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Update! We have success, Houston!!! Was: Am I not meant to hunt?!?!?!

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  • Update! We have success, Houston!!! Was: Am I not meant to hunt?!?!?!

    I'm throwing a Pity Party, and you are invited!

    In 2003 I attempted to go cubbing with a local hunt. Unfortunately I was given poor directions; wound up getting lost, and arrived 5 minutes after the hounds/hunt left. While I know the hunt does not wait for anyone, I was disappointed that the member who invited me didn't call my cell or leave a note at the clubhouse for me. Oh, well.

    Then I tried again that season, but with a different hunt. My OTQH, Tulsa, had a "crack cocaine moment" whenever he heard the horn. We made it for about 30 minutes, but when the airs above the ground moved into a different stratosphere, I asked to be excused. I gave up for a while.

    In 2004 I was given a seasoned hunt horse for free, because he was dead lame. It took us three years, but Buddy has overcome ringbone, sidebone, navicular changes, and founder with rotation over 5 degrees. He's now sound and I am riding him frequently. He's also more balanced and moves better since he's not in such pain. So I'm ready, right? Got the clothes figured out; got the horse; found a hunt that is a bit further but seems a better fit for me.

    Find a girlfriend to carpool with me to the new hunt. Two weeks ago her horse was lame the day before the hunt, so she couldn't go. I got up at 4:30 AM; drove 2 hours 15 minutes to the hunt; got down there and tacked up, and off we go. Buddy was so happy to be back out. He was an angel, and we rode for about 45 minutes. We started cantering and he began to cough heavily and frequently, scaring me to death. I pulled up just in time to see a rider get bucked off and stepped on. She asked to be excused, and I volunteered to go back in with her since Buddy was coughing so bad. Sigh. Waited at the trailers for over an hour; then had breakfast; got Buddy home; got him healthy and we're good to go again.

    My girlfriend and I left yesterday; drove 2.5 hours to get there. Put the horses up at the Master's house; drive to motel to spend the night. Life is good; we are enjoying getting to know each other (we met on the Internet and have corresponded by email, IM chatting, phone and lunches). Get up this morning and go get the horses.

    Her horse is dead lame. Again. Head bobbing at a walk. We put them in the trailer and drive to the clubhouse and unload to evaluate him. He's still bad. She tells me to go on; I felt funny about leaving her; she walks her horse over to talk to the other members to explain why she's not going, and the two horses FREAK out.

    Her horse is pawing and pacing and circling and sweating. Buddy is pawing and dancing tied to the trailer, and they are both yelling their heads off. Sigh. I decide it's in the best interest of both horses that I NOT go. I didn't want my horse to be split in his mind between the hunt and Beau back at the trailer, and I also didn't want her horse to be agitated and possibly hurting himself more, or colicking, by being alone for a few hours.

    So we tied them to the trailer, gave them a haybag, and sat in cubbing attire in 90 degree weather. We could hear the hounds speak in the woods and fields behind us, and could tell what was going on by the horn. The horses knew, too.

    After about 2 hours they came back. Put up the hounds and we all had a potluck lunch. Then we loaded both of them up and drove 2 hours to her house. I loaded Buddy in my trailer and drove 45 minutes home. Sigh.

    Would you have gone with the hunt, or stayed with your friend? Would you just say, "been 4 times now and maybe you aren't meant to hunt?" I'm so frustrated! Will I ever complete a hunt? Am I always a bridesmaid but never a bride?!?!?!?!
    Last edited by Rt66Kix; Oct. 14, 2007, 09:22 PM.
    Barbara www.customstockties.com
    Tulsa-QH; Schnickelfritz-Holsteiner; Atikus-Danish Warmblood; Buddy-QH/TB; Winston-Shire; Thomas-Percheron/TB; Mac-Belgian Draft, gone but never forgotten

  • #2
    Oh, after all that I'd have left friend and gone. Your horse would've likely been fine once the group left the meet. Hers would've likely settled down to the hay, as well. And if not, if stabling wasn't too far from the meet, she'd have had time to take hers back to the barn and come back for you and the tailgate.

