permission is far preferable to asking forgiveness.

    Leave a comment:


  • ArtilleryHill
    replied
    <<I shouldn't tell this, but I have tied a red ribbon to my horse's tail at times just to keep the ya-hoos away.>>

    Then I hope you also ride in the back, if you have a red ribbon in your horse's tail. I know some people who use the red ribbon and then ride mid-field or in front, which only a ) encourages people with real kickers to do the same and b) teaches other people in the field not to take that ribbon too seriously, as it's probably only really on a horse's tail to keep the yahoos away. Please use those red ribbons responsibly! I don't mind people using red ribbons to keep the baddies away, but if you do it, please ride behind, too.

    Leave a comment:


  • fernie fox
    replied
    I have never sued anyone in my life.

    But,kicking horses can cause awfully serious damage to other horses and riders.

    I have been badly kicked by a horse that was 6 ft away from me ,sorry,I have no sympathy with kickers,they should NOT be allowed in mid field.

    I am not rich by any means,but a kicker should not be in mid field.

    I hope you are ready to pay my bills if I or my horse are hurt.

    If I am riding and somebody is riding on my horse's rear end,I turn round and tell that the next time their horse is too close to mine I will use my hunting whip to get them off my horses rear end. Quite simple. Their choice.

    Leave a comment:


  • xeroxchick
    replied
    Originally posted by SEPowell View Post
    I hunt a mare in the front of the field who kicks.... now. As I was bringing her along I kept to the rear with a ribbon in her tail because I wanted people to stay off my green, somewhat hot ottb. She did not kick until someone finally opened a hind heel and this was after two months of people bashing into her. She finally blew and has been defensive ever since, and so have I. When someone stops with his horse's head on my horses haunches, quite frankly, they deserve what they get. Yes, there will be pile ups, and she's never even threatened during one of these, but she hates to have someone hanging onto her heels or another horse standing there nosing her hiney!

    I had such a fit one day that now people give us a wide berth and I do my best to surround myself with riders who can stop their horses.

    Those are the only moments I feel irritated hunting. And I try really hard not to end up in those situations. I love to keep hunting perfect
    I've always said that you can make a kicker. I'm afraid I have been a real B about this at times. I mean, why does someone need to be in your back pocket in a 400 acre field? So dangerous too. I shouldn't tell this, but I have tied a red ribbon to my horse's tail at times just to keep the ya-hoos away.

    Leave a comment:


  • Ponyclubrocks
    replied
    First of all manners are manners no matter the setting.

    Our hunt puts on paces to raise funds and the whole world (it seems) is invited. We run three different speed divisions simultaneously on a single course therefore good manners are definitely called for. I always pull over for faster riders but I will say most everyone is very considerate and at least pull up to a trot until they are well past. Most everyone offers a friendly greeting as well. Most of the entrants are not members of the hunt.

    The master often stands at the starting line to remind people of the good manners expected, and it seems to work well.

    The paces are very well attended (over 125 horses at the last two) and the money raised is very much appreciated.

    Leave a comment:


  • Nlevie
    replied
    Yes, I understand where you're coming from - this is part of why I prefer whipping in. . . I hate how so many in the field have NO control over their horses and no clue of proper manners and protocol ? People are afraid to say anything to them, so they keep doing it and some truly have no idea they are out of control.

    Back to the subject of hunter paces - I do see both sides of that. It did evolve as a way for experienced foxhunters to compete, but now like many other hunts, we use them as a way to make money and to try to draw in potential members, so for that reason it is important to try to show them a good time and not make people think (as many already do) that us foxhunters are all wild & crazy and have no manners !

    Leave a comment:


  • SEPowell
    replied
    Originally posted by fernie fox View Post
    Kicking horses riding mid-field,it seems it is okay nowadays,so long as you have a red ribbon on kickers tail.

    It is'nt okay.

    Get to the back until your horse is safe in a group.
    I hunt a mare in the front of the field who kicks.... now. As I was bringing her along I kept to the rear with a ribbon in her tail because I wanted people to stay off my green, somewhat hot ottb. She did not kick until someone finally opened a hind heel and this was after two months of people bashing into her. She finally blew and has been defensive ever since, and so have I. When someone stops with his horse's head on my horses haunches, quite frankly, they deserve what they get. Yes, there will be pile ups, and she's never even threatened during one of these, but she hates to have someone hanging onto her heels or another horse standing there nosing her hiney!

    I had such a fit one day that now people give us a wide berth and I do my best to surround myself with riders who can stop their horses.

