Wellington Waterloo Hunter Pace Fall 20160
Melissa Speirs submitted an awesome review of the Wellington Waterloo hunt club hunter pace that she attended held last month. You can read the whole story below. If you would like to write about a show, clinic or event that you have attended, please submit it to email@example.com
The Wellington-Waterloo Hunt Club hosted a Hunter Pace on Sunday, September 11. I have never hunted before, but the owner of the horse I am part-boarding is a frequent hunter. She suggested a Hunter Pace would be a great introduction to the sport. Hunting has many traditions that can be a little overwhelming when you are looking to start so a hunter pace is a great way to get a taste of the culture.
Basically, a hunter pace is a simulated hunt. There is a predetermined course, and the hunt master rides it first to determine the optimal time. However, this time is kept secret until the end of the day. Teams of two or three ride the course and the team finishing with the time closest to the optimal time wins. The course is marked with flags or paint, and signs posted along the way give you an idea of how fast you should be going at various points. The signs tell a bit of a story of the hunt – letting you know if the “hounds” you are following are on the scent or have lost it.
Despite this, I kept forgetting that the pace was not a race, and my competitive side got anxious when I saw people ahead of us. The event has a staggered start, so there were plenty of people ahead.
A member of the Wellington-Waterloo Hunt Club invited me to team up with him. He had done both hunts and hunter paces before, and promised me we wouldn’t get lost. He also seemed to know nearly everyone there. All the members were very kind, helpful, and welcoming. The pace was extremely well organized and had about 130 riders – which they told us was their biggest pace ever.
The course was about ten kilometers long, and the ideal time was right around two hours. The trails and properties the course went through were absolutely gorgeous and offered some challenging hills, rocky and muddy areas, optional jumps, and even a small lake. The horse I was riding decided to blow bubbles in the water, while another rider decided to wade a little further and ended up going for an unexpected swim when the water suddenly got deeper! There were cedar and tree lined trails along with open fields. We came across a few bikers and families walking their dogs or swimming at a pond we passed. Some of them definitely did not expect to see a parade of horseback riders going past.
One of the more interesting things we encountered on the hunt was the “Stirrup Cup” – a pit stop were organizers offered us water, lemonade, or port.
I have been riding the horse I have been boarding in Western tack, and was pleased to hear I didn’t have to ride English to participate. The vast majority of participants were riding hunt seat (of course), but there were a few other Western and Australian saddles. I even saw one participant riding bareback!
If the point of the Hunter Pace was to get you interested in hunting (riding to hounds), it definitely worked. Entry into the pace also earned you a free certificate to participate in a hunt meet, which grows more tempting the more I think about it.
To find out more about the Wellington Waterloo hunt club, their website is http://www.wwhunt.ca/ and you can find them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/wellingtonwaterloo.hunt?fref=ts