Some mornings the idea of hunting is daunting. Especially Tuesday mornings. Last Tuesday, I had my doubts about the hunt. We’d hunted the territory recently and I was running behind schedule. I had driven my daughter to school, stopped to feed the horses, hitched my trailer and left coffee for my husband. It was already 8:40 and normally I’m pulling out of the barn with my horse groomed and tacked by 8:55. That wasn’t going to happen. I didn’t leave until 9:10.
But, I’d been looking forward to hunting Freedom. For various reasons he’s gotten left behind in favor of Zelda. This was his day. I knew that we could find the field if we got there too late. As it turned out, I wasn’t the only one running late, so I didn’t miss a bit of it.
And boy did we have fun. Freedom loves to hunt. He loves the galloping. He loves watching the hounds. He loves the chase. He was so happy to be out that the joy radiated up through the saddle.
I’d wondered how he would be. On my prep ride Monday, he was wired and spooky, jumping out of his skin. I came “this” close to coming off him at the end of the ride. A small animal — most likely a chipmonk — ran through the leaves. He jumped right with amazing
speed. I wasn’t quite so quick to follow. I lost a stirrup and felt a tad precarious as I tried to center my weight in the saddle.
Out in the hunt field, he was all business, focused on his job. He didn’t walk much (he has perfected the jig and the canter in place), but it’s a mannered jig.
It was not a fast hunt (much to Freedom’s dismay), but we got to see the hounds work up close — one of the puppies was hunting and it was fun to watch her leap and bound through the tall grass.
Riding back to the trailer, ready for a more leisurely drive home, I could categorically say that it was worth it.