Saturday’s hunt fell on a picture perfect late fall day. The temperatures started out out in the 20s but by 10 a.m. it was in the low 40s and the sun made it feel warmer. It was a day when you thought about wearing an extra layer of warmth but knew you would regret it.
I was just excited to be able to hunt. On Friday, Freedom got shoes on his front feet. I’ll write more about it later, but after a fall of abscesses, I took him to a farrier associated with New England Equine Surgical and Medical Center. After looking at his feet and listening to my tale of woe, we went with a simple solution. Regular shoes in front; barefoot behind. The shoes are giving him the support he needs while the abscess grows out.
So Freedom had happy feet when we went out to hunt. Pepperell is one of my favorite territories. The town is old New England — first settled in 1720 as part of nearby Groton, it became a town in 1775. It was both a mill town and a farming community — and still has the wide open fields that make it such a pleasure to hunt.
We had a nice turnout for the hunt, including five pony clubbers! I wish I had been able to hunt when I was their age.
Freedom felt great and I was glad to have the running martingale on him. He was his old bouncy self and I found it hard to believe that he was 14, not 5. I don’t think he walked much during the first two pieces of the hunt. It was clear that he was as happy to be out there as I was.
During the first cast we got to see the hounds work quite a bit. Some of the time they were, perhaps, not working the drag, but they all got back on track pretty quickly. A few horses got a bit enthusiastic in the open fields and I saw quite a few bucks and a few exuberant jumps up into the air. I am always thankful at those moments that Freedom doesn’t buck!
The last part of the hunt took us through the woods and then out into an apple orchard. Although the leaves are all gone, it was still lovely out with the burnished orange of late fall.