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Wentworth Hunter Pace - June 6, 2021

After Margaret and I had such a fun time at the fall hunter pace, we opted to go again this spring! This time, while I rode Rejoice again, Margaret rode her horse Jester and had a friend ride Ladyhawke. All Kennebec Morgans!! Jester and Rejoice have the same dam and Jester and Lady share the same sire. Unfortunately instead of a lovely late spring day, we had one of the first intensely hot and humid days of the year. It was definitely a bummer, but the ride was mostly in the shade of the woods and we had a great time!  most of the fences were 3' coops but we found a small log and this hay to jump haha Until we didn't. 😑 We brought along a third friend who rode Margaret's older mare, Ladyhawke. She's a good rider but hasn't known Ladyhawke for very long and didn't realize how much of a cranky boss mare she could be at times. She kicked Jester right in the front leg just about halfway through the ride, and while the cut itself ended up not being a big deal in the

Day 5 - Your first fall (edited to be my most spectacular fall because this is my NaBloPoMo and I do what I want haha)

I don't really remember my first fall, though I know I slipped off horses as a kid and it never really fazed me.  We used to ride around bareback enough that I know I toppled off plenty  of times and laughed it off.  I have been lucky to not have so many falls I remember the entire thing to write about it, except for the time I fell off at a show and one time in the hunt field.  

Dreamy is a super horse in all ways, yet her one quirk was disliking horses coming up too close behind.  In the hunt field, I always put a red ribbon in her tail and offered to be at the very back of second field. During this one hunt, some of the riders behind me didn't want to go in front of me (grrrrr) and promised they wouldn't ride up my horse's butt (yeah, ok).  I should have just put my foot down and refused, but I was trying to be nice.  I don't think the riders really believed that my horse was as unhappy with horses up her butt as she was, nor did they want to admit they couldn't control their horses enough to keep them off my horse's butt.  Needless to say, after my spectacular fall in the hunt field at a dead gallop, I was asked to hunt in first field.  This was nice because: 1. my horse was capable, 2. I could ride at the back and not worry about incompetent riders, and 3. the other riders in first field could control their horses.  Grrrrrrr!!!

The entire story is here.  But the basic gist is Dreamy was fantastic the entire hunt.  We stopped and rested at stirrup cup, and then off we went again.  We circled back around the field we were in for stirrup cup, galloping along happily.  A friend of mine, Sarah, was actually just in front of us at this point.  I believe there were four horses behind us. 

Unfortunately, a rider who has crowded us in the past, decided to FLANK Dreamy at the gallop.  This was a rider I had to warn and ask to back off in the past, most recently at the previous Yorkfield hunt.  I am not sure why riders don't think it matters that your horse wears a RED RIBBON and WILL KICK OUT.  I am not sure if she just didn't care, didn't believe me, or couldn't control her horse.  It doesn't really matter.  What matters is that she came up way too close to Dreamy on her right flank and Dreamy lost it.  She kicked out behind so HARD and so HIGH that it was almost like she was bucking straight up into the air.  The momentum popped me up onto Dreamy's neck and I let out a surprised cry.  Now, I have had my fair share of OH SHIT moments and normally have a very good Velcro butt that allows me to stay on my horse. **

But obviously, at a dead gallop, the momentum was just too much.  I hung on for quite a while, arms wrapped around Dreamy's neck.  I tried so hard to regain my balance and get back into the saddle.  I was so PISSED that I was going to fall off.  As I realized I had no choice but to let go, the only thing I could think was please don't step on me and break my leg! 

As luck would have it, Dreamy went clear over me and continued to gallop off with the field in front of us.  I stood up and started walking across the large meadow to catch her.  I figured she would stop when she got way up to the staff and hounds near the tarred road.

Uh, no.  :-(

As soon as I saw her gallop down the tarred road, I broke into a run.  SHIT, SHIT, SHIT.  Be smart, mare.  Don't get killed by a car.  I ran up to the hound truck and was able to get a ride down the road.  Again, I was very lucky that she ended up going back down the wooded trail, off the road, and caught up with the "foxes" (aka, the riders who lay the scent).  Two other riders had taken off after her, so between the four of them they were able to corner her and catch her.

