North Salem mother-son duo take first place at horse competition

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Keller Grasinger rides Saphira. (image courtesy of Shelley Grasinger)

Shelley and Keller Grasinger, a mother-son duo from North Salem, placed first in the junior division at the Bedford Riding Lanes Spring Hunter Pace event on May 16. The pair, who competed as the “Time Bandits,” completed the course in 1:46:43 against an official pace time of 1:35:00. Keller, 10, was the youngest rider at the event.

Keller Grasinger enjoying some down time with his horse, Saphira. (image courtesy of Shelley Grasinger)

A Hunter Pace is a low-key competitive event derived from foxhunting, according to The Associated Bridle Trails, a non-profit organization of member equestrian trail groups. Teams of two or three riders follow a course meant to simulate the riding conditions encountered during a foxhunt. Event hosts send pace setters to ride the trail at the speed they would go if they were fox hunting. The group to finish closest to the pace time wins.

Keller Grasinger crosses a stream during the BRLA Hunter Pace event on May 16. (image courtesy of Shelley Grasinger)

“Keller and I had the time of our lives,” said Shelley. “Highlights were crossing the river multiple times, spectacular footing along the riverbank and through the forest, and the wild phlox in bloom all along the trails.”

The Bedford Riding Lane Association (BRLA) hosts two annual hunter paces, one each in the spring and fall. John Jay Homestead in Katonah is the starting point for the pace. Riders participate in one of four divisions: Hunt, Pleasure, Western or Junior.

“The members of the BRLA are so nice and supportive of the junior riders," said Shelley. "We were thrilled to participate in the event."

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