I've only been out once so far (last Wednesday) and we didn't do much due to the conditions (hot dry weather and rock-hard ground). We're finally going to get a break in the heat this week, but it looks like the drought will continue.
I was talking to an undertaker recently and jokingly asked him how many backhoes he has burned out trying to dig graves this summer. He said he recently had to start using a jackhammer just to get through the dirt.
Horse just doesn't feel right somehow. Am refraining from hard riding/hunting long periods. I think a LOT of folks are going in early. And is it me or are the crowds down also as a result.
Yes it's affecting the scenting. Even with my basset pack altho' we've been going out at 2pm!!! Scent is holding only in the covers, damper, shadier areas, anywhere there's mud. Streams/ponds/swamps are dried up. The fresher the line; the better of course! Runs are shorter I think.
Hounds having problems staying on task; maybe a little loss of enthusiasm?
You know, just when I put my foxhunter hat on and say "no way will the scenting be good today" , too hot/dry etc. I go out with our bassets and voila! They find/run like the devil. And when I say "no way can they hold a line in the open" - yesterday they ran next to a whole hedgerow in the open then along a driveway all in the fresh cut cornfield stubble on concrete like ground. It was near 90; strong breeze; drifted line run fast. But the rabbit was just 40 feet ahead of them. Even our young Bleu de Gascogne (french bassets) were on!! Never underestimate a hound nose....any kinda hound nose! And we've been making sure there's a water opportunity at the local pond. The Bleus are quite the swimmers!
I've noticed scent at about 6am (no special magic ability - my beagle lets me know by sneaking under the fence and chasing rabbits while I'm in the barn)
Otherwise - by the time we're up and at the first draw the hounds noses are in the air. Still - you get to see them work. And those wonderful hounds to keep trying and trying - they won't give up!
The ground is so hard that we're purposefully going slow. For the hounds' sake, too.
My farrier was finally able to get out and put pads on the front hooves. That should help a lot.
No real hunt reports due to scenting conditions - other than to say it's just wonderful to be out and watch the hounds work. Especially the young entry - getting to know them and their personalities during the summer really pays off in the fall.
The scenting is terrible. It's pretty much gone by 8 AM, except in some very localized spots, then it's around until 8:30. We had a 20 minute run on Saturday, and I was cringing. We were in the woods, and pretty much running a majority of the time on either rocks or roots. We were out about an hour, and that was more than enough (this coming from the person who has never gone in early unless something out of the ordinary happens).
I was at the races on Saturday, and talking to several people in other local hunts, and they said several of Piedmont's staff horses have come up lame due to the ground (and lets not talk about how many of the horses racing broke down back at the barn ).
I bagged hunting this morning, and have pretty much decided it's going to have to be a really good fixture for me to go out again until it rains. I've already been giving the horses one gram of bute the night before and bute again when we get back as a preventative measure. If I do go out before it rains, I'll probably poultice them when I return home.
It's so dry here that Goose Creek has stopped flowing. The water is just sitting there in lower areas. It's sad, so sad.
We've got the opposite problem at the moment here in MN. We are absolutely water-logged. We're glad for the rain after the drought this summer, but it's to the point where there are flood warnings being issued.
There was no hunting on Saturday because we'd have needed an ark, and I doubt there will be on Wed.
This weekend is our Hunter Pace, hopefully it will dry out a bit by then.
Sidesaddle rider et al
You'll be happy to hear that Dr. McCormick reported no horses lame immediately after the races either Saturday or Sunday (these the two-day Virginia Fall Races steeplechase meet at lovely Glenwood Park north of Middleburg) and trainers reported that their horses from Saturday were fine (this on Sunday.) Dr. McC says that jockeys (and horses) take it slower on bad ground, that there's less runners, and that the horses that DO run are ones that prefer the firm ground. Way more soft tissue damage when the ground is good to yielding -- and remember the old racing credo that holds oh-so true -- SPEED KILLS.
There was but one faller (at the last, where I was shooting photos - the horse made a mistake, got too close, crumpled on landing. Nothing injured.) 3 lost riders but nothing to do with footing, especially.
I'm sure there were plenty of sore tootsies but hopefully Dr. McC's study is correct and there were no more (even less) injuries.
Steeplechasing moves to irrigated courses next two weeks (in Virginia, anyway) - Morven Park in Leesburg this Saturday, and International GOld Cup at Great Meadow next.
Depressing....and scary. Feel like going to the beach, returning fall '09.
1 hour, 27 minutes ago
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States will have warmer-than-normal temperatures this winter in most of the country, except for the northern Plains and Northwest states, government weather experts predicted on Tuesday.
As for precipitation, conditions will be drier than average across the Southwest and the Southeast, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration projected in its winter forecast.
The Ohio and Tennessee Valleys, northern Rockies and Hawaii will be wetter than normal this winter, the agency predicted.
Hard ground is just not an issue for my mare because I road ride her year round on our gravel & hard packed clay roads out in the country where I live. I alternate between using the hard surface for long walks and strong trots on rides to keep ligaments & tendons in shape. By nature she does have strong hooves and I do what I can to keep the legs up to par.
I will offer we've had good rains spaced 10 days apart so the actual hunting ground is perfect and joy to ride on.
I was planning on doing a Hunter Pace on Saturday... our ground is like a paved road... seriously thinking of not going, and saving my horse for when our hunting season gets going full swing... just not worth it!
I do not remember it being this dry in the past 15 years.
My pond is over 50 years old - and the neighbor who helped dig it said it's never been dry before.
I was peeved to see a weather system over the Atlantic swoop right by us and rain up north. We got a lot of cooler weather - but that cold wind just sucked moisture out of the leaves. Everything is wilted around here.
At the tailgate we were commenting on how busy well drillers must be. I can list 3 farms that have run out of water - and their ponds and creeks have dried up too.
I think the soil and water conservation district may have some funding for trucking in water - so hopefully farmers are taking advantage of that. I hope I don't have to.
We haven't had rain in a month. I did hear on the weather report that we are supposed to get a real rainfall next Wednesday. Something to look forward to. Finally. And if those wizard weather guys are right.....
Well ya'll have pooped on my Cubbing this coming Saturday. Here is the forecast:
<Friday Night: A 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 51. South southeast wind around 7 mph. New rainfall amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.
Saturday: A 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms before 1pm. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 72. South southeast wind between 7 and 11 mph. New rainfall amounts of less than a tenth of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms>
A southeast wind, drizzle and temps starting in the 50's means it's time to get serious- no water in my flask this weekend, a trip to liquor store for brandy is in order!!! I'm gonna do my best to send this system to the east, with rain just for ya'll!!!
Where's the rain!?? Taking a vacation in the midwest!
Well my saddest drought story is about a nearby farmer renting fields for cattle. He's not exactly a high quality farmer shall we say.....The feeder stream dried up and the cattle have to walk a long distance & under a road thru a tunnel to get to a larger stream to drink. It's down to small puddles. I don't think he's hauling water cuz he lives very far away. Cattle keep getting out thru a ratty old wire fence (something we have a LOT of here in old Virginny!) . I presume they are looking for water. 4 come my way and 3 get back. One wanders up & down the dried stream bed for a coupla days bellowing. Finally wanders over our mountain and was last seen going into a housing development (has multiple ponds & lotsa open space!) . I called the farmer to tell him about all this; he came to look for it but never retrieved the cow. Not interested. Didn't care. Can't figure out why I care!! Feel sorry for the cow!!!
Only humorous thing is my 4 horses lined up side-by-side against MY ratty fence having a stare down with the cow. My local deer are drinking outa my water trough and of course sharing the salt block!!