Over all my years riding, I have won 7 ribbons I believe. Endurance isn’t big into the ribbon scene. When you complete a ride they give you a hat or a water bucket or a bag or a flashlight or a t shirt or a ride photo. Pretty much anything but a ribbon. Not including those non ribbon awards, I can think of two that really stand out: my year end hunter pace 6th place ribbon for 2015-2016 season and the 4th place I got at my first CT this past June.
Of those, I think the hunter pace award is my favorite.
What makes this 6th place ribbon mean so much is the work that went into getting it. The 2015-2016 Hunter Pace season had rides scheduled every other week from August to May with a two week break for the holidays. That was a lot of rides to attend. Compare that to this season where several rides have bailed out and I believe there are 6 fewer rides on the schedule than in 2015.
Each ride is based on the secret optimum time and I was really stoked to get in the top 5 multiple times. Finishing the ride gets you 2 points, but top 5 gets extra points that really help boost you in the rankings. I had hoped to make it to every single ride that season and win the coveted framed professional photograph, but I missed the last three due to timing with the Biltmore 100 mile endurance race I did that May.
In fact, I didn’t even bother going to the year end gathering (I believe it was at Biltmore that year, but i could be wrong) because I figured I was out of the running by that point. Low and behold I found out I placed 6th out of over 150 riders!!! I was so excited!!!
So many weekends were dedicated to hunter paces, so much effort went in to trying to maintain a good pace and make that elusive time and a lot of arguments on pacing occurred out on those trails. Wyatt was a ride camp staple that year with his dump trucks and diggers playing in the mud and arenas. It was a fun season and one I hope to repeat again someday hopefully with a built in little trail buddy on his Wyatt sized pony. Maybe next season?