The chronicles of a Friesian mare who happened upon an owner who lives outside the show ring....

Friday, October 12, 2012

2012 Blessing of the Hounds

Since the hunt in Lyman on 9/22 we've attended two more hunts and a hunter pace (9/29, 10/6 and 10/7). :)   I'll start with the Blessing of the Hounds, which took place on Saturday, September 29th.  It was drizzly with the threat of rain (again) but that didn't stop us from a great turn out for the first hunt of the 2012 formal season at Yorkfield Farm.  Yorkfield is gorgeous, one of my favorite fixtures.  There is a huge polo field, lots of coups and trails through the woods that take us through a campground and neighboring tree farm.

I did take out my camera, despite the drizzle, and managed to take 239 awesome shots.  If you go to the Wentworth Hunt Gallery, you can see them all, in addition to a few taken by other members. :)

Here's Daatje and I milling about while the bagpipes played in anticipation of the ministers blessing of the hounds.

The fields moving off after one of the first checks in the field across the street from Yorkfield.
 We're in there.....second horse in from the left in 2nd field in the bottom photos.
  Stirrup cup is after a run through the tree farm.  We're the second horse in from the left in the photo.

After hunting back from the tree farm and arriving at Yorkfield (3 hours after the start of the hunt!) the last effort was to run up the three tier steps to the conclusion of the hunt.  A hunt member's husband got this cool shot of us up the first step!  As she described it, "pure joy"!
Yes, I do believe my horse and I enjoy this sport very much.  If we can look this thrilled 3 hours into a drizzly, soggy hunt, we must!

So, the next hunt after the Blessing was in Milton Mills, NH at Branch Hill Farm.  It dawned a LOVELY day and the photos were incredible.  Be back to share!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Rest and Be Thankful Farm Hunt!

I woke up at 4am to a drizzly fog.  Not the morning that was forecasted the day before, (partly cloudy) but hey, at least it wasn't pouring!  Fed the horses and cleaned my tack in preparation for what was promised to be a fabulous hunt.  Horse was loaded and on the trailer by 7am and we were on our way to Lyman, ME! 

Cheap indiviual that I am, I refused to pay the highway tolls, so we meandered our way through Dover and Berwick, arriving in Lyman by 9am.  I had a friend from college riding as a guest (yay Liz!  You finally got out to hunt with us! :) ) and my Dad's cousin, who lives nearby, came to follow the hunt on foot/by car.  Quite a bit going on for me, as I'm not used to balancing such socialization with preparing to ride!

Here's a shot of Liz and her 21 year old Standardbred, Dreamy, ready to head over to warm up.
The mist persisted as the hunt begand with a trot across the road, through the barnyard.

And it wasn't long before the hounds were bounding in joy on the scent line.....
The 8 farms and over 800 acres of adjoining land were spectacular.  We did run into some bees in the newly cleared trails (Daatje had a sting right on the edge of her saddle pad) and the cow pastures we traversed were occupied.  This hunt had such natural terrain, we tackled muddy water crossings, natural ditches, over hill and dale with views to send tingles up your spine.  The last run of the day was not followed by the fields, but rather viewed by all from the top of a grassy knoll.  They were the best I've ever seen!
At stirrup cup, cousin Joanne was kind enough to take a picture of the photographer. :)  Daatje's looking smashingly fit!

One thing happened during the hunt that made me more proud of her than I've been in a long time.  We were all aproaching a skinny roll top in the middle of a field on one of the runs.  The horse in front of us ran out.  I sat up, with leg on and with all my body, channeled her to the base of the fence. 

