Turns out, she was as bold as she's been all season long. So much so that I've added a flash to my hunt bridle. She's been opening her mouth a bit too much as an evasion when she gets too strong so I thought it might make a difference. It certainly did, the brakes were much more reliable than they were pre-flash.
The day was absolutely gorgeous. 50°F and windy. Perfect for cooling the big girl down. Here she is standing at the trailer waiting for me to put her bridle on.
Once mounted we headed over to a big field where everyone was gathering.
Daatje's braided mane from the top view.
Not long after we arrived at the gathering spot, we were off. Hacking streets, trotting bridle paths and speeding after the hounds across the vast fields of Ipswich and Hamilton.
We stopped for checks quite frequently, which was nice for folks who wanted to toggle back and forth between first field and hilltoppers. Daatje and I rode up in first field for the majority of the hunt. We dropped back to hilltoppers for the Appleton Farm run because we needed a break from the galloping and I wasn't sure Daatje had enough gas in the tank to gallop all of Appleton. In retrospect, we could have done it as it was the last run of the day, but not knowing that, I was saving my horse. I have no regrets. She jumped beautifully over everything I asked of her and felt strong and eager on the hack back, which is such a different feeling from the horse I had last year. Last year she would struggle to keep up and be dull and exhausted by the end. Not anymore, and for that I'm very thankful.
The hunt took us through the heart of Groton House Farms. What a thrill to be able to ride these territories!
Ok, here's where we dropped back and joined the hilltoppers. Here's Daatje wondering what the heck we're doing just standing here when all the action is going on in the distance. She's tracking the hounds and first field....
The eye says it all.