The squeal is back


Hunt end
Saturday’s hunt ends at this beautiful pond. It’s one of my favorite places.

In the heat of the summer, Zelda was pretty placid. There was none of the running, the bucking, the rearing, and, most importantly the squealing. She makes a ridiculous high pitched squeal that is quite unladylike and sounds particularly absurd coming from such a big horse.

Now that we’ve  had some cool mornings. The squeal has returned. And with it, some typical Zelda exuberance.

Hounds at the first check
The hounds take a break for a drink and a swim at the first check

On Saturday morning we hunted the territory across the street from where I board. There’s a risk to hunting your home turf. While you might think that they would be more comfortable and better behaved, the opposite can be true because everything that is normal is different.

I’m going to use this excuse for Zelda because she needs a reason. From the moment I got on she started to spin and buck and jump in place. She saw the horses and riders. She heard the hounds. She was ready to go RIGHT NOW. I tried warming her up and had a few good trots and canters for 20 minutes, but she was still misbehaving as we set off. It’s days like this where I’m glad I’m almost 6 feet tall because I really need to use my body to make her listen!

Hounds
Happy hounds at the check looking for snacks

We had a nice gallop at the first cast and she started to settle. Unfortunately, we hit bees on the trail during the next piece and I am pleased to report that Zelda can gallop downhill and buck with great balance! I’ve only just started jumping her in the first field and she was, well, enthusiastic. Certainly stopping was not on her mind!

By the last piece, she was settled

snacks
This hound ended up with a cookie on his back and turned into quite the contortionist to retrieve it! He did get it in the end.

and even let me take a few photos without any fear of losing my phone. She needs a couple of good, long hunts so that she understands that there is no point in getting worked up at the start.

The trick about hunting is that it takes a horse several outings to figure it out. The first few times your horse can be overwhelmed by the experience. Then, the horse has a “honeymoon” period where they are really good and still figuring it out. Once they know they love it? They can get really excited. I think we’ve entered that phase!

Heading home
Heading down to the pond at the end of the hunt

 

swimming
The hounds took a dip (it looked pretty inviting as it was hot enough that jackets were waived).
Hacking bac
Now refreshed, the hounds head back to the truck.
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