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So excited - I had to post... Dressage horse gone wild!

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  • So excited - I had to post... Dressage horse gone wild!

    So here's my story: I've always dreamed about joining a Hunt. Never in a million years did I think I had the nerve to do it... and certainly not with my dressage horse.

    I sold my AWESOME Irish Sport Horse who had done a season Foxhunting in Ireland before I imported him, and that I had Evented Beginner Novice - a SAINT he was. He was a cross country machine, 100% trustworthy, steady and easy out XC (not to mention kick butt in the dressage ring). He would have been my PERFECT Hunt horse.. unfortunately I had to sell him due to financial reasons three years ago.

    His replacement was an in-foal Oldenburg broodmare who had shown First Level dressage the year before I purchased her, and supposedly had hunted a season in Virginia... (enthusiastically, I was told). So for three years we've spent most of our time in the arena.. indoor mostly as she could get a bit strong in the outdoor... Never in a million years did I think I would be brave enough to take her out even on a trail ride...

    So, this past weekend I must have gone off my rocker. I took her out on a trail ride on Saturday (SHE WAS PERFECT), and thought - what the heck - let's give the Amwell Valley Hound Hunter Pace a try the next day... Well - Perfect again.. Wow, I love my horse... really love her. Didn't take a single jump on the pace, just slow and steady around the 7 miles of trail with a ton of water crossings (deluge the day before).

    What do I decide to do a day later... rent out a cross country field, don my safety vest and give some tiny, tiny, tiny XC fences a try...

    So, there's a Foxhunt Clinic in NJ on July 25th that there's NO WAY I'm going to miss...

    This could be it - my time may have come. Roading, Cubbing, 2nd Flight.. may be on the horizon for me. All this on a horse I never expected to take out of the ring! Why did I wait three years to trust her? Yes, she's a chicken at heart (and so am I), but we both have what it takes to get out there and DO IT!

    So we shall. I'm so very excited, I just had to share my good news. Think I'm crazy?

    For your entertainment:
    Jump 1 (ps-yes I got left behind, i apologized to my mare and on we went)
    http://<object width="425" height="3...mbed></object>
    Jump 2 (with a babysitter)
    <object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/g3OqJUls_iA&hl=en&fs=1&"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/g3OqJUls_iA&hl=en&fs=1&" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></object>
    Jump 3 (I think we're getting the hang of it)
    <object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/g3OqJUls_iA&hl=en&fs=1&"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/g3OqJUls_iA&hl=en&fs=1&" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></object>

    Joanne (please ignore spelling errors... too excited to edit)
    Last edited by pleasantmeadowfarm; Jul. 15, 2009, 10:06 AM. Reason: Can't figure out how to add youtube vid's

  • #2
    Good for you! I say GO for it. Sounds like you're dressage mare will be fine!

    I hunted my mare for the first time last year (first time for me too!). We had so much fun, I joined the club and we are eagerly looking forward to the start of our second season.

    Foxhunting is truly heaven on horseback.
    Last edited by Daatje; Jul. 15, 2009, 10:21 AM. Reason: ETA: There's a place in your youtube that has embedded links for sharing your videos. You can copy/paste the links. :)


    • #3
      I fieldmastered on my redhead "dressage" mare for a long time. It's GOOD for them.
      ... _. ._ .._. .._


      • #4
        Getting them out of the ring is WONDERFUL for them, and guess what? Hunting REALLY helps the chicken-hearted ones! In fact some of the best "field" hunt horses I've known were by no means brave any other time before hunting, and when out they'll be damned if they won't keep up with the other horses, and at checks they stand like rocks because they don't want to leave the group!
        Cherry Blossom Farm - Show & Field Hunters, Side Saddles


        • Original Poster

          I can't believe it's true!

          After only a few outings she's braver than I could imagine.. she even seems happier in ring. Scary thing for me now that she's out using her hind end, is that she's using it more in the ring too. More engine, more suspension... I have a hard enough time sitting her everday trot.. now her working trot has much more power!

          I can't wait for the Foxhunt Clinic with the Amwell Valley Hounds next week!



          • #6
            Awww, I love stories like these.

            Btw, your mare is beautiful!
            -Debbie / NH

            My Blog: http://deborahsulli.blogspot.com/


            • #7
              Very cool!
              Approved helmet: Every time; every ride.
              "When a sport gets to be predictable it ceases to be fun." - RAR's wise brother


              • #8
                Originally posted by pleasantmeadowfarm View Post
                Scary thing for me now that she's out using her hind end, is that she's using it more in the ring too. More engine, more suspension... I have a hard enough time sitting her everday trot.. now her working trot has much more power!

                Oh, goody you are creating a happy monster. Really, getting out hunting is just plain fun for many horses- and having to really get from point a to point b, over uneven terrain, lets them process the practical applications of all those 'theories' we try to teach them in the arena, impulsion, shortening and lengthening strides, staying balanced, etc. Result = more fun for both of you, wherever you are riding!


                • #9

                  For grins this summer I have taken my lil foxhunting mare to team sorting while patiently waiting for that one email "roading hounds on horseback starts tomorrow". Talk about fun and the lil mare can track a cow.


                  • Original Poster

                    Another question....

                    Can't wait for Saturday (Foxhunt intro). Wondering how she'll react to the hounds... I'll keep everyone posted!

                    So, does anyone go out cubbing, roading or hunting with a safety vest? Perhaps hidden under a coat?



