After the meet: I guess it's about time to clip. Also, I think he's a little tired. In this photo, he's making sure that no hounds followed us home. Josh gets very excited when he gets to go hunting.
We met yesterday morning at Oakland Green, just up the road from the farm, and so I got to hack to the meet. Usually hacking to the meet is beneficial since it uses up most of the horse's nervous energy, but with Josh it's a little tricky because he's so spooky. Nevertheless, we made it to the meet in the mist in time for the 8 o'clock start. Unfortunately, Oakland Green's spring recently ran dry (Rain! Come on!), and so we met across the road from the house in a nice open cow field.
Since this meet is so close to our farm, I'm pretty familiar with this territory, which really opens up past Brown's bottom toward Lincoln. The huntsman cast down the hill toward the bottom, and (after a small delay while we waited for a friend to take a bathroom break in his trailer, and another, scarier delay when a deer bounding out of the woods just next to us misjudged the wire fence and jumped right into it, scaring all of the horses) we were off through the woods. In a flash we came out on the road behind the meet and joined up with Lincoln Road, where we had a full view of the fox, and then of the hounds doing some really good work to get on the scent on the Marshall place.
One neighbor and his horse were so winded after this first twenty-minute run that he and his daughter hacked in for the day (which I think she only agreed to do since she'll be out with Blue Ridge on Saturday). What a way to start the morning!
This great first run was followed by a few shorter gallops through the old Askari place, up and down a couple of doozie hills. Josh always does the same thing when we gallop through Askari's fields. Some old-timers say that certain horses can sense holes in the ground, whether by scent or change of moisture in the air. If this is true, then Josh is certainly one of those horses. Even when I avoid a real ankle-breaker of a hole with plenty of room, Josh will still jump over the place where a straight line from the hole would meet our path. Big, bouncy jumps-- I guess he thinks he's keeping us safe. No matter how many times we went through Askari's place in the same direction this morning (four), Josh jumped in the same spots, "avoiding" the same holes. He's crazy, but at least he's predictable.
Since it was so hot and my horse has yet to be clipped (a project for next week), we came in after about 90 minutes of hunting, and we hacked home. Still spooking all the way.
I'm off to visit my parents and their new dog this weekend, and hopefully to fit in a trip to the North Carolina State Fair. Have a great weekend!