The team of Margaret Oliveira, Stephanie Dreyer, and Chris Arenburg won the Martha’s Vineyard Horse Council’s annual pace ride on Sunday, Oct. 14. The winning time was one hour, 47 minutes, and 56 seconds, just one minute and 14 seconds off the pace time of 1:49.10. Elaine Shabazian and Susanna Sturgis took a close second in 1:47.18. The riders’ goal was to match the time set by organizers Cindy Bonnell and Mary Ann Brock, who rode the seven-mile course in advance, maintaining an average speed suitable for a pleasure ride. The pace time was kept secret until all riders had crossed the finish line.
The bright and breezy weather was perfect for the ride, which began at Misty Meadows Farm in West Tisbury and followed a roughly clockwise course along the trails and fire lanes of the state forest. Nineteen riders participated, then enjoyed the potluck lunch at trail’s end while Mary Ann and Cindy tallied times and then announced the results.
Winning yellow ribbons for their third-place finish were Maryanne Jerome and Annie Parsons, who timed in at 1:23.02. Trail veterans Barbara Paciello and Anita Covelli were fourth (1:16.35). Fifth place went to Sarah Pallatroni and Melissa Willoughby (1:14.10), who were followed by the pairs of Lilly and Rachel Neville, and Charlotte and Scott Caskey, who tied for sixth in 1:13.20. Tracy Demars and Jeanne Baron took seventh with the ride’s fastest time of 1:11.54.
At every pace ride certain riders are recognized for special awards; the categories vary from year to year. Lilly Neville and Erin Hickey were honored as the youngest riders; Elaine Shabazian was the oldest. The 2007 ride was unusual for having not one but two male participants: Scott Caskey and Jim Hickey took home Islander glasses for having the courage to be different. Prize chocolate went to Scott and Charlotte Caskey for riding the best-matched horses, and to Annie Parsons, who completed the ride bareback, for riding with the least tack. The mother-daughter team of Lilly and Rachel Neville received special mention, as did the father-daughter team of Jim and Erin Hickey.