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Articles

Oak Grove Hunter Pace


2022/06/03












Article & photos by Tom Brannon

Oak Grove Hunt Club held its spring hunter pace/timed trail ride on Saturday May 21, 2022 at the Oak Grove Kennels, near Holly Springs, Mississippi. Hunter paces are open to the public, and allow riders to enjoy the day, explore new territories, try out mounts, and expose green horses to the territory, while raising funds for the care and upkeep of foxhounds.

The hunter pace is a marked course traversing varied terrain, such as one would encounter on a fox hunt. Riders got the opportunity to ride over open fields, deep wooded trails, and up and down the area known as “Mississippi Hill Country.”
This hunter pace was held on one of Oak Grove’s main hunt fixtures, where they fox hunt throughout the fall and winter. The course started at the Oak Grove kennels on Lodge Farm, owned by Dr. Shannon and Amanda McGee, who is Joint Master and Huntsman for Oak Grove, and much of the course was on Lodge Farm. Another section of the course was on Wellington Farm, owned by Chris and Camille Collins. Camille, the quintessential southern hostess, set up a lovely refreshment stop on the cleared site of her future home, about half way through the course, where riders were served water, juice, or a Champaign Mimosa.

Not all of the riders were fox hunters; both English and Western riders came, as well as some on gaited horses. Teams of two or three riders rode the course and their ride was timed. There was a predetermined, undisclosed ideal time set for the course, which was approximately two hours; the team that came closest to that ideal time was the winner. There were winners in other categories, too: fastest time (won by a team of teenagers) and slowest team. No award was given for getting lost on the course.  

Teams were encouraged to wear costumes, have a team theme or name, and dress accordingly. One team called themselves “Hawaii Five-0” and wore Hawaiian shirts with leis draped on their horse’s necks. Another was named “Running on Freedom” with a patriotic American theme.

After the rides, everyone gathered at the Oak Grove Kennel for lunch and awards. Donated award items included art work, grooming brushes, hoof picks, picnic wine totes, fly spray, horse shampoo, a Texas Hay Net, and two $50 gift certificates donated by Trafalgar Square/Horse and Rider Books and the Mid-South Horse Review.

Amanda brought out several Oak Grove foxhounds from the kennel for everyone greet and pet.

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