spirithorse21: (Foxhunt)
Have I mentioned that I love designing courses? *grin*

I haven't had the opportunity to design courses for a show since I left S and H. But this year I'm on the committee for the Hunt's field hunter trials. We had courses in the folder, but they have been used for the last 4 or 5 years, so when the chairwoman asked if anyone wanted to redraw them, I eagerly snatched up the opportunity.

Well. I just finished drawing them. And if I do say so myself, they are quite spiffy. Especially the Handy Hunter.

Next up will be laying out the Pace and Chase course, but that has to be done on site by either riding it or taking out an RTV. Fun.

It's going to be FUN!
spirithorse21: (Foxhunt)
Have I mentioned that I love designing courses? *grin*

I haven't had the opportunity to design courses for a show since I left S and H. But this year I'm on the committee for the Hunt's field hunter trials. We had courses in the folder, but they have been used for the last 4 or 5 years, so when the chairwoman asked if anyone wanted to redraw them, I eagerly snatched up the opportunity.

Well. I just finished drawing them. And if I do say so myself, they are quite spiffy. Especially the Handy Hunter.

Next up will be laying out the Pace and Chase course, but that has to be done on site by either riding it or taking out an RTV. Fun.

It's going to be FUN!
spirithorse21: (Foxhunt)
I had heard rumors. Friends congratulated me. But the word was not official. Then, today, Pat Righter called. Mrs. Righter is the TPH Master of Foxhounds and it was the call I had been waiting for...I have officially received my hunt colors!

I have a letter coming in the mail to make it Super Duper Extra Official, but I can't tell you how exciting it was to receive that phone call today. In just two seasons and 25 rides--the minimum required for earning one's colors--I have done it! And let me tell you, getting all those rides in this winter has turned out to be much more tough than I thought it would be. The last hunt was Jan. 31. Due to horribly inclimate weather we did not get to ride out ONCE in February. And we missed several outings in January as well. I am just so glad I went out almost every single Wednesday and Sunday between November and December.

I wish I had a fun photo montage for you, but I don't. I have some photos I'd like to purchase from one of the photographers that came out during the season, but it's not in the budget yet. I also missed the Cropper's Party that closed out the season, so no fun photos from that event either. I missed with good reason--it was the weekend I went to Chicago with my client for her NARHA certification. But I'm still very sad I missed that fun night.

But, I *promise* to post the photos once I buy them from the photographer. They will be a nice set, I really can't wait.

So, you might be wondering, what does this mean? What are hunt colors? Earning the right to wear one's Hunt colors means that I have shown the MFH that I am a good and safe rider, that I am dedicated to our Hunt, and that I am an upstanding and contributing member to the Hunt. I will now be able to wear a robin's egg blue vest under my black hunt coat, and the coat will have a burgundy collar with robin's egg blue trim. Both colors will also trim the cuffs on my coat, and I can get buttons with the TPH logo engraved on them. It all seems very affluent, but it is my "passport" so to speak. The colors are easily visible in the field, which means other riders know I know what I'm doing. It also gives me the right to ride up front, right behind the hounds if I desire. But most importantly to me, it means I can begin working toward being a staff member! I would like to learn about being the field master and being a whip. And earning my colors is the first step toward earning these privileges.

spirithorse21: (Foxhunt)
I had heard rumors. Friends congratulated me. But the word was not official. Then, today, Pat Righter called. Mrs. Righter is the TPH Master of Foxhounds and it was the call I had been waiting for...I have officially received my hunt colors!

I have a letter coming in the mail to make it Super Duper Extra Official, but I can't tell you how exciting it was to receive that phone call today. In just two seasons and 25 rides--the minimum required for earning one's colors--I have done it! And let me tell you, getting all those rides in this winter has turned out to be much more tough than I thought it would be. The last hunt was Jan. 31. Due to horribly inclimate weather we did not get to ride out ONCE in February. And we missed several outings in January as well. I am just so glad I went out almost every single Wednesday and Sunday between November and December.

I wish I had a fun photo montage for you, but I don't. I have some photos I'd like to purchase from one of the photographers that came out during the season, but it's not in the budget yet. I also missed the Cropper's Party that closed out the season, so no fun photos from that event either. I missed with good reason--it was the weekend I went to Chicago with my client for her NARHA certification. But I'm still very sad I missed that fun night.

