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The Tennessee Valley Hunt’s Opening Meet for 2011 was held for the first time in our new hunt country up in Greeneville, TN.  For those of you not from East Tennessee – that’s closer to Virginia than to Knoxville.  But I didn’t mind the extra drive.  It’s such a nice open and rolling country that’s much different from our steep, wooded hills closer to Knoxville.

There were several photographers and reporters at this opening meet. They knew what an impressive steed looks like, so there were several focused on me.  I tried to give them a good pose that wouldn’t intimidate them too much.   (Gretchen’s Note:  I feel like a broken record, Mr. Ego, BUT they were fascinated with the incredibly well-trained hound that I was riding.  In no way did they realize you were even a cousin of a steed, much less equine, until I told them.  Then they just laughed.)

Woman, you and I are gonna have it out right after you bring me another mug of my mint tea.  And make sure it’s hot this time, wench.

So after the Blessing we had a long hack to where Andy wanted to cast our great Penn-MaryDel hounds.  At one point, Gretchen had me up front of the Fields taking pictures when we crossed a creek.  And I got a great idea.  A devilish idea.  And I almost pulled it off, but That Woman, showing a rare intelligence for her, got wind of my intentions and booted me all the way across the cold creek.  Dang, I almost had her!  It would have been epic to dunk her in a creek with all those reporters tagging along. (Gretchen’s Note: In no way were you trying to roll me in the creek, Poodle-Butt.  You lost your ever-loving mind at being away from the Fields and all by your widdle self.  You almost tripped trying to spin in the water because you thought everyone had left you.)

I won’t dignify that fabrication with a response, Master of Lies.

Back to the hunting, wench.  So the scenting was quite challenging that day, to say the least.  All the covers that Andy drew the first hour were all blank.  But that meant that we got to draw in one of the most beautiful farms in Greeneville.  It’s called Big Valley, and big it was!  Big, rolling hill after hill with covers dotted here and there is what we rode.

Once we got to the top of the first hill after the gate into Big Valley, I heard a strange word.  It sounded like llama.  A what?  Then we rounded a bend and there they were.  Fifteen of the weirdest, oddest, and freakish looking mini, fuzzy giraffes were all staring at us at the top of the next hill.  We had to pass right by them as there was no other way around.

Gretchen gave a short scream. (Gretchen’s Note:  Oh come off it, I did not.  You, however, planted all four feet and cried, “Mommy!”) Other horses were looking at each other with amazement that they were being told to walk right up to them.  I proudly took the lead and everyone followed my brave and cool dude example.  (Gretchen’s Note: I have no comment for such a complete farce.)

As we passed the closest llama, he-she-it said to me, “Wass up, cayuse? Shazam!”  I smiled at the mini-giraffe and said I was a POA not a Cayuse Pony.  Turns out those llamas are really hip, in a far out kinda way.  Wonder if they love Sheldon on the “Big Bang Theory” as much as I do? (Gretchen’s Note:  Bless your little heart.  Llamas have a lisp, for your information.  What she said was, “Watch out for coyotes, Shih Tzu.”)

I’ll swear until I die that the llama said “Shazam!”

But those fuzzy llamas must have been good luck, because right after that the pack hit on three coyotes that were hiding the cover just below the giraffes!  As Andy brought the rest of the pack up the hill to join the case I spied the new puppy, Maxim.  He’s my buddy, so I hollered at him to ignore the fuzzy cows as he ran past them.  And wouldn’t you know it; the entire pack didn’t bat an eye at the llama gang.

The hounds picked one of the coyotes and chased it for a good hour before they lost it in the woods.  We had another great Opening Meet to kick off the best season of TVH yet!

Respectfully Submitted,

Ziggy Pelham, Foxhunting’s Awe Inspiring Hunt Horse and “The Llama Tamer!”

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