PONY'TUDE Goes First Flight

Hounds doing hound things.
Someone find me $2,000 for a hunt membership and a church that doesn't meet on Sundays, because I've got one hell of a hunt horse on my hands, and he wants to do this ALL. THE. TIME.

However, my first thoughts when I woke up in the cold, lonely darkness of Wednesday morning were, "Why do I do this? It's still dark. Darkness = sleep. I want to hunt... but I also want to stay in bed. My pillow feels amazing. It seems like it's really cold out. This is terrible. Why do I do this?"

Somehow, I found the motivation to get out of my warm, cozy bed and get my pony on the bus and on our way to the meet. It was a cruel 27 degrees out. I was not emotionally prepared for those kinds of temperatures, and may or may not have softly sobbed as I checked my frosted-over trailer hitch. Dino, naturally, couldn't have cared less that it was below freezing. He was just wondering where we were going so early in the morning.

Where r we? DO I SEE HOUNDZ?! WE HUNT, YES?!?!???
The cold had apparently kept a lot of members away that morning, and while I intended to ride first flight with my hunt buddies anyway, there was really only one flight to ride since the field was so small. No matter, though, it was a fast, exciting hunt either way!

After a brief delay in which a very naughty horse reared up at the mounting block, almost landed on its rider's head, and ran away frantically across acres and acres of farm fields before getting caught and sent home, we set out.

Told ya it was early. Stunningly gorgeous. But early. 
The ride started brisk and beautiful, with a fast trot and canter through frosted fields and along the edge of the woods. Dino was keen and excited to be back in the field, and we had to practice "When I Say Stop I Mean Stop NOW" quite a bit throughout the hunt. The hounds made a sound like rain as they worked through the woods, reeds, and corn, shaking down dry leaves in their search for a fox. Listening to them was like magic.

As we made a loop around the first field, the master led everyone towards a stacked log jump. I looked back at my hunt buddy, expecting her to lead the way, but she nodded me on and with a smile, said, "Go ahead!"

Without any time to worry about it, I asked Dino to canter and scooted in line behind another horse several strides ahead of us.

And then watched that horse refuse the jump.

While normally seeing something like that would send my butterfly into overdrive, there was no time for that nonsense, we had to keep up! I settled into Dino's rhythm, counting each stride, and he jumped the log perfectly out of stride, snapping his knees up and popping his back over the top. He felt amazing, and I landed on the backside grinning, laughing, and patting his neck.

I have the best hunt pony in all the land.

Good Pony standing at a check, watching the hounds do their thing. 
Not soon after, we found ourselves galloping headlong across a field after the hounds! Dino didn't need any prompting whatsoever and merrily raced along, handily keeping up with the field and flying easily over all sorts of terrain. After a couple good runs, (the last one ending with me almost eating it when Dino stopped abruptly at a little swale in front of the road) WE SAW A FOX!

It was one of the most thrilling, intense things I've ever experienced. The huntsman yelling, the hounds going absolutely ballistic, and a beautiful, red fox running as fast as he could across the farm fields. The atmosphere was absolutely electric.

That clever fox was racing right through cow pastures fenced in barbed wire, where the horses couldn't follow.

But we could still go around.

We set off on the fastest, longest gallop I've ever ridden in my life. Dino was amazing, and SO polite when I asked him to slow it down a bit to avoid blasting by a rider on a green horse. The last thing I wanted was to get someone else bucked off! Dino and I, the green horse and its rider, and my hunt buddy and her fabulous little mare brought up the back of the field three-abreast, keeping things civil for the sake of the young horse and his rider. We caught up to everyone at the top of the next hill, where they were standing at a check, all the riders grinning and breathless.

It was definitely worth getting up early in the cold for.

Anyone have suggestions for a fwd/short flap hunt pad that STAYS PUT?! This thing was awful. I had to get off and fix it. 
We were out for two more hours after sighting the fox, and it was a fast, intense ride the whole way. Several members left the hunt early, and eventually the field dwindled to just myself and two other members along with the hunt staff. We pretty much had our own private hunt, which was pretty great!

My WonderPony, as usual, was an absolute blast to ride the whole time. The only time Dino had any hesitation about a single thing was when we had to ride down a very steep, narrow bank to a massive flat boulder and then into the river, which came up to his belly. We needed a lead for that one before he would get in the water. Considering that was the first time he'd ever even seen water that deep, I'm pretty darn happy with how he handled it!