But, I *promise* to post the photos once I buy them from the photographer. They will be a nice set, I really can't wait.

So, you might be wondering, what does this mean? What are hunt colors? Earning the right to wear one's Hunt colors means that I have shown the MFH that I am a good and safe rider, that I am dedicated to our Hunt, and that I am an upstanding and contributing member to the Hunt. I will now be able to wear a robin's egg blue vest under my black hunt coat, and the coat will have a burgundy collar with robin's egg blue trim. Both colors will also trim the cuffs on my coat, and I can get buttons with the TPH logo engraved on them. It all seems very affluent, but it is my "passport" so to speak. The colors are easily visible in the field, which means other riders know I know what I'm doing. It also gives me the right to ride up front, right behind the hounds if I desire. But most importantly to me, it means I can begin working toward being a staff member! I would like to learn about being the field master and being a whip. And earning my colors is the first step toward earning these privileges.

spirithorse21: (Foxhunt)
...is where our hunting path does go!

Ok, ok. I probably could totally rewrite that song to fit a day of hunting, but I think that would probably be way too much for you all. Am I right? *grin*

Today's hunt was the last before our Christmas break. We won't reconvene until New Year's Day, but alas! I will not being joining them then because I'll be in North Carolina, enjoying many splendid things with my best friend, including a spa day (I hope).

As such, there was little that could have stopped me from hunting today. I didn't get much else accomplished in the horse department because I commenced holiday baking today. But at 2pm sharp, I arrived at the barn and got that trailer hitched up. By 2:45 we were out the gate and on our way.

On Wednesdays, we normally run from the kennels because we don't have much time or much daylight to work with. But today we had a little change of scenery. We started from Wild Air's North Farm. Belongs to the same people who own the main hunting grounds, just a little bit up the road and cut off from the main farm by a major highway.

It's a lovely, quiet setting. Old, old barns and split rail fencing. There are three houses on the property, all occupied. I wish the house adjacent to the barn was vacant...I bet Mrs. Johnson* rents it out and I would love to inquire about renting it *and* the barn to run a business. It's the perfect size for a start up. Probably needs some fixing up, but still a very functional barn with probably 10 stalls and run-in sheds along the outside to boot.

Anyway...hunting. 13 of us showed up for today's run. It wasn't nearly as bone-chilling cold as it has been. Lovely weather actually...bright and sunny with clouds on the horizon letting us know that the storm predictions for tonight are spot on. I wore my heavy wool coat and was toasty as soon as we began moving.

What I love about hunting in the snow is the peace and quiet of it. The sound hoof beats are muffled--or even silenced--by the deep snow sitting on top of the not-quite-frozen earth. Over creek crossing and through mucky fields, their hooves sink through the snow and create a crisp, quick snap as they break through that thin bit of ice into the wet clay. Otherwise...utter silence. Silence as thirteen 1,000 pound horses gallop across the landscape and leap over jumps up to three foot high. Silence. And because we are mid-way into the season and everyone is well conditioned by now, even their breathing is quiet, calm.

Honestly, today was disconcertingly quiet because the bay of the hounds was largely absent. In the cold and snow, they had trouble finding and keeping the scent. They only really opened up to sing once or twice. Otherwise, it was only a note here and there, followed by long stretches of quiet, slow hounds, noses to the ground trying their best to find their query.

But slow can be good. Our jaunts through the woods were rocking-chair canters and easy approaches to the jumps. Our stretches across corn fields were long, endurance-building trots, horses' necks stretched out low to make the work easier.

And when we circled back to North Farm proper again, we came to an easy stop. The scenting may have been bad, but it was still a pleasant day spent in good company. The weather was not so bitter, the footing not quite so slick. We all congratulated ourselves on a lovely day of hunting and parted ways saying, "Merry Christmas! See you on New Year's Day!"

Lu with his trusty mount and the hounds at a check two weeks ago

Photo courtesy of TJ Cole


Snapshots from November and December with TPH )
spirithorse21: (Foxhunt)
...is where our hunting path does go!