    I agree as to your first misadventure, if someone invited you, they should certainly have kept in touch and waited for you. If it had been me, and they'd only left five minutes earlier, I'm not shy, easy enough to climb aboard and track to where they are- and if after say 15 or 20 minutes I truly couldn't have located them, who knows, they might've found right away and been long gone, well, I'd go back to the meet, at least my horse would've gotten a brief ride.

    But, hey, keep at it- you've now been introduced to the Master, right? Keep in touch and see when it would be convenient to keep your horse there again overnight, and go for it! We're pulling for you!


    • #3
      How's it go "if it weren't for bad luck I'd have no luck at all"? You sure are having your share of it. But please keep trying--you will finally finish a hunt and have a great time and all the past will be a distant memory. Go again & enjoy! You'll be glad you did.


      • #4
        now you know

        now you know why a good hunt horse is so prized.

        the hunt can put a bit of wear on a horse.
        by the time I have recovered from the hunting so has my horse.
        but I started with a very sound horse.
        starting with one prone to lameness will add to your frustration.
        but I know you know how to get to our place
        Last edited by armandh; Oct. 8, 2007, 12:00 PM.
        more hay, less grain


        • #5
          Oh - you poor thing. It does seem as if the hunting gods are conspiring against you.

          You just have to keep plugging along. I'm a bit concerned about your project horse - but you know the horse best. Consider some really good pads on those front feet.

          My first season - first half was pretty much jigging for hours on end - 2nd half I had back surgery. Pretty much wanted to stick my head in the toilet and flush.

          Second season - horse jigged so much I thought I'd need a kidney transplant - combined with creative farriery (I fired the guy) I hunted less than half the season and spent the rest feeling sorry for myself. I also showed up at Thanksgiving Meet with a horse who walked out of a front shoe two seconds after I unloaded him.

          Third season - went back to hilltopping because the first two seasons I overfaced my horse and we both developed a coop phobia. So now I get to listen to everyone tell me how hilltopping is pathetic and anyone who hilltops is some sort of loser and bad rider. Makes writing that big check every season a bit difficult - since I don't get any break on dues for being "pathetic".

          And so it goes on. Horse is fine, I'm fine, great pack of hounds, got a good farrier, but folks in the hunt don't have much use for me. Best part of hunting is walking hounds in the summer, roading, and cubbing. I get to see the hounds.

          So basically I just go out there and try and watch and listen for the hounds and sip from my flask. Don't even talk to anyone much.

          Just stick with it - pad the horse, Ace him if you have to, stay in the back and don't take it all too seriously.
          Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
          Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
          -Rudyard Kipling


          • #6
            I agree with Jswan. Part of your problem seems to be other people. It does get complicated when adding more to do before the hunt and having others. My best days in the field were in the back and just enjoying the sounds of the hounds.

            Even if you didn't get to ride, you heard the hounds and that makes it worthwhile. I'm traveling 2 hours tomorrow to hunt and frankly don't expect with the distance to be in first flight or even to hunt the entire time. We'll take it by ear. It will be a first hunt for my new mare.

            Will hang back with the landowner friend of mine and enjoy a beautiful fall day and hounds in full cry. I hear north of the border they can make quite the sound
            Live life to the fullest-ride a standardbred!!!


            • Original Poster

              JSwan, what hunt are you with? That would be frustrating, too! You are in VA, right? Is there another hunt you could go out with that would be more friendly?

              Buddy is barefoot and will stay that way. His last set of digital films showed absolutely no rotation; his coffin bone is perfectly aligned with his hoof wall. They also could see little to no signs of the ringbone/sidebone, and the navicular changes were inconclusive. IOW, they saw changes in the navicular bones, but couldn't say if it was affecting him or not in a negative way. Shrug. He's been sound now for a year; occasionally he's off at the trot but it's in his right shoulder, not his feet. A visit to the chiro sets him right on that account.

