Tomorrow is the first day of the Spring cubbing season and I have a dilemma. The long winter has left me with two horses that aren’t really ready to hunt.
Icy conditions followed by shoe sucking mud have limited trail rides to walks. I’m all for walking as it’s a great way to build a base of fitness without pounding a horse’s legs. BUT, and it’s a big but, tomorrow we’re supposed to go gallop behind hounds.
Let’s see. I could take the naughty mare. She’s a much happier horse when she has a place to run and buck, but I’d rather it wasn’t in the hunt field. Our pastures have been too wet to allow Zelda her play time so she’s been doing it under saddle. Not a good idea.
Then, there’s Freedom. He feels like a can of soda that’s been shaken. I’m afraid to open the can because he’s just so full of energy, he can barely contain himself. I have taken him out for a few short gallops and even popped him over a cross rail or two. Those rides have been, shall we say, interesting.
While he’s fine if I take him for walks, once the excitement level ratchets up, he starts leaping, bounding and bouncing. Sigh. I’m not sure what he’ll do when he realizes we’re going to hunt, because even at the best of times his response to the first cast bears a distinct resemblance to the departure from a starting gate.
Adding to my concerns is the wind. We had amazing wind today and the hunt tomorrow starts in a big open flood plain. Wind plus hounds plus amped up OTTB? Yeah, sounds like fun, doesn’t it? It does . . . and it doesn’t.
Still, of the two, I think Freedom is my best choice. At least he doesn’t buck. And maybe I should bring a flask. I’m the one who needs to calm down.