All Things Horses, Fox Hunting

Ex-barrel racer jumps headfirst into Fox Hunting…and survives to tell the tale!

Barrel racing was my life. I LIVED to barrel race. Training, reading, thinking, talking about barrel racing was the air I breathed, the water I drank and the food I ate. Was I any good? … Not really. … I sure did have a lot of fun, though! Lots of fun. Until it stopped being fun, that is. Got married, got a job, got divorced, still at the same job, got married, still working, working, working. Still barrel racing. And before long, barrel racing started to become just another JOB. I got burned out. My husband got burned out. I decided several times to quit. But I kept getting sucked back in… it had become a habit!  I tried other forms of competition. I’d grown up around hunter/jumpers and racehorses. I thought I’d give eventing a try. I got a nice horse, got back into weekly lessons… after a few accidents, though, I gave up on that idea and went back to barrel racing. So, later, I decided to try my hand at working cow horse. I never could summon enough enthusiasm for the discipline to drive 3 hours or so for lessons, training, etc., so I gave up on that idea, too. I tried competitive trail riding, as a volunteer, then as a competitor. I enjoyed volunteering, but hated being judged as a competitor.

By this time, I had a nice large pony that I felt comfortable giving eventing another shot on, so I started looking around for some Horse Trials and ended up finding a Hunter Pace … it was a fundraiser for the Cloudline Hounds and sounded like a good way to find out more about how to get started Fox Hunting. So, my husband and I took our cow ponies to this Hunter Pace, took second in our division and got invited to join the Cloudline Hounds!

Our first meet was Opening Meet 2009… we stayed up late braiding our cow ponies’ manes, got up long before daybreak to make the 3 hour drive to Celeste, TX and arrived with hearts pounding, hoping not to make any faux pas. Before long we were off and rather than being worried about any faux pas, my own heart was hammering away with excitement, adrenaline and, yes, FEAR!  We thundered across open fields, leapt across creeks, swam through river crossings and plowed through thorn bushes, all working hard to keep up with the hounds in full cry!  It was a thrilling experience and has got us – hook, line & sinker!  We managed to make it to a few more meets during the 2009/10 season and each experience has been even more exhilirating than the last!

I’ve sold my barrel saddles and replaced them with jumping saddles. Now, I only ever ride in a western saddle when we need to work cows. My barrels are now being used as jumps. The barrel racing “habit” has been broken through and through… now I am so very anxiously awaiting the start of the 2010/11 season, and looking forward to making as many meets as possible!

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