Ok, ok. I probably could totally rewrite that song to fit a day of hunting, but I think that would probably be way too much for you all. Am I right? *grin*

Today's hunt was the last before our Christmas break. We won't reconvene until New Year's Day, but alas! I will not being joining them then because I'll be in North Carolina, enjoying many splendid things with my best friend, including a spa day (I hope).

As such, there was little that could have stopped me from hunting today. I didn't get much else accomplished in the horse department because I commenced holiday baking today. But at 2pm sharp, I arrived at the barn and got that trailer hitched up. By 2:45 we were out the gate and on our way.

On Wednesdays, we normally run from the kennels because we don't have much time or much daylight to work with. But today we had a little change of scenery. We started from Wild Air's North Farm. Belongs to the same people who own the main hunting grounds, just a little bit up the road and cut off from the main farm by a major highway.

It's a lovely, quiet setting. Old, old barns and split rail fencing. There are three houses on the property, all occupied. I wish the house adjacent to the barn was vacant...I bet Mrs. Johnson* rents it out and I would love to inquire about renting it *and* the barn to run a business. It's the perfect size for a start up. Probably needs some fixing up, but still a very functional barn with probably 10 stalls and run-in sheds along the outside to boot.

Anyway...hunting. 13 of us showed up for today's run. It wasn't nearly as bone-chilling cold as it has been. Lovely weather actually...bright and sunny with clouds on the horizon letting us know that the storm predictions for tonight are spot on. I wore my heavy wool coat and was toasty as soon as we began moving.

What I love about hunting in the snow is the peace and quiet of it. The sound hoof beats are muffled--or even silenced--by the deep snow sitting on top of the not-quite-frozen earth. Over creek crossing and through mucky fields, their hooves sink through the snow and create a crisp, quick snap as they break through that thin bit of ice into the wet clay. Otherwise...utter silence. Silence as thirteen 1,000 pound horses gallop across the landscape and leap over jumps up to three foot high. Silence. And because we are mid-way into the season and everyone is well conditioned by now, even their breathing is quiet, calm.

Honestly, today was disconcertingly quiet because the bay of the hounds was largely absent. In the cold and snow, they had trouble finding and keeping the scent. They only really opened up to sing once or twice. Otherwise, it was only a note here and there, followed by long stretches of quiet, slow hounds, noses to the ground trying their best to find their query.

But slow can be good. Our jaunts through the woods were rocking-chair canters and easy approaches to the jumps. Our stretches across corn fields were long, endurance-building trots, horses' necks stretched out low to make the work easier.

And when we circled back to North Farm proper again, we came to an easy stop. The scenting may have been bad, but it was still a pleasant day spent in good company. The weather was not so bitter, the footing not quite so slick. We all congratulated ourselves on a lovely day of hunting and parted ways saying, "Merry Christmas! See you on New Year's Day!"

Lu with his trusty mount and the hounds at a check two weeks ago

Photo courtesy of TJ Cole


Snapshots from November and December with TPH )
spirithorse21: (Foxhunt)
Last Sunday I attended the High Holy Day of the Hunt--the Blessing. It was my first attendance to such an event, and I must say, I did it right. Doc and I were invited to join the field and actually participate. We paraded in with the hounds, stood for the service, received our St. Hubert (patron saint of hunters) medal, and then headed out for a hunt around the countryside. It was a glorious day with plenty of sunshine and crisp, cool air. Perfect for hunting really.

Anyway, I thought I'd share a video of the event. My dear husband filmed it for me, and I've been working on editing it this week. Hopefully, I'll have the field trials footage edited soon.

Enjoy!

oh, PS~as of 10:15 pm EDT, the video is still processing. I just didn't want to hang around waiting on it any longer and we still don't have internet at home.


spirithorse21: (Foxhunt)
Last Sunday I attended the High Holy Day of the Hunt--the Blessing. It was my first attendance to such an event, and I must say, I did it right. Doc and I were invited to join the field and actually participate. We paraded in with the hounds, stood for the service, received our St. Hubert (patron saint of hunters) medal, and then headed out for a hunt around the countryside. It was a glorious day with plenty of sunshine and crisp, cool air. Perfect for hunting really.

