31 years and holding

Who said that Thoroughbreds can’t jump? If you look at the jumper ring today, most of the horses you’ll see are warmbloods. When I was growing up, almost all the jumpers were Thoroughbreds. It just so happens that the horse that set inside Puissance record (back in 1983) was Sweet ‘n Low, a 17.1 hand Thoroughbred ridden by Anthony d’Ambrosio. The pair cleared 7’7 1/2″. I can’t even imagine riding down to a wall like that and having a horse that would consider it a jump! The record still stands.

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Equine Ink is now on Facebook

Equine Ink on Facebook

Head on over to Facebook and visit our new page. It’s a perpetual Blog Carnival of Horses, populated with links to all the new posts from your favorite blogs. Want to be included? Just let me know in the comments section below.

For a long time I’ve reposted my blog posts on my personal Facebook page, but about 10 days ago I decided to give Equine Ink it’s own page and a slightly different mission.

For a couple of years now I’ve hosted the Blog Carnival of Horses once a month. It’s a popular feature — and no wonder, it gives you a plethora of great blog posts to read in a single, curated location. I’ll still host the Carnival here, but to make it easier to read lots of great blogs all the time, I set up the Equine Ink Facebook page as a constant Carnival. Using RSS feeds, I’ve linked in all the blogs that have submitted to recent Carnivals and I’ll continue to add more.

Each posting provides the first sentence of the post and a link to the original blog posting. So head on over to Facebook, check out our new page and please “Like” it. Then you’ll be notified every time a new blog post hits the boards.

If you are interested in participating in the “Perpetual Blog Carnival” just leave a comment below. Likewise, if you want me to remove your Blog from the FB page, I’m happy to do so. In the meantime, enjoy the collection of Blogs and don’t blame me if you spend far too much time reading them!

Hedge hopping Tips

One of my dreams/nightmares is to go hunting in England or Ireland. While I feel fairly competent about navigating the territories that I hunt, hunting in the UK is an entirely different proposition.

Hedge Hopping

Blackthorn and Brooks offers foxhunting holidays (and some tips for Americans who might find some of the obstacles a tad intimidating).

Here’s a video that was put together by Blackthorn & Brook, a company that organizes riding and foxhunting vacations in England, that gives you some tips on “Hedge Hopping”. Certainly their rider makes it look easy enough and her advice is sound — strong legs, light hands and sit up! Of course, if it were me galloping down to one of those hedges, the loudest sound would be the beating of my heart.

Certainly, if I ever get up the nerve to try this, it’s going to be on a horse that already knows how to do it!

Watch the video and also read their blog post on Hedge Hopping Tips, then let me know if it’s in your future.

If this whip could talk

Hunt Whip

This hunt whip belongs to hostess of our hunt on Saturday. She was a the Master of the Fox Hounds at the Millwood Hunt Club (which disbanded in 1969), a predecessor of Old North Bridge Hounds and it was gifted to her by the Millwood Hunt Field Members. One of our members carried it on Saturday and told me,  “She graciously lets me use it. I wanted to take it with me on Saturday. It has crossed the Framingham territory many times in the past. Many more than I probably ever will!”  What a lovely piece of history to carry with you.


Before the rain

Great day for hunting — shafts of sunlight punctuated by dramatic skies and gorgeous foliage. We rode about 8 miles and while it threatened to rain a few times, the first drops didn’t fall until we were back at the trailers!

Thanks to Suzanne for the photo of me on Zelda. I couldn’t stop smiling.

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Adrenaline Rush

First cast.

Heading to the first cast.

There’s nothing like a good gallop to get the adrenaline flowing. I never thought of myself as an adrenaline junkie. I don’t even like to ride particularly fast (okay, some people may disagree). But foxhunting has brought out that side of me. Now I need to have that thrill of the chase.

It’s probably due to Freedom. For him it’s all about the galloping. And the hounds. He love to follow the hounds. And he’s very keen about keeping up. Freedom is by far the fastest horse I’ve ever ridden and luckily he’s also one of the most balanced and sure footed. Now when I go out to hunt I get as antsy as him if we don’t get to move along briskly. He’s made me covet the whipping of the wind in my face and the thrill of whipping through the terrain.

Today we hunted in Acton and Concord. Much of the hunt is on private land so it’s a real treat that we get to ride there. The day was perfect for hunting: slightly

Hunting route

I forgot to turn on my GPS application for the first piece, so you just have to imagine the extra mile or so.

overcast and not too warm. The scent stayed close to the ground and the hounds were right on track. We had a few puppies out and also one of the old timers, Dandy. The first run was amazing! We got to watch the hounds work and got in a good long gallop all while enjoying the peak fall foliage. We gallop down the pipeline and end up in a huge open meadow.

Resting between the casts

The hounds gather around our huntsman in between the first and second casts. You can see the field along the tree line.

The second cast is the trickiest one for me because Freedom begins to anticipate it well in advance. We hack down the road to the cast and long before we make the final turn he’s dancing in place, flipping his head and begging to go. At least this time he didn’t spin around in place and bounce.

The second piece starts through wooded trails that are covered in pine needles. It’s a beautiful area where the wooded trails are more open, with soft glens off the main trail.  At one point we cross over an ancient stone bridge — presumably one of the oldest bridges in continuous use in the United States. This piece ends with a gallop through two more open fields — which are on my top 10 list of places to ride.

The third piece is similar to the second, a combination of wooded trails and big open fields. This is a great hunt for watching the hounds work which was a real treat.

The hack back to the trailers was lovely. The muted, soft colors of fall surrounded us.

Fall foliage

Hacking back to the trailers we rode through the beautiful muted landscape of the fall.