In Which We Leave the Ring and Survive

My dear readers. For those of you who have followed along for a while now, you may have gathered that I’m a bit of a ring princess. For the newer folks: I’m a ring princess. I LOVE hearing about XC adventures and think foxhunting sounds exciting, but really have never felt any desire to leave the confines of an arena. Considering I often use the wall to stop RollerCoaster McHappyPants, I really like having that wall there to help me.

But I was talked into joining the barn for an old fashioned paper chase this weekend! For those of you who don’t know what a paper chase is (like me), it was a 3-5 mile hack along a course through fields/woods/wilderness, with optional logs and coops to jump. The group I was in elected to do the Jumping II division- a 3 mile course with some logs to pop over.

This. Was. Amazing. I won’t say that my fear of riding outside the ring is gone, but Fun and Happy and Excitement are jumping up and down yelling, “Again! Again!” and I think Fear has gotten trampled in the process.

Addy thinks it was no big deal. Don’t let this face fool you, Beastly was the happiest horse on the property.

Much of my nervousness came from the fact that Addy has never done anything like this before. We’ve done a couple little trail rides near the barn and cantered across a field or two, but never anything near cows, with a group of riders, through woods, or anything like that. I know that Beastly is a very sane and calm mount. I know that she has never once offered a spook or a bolt in the year that I’ve been on her. But I was still a little wary of how she would handle this.

There was zero reason for me to be worried. Addy LOVED this. Seriously loved it! She handled gates, climbing up rocky banks, big herds of cows, lots of horses all around her, all the commotion. When I asked her to trot she gave me the biggest springiest ground-covering trot you’ve ever seen, and when we decided to canter she gave me a light and easy lope. No heaviness or pulling in the least- she was content to take her time and enjoy the scenery. Cantering down the trail through the woods was amazing! We even went for a bit of a gallop across a field and she was such a happy camper to open up and run.

BossMare was more than happy to lead the way. Check out that trot!

And the jumps! They were all tiny little 2′ logs but it was so fun! She didn’t hesitate at any of them for even a second. Even when a third jump popped up around a blind corner after a little line, she carried me right over it. I swear one of them even looked like a little ditch. She waited to the base every time and jumped carefully. For realz, she loved it!

While some of the other horses we were with got a little snorty and went on alert, Addy was relaxed the entire time. I had her on a loose rein even when were galloping and popping over jumps because she was being so easy going! I was so sad to canter over the finish line and I think Addy was too.

Our time ended up being just enough slower than the “optimum time” for our division and that kept us out of the ribbons. I can’t make myself care even a little bit. I’m glad we took our time and went at the pace we did- we took plenty of walk breaks when we hit rocky or muddy footing, when we weren’t sure of where to go, and to give the horses a breather after popping over jumps. It was the perfect pace for us.

Go team go!

Anyone know of any more hunter paces in Virginia? I want to sign us up for one every weekend!

29 thoughts on “In Which We Leave the Ring and Survive

  1. Olivia 10/12/2015 / 4:10 pm

    This looks like so much fun. I really want to try a hunter pace.


    • hellomylivia 10/12/2015 / 4:30 pm

      That looks like so much fun!! Ugh I’ll be out of town that weekend booo 😦


  2. Amanda C 10/12/2015 / 4:58 pm

    And there goes a toe being dipped in the dark side… 😉


    • hellomylivia 10/12/2015 / 5:02 pm

      Haha I do remember hopping over logs in the woods and thinking “THIS EVERY DAY!!!”


    • hellomylivia 10/12/2015 / 7:45 pm

      Me too, it was ridiculously fun to try something new together!


    • hellomylivia 10/12/2015 / 7:45 pm

      My barn is actually heading a little event this fall, but I’m going to be out of town this weekend! I’m even more disappointed now that I know how much addy likes it 😦

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Erin 10/13/2015 / 8:08 am

    Sounds like so much fun. I really want to try one of those.


  4. Allison Stitzinger 10/13/2015 / 8:29 am

    That looks SO FUN!! Welcome to life outside the ring – it opens up a whole new world of NEW FUN THINGS to do with your favorite Unicorn!


  5. sarahczspots 10/13/2015 / 8:37 am

    That’s awesome! Glad you guys had such an amazing time!


    • hellomylivia 10/13/2015 / 8:42 am

      Thanks! Now I’m just itching to find some good trails by the barn!


  6. Rebecca 10/13/2015 / 11:46 am

    This sounds like so much fun! Now to figure out the difference between a hunter pace and a paper chase…


    • hellomylivia 10/14/2015 / 10:22 am

      If you can figure it out, definitely clue me in because I’m not too clear on it either…

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Stacie Seidman 10/13/2015 / 10:27 pm

    That sounds so fun! On your horse though… definitely not on mine! (He’s afraid of shadows. Especially his own. I know, right?)
    Sounds like your girl would love to do this every weekend! Glad you had a great time!


    • hellomylivia 10/14/2015 / 10:23 am

      I was so pleasantly surprised at how much fun Beastly had!


  8. emma 10/14/2015 / 10:20 am

    oooooh i wanna come tooooo!!!! what fun – addy looks like she’s having a BLAST!


    • hellomylivia 10/14/2015 / 10:24 am

      I’m voting for a mid-Atlantic horse bloggers meet up to include trail rides. I really can’t say enough how much addy loved it!


  9. nbohl 10/15/2015 / 3:07 pm

    Check out


  10. greysnbays 10/20/2015 / 11:11 am

    What a cool experience! It helps as a first timer to go out with horse and riders who are experienced and we’ll behaved out in the field I’m sure. I would love to try a hunter pace one day!


    • hellomylivia 10/22/2015 / 10:48 am

      It was definitely good to have more experienced riders around, but Beastly surprised us all by being an old pro at it! I would definitely encourage you to give it a try, it’s a super fun change of pace 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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