Yesterday our hunt sponsored a Learn to Hunt clinic. Freedom and I were there, with some other members, to answer questions and demonstrate the behavior of a proper field hunter.
I was very proud of Freedom. He behaved impeccably. He worked in the crowd on a loose rein, stood like a statue when asked, and led a few horses over a small jump with no fuss.
Several people mentioned what a nice field hunter he was. But there was one family there that remembered how Freedom was when I first got him. “I can’t believe it is the same horse,” said one. “All he used to do was bounce up and down — I thought you would die,” she finished. Her mother added, “but you never gave up on him and look how he turned out.”
He did used to be quite, well, bouncy, for sure. I never thought he was dangerous but there were some days when I questioned my sanity. One day I took him on a three hour trail ride and he didn’t walk once. He either jigged or cantered in place the entire time. Other days he simply jumped up and down in place.
It took me almost two years to convince him that he didn’t always have to go first.
And when I put him on a trailer I had to start driving right away or he’d throw a fit.
How nice for everyone to think that he’s such a nice field hunter. I think so, too. And all it took was a couple of years, a lot of patience and a job that he loved.