WCHP attends Biltmore West Range Hunter Pace Jan. 29

Published 6:23 pm Thursday, February 9, 2012

Trail riders Kelley Featheringill, Ali Merritt and Morgan Palmer stop for a photo during the Biltmore West Range Hunter Pace held Sunday, Jan. 29. (photo by Lou Smith)

The Biltmore Equestrian Center folks went to their rain date for the Biltmore West Range Hunter Pace, which turned out being a great call as the day was absolutely beautiful. The weather was cool with a slight wind and the trails, though a little muddy in spots, were safe and pleasant to ride on. Last year much of the course was newly graveled and it was nice that a lot of that rough material had worked in, which made the footing more comfortable for the equines.
The 8-mile ride began on the “yellow trail” and ran past the barn, along the lake and down the road until it finally entered the woods. No cross-country-type jumps were permanently set along the course, but several stadium jumps were set up beside the path for those so inclined. The halfway point was located under some trees where water was offered to the thirsty riders and their mounts got a mandatory three-minute rest.
Before coming out onto the road again and up and over a high grassy hill, the course went between two pastures containing steers and sheep. The warning signs that were erected just before this hazard had most of the riders chuckling. They stated that many horses do not realize that the cows and sheep can’t get through the high tensile fence to attack them and so their riders should beware. Fortunately, the livestock was inclined to be friendly that day. The trail continued past the lake and back to the horse trailers. Lunch was not served at this hunter pace, but many of the riders brought picnics to share.
The Biltmore Equestrian Center staff that helped with the hunter pace were Laura Karn, who manned the gate; Bianca Taylors, who served as the timer, and Don Halliman, who ran the halfway hold along with the assistant manager, Elizabeth Bush, who handled the registration desk. Set-up was handled by Aaron Balance and Stewart Center.
The Hunter Division optimum time was set at one hour and 20 minutes and the grand winners were Angela Carnes of Hendersonville, N.C. and Theresa Tyree from Fletcher, N.C. in a time of one hour, 22 minutes and 53 seconds. The second place time of one hour, 22 minutes and 58 seconds was obtained by Stefanie Beierschmitt of Asheville.