Colette "Coco" Barnicoat, age 7, recently enjoyed a day out with Santa Ynez Valley Hounds (CA) for their closing meet. She kindly submitted this recap of her day's sport with joint Masters Bonnie Hayden and Paul McEnroe and huntsman Claire Buchy-Anderson: "I am racing to my room to start packing for my favorite place, the ranch. It is a very good trip but it is two hours. And once we get there, we have dinner and then dessert and then we go to bed. But it's very hard to fall asleep.
"We wake up in the morning at 5:00 to the sound of horse hooves. We can't forget to put on our breeches and boots, white shirt, spurs and hairnet and hunt coat. Then we see if we can help with the horses. Ammy makes me eat breakfast and makes me chug two tons of water.
"I'm very excited to mount Teddy. Teddy is also excited to start hunting because he's prancing and whinnying. After I mount Teddy we ride over to Master Bonnie and say, "Good morning, Master Bonnie." Then we ride over to my sister Claire and say, "Hi." The hounds are jumping in the trailer and howling.
Coco Barnicoat and Teddy keep up with her grandfather, joint Master Paul McEnroe. Photo by Tiffany Evitts.
"All the riders mount their horses and gather around the hounds and Claire, the huntsperson, who leads off hunting the hounds. My papa, Master Paul, leads the first field and I am in that group. Master Bonnie leads second field. The horn blows and it's go time! We head toward Red Hawk Canyon and pick up a canter. Red Hawk has a steep hill and we pick up a full gallop. Then we stop and Papa listens to his radio for any news from whippers-in or second field. We start galloping again and the hounds might get on a scent of an animal. Claire rides with the hounds spread in front of her. I ride in Papa’s pocket and we go fast.
"The excitement happens NOW. The hounds got a scent. First field follows the hounds. The whippers-in are making sure the hounds stay safe. Claire reports on the radio to second and third field that the hounds have a scent. They are chasing the animal and second field is trying to find them. First field spots the animal. IT'S A WILD BOAR! They're very close to the boar. It is an exciting chase
"We head back to the barn. We take the tack off our horses and hose them down and give them carrots. Before Master Bonnie leaves we give Junior jellybeans and some water and hay. Then we have our hunt breakfast and pie and we get the baby hounds out of the trailer and bid on the puppies. Ben leads the bidding. My puppy's name is Hero."
We wish Coco and her family many years of good sport!