Horse shows are generally a way to measure yourself against others with similar skills and goals. It’s about performing at your best and earning ribbons. But today I went to my favorite kind of horse show…the kind that focuses more on the social aspect. After all, we humans are social creatures.
Today, the Traders Point Hunt hosted its spring Pace and Chase, a cross country-like event that takes place out on the hunt grounds. Teams of riders cover a set course, attempting to ride as one would while hunting with hounds. In the pace, the team riding mostly closely to the desired pace wins. In the chase, all bets are off and it’s the fastest team home that takes the prize. It is one of my favorite events to do every year. I very much enjoy the camaraderie, the chance to compete as a team, and of course, galloping out over the open country side. It is all the better doing it with friends on a team.
Team Naturally Gifted Farms was Angie on her Percheron/Fresian cross Bard, Libby on my very own big red horse, Doc, and me on a borrowed mount by the name of Hunter. The course was somewhere between 8 and 10 miles long with a variety of jumps and water crossings. We set off at timed intervals and made our way through the farm land of Wild Air Farm. It was a perfect day. Our little team didn’t plan to be the fastest group out there–I was schooling Hunter for a fellow foxhunter, Bard is pretty inexperienced at the whole field hunter thing, and this was Libby’s first outing with the Hunt. But we kept a steady pace and completed the course in just over 50 minutes. This time turned out to only be 10 minutes slower than the optimum time, and was good enough for 5th place. Not bad!
More importantly, it was a fun day for everyone–horse and human alike! The horses got to stretch their legs and strut their stuff, the people enjoyed the good weather and friends, and then a great luncheon was available after the divisions were done…even our horses had a chance to stretch in a paddock, enjoy a roll, and munch on some hay. Can’t get that going to a regular horse show!