Ziggy March 13 aPhoto by Gretchen PelhamA few weeks ago in early March I went hunting with Tennessee Valley Hunt in the snow and sleet at the mountain resort, The Blackberry Farm. I have never been so cold, and all of it is that Wench’s fault. Gretchen was walking around all bundled up in insulated pants and a wool hat while I had to prance around in my clipped skivvies. My only consolation was that I had my best peep Michaela in my irons instead of the Wench’s fat butt. [Gretchen’s Note: Stop your grousing, you weenie. I brought you hot mint tea and a warm cranberry oat muffins every time I saw you. Michaela was colder than you were.]

Anyway, the hunt members had a French style Hunt Breakfast – meaning they had their breakfast before the hunt at Blackberry, while I sat, forgotten, in the trailer parked on Joe Pye Lane. When they decided to start the hunt I had eaten all of my hay net and was not happy about the extended trailer stay. Somehow I’ve got to figure out who I have to charm to get into Blackberry for the Breakfasts. This waiting in the trailer is not acceptable for the extraordinary hunt horse that I am. Inside the main house where they eat is a fireplace! And I’m stuck in an un-insulated, aluminum trailer. Somehow I’m getting inside.

So when the hunt FINALLY started we went up the valley to the ridge for the stirrup cup. There was already an inch or Ziggy March 13 c portPhoto by Gretchen Pelhamso of snow on the ground. Andy Bozdan, the professional huntsman, brought the pack up a different way we did so the view of the pack descending in the snow to our stirrup cup was beautiful! When everyone was oohhing and ahhing I snuck a glass or three of the tawny port. Yum! [Gretchen’s Note: So that explains why you started singing show tunes! I thought you sounded tipsy. The guests from Venezuela asked me why Celine Dion sounded like a strangled moose. Sorry pony dude, but you can’t hold your liquor!]

I did NOT sing! At least, I don’t think I did. Oh what ever – the Scarlet Wench is stupid and must be ignored. She had fallen off AGAIN and wasn’t riding this hunt. Just for that reason alone she should be ridiculed.

So Michaela and I were in the Hilltoppers with Miss Debbie as our minder. We went up the steep ridge after crossing the creek to follow Andy as he drew the top of the ridge. The ridge at Three Sisters is very steep, and in the snow it was a bit dodgy. But Michaela knew we wouldn’t have any trouble, and we didn’t. It was a blank draw at the top of the ridge, but as we came down the main trail to the gravel road I told Michaela to hang on. I had a feeling that we were about to hit and hit hard!

When we hit the gravel road it started to snow pretty small flakes that bounced around like ballerinas. Then that pretty snow turned to mean sleet – driving, sideways sleet that makes you wish you had never prayed for a snow day. I had a hard time seeing the tail of Miss Debbie’s horse in front of me! Then that mean sleet turned to big, wet fluffy flakes of snow that looked like we were in the middle of a snow globe. You Yankees must forgive me; down here in Tennessee we don’t see a lot of big snows. So I was having a hard time with all the snow blowing every which way in my face. Michaela’s teeth started to chatter – she was soaked through! I kept telling her to just wait; that we are about to hit and go fast to warm her up. She never thought of going in, she trusted me so much. Unlike Gretchen. Wench.

And I was right! Hear that Wench? I was right! The hounds hit on a small, black coyote right at the pond where Gretchen was waiting in a nice warm car. When Michaela and I blew past her I gave her a dirty look. Or tried to through the blizzard. [Gretchen’s Note: I gave you both hot chocolate and hot tea! You ungrateful, cockapoo butt.]

We past the free-standing chimney and turned right to go away from the ridge we were just on to head into the series of open fields that were in the valley. The hounds sounded glorious – their full, Penn-Marydel voices filled the valley. We ran up the trail called the Black Diamond Trail and galloped all the logs and twists and turns on the incline. Michaela was smiling – I told her she would warm up! We could hear the pack circle in the cover ahead of us, so we turned around and ran back down the Black Diamond Trail. We were just behind First Flight when we heard a whip give the Rebel Yell, which means there has been a view! When we got to the first creek crossing on the dirt road the pack was in full cry, trying to dig out the small coyote that had gone to ground in the wild rhododendrons and mountain laurels. Andy was blowing Gone to Ground and for the first time all day I wasn’t cold!

I told the hounds what super stars they were that day. Even I recognize how awesome they are, mainly because I am just as awesome. Those that are awesome see others blessed with the same awesomeness easier than normal people. [Gretchen’s Note: Wow. I can’t believe that your ego has finally bloated to be bigger than the side of the barn. It’s now almost as big as your butt!]

I am awesome. My TVH hounds are awesome. My peep, Michaela, is awesome. You are not. Bring me more tea, Wench.

Respectfully submitted,

Ziggy Pelham

The AWESOMEST Hunt Horse Alive!

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