I’ve been doing my best to squeeze ALL of the updates in before the end of the year and there are so many I have to double up today. They’re fun, so I hope you don’t mind.
This year I chose to prioritize my woodworking business and mental health (as well as Tiger’s mental health) over hunter pacing. I didn’t ride much throughout summer and it was a choice I’m at peace with. By the time hunter pace season came, I was not fit enough nor were my horses. I have no regrets.
One of my best friends has been doing a lot of riding with me in October and one Sunday we decided to explore a new venue. It was a day all of our other friends were off at a hunter’s pace. The night before our trail ride my friends texted me with a brilliant idea. We would treat this trail ride like our own hunter pace. Low key, low pressure, but still dressed up and with the photos!
We ventured out to the Albany Pine Bush Preserve. There are lots of trails but they don’t all connect so another friend gave us some advice on where to park and ride. We dressed up, found the trailhead, and began our Faux Hunter Pace!
The trail was incredible, the footing was clear and sandy. I never knew we had such nice trails available to us so close by. The horses were a little feisty; they could sense we were excited but behaved wonderfully.
We walked, trotted, and cantered along 9 miles of sandy trails. There were many training opportunities. Dogs, walkers, bikers, hills, and bridges. We even came across a downed tree which we happily used as our single jump. After all, is it really a “hunter pace” if you don’t jump at least one thing?
The next week was Equine Affaire in Springfield, Massachusetts. Last year was canceled due to COVID so I made a point to go that Sunday. A friend and I went down early that morning. We enjoyed shopping, her daughters enjoyed the obstacles put out for them to jump, we all loved the food, and saw some clinics.
Four years ago I attended the Extreme Mustang Makeover and had the pleasure of seeing Dan James and his incredible liberty horses. Dan James returned to the expo center and held a demonstration at Equine Affaire. The presentation we got to see was a demonstration of how he works with his horses for movie scenes. His horse, Swampy, demonstrated a controlled rear as well as what appears to be an aggressive display. Although it looked aggressive it was in fact a combination of the Spanish walk and rear commands. As soon as Dan stopped asking Swampy’s ears perked back up, licked his lips, and followed Dan back around the arena. The respect and connection his horses have are incredible.
In addition to Dan James we really enjoyed seeing Jim Wofford present on prepping and improving for cross country indoors. With winter nipping at our heels we will soon be restricted to the indoor arena so it was really interesting to see. Jim worked on lines and straightness. The horses jumped between two very narrow schooling standards. As they progressed he added jumps to a gymnastic of three jumps in a row…always presenting the new element first in the line.
Jim moved the group on to have them jumping straight over angled jumps. Again, he worked them into a triple combination line and always presented the new element first in the line. The clinic ended with a corner jump. This is something I’d love to work on over the winter months…just not at that height.
I wish I had more time to share with you but Christmas is nipping at my heels!
I would love to hear what you’ve been up to and what your plans are for the holidays! Comment or reach out!