This month of October I went to my Tennessee Valley Hunt’s 25th Anniversary Opening Meet and Blessing of the Hounds. The next week the Scarlet Wench, aka Gretchen, took me to Long Run Hounds’ Opening Meet and Blessing of the Hounds in Louisville, KY. I had to dodge the elephant warmbloods who were jealous of my talent, and show a whole new hunt how a 12.1 hand POA can be a great hunt horse!
What a great time! Here are some awesome moments with these two Opening Meets:
1) TVH 25th Anniversary. The first hunt was Tennessee Valley’s Opening Meet. I’ve been to a few of Blessings for TVH, but Joint Master Carla Hawkinson has been to every, single one of them. She has all 25 hunt medals on her stock pin. Wow! Now why couldn’t she take me to the hunts instead of the Wench? [Gretchen’s Note: And who would bring you your morning mint tea with oat berry scones, you ungrateful, oversized cur.] Just ignore the blabbering Wench.
We had a short blessing and then hacked over to our Big Valley Fixture. Our Penn-Marydels hit on a fox very quickly and put him to ground after a short run. I was in Second Flight with my peep, Michaela, in my irons. The Wench was leading the Field. We listened to our new professional huntsman Ryan Johnsey, who is my favorite since he rode me during a staff hunt(!), blow Gone To Ground for the pack. Then Gretchen got the entire field LOST!
2) Getting lost in TN. She went round and round the 100 Acre Woods, completely lost as to where the pack went to cast for a coyote. I kept yelling at her the proper way to go, but she wouldn’t listen. Stupid Wench got us thrown out of the hunt. [Gretchen’s Note: I was listening to you, Mr. Know It All. And I followed your instructions – you are the reason why we circled on the same bloody trail three times! But no matter, I finally gave up and took the field over a coop for fun.]
3) TN Coops! My peep and I jumped some hunt coops, and we did awesome! Micheala had never jumped a coop during a hunt before, and I haven’t jumped any paneling while hunting in several years. The Wench, you see, has expanded into vast Alaska-sized portions since we last jumped in First Flight together, so she won’t jump any with me again. I’m so happy now that I finally have someone skinny enough to take me over the coops! [Gretchen’s Note: I’ll ignore that insult only because my backside still isn’t anywhere near as wide as yours is!].
4) TVH Champagne Break. I love Tennessee Valley’s tradition of the guests riding the Tally Ho Wagon to a spot right in the middle of the Big Valley to meet the hunt for a champagne break. This year the Tally Ho wagon got a great view of the hunted coyote as he ran right by the wagon! I didn’t see it, of course, as Gretchen was way too slow with the field. But the guests were thrilled! And I only stole a few sips champagne, so by the time we headed back to the trailers I was quite happy with the day! [Gretchen’s Note: You were knocking people over to get to their bubbly. I was worried that you wouldn’t get Michaela home safely!]
5) Long Run Blessing. The next week we went to the Long Run Hounds Opening Meet in Louisville. Wow, these Kentuckians sure know how to do a Blessing. Everyone had to go up to the Reverend on foot and kneel to get blessed and their hunt medal. It was all very dignified.
6) Long Run Groupies. I think my new favorite hunt is now Long Run Hounds. They know how to treat an important figure like myself! Everyone was fawning over my clip art and my obvious excellence as a hunt horse. [Gretchen’s Note: Oh good grief. Much more of this and you won’t be able to fit your ego in the barn again. They were amazed that I had found a saddle to fit your wide-load. And some were wondering if you really were a pony instead of a large dog; they kept trying to give you biscuits!]
7) Long Run Penn-Marydels. We went with the Second Flight for the hunt with Long Run, and unfortunately I couldn’t get very close to their hounds. They have black and tan Penn-Marydels. Their pack did get on a fox in the thick cover, but scenting was challenging that day. It started off chilly but warmed up quickly, especially since there was a delayed start due to the Blessing festivities.
