Halloween Celebration on Horseback in Green Creek - TribPapers
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Halloween Celebration on Horseback in Green Creek

Rainbow riders were one of the more colorful teams riding in the Green Creek Hounds Halloween Hunter Pace Saturday, October 30.

Tryon

 Photo by Catherine Hunter.

From Gandalf to Vikings, the annual Green Creek Hounds Halloween Hunter Pace was as colorful and spooky as ever. Rains that threatened the Saturday, October 30th event cleared over-night creating a crisp fall day for the 127 riders and horses from the nearby area and as faraway as Charlotte and Tennessee.

Green Creek Hounds Joint Master D. J. Jefferis said the event typically draws between 80 and 100 riders or more. “People like the chance to dress up and paint their horses,” he said. “We usually do well [in numbers].”

The Halloween ride is part of the Western Carolina Hunter Pace and Trail Ride Series. Hunter paces are low key competition riding that originated from the foxhunting tradition. Teams of two or more riders—and sometime individual entries—follow a mapped course between six and ten or more miles. Most hunter pace competitions have two to three categories, which include: a field hunter, a trail rider, and a short course divisions. The field hunter division is ridden as “a fair hunting pace, “which is considered the time it takes for a hunt staff member such as the Hunts manor a Whipper In, to ride the course as if they were following hounds. Green Creek Hounds Whipper In, Jillian Woolridge, timed the course for Saturday’s event.

Susan Angermeyer and her horse Gandalf portrayed Gandalf and
Shadowfax from The Lord of the Rings movies for the Green Creek
Hounds Halloween Hunter Pace Saturday, October 30. Photo by
Catherine Hunter.

The fair hunting pace used for the field hunter division is not a race or the fastest time. It is an estimate of how long it would take for hounds to hunt through the designated area. When hounds follow a fox or coyote they will, at times, lose the scent for a few moments. Known as a “check,” this pause causes the “field” to stop and wait for the hounds to catch the scent again. The field is the group of riders who come out to watch the hounds work and, if they are lucky, view the fox or coyote. In addition to the occasional check, a fair hunting pace also includes riding a a walk or a trot while the hounds search for ascent. Once the hounds “strike,”(pick up a trail) the field participates in the “run” as the quarry flees and the hounds give chase. The run can be at a fast gallop and often over jumps.

According to Jefferis, riders can choose to go around all the jumps in Green Creek Hounds’ hunting country. This makes hunting more accessible to green (untrained or not fully trained) horses, and to riders who are not as sure of their jumping. Jefferis said the Green Creek Hounds Hunter Pace field hunter division is over the long course, which is 11.96 miles. This division is considered fast, as the course is timed as if the hounds are “full on” a scent. “We run it as if the hounds are “already on,” (on a scent) not as if they have just been cast [sent out to find a trail],” Jefferis said. “The riders will have to take the jumps if they want to win, because going around takes too long.” For those who choose a more moderate pace in order to enjoy each other’s company, enjoy the trails or enjoy the fall foliage, the Green Creek Hounds Hunter Pace offers a trail rider division over the same course. The winner is the person closest to the average time of all the entries. The event also features a 5.98 mile fun ride, perfect for newcomers, horses not in hunting condition or older horses. “The proceeds from the hunter pace help to raise money to feed the hounds,” said Joint Master Anna Dalton. “It’s also a chance to meet other horse people and involve the community.”

Dressed as a viking, Shannon Jackson won the Green Creek Hounds
Hunter Pace costume contest and the field hunter division Saturday,
October30. Photo by Mark Jump Photography.

According to Dalton, it’s not just foxhunters that enjoy the hunter paces these days. “Hunter paces bring out all kinds of disciplines [styles of riding],” she said. Green Creek’s Halloween ride is one of seven in the Western Carolina Hunter Pace and Trial Ride Fall Series. Spring rides start February 6, 2022 with the Foothills Riding Club event. For more information about the hunter pace series visit wchpace.org. Shannon Jackson dressed as a Viking to win Green Creek’s first place costume award. Ju-lie Burnett and Andrew Minaudo, dressed as Batman and the Hulk, placed second and Becky and Bre Deyton took third with their Purge movie themed costumes. Shannon Jackson also won the field hunter division with Shalise Gallaher and Mickey Razo riding second. Linda Farris and Katherine Smith won the trail rider division and Shelby Frazier and Meredith Keen took second place. Jefferis said they couldn’t hold the event were it not for all the Green Creek Hounds members who volunteer to help. “Most of all we want to thank the generous landowners such as Roger and Jennifer Smith and Green River Farm who provide the beautiful land and trails for the hunter pace and the season’s foxhunting as well,” he said. Green Creek Hounds’ opening hunt is November 20, 2021.For more information about the Green Creek Hounds’ opening hunt or about a space in the Tally-Ho Wagons, visitwww.greencreekhounds.com.

 

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