First day Roading hounds with AVH - Success (and a small boast)!
The Amwell Valley Hounds has begun legging up for the season. Today was our first day out Roading hounds. What a wonderful outing. We had 5 new horses out for their first time around hounds and all behaved beautifully. New entries were also stellar their first time out as well. Although the heat and humidity hit us early, everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and a small group hung out afterward.
Friday night we hit the road again, followed by a pot-luck dinner and a swim!
Now for a small brag.... Two of the 4 "newbie" horses were mine! I brought my new little draft cross gelding and my daughter's palomino QH. Neither blinked at the hounds, nor fretted when the trains went by. Both were solid citizens and I'm so, very, very proud! One was ridden by a guest from Red Rock Hounds! I'm sure Ms. Lisa was bored stiff (a bit slower paced than our western cousins are used to I'm sure) but hopefully enjoyed the hack none the less. Now, if I can get my mare back to work soon.. I'll have THREE to choose from!!! Did I mention how excited I am. YAY!
Good for you and your saintly horses!! My wife and I have been hosting weekly trail rides for Metamora Hunt this spring and summer and they have been well attended. We see the benifit of getting mounts out in a group whether they be seasoned hunters or green beans.
Our cubbing season starts in mid August, so we are earnest in our efforts to get our horses a bit more fit, even in the summer heat.
We too have had many group trail rides together (various hunt members at various locations, but we try tried to get out at least once a week since the end of the season). I wholeheartedly agree that there are so many facets that make up a GREAT hunt horse, dealing with the group dynamic is a huge part of it. Different energies coming off different horses, those that learn to keep their cool regardless of external stimuli are gems.
Hinderella..... The yellow pony has your name written ALL over him!!!!!
I just finished updating the AVH website! Check out the second row of photos on the News page.. Harley and I are saying our first hello to hounds and my little palomino is watching from afar (albeit not for long) in the last photo. I lent Dakota (little pally boy) to a member of the Red Rock Hounds! A couple Red Rock members were in Philly visiting one of our members and came out for our first day of Roading. How better way to introduce your new horses to hounds, than by having a seasoned pro on their back! Lucky me. http://avhounds.org
Yes, I believe that the group dynamic is perhaps the most challenging lesson for new horses and riders. I have to admit that I'm still suprised when my 17 year old QH, who has been hunting for 6 seasons, lets me know that there is a difficult horse in the field before I know. There must be a thought wave connection between horses.
If we are lucky, we end up with horses that keep their heads while others are losing theirs. This past Saturday we had two new riders with green horses out with us on our trail ride. They did well, all things considered, but occasionaly their mounts would give them a little trouble.
Near the end of the ride, I circled back to talk to my wife who was kindly supervising from the end of the line. An uphill portion of the trail through deep woods encouraged those green horses to break from a walk to a canter without notice. There was some snorting from the horses and a little yelping from their riders. My wife's horse, an Irish draft cross about to start his second season hunting, began to canter in place and my saintly QH followed his example. We both just had to say QUIT! once and they settled. The green riders survived to tell their tale.
Getting out regularly in a group gives potential field hunters an opportunity to develop good habits.