MFHA Thoroughbred Adult Essay Contest Honorable Mention: Max

Max Jumping Essay1Alice Jernigan photoWhen I first met “Max”, he was in a small 10’ x 10’, dark stall at the racetrack. He was 17.2 hands tall, big boned, had large feet, perfectly proportioned with lots of chrome. He was not like most of the other fine boned, skinny thoroughbreds one normally sees at the track.

At first, I thought he was an old horse as he was particularly calm and unaffected by things going on around him. He behaved like a veteran. When I found out he was only three, I set my sights on him, but never dreamed he would come available at such an early age; I’d have to wait a long time for this one.

 

MFHA Thoroughbred Adult Essay Contest Honorable Mention: Matthew

matthewI had gone to the Marshall Horse Auction one rainy cold Saturday when hunting was canceled.  I had no intent on buying, just to look and see what was going on. This big, brown gelding in the back pen caught my eye. He was a lop eared, ewe-necked, jug headed, rack of bones; but his eye...oh his eye...told me a story.

He had five auction stickers in his tail. It never occurred to me this horse was a Thoroughbred, but when I tried to age him by looking at his teeth, a faded tattoo was on that lip. I bought him for the meat price of five hundred dollars.  He was so thin, I put a sheet on him so the humane society would not come and get me when I put him out in the field.  Slowly, I put him back together with the vet and the blacksmith and some good hay and grain, not knowing if my hard work and money was going down the rabbit hole or into a horse who could carry me in the field.

The Hunting Mixologist: Flask Recipes

derek frenchIf 007 should ever decide to take up riding to hounds it would be interesting to see what innovations he would bring to the hunt field. Perhaps Mr. Bond would have a device on his saddle that would seek and destroy barbed wire hidden within hedgerows. A projectable airbag cushion to soften hard landings might endear him to the ladies. How about a sensor in his helmet that could display the track of the fox or coyote, or is this available now? And an early warning system to detect ‘antis’ would be beneficial. Perhaps like his Aston Martin car he would be mounted on a jet-propelled horse? Come to think of it, I have already been behind such horses in the hunt field!

The Stirrup Cup Tradition

derek frenchI cannot recall an occasion when attending a meet with a fellow hunt where we have not been offered a stirrup cup to send us on our way. The stirrup cup is not only a long-standing tradition but has its purposes too. It is, of course, a welcoming gesture to all riders. But then if you are perhaps a little outside your comfort zone, riding an untried or borrowed horse in the company of hard-riding sportsmen in difficult country, one could almost call this small sip of liquid courage a necessity. Maybe you could go so far as to say just what the doctor ordered and your potential funeral director would advise! Even on the comfortable days when riding your own bombproof horse, the warm glow that the cup provides is reassuring. Your confidence is never in doubt, your companions become the best of pals and every upcoming jump seems to have had the top rail removed!

Lessons From an OTTB: EarlyBird

EarlyBird smallGiven the rise in the price of hay in drought-stricken New Mexico, I have taken to chanting, “No more ponies, no more ponies, no more….”. The phone call must have come during a chanting session. A vet* we’d known for twenty years had come across a 16 hand thoroughbred gelding, ten, give or take a year.

The sentences in that voicemail that broke my resolve were as follows: “This gelding’s well put-together. He’s kind. You can scoot under his belly and between his legs. I think he’d make a great children’s hunter. He needs a rescue.”

Hip Hop With DJ Fresh Fox

It’s a beautiful morning out here in the hood

After hunting for mice that tasted so good.

There’s a quiet in the wood that’s callin’ for a nap

So shut yo face and don’t gimme no crap.

Hey who’s the sucka that’s blowin’ that horn

Destroying the quiet of this peaceful morn

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