Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Oh, hunting I want to go!

I miss foxhunting. Very badly. It is a thrill like no other I can even begin to describe. I grew up foxhunting with my mom and my first hunts were with the Ft. Leavenworth Hunt in Kansas. So much fun on a naughty, naughty (but very game) pony.

I was hoping to be able to hunt Gabe this season, but that hasn't quite panned out the way I'd hoped.

Natalie at Retired Racehorse Today posted this video (along with a few others) and I watched it a couple of times with goose bumps of thrills breaking out on my skin, my heart racing and my legs aching to be on a horse riding with that pack! I admit, I am a bit of a horseback adrenalin junkie...and this is my drug of choice. I need a fix!

This is video of the Scarteen Hunters in Ireland...ooohhh...FUN!! They say if you want a truly thrilling hunt, find an Irish pack. No fear.

I spent way too much time watching YouTube videos of foxhunts and all it managed to do was make me want to go hunting even more badly! Most of the videos I watched are of hunts in Ireland and England. One was of a pack of bloodhounds that track human "quarry" instead of fox, since that country outlawed hunting an actual fox. Still, too much fun! I totally live in the wrong country.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Once upon a time, a long, long time ago I was called a "fair weather rider." By my own mother. I don't remember why or what prompted the comment, but it's one of those things that has stuck with me all these years because that's the last thing I ever thought I'd be.

I've never considered myself a fair weather rider. I'd get out there and ride in the rain, the snow, the fog, the cold, the middle of winter in the middle of the night under a full moon...any time, any where. If there was time to ride, the homework and chores done, I was on my horse. And I'd make fun of friends who wouldn't ride unless the skies were blue, the temperature moderate and the bugs at a minimum. Most of us were "all weather" riders, but a few, not so much.

But, I find that the older I get, the less likely I am to bundle up and ride when that thermometer drops below 20. I just don't want to. I remember how much I LOVE riding in the snow, and the crisp, brisk air smacking my cheeks, reddening my nose and start thinking about pulling on silk long underwear, breeches, a pair of sweatpants, a t-shirt, sweatshirt, coat, gloves, hat, two pairs of socks, ear muffs...and it just seems like way too much effort.

Then I remember cold thighs, wind-induced tears frozen to my cheeks, numb fingers, frozen snot and feet that feel like they are going to shatter into a million frozen shards when you hit the ground on the dismount after being in the saddle for an hour or so.

And I skip it. I look out to the pasture and see Gabe gallivanting around in the snow, so happy and full of energy and boisterousness that I really, really want to get out there and ride and laugh.

But I don't want to freeze my ass off doing it, either.

There, I said it. I'm approaching "fair weather rider" status. Yikes! I hope this doesn't become a downward slide for me and I find myself only willing to ride when the weather is perfect. I never wanted to be one of "those riders."

I like riding in the rain. I LOVE riding in the fog and mist. Even the heat is tolerable.

But the cold. I just can't justify the bitter, biting, frigid, horrible, soul-sucking cold.

Hurry up spring! I need you!

Monday, January 3, 2011

And my soul soars

For the first time in nearly two months the planets aligned, the mud cooperated and the sun gleamed golden in an azure sky and I was able to ride.

Oh, the feeling of pure joy attained after so long an absence, even with the silly boy antics tossed at me by the big gray guy. Emotionally and mentally I can always tell when I've gone too long without riding. I feel down in the dumps, like something in my life is missing and the weight of the world on my shoulders. One ride, good or not so good, is all it takes to lift me up again, to remind my soul that yes, I can soar with eagles when I climb astride my horse.

I only rode for about 45 minutes after lungeing the big goof ball for about 20 minutes. He performed several airs above ground, shimmied, ducked, bucked and twisted in the air, both on the line and with me in the saddle. Which, in an oddly demented way, was quite exhilarating to ride. I think I even whooped and laughed a few times as he was getting the ants out of his pants. Which I wouldn't have done if I hadn't been able to stick to the saddle and landed face-first in the frozen mud instead. I'm sure it would have been far less exciting if I had to wipe the mud off my face and catch my horse after such silliness on his part.

Life is good again. I'm ready for spring, longer days and grooming copious amounts of shedding hair from my fuzzy critters.

A video of the beasties enjoying the snow last weekend...that leap and spin performed by Gabe? Yeah, pretty sure I rode one eerily similar last night. Chief's lookin' pretty darn spry for a 25-year-old arthritic dude isn't he?

Sorry about the dang black speck in the video...there is a speck of something in the housing of my camera...a non-removable housing. I have to send it in to have it removed and I just haven't had the extra $$ laying around to get it done. :(