Sunday, September 30, 2007

Weekend Update: Cubbing from Willow Oaks

This week was spent in a haze of cold medicine and sleep, which is why there was no posting past Monday. I rallied enough by the end of the week to go cubbing yesterday morning from Willow Oaks, near Glenwood Park in Middleburg. This meet has a very oblique driveway, and to get into the driveway from the farm, I have to go to Glenwood Park and turn around so that I'm angled in the right direction. Yesterday, I had to do this twice since I got there too early (6:40 for a 7:30 meet!), having misjudged the length of the drive.

The meet was a relatively small one, with perhaps 10 riders in the first field and 8 in the second. One member rode sidesaddle. The huntsman drew down the driveway and back around to the rear of the property, where we waited for the call on top of the hill. Willow Oaks is beautiful rolling country with stone walls and reasonable coops. About half of the territory is wooded, and that portion can be very hilly.

Anyway, on the first draw we saw the hounds shoot out of the woods hot on the tail of a beautiful red fox. We had a great view as the fox ran one field over, and then we were off. It was a fun and relaxed day, perfect for cub hunting and legging up the horses. Since I rode second flight (all the better to have a calm, early-season experience for the horse-- and me), the only tricky moment came at a check on a very steep hill. There was little room to maneuver off the sandy, slick path in the woods, and Josh got a little anxious as we waited at the check for about 10 minutes. Other horses were more anxious than Joshua, though, so I suppose I have very little to complain about. Overall, a very enjoyable day. Good commeraderie with other riders and smiles all around.

As I was riding up one of the many hills of the day at a gallop yesterday, I realized what the smell of a really good run is. Wet wool. Both the wool of my horse's sheepskin saddle pad and that of my hunt coat. It was a good day.

The photo above really reminds me of September in Virginia. A beautiful clear and breezy sky, bright clean light, and the promise of winter to come-- look at the clouds in the very top of the picture!)

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