2008-2009 Western Carolina Hunter Pace and Trail Ride Series about to get underway

Published 1:21 pm Friday, September 5, 2008

The 2008-09 Western Carolina Hunter Pace & Trail Ride Series is about to get underway and we eagerly anticipate enjoying your presence as a part of it all. We currently have fifteen events tentatively scheduled and may have another new one joining the ranks, with year-end awards and ribbons going to high score individuals in each division at a special Year End Awards Gathering at a date and place as yet to be determined.

Hunter Paces vary in different parts of this country, but everywhere that I&squo;ve ever heard, they are a fun way to get out and about with our horses, enjoy trails we normally do not have access to and compete in a friendly game. As with recent seasons, the Western Carolina Hunter Pace & Trail Ride Series will constrain the Events to between six (6) and ten (10) miles in length. The individual flyers should also give you some brief info as to the terrain and any other particularities to that individual Event.

The Field Hunter Division will continue very much in the traditional manner with an &dquo;optimum time&dquo; set prior to the event by a rider who has ridden the trail at a Foxhunting Pace. A timekeeper will track &dquo;on-course&dquo; time for each team and the team coming the closest to the Optimum, whether over or under, will be declared as winner of the Field Hunter Division for the respective Event.

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The Trail Rider Division has been created from the more traditional Hill Topper Division in which the trails are taken at a more sedate pace. The terrain and scenery is expected to have much to do with these ride times. The winning time for the Trail Rider Division will be determined by averaging the middle half of the ride teams. That is, if there are 20 teams, the time of the fastest five teams and the slowest five teams will be put aside and the middle 10 team times will be averaged. An outside time limit may be set by some organization and the riders will be notified of this in advance.

Each group uses their own varied terrain and thus each event tends to have its own distinctive flavor. And speaking of flavor, hunting has always been very much a social event. Thus, many of our Hunter Paces will continue to offer a variety of foods, according to season and preferences. Normal fare can be anything from soup and a sandwich in the fall, thru chili or stew during the winter or cold salads and picnic style sandwiches for the warm weather rides. Coffee, soda, tea, cookies and/or cake, chips and other accompaniments as well as apples or carrots for our mounts are also usually offered. To assist the Organizers in their planning and food purchases it is always encouraged that you call in advance to &dquo;make reservations.&dquo; You will never be held to a specific assigned start time, but the courtesy of your call is much appreciated in planning food and scheduling workers.

Lest we get too hungry or thirsty with our riding efforts, and to allow our mounts a short respite, there is a required rest stop of three (3) minutes about half way thru the course at which riders are usually offered such refreshments as water, juice, cookies, candy and/or the traditional &dquo;stirrup cup.&dquo;

Jumps vary in size and style according to the group and terrain and are traditionally taken by the Field Hunters. However, in this Series ALL jumps are optional and riders may enjoy or avoid them at their personal preference and that of their mount. Because we&squo;re concerned about safety, all riders taking jumps are required to wear protective head gear.

Attire, once similar to the formal hunt suits, has also become relaxed in this area. Over the past few years the Paces in this Series have totally dispensed with any dress preference and there is even the annual Halloween costume contest where you might find all manner of strange creatures riding about! But normally, breeches and shirt, jeans and sweatshirt, slacks and tee-shirt, for examples, or basically any comfortable, neat, safe riding attire is fine. Likewise, the focus of your mount&squo;s attire should be on safety and comfort whether that means English, Western, a mixture, or something entirely different.

Once again Lou, our official photographer, is looking forward to joining us to make permanent records of our fun. Remember to smile when you see his camera lens pointed in your direction, and don&squo;t be shy about asking if you&squo;d like him to take some posed or action shots of you and your mount. Stop by my rig (dark green w/tan Ford Club Cab with gray 2-horse trailer) or white Nissan Frontier pickup with blue & red company logo anytime to visit and take a look at photos from previous Events. Now that we&squo;ve entered the digital age, photos are usually posted to the website by the weekend following an event and can be ordered thru the site via email. I often have my notebook along to display photos or run a slide show from earlier events. Orders will go into the photo shop upon receipt of your check and I can mail your photos or bring them to the next Hunter Pace at your preference.

