Freedom and I are both tired. Very tired. For the first time in three weeks our Tuesday hunt was not rained out. The rain gods spared us until this afternoon when the heavens opened but I was back at the barn when the first drops just started to fall — nearly five hours after I had left.
Today we hunted in the town where I live and I hacked to the hunt with two friends. It was hot and humid with the scent of blossoms in the air. The start of the hunt is about a half hour from the barn and the ride over was full of anticipation.
We met by Codman House, a grand old country estate that is now a museum and a working farm. The formal gardens are starting to emerge into their glory and the fields were vibrant and electric green.
The hunting was good — the first two casts the hounds were right on the scent and we got to see them work. The third piece was more problematic. There were lots of deer in the woods and so we had a combination of drag hunting . . . and some live chasing (although nothing was caught). In the end, three hounds out of nine were separated from the pack.
I stayed behind with the huntsman since I know the territory and the staff searched for the hounds. When it became obvious they needed to be rounded up by car, we hacked back to the start.
That still left me with a half hour ride home and by the end of that my saddle was feeling pretty hard and my toes were getting numb. Freedom still was moving right along but I suspect it was the anticipation of lunch that kept him going! It certainly seemed longer going home than it did riding out but it was the tiredness of accomplishment.