It’s 5 am and I arrive at the barn. The fog is rolling off the creek, and the birds are beginning their songs. We walk into the barn and all the ponies are vocal and excited to see me. As they nicker, mom does the morning feeding and dad hooks up the trailer while I get the greatest hunt pony alive ready for our adventure. It’s hunt day and we are eager to see the hounds.
We have a long two and a half hour drive ahead of us. As we head over the mountains I think about my first foxhunting experience on my 12 hand POA. I became addicted immediately. I think about my hunt family and, I wonder how many of my friends will join me today. I think of the hounds and hope that Bob, my favorite hound, will make a good showing. But most of all, I think of my pony Sprinkles. She is a 14 Hand Registered POA and I have owned her for 4 years. I reminisce about how I trained her, our ups and downs over the years. I smile as I remember all of the grand adventures we have been on. Such as our success in the show ring, the pony race at the Block House steeplechase. And finally, discovering and becoming members of the greatest hunt club ever, Green Creek Hounds. I remember past hunts and the thrill of racing across fields and jumping as we follow 85 speaking hounds. By the time I reach the fixture, I am eager to see what adventures await us.
As we pull in I see smiling faces turn our way. Everyone knows it’s me. My pink horse trailer is hard to miss. There is a lot of people here today. I even see some new faces. I will have to introduce myself. I love making new friends. After Sprinkles is tacked, I seek out my friends and say good morning to the masters and the huntsman along the way. I Must show everyone my new socks. They have foxes on them. They are perfect for the hunt. I love crazy socks, the color pink, and ponies!
Everyone is tacked and ready to go. The hounds are released and head directly to us. Sprinkles loves the hounds. She stands perfectly still as they bound in and out of her legs. First flight is ready, I am ready, and Sprinkles is a bundle of excited energy. The horn blows and off we go!
The weather is perfect! It is cool, crisp, and the sun is rising. I can feel it warming my face. I chit chat with my friends as we hack along. The hounds are happily searching for scents, and heading towards the woods. The woods can be so much fun. One never knows what we may encounter or have to jump.
As I am riding along, I think about my plans for this hunt season. I want to continue working towards my colors. I want to learn new things that improve my team work with Sprinkles. I would like to attend some hound shows. I just know Bob and I would make a splendid pair. Lastly I would love to represent my hunt club at the Junior North American Field Hunter Championships. My future adventures will surely have mud, hounds, and my hunt family.
The hounds are on a scent and are at full cry! We are ready. Our horses are ready. I can feel Sprinkle’s excitement throughout her body. Off we go. As we come out of the woods, someone up front sees a flash of red. I am so close I hear the words we have been waiting for: Tally Ho!!
The hunt is on! I am running, racing, flying. The cool wind is hitting my face as Sprinkles and I are a white blur streaking across the field. The hounds are ahead with the huntsmen, and so is the red fox. I can see it! The little fox is running and we are chasing. The jumps are up ahead coming up fast. I see my friends horses leaping into the air. Then I am flying!! Sprinkles takes the coffin jump like a pro and we are off again. Fox to ground!
I am sweating and covered in mud. My beautiful white pony is no longer white, but I do not care. I have the biggest smile on my face and joy in my heart. I am in paradise with my friends, my family, and hounds as we participate in the greatest sport on the planet.
Alivia Cotter is 14 years old and loves hunting with the Green Creek Hounds.