Anyway, I thought I'd share a video of the event. My dear husband filmed it for me, and I've been working on editing it this week. Hopefully, I'll have the field trials footage edited soon.

Enjoy!

oh, PS~as of 10:15 pm EDT, the video is still processing. I just didn't want to hang around waiting on it any longer and we still don't have internet at home.


spirithorse21: (Doc)
I finished cropping and editing my photos last night. Next week I'll add the video.

Folks, let me say that if all hunters were like this, I'd sure as heck be riding hunters a lot more! It was just so much fun to have the huge grassy open field and the natural jumps to go over. Nothing like showing in a ring, and so much more laid back. I really enjoyed it, and actually felt like Doc had a fighting chance to compete well as a "suitable field hunter". I think if I had not bobbled a few fences in our field hunter class we would have gotten third or second even.

Anyway, on to the rest of the photos...

Focus is wrong, but you can see the pretty grounds on our final approach to the last gate.


more under here )
spirithorse21: (Doc)
I finished cropping and editing my photos last night. Next week I'll add the video.

Folks, let me say that if all hunters were like this, I'd sure as heck be riding hunters a lot more! It was just so much fun to have the huge grassy open field and the natural jumps to go over. Nothing like showing in a ring, and so much more laid back. I really enjoyed it, and actually felt like Doc had a fighting chance to compete well as a "suitable field hunter". I think if I had not bobbled a few fences in our field hunter class we would have gotten third or second even.

Anyway, on to the rest of the photos...

Focus is wrong, but you can see the pretty grounds on our final approach to the last gate.


more under here )
spirithorse21: (Doc)
Doc and I attended our first foxhunt with hounds yesterday, and it was the most amazing, awe-inspiring experience. The sheer power and speed of the horses, the early morning sun, the glistening dew, the rising fog, the light breeze stirring the first-changing leaves of fall...it was beautiful in every way.

Our day started very early because the hunt was to begin at 8 a.m. I got up at 5:30 and we pulled into the hunt grounds at 7:20-enough time to groom Doc, let him mellow, and hack out with other members of the hunt as everyone arrived. I was excited with anticipation, anxious to see how Doc would react to riding with the hounds. After a good warm up, we were all called to the kennels to meet the master and her hounds, give our thanks for the meet ahead of us. Doc perked his ears at the baying hounds and their pungent smell. And then we waited. The master had to sort out her hounds, choose who was to hunt and how many to bring along.

Finally, after much sorting, the selected pack poured out of the kennel, all the horses and riders standing at attention. Doc quivered a bit but then realized that all the other horses were just standing, waiting, like this was normal. He sighed and settled some, though his ears remained at attention on the pack of hounds. Shortly thereafter our order had been established and we filed out onto the road: Master, Whips, and hounds first; then the field master, then all the rest of the field. We filed down the road two by two, taking up one lane of the two lane road. The hounds stayed packed in closely to the feet of the master's horse, also staying inside the double yellow line. To me, it was beautiful and amazing to see such order out of these animals. I wondered at what a sight we must be to passing joggers and drivers.

Ten minutes later, we fell into a single file line and ducked into a barely visible opening in the woods. We dropped down a slope, probably 30 feet, and then the master cast her hounds to the scent. The baying began in full and then the field master shouted, "Field up!" and off we ran in a tight string after the hounds. We spun around several tight corners, leaped over jumps, and galloped up and down such steep hills as I'd never imagine to find in Indiana. My assigned partner was Holly on a large grey Percheron/Arab cross--his big white butt made a great target for me and Doc throughout the day, as we'd go galloping across fields, then having to rate it back for each to get over a jump safely.

It seemed such a short time later, though probably an hour had passed, that we gathered the hounds back together and left that first property. Holly explained that it was a small property, not connected to any others we had permission to hunt. We were headed back to Wild Aire Farm to finish our run, mostly in open field with only a few jumps. I was not to be disappointed though by the lack of jumps.