So, now that I have (hopefully) covered all bases, explained away all questions and calmed all concerns, we look forward to having you come out to join us for this up coming 2008-09 Pace Series. And in case you&squo;ve any questions that I&squo;ve somehow missed, please call or drop me an e-note, I&squo;ll be happy to answer any further queries. We want you to join us. Really, you&squo;ll be glad you did; and better yet, bring a friend!

A few regulations to keep in mind:

&ull; All riders are requested to wear protective head gear, but those riders opting not to take any jumps may sign a special waiver and exercise their option to dispense with helmets at many events (if so allowed, per the requirements of the organization&squo;s insurance company.)

&ull; Proof of a current, negative Coggins test is required at all Western Carolina Hunter Pace & Trail Ride Series Events. This is a state law.

A couple of general reminders:

Events are usually scheduled two weeks apart to allow the following weekend as a rain date. If weather is questionable check our website or call the contact person to double check either the evening before or the morning of the event. In most cases there will be an outgoing message on their answering machine, especially if the event has been postponed. If you are on our Hunter Pace Email list, I will send out an alert as soon as I hear if an event is postponed so check your email and our website before dialing the phone, especially if it&squo;s a toll call.

Normally, I have the timer sheets and other paperwork for several days after events. The results will be posted on the Western Carolina Hunter Pace Series website, usually the night of the event.&bsp;&bsp; &bsp;

The event organizers are responsible for distribution of each event&squo;s ribbons and should therefore be contacted directly if you place and your ribbon does not arrive in a timely manner.

Competitors, please take full advantage of the electronic age we are living in! So that we can all take advantage of the speed and economy of Internet communication via e-mail, I&squo;ve instituted my Hunter Pace Email List. If you have e-mail, drop me a note and ask to be included.

I don&squo;t mean to play favorites, but the members of the Hunter Pace Email List are the first to know of any schedule changes, new events, weather reschedules, etc. I will be happy to add you to the list. Once I&squo;ve finalized the times and placements after each event, I post the Official Results and top placements as well as Series standings for all interested parties to view on our new Western Carolina Series website at http://www.WCHPace.org.

Simply e-mail me at Jan@WCHPace.org to be included. I will acknowledge all requests, but computers occasionally &dquo;hic-up&dquo;, so if you don&squo;t receive a response from me within a few days please check or resend. I look forward to hearing from you!

2008-09 Tentative Event Schedule:

Western Carolinas Hunter Pace & Trail Ride Series

C – Sept. 13, 2008,

SE Children&squo;s Home Benefit, Bob/Leslie Scott, 864-877-9392.

C – Sept. 28, 2008, Foothills Equestrian Events, Alicia Henderson, 828-685-0129.

C – Oct. 12, 2008, Tryon Hounds, To Be Announced.

C – Oct. 26, 2008, Green Creek Hounds, To Be Announced.

C – Nov. 9, 2008, FENCE, Melissa LeRoy, 828-859-9021

C – Nov. 23, 2008, Polk County 4-H & Youth Foundation, To Be Announced.

C – Dec. 7, 2008, Biltmore Equestrian Center, Elizabeth Bush, 828-225-1454.

Jan. 2009, Open for Suggestions.&bsp;&bsp; &bsp;

C – Feb. 8, 2009, FENCE. Melissa LeRoy, 828-859-9021.

C – March 1, 2009, Greenville Foothills Pony Club, To Be Announced.

C – March 15, 2009, Clemson Intercollegiate Eventing Team, To Be Announced&bsp;&bsp; &bsp;.

C – March 29, 2009, Green Creek Hounds, To Be Announced.

C – April 19, 2009, Tryon Hounds, To Be Announced.

C – May 3, 2009, Big Brothers / Big Sisters Benefit, Denny Hill, 828-863-2935.

T – May 17, 2009, Steps to Hope Benefit, To Be Announced.

C – May 31, 2009, River Valley Pony Club, To Be Announced.

T – June ??, 2009, Year End Awards Gathering, Jan Smith 828-894-8760.

* Note: &dquo;C&dquo; Preceding the date designates a confirmed event, while a &dquo;T&dquo; designates a tentative event. There may be some shifting or swapping with the spring dates, so be sure to check back.

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