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The View From Down Here - Hiring Out

The View From Down Here

Hiring Out

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.]

View From Down Here: Teaching Juniors to Hunt

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.


Brilliant Bronies

Ziggy Sept_12aThe Great Ziggy flies over a coop. Photo by Gretchen PelhamAidan O’Connell is my new hero.   The famed Irishman who was a steeplechase jockey that has hunted all over the world came to Tennessee Valley Hunt in Greeneville, TN to give a cross-country clinic to help us gear up for hunt season.  Last year he taught over 800 riders how to safely ride over any cross-country obstacle, and I was the best pony he’s ever had.  (Gretchen’s Note:  Yes, yes, Zigster, you were stellar.  Amazing.  You showcased never before seen feats of pony athleticism. The Guinness Book of World Records has been calling.) 

Sarcasm is not attractive on you, Wench. 

The View From Down Here: Road Trip!

houndsThis past February Gretchen and I went on a road trip to Camden, SC with another hunt member Judith Craw and her Anglo-Arab, Ricky.  We went down to see MY huntsman, Kurt Krucke, who is now the huntsman for the Camden Hunt.  Rick and I spent 5 hours in the back of the trailer telling stories on our riders.  Needless to say, by our count, Gretchen has fallen off many more times than Judith has!  LOL! [Gretchen’s Note:  Watch it, Lard Butt, or I will cancel your massage for next week.]

We arrived Friday night to a sandy barn yard.  Kurt put me in the stall reserved for HIS hunt horse.   We passed his horse on the way in, and he did look so intimated that I almost felt sorry for him.  Almost.  On the wall in front of me was the map of Camden’s territory with all of their jumps marked and named.  Yep – after this trip, there will be a jumped named for me! [Gretchen’s Note:  Not a jump, little man, but maybe they will name a hound after you.   They were all amazed at my saddled hound.]

The View From Down Here: Yellow Coyotes


I have to apologize to everyone for missing the December blog.  That Woman, who shall remain nameless, deleted it from my iPad.  She claims I bucked during a hunt at Berry Hill in Greeneville.  As if I would ever do anything like that while leading the Hilltoppers.  I merely put my head down to sniff for fox scent while we were galloping after First Flight in a big pasture.  I swear!  (Gretchen’s Note:  Fess up, poodle butt.   You tried to buck me off at a gallop.  But of course I wasn’t unseated, as your massive lard-filled hindquarters didn’t come but a few inches off the ground. But try it again at another hunt and I’ll leave you and your ego at home!)

Yeah, yeah, yeah.  She can’t leave me at home, as I am the best hunt horse she’s ever been on! She can blabber on for all I care.

We had a really good hunt at our Berry Hill hunt country in Greeneville. We started behind the stallion barn of the Dobb’s Blackberry Ridge Farm.  As we hacked past all those big Irish Draft stallions, one of the studs was trotting up and down the fence row showing off.  At least until I got there, then he went still and stood in awe, because he could tell how awesome I am. (Gretchen’s Note: Oh for Pete’s sake, do you really think anyone believes that?)

The View From Down Here: The Blessing of the Llamas

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.

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