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

Monday, September 30, 2013

Blessing of the Hounds 2013

Saturday, 9/28/13 was the Blessing of the Hounds, marking the start of formal season.  It was a brilliant day that began shrouded in fog and ended a little too warm to be wearing our wool coats and vests!  Several guest photographers were there, so I was fortunate to have a few photos taken of us during the hunt. 

The gallop up "Avery Field".  Photo by Eric Schneider.
Trotting into the Tonry Tree Farm.  Photo by Eric Schneider.
I took several photos during the hunt as usual. :)  Here are a few selected from the gallery:
Waiting for a hound

Through the woods

Master at the waters edge.

First field as they run through the Tonry Tree Farm

Run through Silver Oaks

A large 2nd field
It was a great hunt.  This week, we're hunting Wednesday and Saturday.  It's supposed to be 80°F on Wednesday.  We're going to melt!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Hunting in the new bit

Having been sick all last week, I didn't have the opportunity to try out the new bit ahead of the next hunt, so we did the test ride in first field at a foxhunt. :P

I tweeked it a little bit after fitting it to her Friday night adding bit guards to prevent pinching (she has fleshy lips and the mouth piece slides up and down the shank a bit) and wrapping the mouth once in Sealtex so she wouldn't pull back when bridling/unbridling as the bit passes by her incisors.  (she has never liked the "clink" of metal on her front teeth)

I think it was a success.  I had more response from just the snaffle rein in this bit than both the curb and snaffle combined with the mullen pelham.  I did use the curb on a couple of occasions, and that too was met with a quiet, responsive horse.  We'll see how things continue on from here, but I think we're good. :)
The result of eating a sour apple. :)
The hunt had some fast moments, and was long at just shy of 9 miles.  We crossed the river, slogged through mud (I had to give her a bath when we got home!) and flew through some breathtaking fields.  The hounds were amazing to watch and hear.  Three hours is a long time in the saddle......I'm still sore. :P  After the hunt, the MFH and Huntsman led a hunt clinic, which was very informative, and gave us a tour of the kennels.  Fascinating, to see the hounds in their "relaxed state", lounging on their bunk beds after a long run.  They seem bigger on foot than from the back of a horse!  Beautiful animals, just lovely.
Betcha can't catch me!

Beautiful eyes on this young hound.

Whipper-in guiding an errant hound.

Hacking down the powerlines.  There was a crab apple tree loaded with apples!  I grabbed one as we rode past and fed it to her at stirrup cup. :) 

River crossing

MFH and Huntsman

Blowing the horn

Muddy boots!  (imagine how gross my tack and horse were!)
  The Norfolk Hunter Pace at Westport was postponed until next Sunday due to rain so I won't be able to go.  I'd planned on attending the Deerfield Fair with hubby that day.  The Deerfield Fair is a favorite of mine, I wouldn't miss it for the world!  So, next Saturday is the Blessing of the Hounds, opening meet and beginning of the formal season.  Can you believe it?  Where has the time gone? :o

Thursday, September 19, 2013

A *bit* of a change

I've been thinking alot about Daatje's hunting bit lately and her reaction to it.  It's a mullen mouth flexible plastic Korsteel pelham and although it's a kind and soft bit, I think she's resenting the tongue pressure when I have to really use it.  She's never been as strong as she is now.  Before, she'd peeter out after the first run and it was a struggle for her to keep up with the field so needing to use the bit was never an item.  Now, she's running strong all the way until the end and when she gets too strong, I find I'm hauling and she's sticking her tongue out the side of her mouth.  Hmmm.
Our hunting bit of the past 5 years.
So I looked at a bunch of options.  I really like the Pelham for it's two reins.  I didn't want to go with a Weymouth bridle because that's alot of bit in her mouth and I don't think she'd appreciate that, so I went searching for a Pelham with a slightly longer shank and sweeping ported mouth piece.  I settled on trying a Hartwell Pelham.

The Hartwell Pelham.....
It's got sliding cheeks for some flexibility, longer shanks for a bit more leverage, and a nice sweeping low ported mouth to take the pressure off of her tongue.  If she accepts the increased bar pressure, we should be golden.  If not, I'll go back to the drawing board.  We ride in it on Saturday so I'll be back to report on how it goes.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Foxhunters Like it Dirty and Wet

Not really!  This is me hiding in my tackroom at about 9:30am last Saturday morning, hoping the rain shower would stop before I had to get the horse off the trailer and bridle.  I thought my bumber sticker was a bit ironic, and had to share. :)  The foxhunter flashing their mud covered teeth shows not a grin but a grimmace! Lol.

Luck was on our side though, because the rain did clear and the day turned into a beautiful one.
Ready to bridle
It was a great day for photographs, I took nearly 200!  Here's a pictoral account of the 9/14/13 hunt at Branch Hill Farm in Milton Mills, NH.......
A rare shot of the two of us, thanks to a thoughtful fellow hunter!

Calmly waiting to begin the task at hand
A serene pond passed by in the beginning

The hounds viewed under a whip horse's legs at a check by the pond.

The hounds at attention of the huntsman.

Another check in a golden field

Daatje's view of the check at the golden field.

The final run before the "fox" goes to ground.

The horse behind me, all four off the ground. :)

Reflecting on a great last run  of the day.

The fox.

Coming down off the hill.

Whip horse trotting off.

Another whip horse trotting off.

Very happy hound!

I love the look of adoration and pleasure on this hounds face as he walks with his huntsman.
 Ok, so after the last run of the day, our MFH wanted to head across the river to check out some trails that haven't been hunted in a while.  I went and I'm so glad I did, it was a ton of fun!
Pretty deep water.

See how deep!

Up to her chest!

Great way to cool the horses off after a fast hunt though. :)

Out we go to the other side.

 When we got home, I let Daatje graze in the field while I put the equipment away.  She was quite happy with that. :)

 And here's a shot of one of her front shoes after the 9.5 mile run where we slogged through mud and crossed rivers. :)  They are holding up great!  I've just ordered another set of 4 in preparation for when these need to be replaced.  They are seriously "magic shoes".  Her confidence is sky high and because of that, she's faster on the runs with greater stamina.  Her willingness to jump is back and she's hitting her distances like a pro.  I have absolutely nothing but good things to say about the shoes and how my horse has responded to them. :D  Five Stars.
Still looking good and doing their job.
Next up is a hunt from the Kennels in Lee, NH on this coming Saturday followed by THE ultimate hunter pace in Sunday down in Westport, MA!  (oh boy!)