Saturday, November 22, 2008

Hunting Interrupted

The early morning looked good, but by the time we arrived at the meet, the wind was up to 30 mph gusts. Trailer doors were being slammed open and closed again. The horses were high as a kite.

The ground was so frozen, I couldn't longe Brego to take the edge off, so I had to stare deeply into his eyes are try to read his mood. He was in a good mood. I guess I should have suspected something when he cantered up to me to get caught in the morning to go on the trailer. He NEVER canters up to me.

We decided to attempt the ride. So few members showed up, there would only be one field, but it would be slow and absolutely no jumping. The ground was too frozen and at 22 F and intense winds, no one complained one bit.

After I mounted, the horse tied to the trailer next to mine broke his bridle and spun around and around, held only by his halter buckled around his neck. Thankfully his owner had the presence of mind to not skip that critical safety step. Brego saw the commotion and levaded. I am not kidding. I threw myself forward all the same (high school dressage is not as much fun when it's not voluntary) and seriously began to reconsider the decision to attempt the hunt. I kept Brego moving in small circles. If he's moving forward, he can't be moving up.

Finally we set out. The staff took the hounds across the frozen fields and the field master took the members towards the woods to bypass the worst ground. Brego watched the hounds disappear and when I urged him to turn away and follow the field, he fussed, jigged, and generally acted pissed. He wanted to follow the hounds.

I got him sorted and then the field broke into a big trot to make for the woods. Brego took off after them, bucking, crowhopping, levitating. I told those behind me I was calling the hunt and performed an emergency dismount. Brego stopped and stood perfectly beside me, almost as if to say, what are you doing standing on the ground? We can't join the fun like that! I looked him in the eye again and there was no malice. His ears were pricked, his eye was soft, he just wanted to go. He badly needed to go, but I couldn't screw myself up enough to ride him out.

I decided not to fight something my body may not be able to handle, so I walked him back to the trailer. He was actually acting a little disappointed. However, I need to get him under control on my own time, not jeopardize the other members of the hunt with his antics. Plus, the weather compounded the issue x2. I can handle Brego being excited in 20 F. I can't handle Brego being excited at 20 F with winds blowing things around and every horse tuned like the strings of a violin.

I loaded him up and drove home. But there is some serendipitous good news! As I was attempting to back my trailer into my tiny driveway for the third (ok, fifth) time, the last neighbor for me to meet drove out of her driveway, saw us, and stopped. She's a dressage instructor and graciously offered us the use of her outdoor arena. Plus, she was on her way to a clinic in MA and she gives lessons, so I am definitely going to take her up on some instruction. I love me some good dressage. I was still in my fancy hunt kit and so we talked about hunting, eventing, performance horses in general. So nice to have so many horse people right next door.

As for Brego, he's currently having fun trotting around his paddock. Good boy, burn those calories. Tomorrow, when the wind is gone, we're going to make for the powerlines and go for such a ride as to finally satisfy him.


Mama2Arden said...

Don't blame you a bit. I had been planning on taking Chi to the exercise track/field and opening her up but the horrendous wind (the farm actually has WIND as part of the boarding there I have learned why...nice in the summer but winter!? OUCH) mixed with the biting cold made me feel like the brightest move I could make was to suck it up and stay in the indoor.

Something made me rethink trying to ride out 16.2, 1100 pounds of 3yr ol' perch who hadn't been ridden since Tues.... I'd like to think age has given me a smidge of self-preservation.

We had some fantastic lateral work so it was worth it (the arena time)...we're hitting the trail tomorrow though now that she got to blow a bit of steam off today. Normally don't like to ride her 2x in a row at her age but I want to get her OUT of the arena while we still can.

allhorsestuff said...

That was a very wise know that too!
Sometimes stopping and changing the plans are the safest route.
When I have ignored the urge/inkling/inclination/still small voice...I have most certainly been wrong.

Did the ride satisfy him later??!!

dp said...

If you keep this up you're going to convince me that you're sane.

Meliss said...

Good decision. Sometimes it isn't worth the fight, especially when it is cold and windy. Last time I decided to ignore that inkling that I should call it quits, I ended up on the ground(and frozen ground hurts).