On Sunday Freedom and I rode in a Hunter Pace. For those of you who haven’t the chance to try a Pace event, it’s a timed ride that replicates a fox hunt. A team of riders sets an “ideal” pace and each team tries to replicate it, without knowing exactly how long the ride will be or how fast the “rabbit” team rode.
For this pace event the optimum time was 1:59:00 for a course that was a hair under 11 miles. We rode it in 1:58:08 — a pretty respectable result that put us in fifth place.
The territory is beautiful — big open galloping fields, connected by wooded trails. Five of us from the Old North Bridge Hounds rode out together. We kept up a good pace because the forecast was heavy rain and thunderstorms moving into the area.
We were lucky and we got a little bit wet, but given how the skies opened later in the day, it was nothing. It was hot and humid, though. There were times when it felt like we were riding through a tropical rain forest.
Even Freedom felt the effect of the heat and humidity — by the time we came into the home stretch, even his eyelids were covered with foam! It’s rare that I feel Freedom tire, but by the time we’d done about nine miles, he was starting to drag. He started to get heavy in front and lean on my hands. He also voluntarily trotted, rather than canter. He would never admit it, but he was glad to get on the trailer and zone out.
I will admit. I took a nap when I got home. Although I was pleased that my legs felt pretty good. It’s taken a long time this spring to get back in any kind of riding shape.