    Those are the only moments I feel irritated hunting. And I try really hard not to end up in those situations. I love to keep hunting perfect

    Leave a comment:


  • LookinSouth
    replied
    Originally posted by Saskatoonian View Post
    You can't believe how easy it is to scare the pants off people - and I do have manners!
    Ain't that the truth. I've been classifed as a "yahooer" just because I like to do some cantering (and occasional galloping) on trail in good, safe footing. That said, most of the people I ride with these days are FAR braver than I in the open so I can't help but laugh when I'M classified as a yahooer.

    We once rode with a group that was shocked when we directed our horses to walk under a fallen tree ( there was plenty of room if you ducked and it was obvious the tree wasn't going anywhere) rather than go off the path of the trail to get around. They were very surprised our horses didn't care
    Last edited by LookinSouth; Apr. 16, 2008, 11:57 AM.

    Leave a comment:


  • naters
    replied
    Well the young horse that we took has always been super in a group, or high activity situations. And she was just as expected - great!

    Leave a comment:


  • Saskatoonian
    replied
    There's a point where you don't know what you don't know. There are plenty of people at my barn who think that they're comfortable riding in the open, but who get an adrenalin rush if their horse lengthens his trot in an open field when a stiff breeze comes up - and that is with one other horse who I can ride anywhere / anyhow the other horse needs. God forbid I have the baby horse. And these people think they want to come hunter pacing with me this summer. That, it seems to me, is the glitch in microcosm.

    (Sighing at thought of self walking back to the trailers on the green horse who really actually could use those additional 6 miles, due to latent chicken tendencies of buddies, while you guys head off to play...)

    PS sorry to butt in, as I don't hunt (yet) - but as an eventer who hacks a lot and likes company I have all too much experience with people who are surprised at the difference between riding out and in the ring, so couldn't help but do it. You can't believe how easy it is to scare the pants off people - and I do have manners!
    Last edited by Saskatoonian; Apr. 15, 2008, 01:01 PM. Reason: little apology

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  • FairWeather
    replied
    That said, I would never recommend for someone to take their total greenie that's new to the open to a Hunter pace. A trail ride in a small group would be a much smarter introduction. I also never recommend that a rider (or horse) who has never ridden on trail go to a hunter pace. It can be a recipe for disaster. One pace we did 2 years ago our group encountered at least 4 riders/horses heading back to the trailer because the pace was just too much for them/and or their steed. This was at the very beginning of the pace. I just can't fathom why people who do little if any riding in the open suddenly decide to go to a hunter pace and expect to be comfortable in the atmosphere.
    Sheer stupidity? Suspiciously Suicidal?

    Leave a comment:


  • LookinSouth
    replied
    Originally posted by Jeannette, formerly ponygyrl View Post
    I an gatehring it does vary A LOT by region the tenor of the HP. Worth asking before heading out, since some seem to be more for experienced foxhunters in teh off season, and others may be more fundraisers or bait to lure others into foxhunting. Though ettiquitte always applies, expectations can differ...
    I agree. It has been interesting to read about the variations in Hunter paces across the country. Here in New England I am unaware of any HP that is less than 6 miles. They usually range 6 to 10 miles. There is usually a hunter or jumper division and the optimum time is based on a safe hunting pace and you are required to take all jumps(in some cases you can pick and choose). In addition, there are usually hilltopping and leisure divisions that are set at a slower optimum pace and jumps are optional. Hence it would be highly unlikely that anyone serious about placing would gallop the whole pace since they would be far faster than the optimum time. Not only that, you'd be hardpressed to find 6 to 10 miles of New England terrain that would be SAFE to gallop. There are plenty of open fields but lots of hilly, rocky, windy paths often interconnecting those fields

    Usually the paces state in the entry form that the optimum time is set at "safe hunting pace".

    That said, I would never recommend for someone to take their total greenie that's new to the open to a Hunter pace. A trail ride in a small group would be a much smarter introduction. I also never recommend that a rider (or horse) who has never ridden on trail go to a hunter pace. It can be a recipe for disaster. One pace we did 2 years ago our group encountered at least 4 riders/horses heading back to the trailer because the pace was just too much for them/and or their steed. This was at the very beginning of the pace. I just can't fathom why people who do little if any riding in the open suddenly decide to go to a hunter pace and expect to be comfortable in the atmosphere.

    Leave a comment:


  • SLW
    replied
    Originally posted by Beverley View Post
    Let us pause to review this common error, even though I know it's a lost cause. (I may be the last person on the planet that insists on use of 'whipper-in' for staff, a 'whip' is a thing you hold in your hand).

    In general, 'WARE' is reserved for pointing out hazards- ware hole, ware wire, etc.

