Tuesday, September 14, 2010
On Saturday, I trucked John over to Tyrone Farm in Pomfret for their Introduction to Foxhunting clinic with Tanheath Hunt Club.
When I pulled into the driveway the place looked like a ghost town. No one was there. Registration was supposed to start at 8:30 and I pulled in the driveway at 8:28. The last time I attended an event at Tyrone Farm I got there at 8:35 and the place was a zoo. I was slightly perturbed that I woke up early on my day off and then they cancelled and did not even tell me (pre-registration is required for all of their events). I waited a few minutes and a few horse trailers pulled in from Rhode Island. They were there for the foxhunt too. Yippee, we're hunting, just running late.
After coffee and a discussion with the hunt members about the history, rules, dress code etc of hunting, we unloaded our horses and tacked up. Warm up in the trailer area was pretty low key. Anne checked everyone's tack for safety and then we broke into two groups and headed out to the fields to practice riding in groups.
John was totally unimpressed that we were trotting in a circle around a jump, following other horses. He really wanted to take off at a gallop, pass all of the other horses and find the trail that he was sure we were supposed to be riding. I was able to convince him that galloping down a trail without the group was not the plan for the day, but it took a few minutes and we put on a bit of a show for the rest of the riders in our group.
After practicing riding together on the trails, we joined the other half of the hunt and we all waited for the hounds. When the hounds (never to be called dogs - a mistake I made several times) arrived, John visibly relaxed. It was almost like he said, "Oh, okay, there is a purpose to this, other than annoying me." He was quite interested in the hounds and soon we were off riding through the field, following the hounds as they followed a scent.
Melanie had set up a drag hunt for the hounds to follow and we did a loop. There were several young hounds in the group and one got a bit confused at one point and lost the pack. She came barrelling past us (had totally looped back around the trail) and all of the horses in our group jumped, but John was very interested in watching the hunt staff work the hound back to the pack.
All in all it was a lot of fun. I had always wanted to try foxhunting and I may have to go again!