                    • #11
                      i turned a barrel racer to hunting!

                      that is great!

                      A friend of mine, who is a barrel racer, has turned to the "dark side" of hunting! She decided I was having too much fun hunting. So, buys the english tack and starts practicing and taking some lessons. Guess what her first activity in an english saddle was? our spring hunter pace and race...in the pouring rain on her Qh barrel racer mare. They loved it! especially since her 16hh qh had to run like hell to keep up with my 17hh tb. she has gone on the summer rides with me too and has been practicing jumping. She says that she is a blank canvas and I get to be the artist...which I said I might throw some color at the canvas, but I'm not much of an artist!! HAHA! She cannot wait to start cubbing season...I have created a monster...yay
                      I love my OTTB! I get my dressage test done faster!


                      • #12
                        I'll be at the clinic too!

                        Hi joanne-

                        I am taking my mare to the Fox Hunt clinic too! I actually had her inspected at your AWS Inspection last year! I will be on the big orange horse with the AWS brand!

                        I'll look for you tomorrow! I am really looking forward to it too!

                        It will be my first hunting experiance, and I will definitely be out hunting with Amwell Valley this year!


                        • Original Poster

                          Great! Excited, nervous, excited, nervous.... Can't decide. Countdown's begun and I'm really looking forward to it!

                          See you in the morning


                          • #14
                            Going out makes a world of difference!

                            Same thing happened with me ~ I bought a former endurance Arab who'd been off that for a few years. He never jumped a stick in his entire career. He strangely was shy and spooky on the trail when we went out alone. A pop over a small log startled him so much I had zero hope he'd ever be even a novice hunter type. With other horses, at liberty or under tack he was afraid to get near them, always hung back, let everyone dominate him.

                            Well, that summer I started taking him on recognized hunt leg-up trail rides, the ones that start out slow and progress throughout the summer until you are fairly flying along as if it was a real hunt (sans the hounds and horns). Well, this Arab morphed totally. By the end of that first summer he was going like a seasoned pro, leaping the big coups and walls with the biggest and best of them. He became so strong and confident I could hardly hold him, he was so excited about his new found talent! It made a difference in the pasture with bully horses too. Full of himself now, he no longer let them boss him around. Hunt/jump training gave this old guy a new lease on life!


                            • Original Poster

                              We survived!

                              Wow - little did I realize my trailer was parked closest to the "hounds" trailer... Twelve pair of hounds bounded off the trailer and my mare's heart felt like it was going to burst through her chest!

                              Of course, my heart was beating equally hard. With words of encouragement we actually SURVIVED! It was FABULOUS. I was truly impressed with how professional the AVH group is, and fantastically supportive everyone was.

                              I can't wait to get out and hit the road with the hounds. I think if I can keep reminding myself to breath, this is going to be the best year ever with my horse!

                              Loved it, loved it, loved it!



                              • #16
                                Now you know why you spent those hours in the ring - so she would be trained for hunting.
                                That the ring is not the destination...
                                Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique


                                • Original Poster

                                  Actually - I love cross training!

                                  I've always enjoyed trail rides, Hunter Paces and Eventing (Beginner Novice) along with ring work...

                                  I just never never thought I'd be able to do it all, with this particular mare. I'm so very, very happy that she's proving me wrong... She's so much hotter and more sensitive than my usual mounts - not to mention large, powerful and extremely athletic.

                                  Before my kids were born - Tally Ho - I'd do it all.... Except Foxhunting... The galloping up and down (mostly the down part scared me) hills, large coops (my greatest nemesis on a cross country course)... and worrying about being run away with... control freak that I am!

                                  Faith, I think I've got it now.

                                  This endeavor is 25 years in the making... I used to volunteer/support the Spring Valley Hounds in Morris County, now I finally have the opportunity to make it a reality.

                                  Thanks everyone for the support, and positive feedback - a debt of gratitude to all!



                                  • #18
                                    there will come a day

                                    when the 7-1/2 watt bulb of equine intelligence switches on.
                                    when one's horse realizes that they are going where every one else is going.

                                    every thing ratchets back a notch and they come back to your hand easily.
                                    then it is just a step away from the cruse control where one's horse minds most of the going and watching the hounds moves to center screen.

                                    what looks like every one going a break neck speed and quite dangerous isn't. [mostly]
                                    it is just everyones horses knowing what to do and enjoying the sport too.
                                    more hay, less grain


                                    • Original Poster

                                      Update - Went roading yesterday

                                      So, everyone was right! My mare followed behind the masters, watched the hounds come and go around us and focused on the task at hand. So, a big check mark for roading... now to get over the fear of cantering down hills while cubbing and I think we'll be in the game.

                                      I went out yesterday and bought a beautiful Hunt bridle, and tried on all the accoutrements... Really excited!!!

                                      Will a dark navy hunt coat pass for cubbing, or should I borrow a friends black Melton?


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by pleasantmeadowfarm View Post
                                        Will a dark navy hunt coat pass for cubbing, or should I borrow a friends black Melton?
                                        Cubbing is informal, so colors OTHER than the formal black/navy should be worn. Tweeds, browns, greens, etc. Show coats that people have are commonly worn if they don't have a tweed.

                                        Navy and black should not be worn until the formal season starts either end of Oct/Nov. If that is the only color jacket you have then wear it since you are just starting out, but it not considered "proper".
                                        Cherry Blossom Farm - Show & Field Hunters, Side Saddles