Hunter paces are on the spring calendar for the Garden State

It’s hunter/trail pace time again in New Jersey, with a variety of these competitions around the state. Get your horses in shape for some fun, no stress. Love those hunter paces!

Though paces began with hunts and required people to be in formal or ratcatcher dress suitable for hunting, restrictions have eased greatly these days in many cases.

Often, western riders and those in casual attire (but always with a helmet) are welcome. Although many paces have fences, most offer go-arounds and it is not required for participants to jump.

On April 24, the Friends of Lord Stirling Stable and the Somerset County Park Commission’s Lord Stirling Stable will host the first in the 2016 Hunter Pace Challenge, a series of five events, beginning with the SCPC/FLSS Spring Pace sponsored by Horsemen’s Outlet of Lebanon.

Additional competitions include the Rutgers Equine Science Center Fundraiser Pace May 22; the 2016 SCPC/FLSS Fall Pace Sept. 11, the State 4-H Horse Program Pace Oct. 23 and the SCPC “Stuff the Turkey” Pace Nov. 6.

Teams participating in four of the five events are eligible to win a cooler for each of the team’s horses. Team members must remain constant but are not required to ride the same horses for every event

Specifications are posted on the Friends’ website, www.flssnj.org. Ribbons are awarded to the first six teams in each division finishing closest to the ideal time set by the pace team.

Register in person on the day of each event. For additional information or questions about the Hunter Pace Challenge call 908-766-5955.

On May 7, the Essex Foxhounds will have their pace at Cedar Lane Farm on Homestead Road in Oldwick. Go to essexfoxhounds.org for information.

May 15 is busy for paces. From 8 a.m.-2 p.m., the Somerset Hills Pony Club pace will be held starting from the Fowler Road Parking Area of the U.S. Equestrian Team Foundation in Gladstone.

This is a fundraiser to help SHPC educate members, while developing leadership skills, confidence, and sportsmanship. A bonus here involves points given for correct answers to checkpoint trivia questions.

Contact 908-507-7354 / baytoff@hotmail.com

The same day, the Alexandria Equestrian Association’s Trail Pace will start from The Salvation Army’s

Camp Tecumseh, 445 Mechlin Corner Rd., Pittstown. The pace runs from 8 a.m.-noon, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the Salvation Army. Check www.aeanj.com or call 908-295-0819 (day of pace only) for status updates.

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