Dino was absolutely perfect during the entire hunt. He was quiet, patient, and calm at every check, he kept up easily with the big kids, never got even a little bit out of control, and went wherever I pointed him. Dino never spooked or started when the hounds popped in and out of tall reeds and rattling cornfields, and never so much as thought about kicking at another horse when they got close. He was so chill and well-behaved that I got asked if I had given him anything to calm him down, and then was told that I could sell him for a lot of money as a hunt horse. Unfortunately for anyone who might want to buy him, Dino: Rockstar Hunt Pony will never, ever be for sale.

Pictures don't do this beautiful country justice.
We arrived back at the trailer both totally exhausted and happy, and both definitely bitten by the foxhunting bug. Dino absolutely loves it out in the field, and it's incredible to be able to take him out to do what he's best at. I really can't believe that this is my life, and that I get to hunting on the back of my best friend. Foxhunting with Dino been an amazing adventure so far, and I can't wait to do it again!




Comments

  1. that is so awesome. what a grand pony he is. But BRGHHH on the 27 degrees it was 33 yesterday and i didnt have to go Fox Hunt and still I complained ;)
    He is amazing and I am so glad the900facebookpony got me to follow your blog. Loving it!
    Keep up the fun times.
    You may talk about butterflies but you don't know butterflies till you met me LOL i would have frozen (in nerves not cold) out there on the hunt field. You rock too!
    Go Dino....

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    1. I meant to put a vote in for the Success pads (My trainer adores them and they are nonslip completly) they are pricey but worth it (I havent bought one yet due to: pricey) :)

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    2. I will have to check out those pads! And yes, I definitely get the butterflies like nobody's business - we'll have to go XC schooling together sometime and bolster each other's weenieness!

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  2. Oh my goodness this sounds so amazing! What a perfect boy.

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  3. Go Dino!! Also, they're pricey, but you might try the Ogilvy Hunter Pads -- they have loops in the front that you attach to a billet strap, and those suckers DON'T MOVE.

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  4. god it was 27?? dont tell me that... i still have like 2.5 more weeks of morning runs...

    this made me want to foxhunt so bad. screw eventing.

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    1. Come hunt with me, way less potential for performance anxiety than eventing. ;)

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  5. This sounds AMAZING. Now I need to add hunting to the list of things I want to try now. Following all you bloggers with fascinating lives is making my bucket list grow exponentially!

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  6. Hunting is so fun. The cold and dreary weather during hunt season can be discouraging but I bet you'll never regret a cold day in the hint field. Its that initial motivation that is hard to find. I loved reading about your hunt experience because I'm supposed to be out there hunting right now and was going to be first year being a member but alas my leg broke and I'm grounded. Next year! It's so cool Dino is such a natural. I hope my horses can behave as well on the hunt.

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    1. Oh I hope you heal quickly and that your horses are steady out in the field! I now also understand why heavy tweed coats with vests underneath are a thing... I was definitely not as warm as the more properly-attired riders!

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  7. Glad you have been bitten by the fox hunting bug!!! It is such a fun sport and sounds like this is Dino's calling :)

    As fas as saddle pads go I've used the Wilkerson ones with success but you have to make sure it has the cotton underside not the synthetic fleece. Good luck with the saddle pad search and happy hunting!!!

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    1. It is definitely his calling - this was only his second hunt, ever! He is a total professional and he loves it out there. I will look into the Wilkers pads as well, thanks for the suggestion!

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  8. What an exciting and fun thing to do!

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  9. So amazing! Sounds like you and Dino had a BLAST! I'm not brave enough for such things, but this totally sounds like so much fun!
    A cheap fix for slipping saddle pads is using a chamois cloth from the car wash section of your nearest walmart. Get the chamois damp (I use warm water cause that's nice) before placing directly on the horse's back. Then saddle pad over it like normal. I cut the chamois in half and fold it, so it's about the size of a wither pad. Works great and is inexpensive. You'll want to pull it up into the pommel of your saddle though, just like you would with saddle pad, so it doesn't press on his withers.

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  10. You guys are such badasses :)

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  11. That sounds incredible!!! Now I want to go hunting!

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  12. Dang girl! Look at you two go!

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