My friend Kate from the barn talked me into trying a paper chase this weekend. (Okay she twisted my arm). I was a) a bit scared not sure what jumps would be and b) a bit scared if Remus could hang that long on a ride (it was about 7 miles or so). But it was absolutely the most perfect weather this weekend so I was like sure. I will go. (It could have been a little cooler Remus said after we got done but I thought it was perfect)!
We got there and the views for miles were amazing. It was just gorgeous. It was up towards Cochranville and it was just the prettiest place you could be on a Sunday morning with your horse.
Remus was a bit lit when we unloaded. There were a LOT of horses and it was nippy and a lot of horses had cold backs and were humped and I was like sheesh I think I shall leave la spurs off. I did have a crop (albeit a broken one, yeah I grabbed the wrong one) but otherwise I was like I think we will be okay (we were). He settled down like I knew he would.
Sterling is a big gray TB/Shire cross but he is lazy a bit like Remus so they were a good team. We ended up walking a lot of it. But it was fun!!
We got to the start and they explained all about the flags. LOL they ran out of pink flags for the trail so used red, they ran out of yellow so they used green and so on HA! OH wait the flags are the paper? I get it. Kinda.
I figured Kate knew what they meant so I was like, okay let’s go. And we meandered off at a walk. The first bit was mostly just going along a field by woods. There were no jumps. At all. For like the first half hour or so. I was like nice trail ride but I could have paid 5 bucks and done this at Fair Hill. We meandered onward. Some people were nice about passing us, some people were not (there was quite an eclectic group at this paper chase, western riders, hot Arabians, ponies, you name it).
We finally got to a small jump right on the road and literally had three seconds to turn and pop over it which we did. We chose low level but we could have jumped any height or none. I think we had a total of five or six fences in all which does not seem like enough jumps to me. But anyway, Remus popped over the one on the road like nbd. We cantered along some fence lines. The first 45 minutes I swear Remus and Sterling were like WTF where are the jumps?? HA they kept looking and looking.
We had another fence on the road we popped over and then one more by a road that a photographer was at. I was not going to jump it due to the angle etc., but once I saw the photographer i was like hell yes I am jumping it. This one you jumped toward the road and there were several cars near by and the road right there with an incline so it was an odd place but it worked. Remus again was like where are all the jumps.
The hills though, they were plentiful. Remus thought he could run up the hills (some of them were straight up) and stop halfway DOWN the hills to rest. Umm no, gravity is gonna get you sucka! Even though I wanted to go faster we really had to watch it due to all the elevation changes. I was amazed how far up we got and how far down we went. I might have had the Sound of Music soundtrack in my head…seriously #dontjudgeme LOL!
We cantered and trotted where we could (albeit if it was flat enough for Remus). We also had a minor incident where Remus thought if he arched his neck pretty enough I would let him buck. I did not. OMG he was practically squealing with delight and that was pretty far into the ride. Horse stop that! (He didn’t buck otherwise I think he totally felt GOOD).
Then we came upon some attack chickens that Sterling was sure going to kill us all. Remus was brave (though cautious) and led the way. He was more scared of all the jump judges in their chairs than anything odd on the trail. (To be fair the chickens were not attacking us BUT they did all run toward us so it was scary!)
We finally got into some woods (The sun was getting hot) and it was a narrow trail for awhile and everyone wanted to pass us then at a run (um, did you not listen to the instructions the guy told you at the beginning? You pass at the same pace the team you are passing is going, not balls to the wall)!
Thank goodness I have a sane horse, I tell you. UGH. Anyway the woods finally opened up a bit and had jump logs YAY. Kate is like are you ready and off we went…WHEEE!
After the log: Me: HOLY SHIT that was a big log Kate. (Bending lines through woods means you don’t have time to think about size of log. Even Kate said that that was a bigger log than she thought it would be after we jumped it HA. ). We had a few more logs we got to pop over in that fashion and seriously Remus puffed up bigger and bigger as we went over them. He was like FINALLY STUFF TO JUMP! He was so cute. He cared not a whit about the size of the logs. He was having a blast.
We had one last jump I really wanted to do but it was huge and it was an odd angle and the shadows were really wonky and I was like ehhh (Kate was also passing on it, we had been going for awhile and our horses were sweaty and tired. I was intrigued by it, it was like a log coop). Maybe next time!
We were then heading to the end and my foot was killing me by then so I was ready to be done. Plus I had to pee. LOL (TMI??) We ended up doing quite a ride and about 7 or 8 miles we think total.
We got back and turned our number in and thanked the ladies with their cute knitted fox hats for having us (I wish I had gotten a picture of those hats, so cute). Remus actually had lather under his saddle pad. He was tired and hungry but he was such a good boy for this. Most of the time I was on the buckle when he wasn’t trying to take off with me at the canter HA! He didn’t shy at one thing, he didn’t look at any of the jumps just popped over everything I pointed him at (Like I said there were not that many jumps unfortunately).
It was great fun and I would totally do more of these. There are several upcoming so hopefully Remus and I will get to one where we get to jump more jumps! I definitely stepped outside my comfort zone this weekend and am glad I did!! As you all are figuring out I am quite the wimp but really glad I went.