Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Middlebrook Hunter Pace

Sarge... in front again!
A local hunter pace was good training for Cloud who got to lead the way most of the ride and clear away the gremlins hiding behind stumps!  

When a horse isn't first in line on a wooded trail, they'll normally relax and relinquish the role of herd "protector" to the horse in front.  Sarge has such a big stride that we've fallen into the habit of letting him be out in front.  As a result, while Cloud isn't spooky or flighty, she's young lacking in experience in the role of trail breaker ..... aka "First One Eaten."

When in the lead she'll often stop in her tracks to do a double take on anything that looks a little odd such as a fallen tree or a big boulder that could attack her at any moment.  No spook or whirling around, she merely feels the need to stare and assess the situation for a few seconds ( or minutes!) before moving forward.

Practice makes perfect and by the end of the morning she was willing to smoothly gait on past most scary stumps etc with just an attentive ear and sideways glance given to the possible threats out in the "wilds" of the Middlebrook Hunt grounds!  
View of a neighboring farm taken after coming out of the woods.
 Our first hunter pace was back in early fall  shortly after we moved to VA.  They're short 6-8 mile trail rides where you ride out in pairs as you please over a marked trail.

There are a few ribbons given out at the end of the day, but since it's not possible to try to figure out what an "optimum" time is, getting a ribbon is strictly lagniappe!  (See I still remember the Louisiana lingo!)    It's a chance to have access to private trails which are usually only open to the Hunt Club members (which we aren't) and land owners.  
Beautiful field we entered after several miles in the woods.


  1. sounds like a great outing for you. happy leading, cloud!

  2. How beautiful and thanks for all the new information. I've never ridden in a group so all the terminology is new to me. Love this post!


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