The hound truck pulled up to the trail just as they were leading Dreamy back for me.  As soon as I laid eyes on her and realized she was OK, I started bawling.  DUH.  I am great in a crisis, but the minute it is over, I am a mess.  I kissed her nose and remounted.  I was so so so so thankful to my fellow hunters who helped me out.  I am even more thankful that my horse was OK.  

We hacked back down the road to the field, where the entire hunt was waiting for me.  Dreamy seemed a bit sheepish, but she walked along with no issue, no lameness.  By the time we got back to the field, I was able to smile again.  Our huntsman Kami teased me and said I was a real hunter now, especially by getting back on.  I put Dreamy at the back of second flight (I would have literally punched anyone who insisted on riding behind me at that point) and luckily we took it easy for a while, just walking and a little trotting.  When it was time for the final run of the day, I allowed Dreamy to gallop along and we even took a few more fences.  I skipped a big stonewall and a coop, but we did the other fences, including the last big "Garrison House" plank coop thing.  I'm told it is 2'11" and we jumped it twice.  :-D

I guess it isn't called the DIE HARD hunt for NOTHNG!  LOL!!!!

**Just as a side note, I realize that a red ribbon in my horse's tail does not leave me exempt from responsibility   I am always very clear to any rider who insists to ride behind me that she WILL kick out if she is crowded.  Fellow foxhunter Sarah and her horse Daatje had no issue riding behind me for many hunts because Sarah paid attention and listened to me.  But it really makes me angry that not all riders take the red ribbon seriously.  I rode at the back of the pack (we ride second field/flight) because she is a kicker.  It kind of sucks, because we normally jump 98% of the jumps and the back of the field is reserved for riders who plan to gap (go around) the fences.  So I have to navigate and be super careful of the riders in front of me who gap or have run outs (knock on wood, Dreamy never refused anything on any of our fox hunts in 2012!!!).  

And the best part?  The rider never apologized.  I am going to assume this is because she is unaware she caused the problem, not because she is an idiot.  >.<  Granted, I could have politely explained to her after the fact that it was her horse that caused my fall, but I seriously don't think I could have done it without an attitude.  Gahhh!  I despise people who act stupid!  /rant


  1. I had a dead gallop moment that left me crying with adrenaline release too. We were on a multiuse trail and it was an unseasonably warm February day. I was pregnant and stupidly decided to take Gwyn out for a trail ride (the barn I boarded at was ON this trail) There were SO many bikers and people with dogs that Gwyn was strung out and coiled so tightly. She just... bolted back to home and I had NO brakes and thankfully some steering. So we were able to dodge super slippery mud (I was envisioning broken legs), people with strollers, and bicyclists. But we were fast approaching a VERY busy road crossing. I managed to slow her before the road and we crossed safely but she was still throwing a tantrum. I eventually dismounted and practically backed her up back to the barn I was SO mad at her and she was still misbehaving so much.

    That was the last trail ride I took while pregnant, and I refused to get on unless someone else was around just in case. But oh man. I had gps running. We hit 20 mph! LOL

    1. Ohhhh man, that sounds so scary! Not to mention you were pregnant, too! Glad it all worked out!!

  2. Well, I'm glad you were okay though I'd have chewed that person out. Other people are the bane of my existence. Nilla doesn't kick out, but she freaks out if other horses pass her. Even if they pass going in the other direction. I have to get off and hold her or she'll rear and pitch a temper tantrum. So I don't think Fox hunting is in her future.

    1. It is funny how certain horses have their own quirks! And yes, as much as I wanted to unleash on this rider, I knew it wouldn't do anyone any good. Had Dreamy been injured, I think it would've been different though!

  3. oh man, that's so scary! what a relief the horse (and you!) ended up fine! my friends and i typically adhere to a rule of riding "to the level of the least experienced rider" when out as a group, which can be annoying sometimes when we want to run and jump and whatnot... but it's how we keep ourselves safe among riders who might not be able to be responsible for their own selves or horses. but at a fox hunt??? nope. like. it's in the rules, mind your own ponies, ppl!

    1. That's a great way to do it in a group. Unfortunately, at a fox hunt, you have to trust the other riders can handle the field they are in (but I think many people overestimate what they can handle!!)


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