The junior riders saved the day at Sunday's Hunter Pace, put on by the Howard County-Iron Bridge Hounds (HC-IB).
This was the fifth of the five hunter paces that make up the 1992 Maryland Spring Hunter Pace Circuit. The other hunts that were hosts for this year's pace events were Goshen, Marlborough, New Market-Middletown Valley, and Potomac.
Coming down to the wire on Sunday, Howard County-Iron Bridge was not in contention for any of the year-end awards. The only glimmer of hope lay with the home hunt's junior riders who, if they did well, could take the Reserve Championship in the Junior Optimum Time on the Flat class.
Christina and Cynthia McNemar set off determinedly on their ponies Coco and Peppermint, respectively. Chaperoned by mom and dad, Edna and Jim, 4-year-old Christina and 6-year-old Cynthia put in a good ride over the 2-mile course to post a time that put them in fourth place for the day.
It was a very good performance by the teeny blonds on their diminutive gray-and-red roan ponies, but it was not a time that would give Howard County-Iron Bridge a Reserve Championship.
The final pair of juniors to attack the course were HC-IB riders Ryan Reid and Henry Snively. Thirteen-year-old Ryan was aboard his stalwart 15.2-hand paint King of Hearts, while 9-year-old Henry rode his mother's horse, Frankie, a 15.3-hand gelding.
The boys covered the two miles at a steady hunting pace and came closest to the pre-set optimum time to win the blue ribbon. That win also gave them the Reserve Championship in their division for the series and saved the day for HC-IB.
"We really work to encourage our junior riders," said HC-IB
Master of Foxhounds Roger Scullin. "We are always looking for juniors who want to go out and fox hunt. That's the future for fox hunting, not just for us but for any fox hunting organization.
"I love to see the kids come out hunting and competing in things like the hunter paces. I especially love to see the really little kids on their little ponies."
Scullin, a veterinarian, says that HC-IB starts the juniors' education early, just like the hound puppies.
"We have the kids walking puppies and getting to know the puppies early on," he says. "It's much more interesting for them to come out hunting when they've known the hounds since they were puppies."
Other HC-IB members who did well at Sunday's Hunter Pace were Jim and Edna McNemar, who finished second in the Optimum Time Over Fences Division, and the team of Kathy Wilson, Gus Conaway and Anne Greene, which finished fourth in the Optimum Time on the Flat Division.