The last few hunts of our Spring season were in the territories off of Monument Street in Concord. This is one of the most beautiful areas that we hunt — there are huge fields, wooded pathways and river views. Cross country jumps are built into the trail system at regular intervals — nice inviting stone walls and log piles for the most part.
In addition to its beauty, this is an area rich in history. At one of our last hunts I heard someone say, “you can almost feel the Minute Men’s presence in the woods.”
In Concord you are in the heart of the American Revolution, where the first day of fighting took place. We are, after all, Old North Bridge Hounds, and while we don’t hunt through Minute Man National Park, we are very near to it. This is a town that still has a very rural feel to it. There is a lot of open space and in the spring everything is lusciously, radiantly green.
My last hunt of the season came on a hot, steamy Tuesday. The temperatures were approaching 80 degrees by the time we ended. Luckily, the hounds hunted at a leisurely pace, taking time to cool off in the Concord River a few times along the way.
Because of the heat we only hunted two casts that morning, which was probably enough. Freedom felt great, despite the heat. We were the second horse in the first flight and had a clear view of the hounds working.
We caught some good jumps. As his confidence has grown this season I’ve been asking him to jump the larger or more complicated jumps in the territory. On this hunt I added an in and out — two stone walls placed at an odd distance apart. The jumps ride as a short two strides. Several years ago I learned the hard way on Kroni that if you don’t come into those fences right they ride at a very awkward stride and a half. Freedom jumped in big over the first fence but checked very nicely and handled the second without a problem.
This might have been helped by the fact that I upgraded his hunting bit to a pelham. I found that the Kimberwicke didn’t offer enough enough subtly and he was starting to lean on it. He has more respect for the pelham and he was very ratable to all the fences.
I wish I’d known that day that Freedom had an abscess brewing that would keep us from the last hunt of the season. But perhaps I wouldn’t have enjoyed it any more than I already did.