Zelda and I went on our first post-recovery hunter pace last weekend. I am not ashamed to admit that doubts plagued me the day before. Should I go? Was I ready? Would Zelda behave?
One of the fallouts from my accident last winter is the residual fear, and I have to remind myself that 1) it’s normal and 2) the only way to get over it is, well, to get over it.
So, I loaded Zelda up and off we went. It was a gorgeous fall day and we were going to just do it.
Zelda was mighty excited when we arrived at the event. It’s a territory that we often hunt, so when she saw the other trailers, her anticipation for galloping through the woods and chasing hounds was high. She was disappointed when we headed out at a walk. My partner at the event had similar goals to mine: returning in one piece. She had broken her ankle last fall and the horse she was riding was older and not-too-fit, so we went in the “leisure division.”
I was glad to have the company. The first part of the pace, although very pretty, had a few exciting distractions: chickens, cows and lots and lots of off-leash dogs. Zelda and Maggie proved to be a brave pair and didn’t let the animals phase her, despite my worrying.
After we got to the check, after covering about four miles, Heidi (rider) and Maggie (horse) decided that Maggie was too tired to finish so they went back. Thankfully, the rest of the ride was mostly dog-free which meant I could move Zelda along. Okay, there was no galloping and Zelda quite annoyed that I wouldn’t let her jump any of the jumps, not even the smallest ones, but we did manage some brisk trots and survived a few close encounters with mountain bikes.
Arriving at the finish line a hair under two hours after we left, I felt good. My ankle allowed me to dismount without too much trouble and Zelda and came back in one piece, and smiling. Am I ready to hunt yet? I’ve been eying the fixture card trying to decide where I might make my maiden voyage. But, one baby step at a time, this was a fantastic start. The bonus? We got a pretty red ribbon to take home for our second place finish.