A Very Long Hunt

Heading into the woods
This hunt was on our “home” territory which makes it extra exciting!

Zelda has really enjoyed hunting this season. A lot. She has been very full of herself and quite strong. She also has the annoying habit of “rooting” — in other words, she snatches at the reins and tries to pull them out of my hand, mostly because I, god forbid, am trying to balance her and she just wants to keep up.

Warm Up
The foliage during our warm up hack

But on Tuesday she might have had a watershed moment because we had a hunt that was long enough that it maybe, might have taught her to conserve her energy.

One of my strategies with Zelda is to ride her a bit before the hunt to get the sillies out. On Tuesday we hunted the territory behind my barn so I had plenty of time to work her before the first cast (no trailering!). It was a

Right before the hunt
Right before the hunt started.

beautiful, cold fall morning and she definitely felt frisky, so we logged 4.5 miles, mostly at a trot and canter. All set, I thought.

The pre-ride set her up pretty nicely. I still have trouble with her getting a bit flat and strung out, but she was mostly listening and there was no bucking. We had a very pleasant hunt which took us about another 5 miles. Then, some of the hounds went walkabout.

We did a very complete tour of the area.

Given that I know the trail system well, I helped with the rescue mission. In fact, most of the field came out as it was such a nice day. We logged about another four miles, covering most of the trails and then some.

Three and a half hours and nearly 14 miles later we headed back to the barn. Usually, Zelda doesn’t like to leave the field — she’s always looking for the next cast. This time, she happily headed home and had a good, long roll.

I’m curious it see if she learned anything from being out so long!

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