However, I did have some issues with all this pomp and circumstance over two states:
1) Bathing. Over and Over with the regular shampoo and then whitening shampoos. Outside in the cold. I mean, come on Wench! Do I really have to get that clean?! [Gretchen’s Note: Yes, my little Princess Pony, you do. It’s not my fault that you have a snow white blanket that covers your entire hind quarters with bubble gum pink skin underneath. Do you have any idea how hard it is to get that skin to shine pink through all the grim that you gleefully roll into it? My cuticles are still purple from all that whitening shampoo. So quit your grouching and be glad I didn’t parade you around in your usual clay covered, scummy coat.]
2) Braiding. If the Wench would only learn how to do a real hunt button braid then she wouldn’t have to braid me the night before. And then redo most of them the morning of. Do you have any idea how uncomfortable it is to have your hair all knotted up all night? [Gretchen’s’ Note: Yes, I noticed your displeasure when you rolled repeatedly and tore the nylon slinky I had covering your braids. Well done, mini-hippo.]
3) The Slinky. Yeah, let’s talk about that piece of “manly” clothes that the Wench insists on putting on my every time she braids. It has more purple on it than Barney! With flowers - ack! I’m humiliated each time she pulls it over my face. [Gretchen’s Note: Yes, but you look so darn cute!] Just wait for the next Lick Creek crossing, Wench. And we’ll see who looks cute then.]
4) A Dyed Tail. Yes, you read that right. This year the Wench let the girls dye my tail. My tail was just fine until they tried to dye it black. The tail turned out weird looking, in my humble opinion. [Gretchen’s Note: You’ve never been humble in your entire life.] However, they didn’t put anything under my tail as the dye worked, so guess who now is sporting purple skin around his nether regions! I can’t lift my tail at all while relaxing at home without the Kid or the Queen Bee of my herd snickering at me! This is not to be born!! [Gretchen’s Note: Ah, yes. That was a mistake, I do admit. We will be sure to put a diaper or something underneath next year to protect your, ah, “nether regions” ….. BWAAHAHAHAHAHA!]
5) Hauling as a mare and foal. When we hauled to Kentucky, there were three of us from TVH that went. Miss DeeAnn has a two horse slant load, so the women thought that I would fit just fine in the corner where the saddle rack usually is. I was cool with the arrangement, as I had plenty of room and my buddy, Rick, had no problem sharing his slanted spot with me. I was ignoring all the giggling the girls were doing until someone at a gas station asked if Rick and I were a mare and foal!! [Gretchen’s Note: LOL! You looked so darn cute straining to look out the window under Rick’s head!] Look lady, I am magnificent, not cute.
6) THE WENCH. Somehow I need to figure out how to get myself to the meets without her. She’s just awful. At least for the Tennessee Valley’s Opening Meet she let my peep, little Michaela, ride me. But for the Long Run Opening she just had to ride me herself. Have you seen the size of her behind? I had to tote that extra wide caboose all over Northern Kentucky while still trying to look like the magnificent steed that I am. [Gretchen’s Note: Yes, yes, you are a magnificent example of supreme horse flesh. And another remark about me will get you permanent purple nether regions for life.]
7) NO PANTS in Kentucky. The Wench forgot to pack breeches for Long Run! The genius that she is actually left Tennessee with NO RIDING PANTS. I could hear her on the haul up the night before calling everyone she knew in Kentucky, trying to find something to cover her enormous derriere. I’m sure the Master of Long Run would have been oh so pleased to find her showing up for the Blessing sans pants! [Gretchen’s Note: Laugh it up, fur ball. Laugh it up. Now, where did Michaela put that left over dye?] Do I really have to keep toting her around hunts? Can someone please rescue me or something?
Two Blessings in two states was a lot to take in. But I loved making new friends and taking my peep over her first hunt coop. What a start to a great new season!
Ziggy Pelham, The Most Awesome Hunt Horse Around!