PONY'TUDE Goes First Flight
|Hounds doing hound things.|
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?!?!???|
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.|
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.|
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.|
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.|