    When it comes to making way for staff or the pack, the graceful term is 'staff, please,' or 'huntsman, please,' or 'hounds, please.' If you don't get out of the way in response to these gentle phrases, then yeah, you probably do need to beware the staff.

    And of course whether giving a warning or asking for passage for staff, one says it only loud enough for the next person to hear, who in turn can pass it quietly up the line. Very annoying when you are a whipper-in a quarter mile away, on the back side of the woods, to hear someone bellowing 'ware hole' at the top of their lungs. It does no good to the person 100 yards away to hear your warning, because by the time they get there, you are long gone and exactly 'where' the hole is is unclear. Stay calm, breathe, pass the info accurately and efficiently.

    As an aside, I never said 'staff please' when I needed to traverse the field. I typically said 'excuse me, I need to get through,' and the clever field member translated that up the line into 'staff please.'

    Sometimes the field gets overenthusiastic and wants you to pass when you don't want to. More than once I trailed the field, not needing to be anywhere quickly at that moment, and needing to preserve the option to head back the other way. Alas, noticed by the field, much swirling and 'staff pleasing' and milling about even though I protested that no, I didn't want to pass. Sometimes I ended up doing it anyway, they seemed like they'd be crushed if I didn't.

    Oops, sorry, I digressed. Back to the subject at hand. I'm wondering to myself, in general, whether hunter paces are 'digressing' from hunting as in...recent thread on show hunters versus field hunters.
    Well said and a gentle reminder. Thank you.

    Leave a comment:


  • citydog
    replied
    Originally posted by fernie fox View Post
    While I am on a roll,another thing that really irks me is.

    Kicking horses riding mid-field,it seems it is okay nowadays,so long as you have a red ribbon on kickers tail.

    It is'nt okay.

    Get to the back until your horse is safe in a group.

    Leave a comment:


  • Beverley
    replied
    Originally posted by saje View Post
    Yes, but he yells " 'WARE STAFF!" Therein lies the difference, I believe.
    Let us pause to review this common error, even though I know it's a lost cause. (I may be the last person on the planet that insists on use of 'whipper-in' for staff, a 'whip' is a thing you hold in your hand).

    In general, 'WARE' is reserved for pointing out hazards- ware hole, ware wire, etc.

    When it comes to making way for staff or the pack, the graceful term is 'staff, please,' or 'huntsman, please,' or 'hounds, please.' If you don't get out of the way in response to these gentle phrases, then yeah, you probably do need to beware the staff.

    And of course whether giving a warning or asking for passage for staff, one says it only loud enough for the next person to hear, who in turn can pass it quietly up the line. Very annoying when you are a whipper-in a quarter mile away, on the back side of the woods, to hear someone bellowing 'ware hole' at the top of their lungs. It does no good to the person 100 yards away to hear your warning, because by the time they get there, you are long gone and exactly 'where' the hole is is unclear. Stay calm, breathe, pass the info accurately and efficiently.

    As an aside, I never said 'staff please' when I needed to traverse the field. I typically said 'excuse me, I need to get through,' and the clever field member translated that up the line into 'staff please.'

    Sometimes the field gets overenthusiastic and wants you to pass when you don't want to. More than once I trailed the field, not needing to be anywhere quickly at that moment, and needing to preserve the option to head back the other way. Alas, noticed by the field, much swirling and 'staff pleasing' and milling about even though I protested that no, I didn't want to pass. Sometimes I ended up doing it anyway, they seemed like they'd be crushed if I didn't.

    Oops, sorry, I digressed. Back to the subject at hand. I'm wondering to myself, in general, whether hunter paces are 'digressing' from hunting as in...recent thread on show hunters versus field hunters.

    Leave a comment:


  • lesson junkie
    replied
    Our paces are great fudraisers too. Lots of these folks treat it as a race-and they're so serious about it. I'll be honest to say it's good money for the club but these people aren't much fun to ride with.

    Leave a comment:


  • Jeannette, formerly ponygyrl
    replied
    Originally posted by Equibrit View Post
    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.
    umm, yes, and if two whips, or a whip and the huntsman, pass the field, they pass on the same side of the field as each other, not one to the left and one to the right, don't they?

    What I understood from the OP was one group of 3 or 4 came up galloping on another group in a field. Half the gallopers went left, half went right, so the slower group was surrounded by galloping horses for a moment at least. That does seem thoughtless - and no more likely to get the galloping team a fast time than staying to one side or the other of the slower team.

    I an gatehring it does vary A LOT by region the tenor of the HP. Worth asking before heading out, since some seem to be more for experienced foxhunters in teh off season, and others may be more fundraisers or bait to lure others into foxhunting. Though ettiquitte always applies, expectations can differ...

    Leave a comment:

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