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This 2012 season of the Tennessee Valley Hunt I have finally gotten my wish – for one of my kids to hunt me instead of That Woman! We have been practicing all summer and have been on a few cub hunts already. Kennedy, one of my peeps, rode me in her first foxhunt the first week of October. There were four of us from my farm out hunting, and of course, I was the most awesome. [Gretchen’s Note: Yes, yes, Zigster; you are Da Man.] Out hunting were Gretchen and three Juniors, who are all new to hunting. So we made our own Hilltopping Field.

Gretchen was on that Mr. Darcy Wanna-be, Phillip, and he was being a snob.   He wouldn’t talk to me the entire hunt, and when I tried to goose him under his tail he lifted a hind leg to me. The jerk. I only wanted him to move over to the side so I could see down the pipeline. We were at the industrial development park that is a peninsula on Telico Lake, and the gas pipeline that runs down the middle of the country is a favorite place for the red foxes to cross.



The hounds hit on the red that lives in the Bermuda Triangle. The Triangle got its name because it sits behind a ridge on the other side of the pipeline and goes down into the lake under thick cover. Once hounds cross that ridge, it’s like they have disappeared. There is no trail through all the trees and deadfall, and the ridge is very steep.   No one can hear them or find them again until they come back over the ridge.

So the hounds hit on the Triangle, and a whip viewed the red fox crossing the pipeline just out of Hilltoppers view. I really wanted my kids to see! But that jerk, Phillip, wouldn’t get out of the way. But we raced around the trail to the gravel rode to see if we could catch the hunt on the edge of the soybean fields. [Gretchen’s Note: Yes, you did indeed “race”. I set the pace at a trot, but everytime I looked back you were cantering. I was about to fuss at you until I saw Kennedy’s face split into a huge grin. You better not scare her, poodle butt.]

Oh, ye of little faith. You were going to slow, as always. The kids were begging to run! And you kept saying NO. Party pooper.

The hounds ran that red in a few circles from the Triangle to the soybean fields. Gretchen took us back and forth from the gravel road to the pipeline, trying to get a view. Finally I told her to STAY on the pipeline, idiot. So when the rest of First Flight left down the Piney Trail to the gravel road again, That Woman finally did something smart and stayed still. [Gretchen’s Note: You are cruising for a bruising, power puff.]

I told the girls to face their ponies towards the sound of the hounds, and to wait quietly. Then we could hear the pack of Penn-Marydels getting closer, coming right up the side of the pipeline just out of sight in the woods in front of us. And that’s when I told Kennedy to look up, the red almost ran into my feet! He popped out of the woods on the trail we had been taking back and forth to the gravel road and was going to cross the pipeline back into the Triangle behind us. But he took one look at us, and turned back into the woods and traveled down the pipeline. He crossed into the Triangle just beyond us.

I was so happy – my kids got their first view! We watched the pack work that line and go back into the woods right after the red. Then the huntsman, Andy Bozdan, came galloping up the pipeline. I told Kennedy to point with her crop where the fox went back into the woods so the huntsman would know. I’ve never been so proud.

The Tennessee Valley Opening Meet is soon. The four of us will be out in all of our finest. What a great start to a new season!

Respectfully submitted,

Ziggy Pelham, the Most Awesome Hunt Horse Ever to Carry a Junior


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