At the end of my last post I mentioned some fun stuff that I may have had the opportunity to take part in yesterday. I am stoked to tell you that it did happen and that my helmet cam came along for it. Enjoy the video of the days events.
My mount for the day, Dave a former 4'6" jumper prelim horse who also had been a whip horse in the past. He was amazing!!! To say the least. He knew exactly what he was doing but loved hunting so much that he had that fire in his belly and made the ride safe, fun yet completely thrilling. He could be chill with the hilltoppers but was game in first field. In the video you can see a bit of head tossing excitement anytime I had to hold him off at all. He just LOVED to do his job! It was awesome.
In beginning of this video you see a man standing next to his horse as we pass him. He and his horse hit the ground in this fall but thankfully they were both stunned but ok.
If you are ever in need of "growing a pair" I recommend hunting. Holy cow I had no idea how badass they were. The speed, the narrow paths, the terrain and the jumps. You can see me dodging branches and hear them hitting my head as I am flying through the wood. Yes there were a lot of small starter-BN sized fences but there were also quite a few solid Novice height fences out there too. They had a couple two stride 8 jump combinations. Those were low crossrail type fences but they were one of my favorites because of the rhythm you had to have through that many fences in a row. It was like cross country on steroids. On cross country you get a map, get to walk and memorize each step of you path. Most of the galloping takes place in an open field and all paths I have ever ridden on have been wide and completely cleared of low hanging branches. And only last a total of 5-6 minutes tops. Don't get me wrong the trails were nice and they had good footing but you have no idea what is coming. One second you are hauling ass and the next second you are doing a sliding stop to avoid hitting the horse in front of you. Once one of those stops happened when Dave and I were halfway over a jump. The saint that he was half way over he planted his feet then climbed over the jump with his back legs. And this goes on for TWO HOURS!!! SO AWESOME
4-5 riders came off and they do not stop the hunt for a rider down. Within the first 10 minutes a young pony clubber came off when her horse reared. In one video you see the girl in front of me came off and one of the huntsman stays with her but the rest of us are told to go on. In another video at the beginning you see a man standing on the ground holding his horse. He and his horse had just fallen. Everyone was fine and immediately returned to the hunt. There was only one injury and I believe it was a broken ankle.
Here you will see the sweet girl in front of me fall off of her horse.
I went on a very special day, it was the "Blessing of the Hunt". They have a priest come and have a short service praying over the horses, riders and hounds for a safe season. A friend was the one who allowed me to ride Dave and hauled him up there for me. She was so sweet and kind and generous to do that and would take no offering she just asked that I braid her brothers horses mane. It was the least I could do. All of the people there were very friendly and helpful. I learned a great deal but feel I just scratched the surface on the sport of hunting. So now I, of course am in the process of finding one near by to better my "education". This hunt was in Battle Creek Michigan. I was up visiting my family and jumped at the opportunity to go along with a friend. One thing I learned was that hunters like their 'beverages'. At check points they pass flasks and you are greeted with a smile and glass of champagne at the end of the hunt. It was amazing and I can see myself searching for a way to make hunting a regular happening in my life.
It will be an interesting process to get Steady out there and sane but it will be good for him I think and he is smart enough to catch on. There are more videos that will come.