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Tally Ho, Armadillos!

Derek Armadillo 1Inevitably the frozen ground puts an end to the fall hunt season in northern climes. All good things must come to an end. But wait, does it have to be so? What's this title that you see? Riding to hounds in pursuit of armadillos?

Well, yes. It's not quite what you might expect but indeed the rider is mounted. The hounds are smaller than the ones you usually ride behind. There is a quarry even though it doesn't look much like your beloved fox or the not-so-beloved coyote. There is plenty of excitement, a few dangers and it is live hunting with more risk for the hunter than for the hunted. And above all, the ground is not frozen and your fingers and toes are always warm.

Expect the Unexpected While Hunting

Cheryl BuxtonElise Ange photoIt has occurred to me on more than one occasion just what an unpredictable and rather exciting sport foxhunting can be. I used to be addicted to the show world but in hindsight those three minutes of adrenaline seem somewhat lame in comparison. I stopped and reflected on the many incidents that have happened to me and others in the field, mostly jolly good, but on occasion well…. some not so good!

If you ever have the fortune of sitting down with a group of foxhunters, you know that the tales of gallops and chases abound, and the jumps grow in size, hedges become wider, footing icier, fog thicker, and the rain comes down in sheets.  Then of course there are all of the incidentals- the occasional broken reins, stirrups and martingales that make successfully navigating a horse at speed a bit complicated. After all you can’t hop out of the ring, skip to the on-site tack shop and purchase replacements because your trailer is at the meet an hour’s ride away.

Come Celebrate Aiken!

Aiken Centennial small 1Photo courtesy Barry and Laura KosterAiken, South Carolina has long been known as a horse haven, where the streets are dirt and horses have their own stoplights.  In the heart of this bustling small southern town is a thoroughbred training ground that has seen the likes of Kelso, Pleasant Colony and Palace Malice become champions.  The very schooling track that served as a proving ground for these mighty racers ellipses the oldest Polo field in continuous use in the US and Aiken Polo Club celebrated its 131st season in 2013.  

The Great Covertside Sip-Off: Runners Up

Flask contestTipsy, crocked, plastered, sloshed, tanked, three sheets to the wind; whatever narrative satisfies you, for fear of rendering ourselves as previously described, we sadly were not able to taste test every recipe submitted to the Covertside flask contest (2013 Winter issue). However, just because our livers can't handle it doesn't mean our readers should miss out. We would not want to rob anyone of the opportunity to wow their fellow hunters with their skills in mixology, a science of utmost cultural and practical importance whilst hunting. 

There are recipes to suit every taste, and if we all band together, every single one can be sampled. Every. Single. One.

Maiden Voyage

Leslie and WillowLenore Threlkeld photoIt all started at a glorious ball - a masquerade ball. As I sauntered up to the open bar in my sparkling vintage “Jessica Rabbit” dress and gold sequined mask, I noticed I was not the only one in red. A number of gentlemen donned their unmistakable scarlet coats, including the bartender.

“Just a couple beers, please,” I said.
“Do you ride?” the bartender asked. “You should come hunting!”

I was honored at the thought and thanked the gentleman, but it wasn’t until the evening concluded that I learned the bartender in red was a Master of Foxhounds. I was appropriately disappointed for being unable to accept the invitation, being without a horse trailer and possessing zero hunting knowledge. I needed a friend to guide me through everything.

Flying the Wire, part 2

NZ HUNT Nov 13aEditor's Note: The first part of this story appeared in the Winter 2013 edition of Covertside. 

We traveled to the Eastern Bay of Plenty Kennels in New Zealand with Rick and Shirley-Ann Mannering for our second hunt. We were the same passengers they had transported to Rerewhakaaitu the day before, but we had aged considerably in twenty-four hours. Three stiff old warriors now filled the back seat. Oliver Russell, who had yesterday satisfied his need to familiarize himself with the techniques of jumping wire, had expunged some of the pain by the decision to follow today’s hunt in a car. Dennis Foster and I were making the most of our martyrdom by deciding to hunt despite the pain of aching limbs. At this point I eulogized on the restorative qualities of Pinot Noir and vowed to double last night’s dosage, after this hunt, in the certain knowledge that I would reap twice the benefit I had last night.

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