She jumped it.  No question, no hesitation, no problem.  That, my friends, is a horse that is listening to the rider!  Not long ago, she would have taken point from the lead horse and skirted to the side.  My good girl. :)
This was a sweet moment during stirrup cup.....
The mother stroking the face of her daughter's pony.  Such a good pony too!  Keeps right up with 2nd field even though his legs are 1/2 as long as the horses he runs with. :)
So, a sincere thanks to all who made yesterday's hunt possible and I cannot wait until we hunt at Rest and Be Thankful Farm again!  I'll leave this post with a 15 minute video from the hunt, taken by the foot followers and posted to R&BTF's facebook page.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Branch Hill Farm Hunt

Last Saturday, we hunted from Branch Hill Farm in Milton Mills.  Another gorgeous day for a foxhunt!  This hunt starts off slowly through winding wooded, rocky New England trails and then crossess Applebee Road to the sandy paths along the river.  There are many jumps on that side of the road and the hunt often gets going pretty quickly!

Here's a photo of Daatje at the trailer taking a carrot from a fellow foxhunter.
The field in front of us as we head into the woods on the North side of Applebee Rd.
Not long after we crossed the road, we lost a rider at one of the jumps.  First field was pursuing the hounds on a line and by the time the rider was remounted (seconds, mind you!) we had lost the first field!  The trails through the sandy pine forests are numerous.  They criss cross and all look the same!  Our field master did an awesome job of guessing which way they went and after a long fast trot/canter we heard the huntsman blow the horn not too far away.  As we pulled up, the whippers in came charging across the field. meet up with the huntsman who had the hounds at a check.
Moving off again, we had another fast run through the woods, bursting out into an open field.
Daatje's mane flying in the wind.....
That was the final run of the day, and what a day!  Someone asked for my camera and took a photo of us at stirrup cup.
After a nice hack back to the trailers, the club hosted a "hunt clinic" at the tea geared towards Pony Clubbers.
So, this coming Saturday, we're hunting a new territory in Lyman, ME.  A cooperation between 8 farms allowing us access to 800 acres of Maine farm land is promising to be the hunt of the year!  Stay tuned for more tales from the best seat in the house! :)

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Prodigue Farm Hunt

I have been sick for three weeks.  THREE weeks!  Started with feeling run down, then sore throat, sinus, cough, cough and more cough.  I'm still coughing although a little less now.  But, that did not stop me from enjoying a fabulous hunt in Rochester NH last Saturday at one of my favorite fixtures, Prodigue Farm.  The open fields at this compilation of properties is unmatched.  Our usual run was dampened by the fact that it is early in the season and many farms are not done with haying quite yet, but all the same.  Gorgeous.

Daatje has been really, really strong on the hunts lately.  I'm loving it, but it makes for difficult picture taking when we're in motion. :)  I've needed both hands on the reins as of late.  Perhaps as the season wears on and the hunts get faster and longer, she'll settle into her gallops a bit better and stop trying to race the horses in front of her.  Silly mare.
Someone got a shot of us during stirrup cup.  I'm in the process of hacking up a lung.  Not quite flattering, but very fitting capture of my day. :P

I'm on vacation this week, and was planning on hunting Wednesday (tomorrow) but the heavy rain in the forecast convinced me to stay put.  Thankfully, the hunt called the meet off, so I won't be missing out on anything!  Our next hunt is this Saturday, again in Rochester, only this time at the Myhre Equine Clinic.

On a most positive note, our barn and fencing was completed on schedule and the horses came home yesterday!!!!  I could not be more thrilled to have Daatje right outside my back door again.  She and her mini friends are settling in well.

Rainbow (the chestnut) and Spooky (the bay) are just loving the extra room, in-and-out stall and having Daatje right next door!

My husband Jake and Daatje, hanging out in her paddock.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Children's Hunt

Last Saturday Wentworth held their annual Children's Hunt where the youths are the guests of honor.  What an incredible turnout we had!  In years past, the juniors were slight in numbers, but this year, we had 12, I believe, and the total number of riders in the fields was around 40!  That's awesome.  The hunt was at our fixture in Lee, NH, a lovely working farm that also happens to be home to our pack of hounds.
Someone was so nice to ask for my camera to take a photo of us.  We're always behind the lens and never infront of it! :)  Here we are at the polo field, awaiting the start of the hunt.