We descended into another open field where the master gave her hounds a short rest. And then she blew on her horn, cast the hounds to the scent, and like rockets we raced after them toward a large, rolling hill. Holly's horse heaved up the hill with great power, his shoes glinting in the still early morning sun. Doc gathered himself up and pushed up the hill with little effort, keeping up easily with the huge half draft. We galloped for probably 20 minutes, following the baying of the hounds. I sat in the middle of Doc's back, following his motion, feeling the sheer power of his well-muscled body. It was a God-like experience, to be able to sit in harmony with these great beast as they gallop across open fields and leap over wooden obstacles.

Shortly after, the master called her hounds back together. We crossed the street one last time back to the main property, galloped up one last steep hill that wound around a lake and back into the woods. It was an easy gallop that descended down one last hill, over one last jump, and then we all gathered together to walk back to the kennels, letting our horses stretch and cool down. Everyone was smiling, everyone laughing. It had been a fabulous hunt, a great way to spend a Saturday morning. And to me, the greatest sport I've ever been privilege to run.
spirithorse21: (Doc)
Doc and I attended our first foxhunt with hounds yesterday, and it was the most amazing, awe-inspiring experience. The sheer power and speed of the horses, the early morning sun, the glistening dew, the rising fog, the light breeze stirring the first-changing leaves of fall...it was beautiful in every way.

Our day started very early because the hunt was to begin at 8 a.m. I got up at 5:30 and we pulled into the hunt grounds at 7:20-enough time to groom Doc, let him mellow, and hack out with other members of the hunt as everyone arrived. I was excited with anticipation, anxious to see how Doc would react to riding with the hounds. After a good warm up, we were all called to the kennels to meet the master and her hounds, give our thanks for the meet ahead of us. Doc perked his ears at the baying hounds and their pungent smell. And then we waited. The master had to sort out her hounds, choose who was to hunt and how many to bring along.

Finally, after much sorting, the selected pack poured out of the kennel, all the horses and riders standing at attention. Doc quivered a bit but then realized that all the other horses were just standing, waiting, like this was normal. He sighed and settled some, though his ears remained at attention on the pack of hounds. Shortly thereafter our order had been established and we filed out onto the road: Master, Whips, and hounds first; then the field master, then all the rest of the field. We filed down the road two by two, taking up one lane of the two lane road. The hounds stayed packed in closely to the feet of the master's horse, also staying inside the double yellow line. To me, it was beautiful and amazing to see such order out of these animals. I wondered at what a sight we must be to passing joggers and drivers.

Ten minutes later, we fell into a single file line and ducked into a barely visible opening in the woods. We dropped down a slope, probably 30 feet, and then the master cast her hounds to the scent. The baying began in full and then the field master shouted, "Field up!" and off we ran in a tight string after the hounds. We spun around several tight corners, leaped over jumps, and galloped up and down such steep hills as I'd never imagine to find in Indiana. My assigned partner was Holly on a large grey Percheron/Arab cross--his big white butt made a great target for me and Doc throughout the day, as we'd go galloping across fields, then having to rate it back for each to get over a jump safely.

It seemed such a short time later, though probably an hour had passed, that we gathered the hounds back together and left that first property. Holly explained that it was a small property, not connected to any others we had permission to hunt. We were headed back to Wild Aire Farm to finish our run, mostly in open field with only a few jumps. I was not to be disappointed though by the lack of jumps.

We descended into another open field where the master gave her hounds a short rest. And then she blew on her horn, cast the hounds to the scent, and like rockets we raced after them toward a large, rolling hill. Holly's horse heaved up the hill with great power, his shoes glinting in the still early morning sun. Doc gathered himself up and pushed up the hill with little effort, keeping up easily with the huge half draft. We galloped for probably 20 minutes, following the baying of the hounds. I sat in the middle of Doc's back, following his motion, feeling the sheer power of his well-muscled body. It was a God-like experience, to be able to sit in harmony with these great beast as they gallop across open fields and leap over wooden obstacles.

Shortly after, the master called her hounds back together. We crossed the street one last time back to the main property, galloped up one last steep hill that wound around a lake and back into the woods. It was an easy gallop that descended down one last hill, over one last jump, and then we all gathered together to walk back to the kennels, letting our horses stretch and cool down. Everyone was smiling, everyone laughing. It had been a fabulous hunt, a great way to spend a Saturday morning. And to me, the greatest sport I've ever been privilege to run.

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