The View From Down Here
This past weekend for the Tennessee Valley Hunt was just another regular foxhunt for everyone else, but for the Best Hunt Horse to Ever Carry a Rider it was a milestone! [Gretchen’s Note: Oh, for Pete’s sake. Can you please dial down your ego so it will fit inside the barn?] Put a sock in it, Wench. I’m proud of myself, and you won’t discourage me.
I was a hireling this weekend for an 8 year old girl who had never hunted before, never ridden me before, and I suspect never been outside of a ring either. I’ve been hunted by several Juniors, but they always have taken lessons on me first. I want to be sure they know certain things before I take them out hunting, and I don’t trust That Woman to teach them. [Gretchen’s Note: I warn every kid that gets on you that you will whine and throw a temper tantrum like a toddler if they so much as twitch the reins. I have never let any random kid hunt you before so you wouldn’t scare them silly when you start in your complaining about, “My reins! My mouth! My nose! It burns! It pulls! Oh, I’m gonna die!!!!” But you’ve mellowed in the last two years, so it was time to try you out as a hireling.]
Woman, I have never carried on so. I’m going to ignore you now.
McKenzie came over to my trailer when they arrived. Gretchen had her start brushing my tail out while her parents got their own horses ready to hunt. We put her saddle one, and I must say it is a lot nicer than the one the Wench puts on my back. When it came time to mount up, I was perfect. I even showed her how easily I could back up! [Gretchen Note: You were starting to panic that she would hold the reins too tight. You started your silly Sméagol “It burns!” ranting. I told her to put her hands forward to stop your silliness.]
Once the hunt got started I stayed right behind Gretchen. McKenzie’s parents were behind us. Right off the bat we had to go down a slight incline. She was scared that it was a cliff. I told her that I got this, just relax. It only took a few hills before she was asking to go down more of them!
Trotting was also scary for her at first, but by the end of the hunt she was begging for more trotting on the Zigster. I am so awesome, I must say. I even snuck in a bit of cantering when Gretchen wasn’t looking. J
As far as the hunt goes, it was a wild and crazy time for the pack. They hit on a red fox in the woods, and then chased it down through the soybean fields towards the lake. Gretchen was leading Hilltoppers, and she led us into the maze of fields so we could try to see something. We waited there on top of a rise for a while, but the hounds had moved to the gas pipeline. Through the trees we could hear the pack circling and circling. When it became apparent that the game was not going to come back to the fields, off we went to the pipeline. We were trying to get a view on the pipeline, but again the pack was circling and circling in the woods. It was hard to tell which way the pack was going, as their voices were echoing off the ridgeline in circles.
After waiting some more on the pipeline, Gretchen put us into search mode, and we followed the pack towards the lake. We went to the end of the pipeline, into some more soybean fields, and then back up a trail to the gravel road that runs parallel to the pipeline. We followed the voices of the pack, and finally found First Flight with our professional huntsman, Andy Bozdan, gathering up the pack. He hunted the pack towards the trailers, where they hit again on maybe the same red fox in the Bermuda Triangle. We listened to the pack, and Gretchen tried to get us a view on the pipeline but she was too late. Figures she would muck it up. [Gretchen’s Note: Will you lay off me. I brought you mint tea and oat berry scones in the pouring rain yesterday. And McKenzie had such a crush on you that she kept stealing the blueberry muffins and party mints from the Hunt Breakfast to feed you. She never noticed that she didn’t get a view.]
I did enjoy that Hunt Breakfast. The Wench never brings me back enough food from the table. She scarfs it all herself. No wonder her butt is getting wider than my back! [Gretchen’s Note: I will adjust your pony thong, aka tail crupper, to the tightest it will go next time!]
And if you do, I will kick you in your ever-widening butt! [Gretchen’s Note: Can your legs reach that high up, my little fuzzy cockapoo?]
So now I have been the Huntsman’s Horse, First Flight Field Master’s Horse, Hilltopper Field Master’s Horse, a Junior’s Horse and a Hireling. I’m telling you, the only thing left for me to accomplish is to be Indiana Jones’ Horse. Nothing else comes close!
Ziggy Pelham, The Best Hunt Horse to Ever Carry a Rider (no matter how small!)