Our new huntsman and the hounds arrive.

And we're off!  It was fabulous riding with so many people (and so many capable young people!) 

Riders gathered at a check, waiting for the hounds to burst out of the woods, working the line.  This hunt is set up very well for all fields to get a great view of the hounds as they run!
Here they come!

And there goes the huntsman after them.
We even crossed the river.
Which was quite low, given the drought we've had this summer.  When we made it out of the woods and into the fields again, the hounds came bursting over the hill, heading right for us!
Such a wonderful sight to see.  A pack of happy, running foxhounds. :)  Tomorrow is a very important hunt in Rochester, NH at one of my favorite fixtures.  I will be back with photos and a full report!  Tally ho!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Daatje checks out the new digs.

With only 2 weeks to go until I had planned on bringing the horses home, it's hard to imagine the work left to be done!  We've already accomplished a lot though, and the mini's paddock is fully enclosed, so I figured I'd stop to get hay on my way home from the hunt on Saturday and let Daatje out to graze and check out the new surroundings.  
Checking out the mini's paddock
I've had her at the property before, but not since the fencing went up.  She unloaded, looked at the fencing and immediately was on the search for the horses who she was sure lived there!  Silly mare, you live here!  Well, not quite yet, but almost!  She was so comfortable and at home that after 30 minutes of grazing, I went to catch her to bring her back to my parents house and she ran away from me! :P  I had to laugh as she never does that.  The grass must be good!  I much prefer a dirt paddock, especially for the minis, so Daatje is going to have to help them with that.  The plan is to mow it down really, really short and suck up the clippings in the bagger so the chance of Rainbow getting laminitis again is greatly reduced.  Won't do that until the day before they come home though, or the grass will just grow back!  It was so hard to load her up and bring her back to Mom and Dad's.  I wanted her to stay!  Two more weeks.......only two more weeks...

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Foxhunting has begun!

Daatje and I at Stirrup Cup

What a great hunt today.  We went out from Fine Nest Farm in Raymond, a lovely fixture with winding hilly trails through the woods and rolling fields seemingly in the middle of no where.  It started out a rainy day and I was so bummed to think the first hunt of the season (for me, hunting actually started last Wednesday) was going to be soggy, but the sun came out and it was just beautiful!

Our club has a new huntsman, who's done such a great job of assimilating into the roll from whipper-in.  The hounds were fabulous today!  The hunt was slower as they had two brand new hounds out for the first time and a lot of the younger ones out also.  I was very impressed with how well they packed in and the few lines they took through the fields had great voice!

The black horse in the photo above is a Friesian cross ridden by the 2nd Field Master and in the distance, you can see some riders from the 1st field.  The roan is a Standarbred (cross, I think) the middle chestnut is a fiery Morgan named Winchester (Chesta the molesta!) and the 1st Field Master rides a big warmblood of sorts named Truman.  This was such a lovely setting with the golden grass, the hounds running the line and the horses following!  What a thrill.
At the tea today, they had a "hunt clinic" where anyone was invited to come and learn about the traditions of foxhunting and were offered a free capping for attending.  We had quite a few new faces and many new young people so that was very exciting!  The next hunt for us will be in Lee, NH on next Saturday and then I'm debating heavily on whether or not to make the treck to northern VT for the joint meet with the Green Mountain Hounds on August 26th.  That will depend on trailer pooling, I suppose, with gas prices the way they are.  The season has begun, more hunt photos to follow!  (perhaps some of us too!) :)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Early Morning Riding

So early, in fact, that the moon was still up!

I've been sneaking in rides between 5am and 6am these days because that's the only time I have!  Bonus:  It's nice and cool
Drawback:  I'm exhausted!

Absolutely worth it, though.  So nice to be spending time with my mare.  It sets the tone for the day and I feel fantastic having already ridden before work.

On the home front, the stalls are nearly done!  I put their name plates on the doors yesterday. :)
And my Dad finished the center divider.
I can't wait until the horses come home!