My first two hunts this season went really well. Freedom was great and we managed to avoid the ground bees by staying up close to to the field master.
Saturday, I was not quite so lucky. It was a hot day — in the low 80s — and I don’t know if that made a difference, but the ground wasps were out in full force.
Once again I rode up close to the front of the first field. The first cast went great. Freedom was in fine form and was jumping beautifully even though the fences in the first part of the hunt were larger than I like to start him out on, he was bold and honest to the fences. We had some real air time over some of the more solid ones because he hates to touch a fence and just isn’t sure how high he needs to jump.
The problem occurred during the second run. We were on a narrow trail about 5 horses back when I felt the tell-tale sting on my knee. Luckily that was the only time I was stung, but those behind me were not so lucky. There is very little worse in hunting than being trapped among horses and riders getting stung so we high tailed it out of there as fast as we could.
I’d hoped to get some Benadryl at the first check but because of the heat the field master wasn’t wearing his jacket — and the Benadryl was in his pocket. Note to self — I’ll carry my own in the future.
Freedom was having a great run despite my problem with the bee. It was the first time when he’s jumped up with the field leaders (up until now I’ve kept him at the back of the first field so I could rate him more carefully over the fences). After the bees, though, I found myself behind the Field Master and we simply had to keep up. It turns out the problem was probably me, not him, as he had no trouble.
Because of the heat the hunt ended after the second cast. On the way back we ran into bees again. I should have turned around and found another way back. Instead I tried to run through them. This time I didn’t get stung but Freedom did. It was the first time he’s been stung and he was might offended. He didn’t try to buck me off but he was trying very hard to get a bee off his leg and staying on a horse that’s galloping full tilt down hill with his head between his front legs does have its challenges!
At the tea I downed a few Benadryl and iced the spot where I was stung but I still ended up with a lot of itchy swelling. Not as bad as when I got stung on the wrist but bad enough that I was uncomfortable on Sunday. I can’t wait until the first frost when the wasps will go to ground for the season.
In the meantime I’m picking up an Epi-pen. My doctor doesn’t think that I’ll need it, but who wants to find out that they are having a severe allergic reaction while I’m out in the woods. And I’m stuffing my pockets with Benadryl!