Another fun day hunting. The leaves are changing and there was a thin frost on the ground as we pulled into the meet. I decided to ride Hilltop today to keep it slow and easy. I am very glad we did because the territory was unbelievably rocky. It's the kind of terrain that is rocky, mixed with mud, and hidden under leaves so horses cannot pick their way and think they are landing on turf and instead land on sharp rocks. After nearly four hours of hunting, moving fast, Brego was noticeably foot sore.
So I packed his feet with magic cushion and put him in his boots to take the sting off. Poor guy. I will likely not hunt that territory again until I get better hoof protection.
Brego did alright at the back of the hilltoppers pack (riders wishing to jump must stay at the back), but he had a lot of trouble at the beginning and each time the hounds voiced. He could not understand why we were so far from the action. He never acted up, but his energy was high and he jigged and I am glad I was on him to turn it into a teaching exercise. He's not quite packer safe at hilltop, but we had a pretty positive experience.
I talked with some of the staff who invited/suggested I ride in an upcoming Hunter Trial which our hunt usually does well in. I was the only new member to get the invite since you have have to be ready to jump and jump big. It's for confirmed first fielders with jumps at 3' to 3'6". It's over a couple of miles. The staff assured me that if I could event novice, I would be fine both technically and conditioning wise. I am mulling it over, but I will have to see. It's in a month and we're supposed to go school with the hunt at some point to practice and I will make my decision then. Brego is ready for a step up, if his conditioning is there, and a hunter trial which is not timed would allow me to go at my own pace. But the fences will be big and some of the staff are three star riders on very capable horses so they may even be playing it down a bit.
I'm not sure we're ready to run with the big dogs, but I am so tempted. Especially after riding hilltoppers today. I am a total hunting junkie and the thought of going fast and jumping big with my hunt makes me happy. Brego seemed to also be frustrated with today's pace, but I am not sure if he knows what he is getting himself into. It's up to me to say when.
Oh yea, and we hit more bees today. Brego was stung six times and although he hopped sideways a bit, he never acted up. It was also early in the ride and his energy was HUGE so I was really proud of him for not taking advantage of the excuse to kill me. Luckily, I was not stung.
This is my least favorite part of the week, because now I have the longest amount of time to wait until the next hunt. And next week's territory is one of my favorites. Lots of big fences and open fields and NO ROCKS.