Hunter pace season begins Sept. 11
Hunter paces are part competitive sport and part glorified trail ride. Inspired by fox hunting, hunter paces are an opportunity for horse and rider to gallop (trotting and cantering are OK, too) across the countryside, covering many miles and obstacles. As a competition, there is an established optimum time and riders go off in teams of two, three or four. But many teams go just for fun, at their own comfortable pace, using the course as a learning experience, taking a jump multiple times for practice, or ignoring it altogether and going around. Unlike a foxhunt where sometimes the only way around an obstacle is over it, all jumps on a hunter pace will have a clearly marked go ’round.Teams go off in three-minute intervals, so the protocol is for a noncompetitive group to move aside and let a faster team pass them. Most hunter paces are informal affairs, though those sponsored by area hunts often require formal hunt dress: black coat, white shirt with stock tie, black dress boots and hunt cap (yellow vest optional). Hunter paces are usually held on Sundays, generally include lunch and have a slightly lower cost for participants who preregister. Below is the schedule of upcoming paces.Sept. 11 — Beckenrah Farm Hunter Pace: Beckenrah Farm, home of Saida and Woody Baxt in Ancramdale, N.Y. Pace to benefit the Columbia Land Conservancy. Register online at www.hunterpace.com or contact Brittany Evertson at Britt_ Evertson24@hotmail.com or 518-329-4125.Sept. 17 — Comfort Zone Camp Benefit Hunter Pace at Wethersfield Farm, Pugsley Hill Road in Amenia, N.Y. Contact Cindy Dussel at 845-677-6730 or firstname.lastname@example.org.Sept. 25 — Old Chatham Hunt Club Open Trails Day (not a pace but an opportunity to hack or hike) at Highland Farm. Ride to benefit the Columbia Land Conservancy. Contact Lauren Haberland at 518-392-5252, ext. 214, or Lauren@clctrust.org.Oct. 16 — Millbrook Hunt Hunter Pace at Fraleigh Hill in Millbrook, N.Y. Participants ride over miles of hunt country in the heart of Millbrook. Contact MHHunterPace@gmail.com.Oct. 23 — Fairfield County Hounds hunter pace at Curtis Field in Bridgewater, Conn. Contact FCH Kennels at 860-354-1109 or email@example.com.Oct. 23 — Millbrook Pony Club Modified Hunter Pace at Fraleigh Hill in Millbrook. Contact Barbara Meyer at 845-877-6425 or firstname.lastname@example.org.Oct. 30 — Landsman Kill Trail Association, Rhinebeck, N.Y. Contact email@example.com.Nov. 6 — Locust Hill Farm Hunter Pace in Hyde Park, N.Y. Informal dress. Check www.locusthillfarmllc.com for registration forms and releases or contact LocustHF@aol.com or Tracy Little at 845-471-2632.