Hunter Pace Fun

No filter needed. It was that gorgeous! 
Dino is having the time of his life this summer getting to go trail riding and hunter pacing nearly every week! He was in his glory this past weekend at a pace put on by the local hunt, and we both had a blast!

Our plans got a bit screwed up at first, since the pace was originally scheduled for Saturday, but thunderstorms in the forecast meant that the event was moved to Sunday, and my teammate couldn't attend since she had changed her work schedule for the Saturday pace. This was a huge bummer for both of us, but thankfully I was able to hook up with another rider from my trainer's barn who I've trail ridden with a bunch before. Both mounted on German steeds and boasting German heritage ourselves, we dubbed ourselves Die Frauleins and hit the trail!

Dino as always was happy to let our teammate lead the way, and we all enjoyed the winding trail through the woods to begin the pace. Another rider had warned us about a difficult, steep uphill climb early on the trail, and when we saw the path rise up gently from the base of a small creek, I scoffed.

"Oh, is THIS the climb she was talking about?! This is nothing!"

Famous last words.

This must be what heaven looks like. 
After a switchback or two, the trail shot straight up and became rocky. For several hundred yards the climb continued, and the only way to ride it was to grab tightly to a big handful of mane and let the horses run up it as they felt fit.

The peace and confidence I felt about this section of the trail is a testament to the way my relationship with Dino has grown since I began trail riding him seriously last summer. This climb would have freaked me the heck out a year ago, but yesterday I found it easy to trust my pony's brain and body to get us up safely.

It was a ROUGH climb though, and I could feel Dino flagging about two thirds of the way through. Encouraging him with my voice the rest of the way, I hung on and Dino carried us to the top.

Both Dino and our teammate's horse needed a breather after that! Thankfully, from that point on the trail was easy going, and we had a lovely walk along the edges of woods and fields while our horses rested from the big effort of the climb.

While there were unfortunately no jumps on this ride, the park where the pace was held was absolutely gorgeous and the footing on the trails was totally perfect. It also happens to be only a 30 minute drive away, AND the park ranger & manager of the horse trails used to event, and is going to be building some jumps there this fall!

Beyond glorious! We just couldn't help but take a ton of pictures at the top of this hill! 
The trail was a perfect mix of wooded paths and open grassy lanes along meadows and crop fields, with a ton of wonderful spots for cantering and galloping. Dino kept up handily with our very long-legged teammate, and stayed right on his tail even when his rider really let him go and he dropped down into a dead gallop. Dino dug right in and never fell back even for a moment.

Have I mentioned how much I LOVE galloping this pony?! He's freakin' incredible.

Both horses finished the pace in fine form, jogging back up to the trailers when we reached the end of the trail and ready for another go! Both horses and humans had a wonderful time, and I'm just so happy I that I get to share these experiences with my Wonder Pony. I wasn't able to stick around long enough to get the results, but I think we were pretty darn close to the time - stay tuned to find out how we did in the crap-shoot that is hunter pacing!


  1. That sounds like so much fun! I wish I would go as well. Dino is a wonderful pony.

  2. Sounds like the best time!! Dino and Isabel definitely need to trail ride together :D

  3. I need to go on a hunter pace!

  4. It is gorgeous there! I love hunter paces, they are so much fun!

  5. Sounds like a gorgeous and fun day!


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