Tuesday, December 1, 2009

First hunt of the season!

Harry and I have our first hunt of the season - and absolutely love it! I always forget how thrilling the first sight of hounds is - Harry seems to agree! I also always forget about getting Harry in, scraping the mud off him, plaiting, boxing and actually getting to the meet - and that fact that, although I don't actually feel nervous, my bowels disagree!

But we make the meet on Ranmore Common with no problems. I gulp down a stirrup cup while Harry stands like a lamb, eyes wide and shining, taking it all in. Then we're off, trotting down the road like the clappers! It's been raining for what seems like weeks so the going is wet and slippery, and one rider has a fall on a steep turn in some woodland even before we jump into the first field!

We hare around the common, up and down hills, through bushes and woodland. It is really, really muddy. At one point we're galloping towards a right turn with extremely deep going, and coppiced trees on either side. Harry spots a very narrow gap between trees and alters course to avoid the mud. "No!" I shriek. I have a morbid fear of getting my knees caught. He swerves, and hits one of the saplings chest-on. It falls like, well, a falling tree, and we stop dead. Harry takes a few deep breaths, steps sideways, and gallops on!

After three and a half hours of this, we call it a day and head back to the car park with two other riders. My adventures are not over. By the time we reach the lorry, Harry has bonded with his two new mates and refuses to load. It doesn't help that I stand limply on the ramp, pulling at him weakly and saying "pleeeease get on, Harry." When I finally remember all the advice I have heard and read about loading ie look where you're going, say it like you mean it, don't get in front of the horse etc, he gets on and tucks into his haynet, no problem.

We head for home, knackered, but happy. Roll on the next one!

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