Was I really that tired this morning??? Right now, headed home, basking in the warm rays of sunshine streaming through the windshield, I am tired, yes, but only in a happily-full-belly-and-needing-a-nap sort of way. Otherwise, I am completely rejuvenated. No more hurting ol’ bones. No more exhaustion. No more weariness. Only lazy contentedness remains. That is what fox hunting does for me.
You would think it would be the opposite. I mean, it only makes sense that a body would be tired after an 11 mile, 2 hour ride, especially a ride like the one I had today. I had the honor and pleasure of riding up front with Susan, our Huntsman & MFH, to learn about the duty of the Whippers-in. At the end of the hunt, she asked me if I’d learned anything, and I had to tell her that I think so, but it was all such a blur that I’d really have to let it “stew” awhile before I can be sure! Once again, the hounds took off right away and left us riding hard to keep up. As wild as riding First Flight can be, it can seem tame compared to riding directly behind our Shu Shu… you just never know what that crazy woman is gonna do next! I LOVE it! Actually, we had a relatively safe ride behind her compared to when I was sent through the woods to the tall game fence, to head off hounds. Finding, and staying on, the right path got a bit tricky due to some “extra” trail markers, and I ended up blazing my own path until we got it sorted out. Galloping through the trees, careening through the vines, veering from one opening to the next through the brush, my face came within inches of a tree trunk as Shaggy darted right while my body wobbled left. Thank God I had a very strong leg on and was able to stick with my horse! In that moment, time slowed to a near standstill and I thought about how that was exactly the sort of accident that killed Dr. McCurdy last weekend. But then, we were safely past, and all that was quickly forgotten, and I had to hurry!! So, kick on through the creek, up the bank and on into Mr. Thacker’s field where we held the hounds until the trailer came to pick them up.
Once we all caught up with one another, got the hounds in and began hacking home, it quickly became apparent that a certain someone also had a bit of adventure getting up close and personal with a tree. Poor Jeff busted his knee-cap again. It only just healed up from the last time! Well, at least he’s getting some good use out of his stock ties!
What a wonderful day, blood and all! This is our first really FULL season of hunting, and what a season it has become! Could we ever have this much fun fox hunting any where else? I honestly don’t think so. I truly believe Cloudline must be one of the most wonderful hunts in the world, if not the most wonderful. However, I have no other experience to compare it with. We will have to venture out and visit other hunts in order to test this theory. Our first excursion is coming up in just a few weeks – Misty River’s closing meet in Arkansas. I look forward to the “taste test” challenge!