I am sad to report that the season has ended and it will be another long summer before we see again the sport that has so warmed us through the winter. The Closing Meet of Cloudline Hounds dawned upon us with just enough of a chill in the air to allow us some small measure of comfort in our coats, however there was more than one hardy rider wilting in the sun by the time the three and a half hour hunt was done.
But, before I get too far ahead of myself, I must say I had many strange looks when I unloaded my mount for the day. A 13.1 hand high Paso Fino does not your typical hunt horse make, and I nearly began to doubt my decision until I reminded myself of the fire and grit and indomitable spirit housed within that lilliputian body. To quote Shakespeare, and Red Pollard, “though he be but little, he is FIERCE.”
Shaggy is on the mend and doing well, but there is still a bit of puffiness in his knee, so I decided to take it easy on the old boy. I had originally intended on riding Snickers, but when my Yankee friends offered me the ride on Viento de Pleybeyo I could not refuse. It had been over two years since I’d last ridden “Little Man”, or “Little Shit” as his New York owner is wont to call him, but it was one of those rides that stays fresh in the memory for years and will leave one smiling a decade later. There was nothing fantastic about the location, the terrain, or that day in general aside from him. It was only a short ride in the pasture, but sitting upon his back is all it takes to make the dreariest day bright and beautiful.
Ah, but I digress. The day in question is not that one so long ago, but rather that of our most recent hunt. And THAT day was indeed a bright and beautiful one, made even more so for me by this fleet-footed, smooth-gaited, high-spirited little pony. We started out at the back of Second Flight as this was his first hunt and I had my doubts of his ability to make the jumps. Somewhere along the way, though, he managed to prove his mettle and put me back where I most desire to be – helping with the hounds. And he laid all my doubts to rest as he took jump after jump with all the bravado of a pony on a rip-roaring tear! And, most wonderful of all, his jumps were just as smooth and easy to ride as all of his gaits on the flat! Now I know exactly what I’ll be in the market for when it’s time for The Shagster to retire… let’s just hope all Paso Finos have that same fire in their blood as that little gust of “Wind”!