              Keeping him barefoot and trimmed properly so that he has hoof mechanism, will do more to help with the concussive forces of the hard ground, versus pads and shoes. Of course, this is just my opinion and experience with the 8 horses that I've rehabbed. YMMV.

              And personally, I would never ride a horse that's been aced. I know many people do, but I would be worried about the horse's coordination and balancing ability. Seven years ago I had a horse trip and fall with me at a canter, and it was a pretty bad wreck. I guess I feel that both the horse and I need all of our wits about us!

              I'll try again next week. I'm not giving up yet!
              Barbara www.customstockties.com
              Tulsa-QH; Schnickelfritz-Holsteiner; Atikus-Danish Warmblood; Buddy-QH/TB; Winston-Shire; Thomas-Percheron/TB; Mac-Belgian Draft, gone but never forgotten


              • #8
                Originally posted by Rt66Kix View Post

                I'll try again next week. I'm not giving up yet!

                That's the spirit!

                You know your horse best - didn't mean to second guess your decisions on pads/shoes. Whatever works for the horse is most important.

                The folks are friendly in every hunt - it can just be frustrating to try and learn about the sport, fit in, try and make the experience as positive for the horse as possible, avoid the battleaxes, keep shoes on, not have tack emergencies, etc.

                Once you and the horse get into the swing of things you'll end up being able to catch, groom, tack up and load the horse in 10 minutes, the horse will fall asleep in the trailer on the way there, fall asleep in the trailer afterwards, learn that checks are a great way to take a catnap instead of doing cartwheels, it'll be super fun for both of you.

                Then the horse will start getting upset if you dare to take the trailer out of the barnyard without him in it.

                Yesterday I was out picking chestnuts and my hunter was way back in one of the pastures - and he never took his eyes off me. If he hears my beagle speaking when she's chasing rabbits - he gets all excited. All that's missing is the sound of the horn.

                They end up liking hunting as much as humans do.
                Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
                Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
                -Rudyard Kipling


                • #9
                  Some seasons are just like that! This spring I broke a rib the day BEFORE the season started! I think I managed to hilltop three times.

                  I've hunted a few times this fall and was really looking forward to hunting tomorrow and my daughter woke up today with the flu. Is it really, really bad to send your 9-year old to school with the flu?

                  Plus, my husband has been having horse tantrums and I wonder if this season will be my last . He seems pretty determined that my riding is ruining his life and that the only way to "fix" him is to ruin mine.

                  You just have to "kick on" and hope that it gets better. It's a bummer for you that you have to drive so far to get disappointed. Most of my hunts are an hour away or less.

                  As for getting left behind -- that happened to me once last year and I just tracked the field until I caught up. Now, it's a territory that I've hunted before, so it wasn't a total mystery, but I was lucky that the field was large enough to leave a good number of hoof prints to follow!
                  Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
                  EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by J Swan View Post

                    Third season - went back to hilltopping because the first two seasons I overfaced my horse and we both developed a coop phobia. So now I get to listen to everyone tell me how hilltopping is pathetic and anyone who hilltops is some sort of loser and bad rider. Makes writing that big check every season a bit difficult - since I don't get any break on dues for being "pathetic".
                    Well, THOSE folks don't know what they are talking about. I size up the respective field masters, and more than once have chosen to hilltop simply because I knew I'd see more hound work with THAT field.


                    • #11
                      You gotta laugh!!

                      Don't give up!! Sometimes , well most of the time, you need to look out for yourself and your horse first! Even when it comes to friends. Unless SHE paid the cap fee; I'd have left her!! It's best to separate barn buddies. They get over it! Hunting is between you & the hunt. You are hunting for yourself; not someone else.

                      As you're experiencings; LOTS of things can go wrong that can ruin a good day! My favorites are the pulled shoe noted when you arrive at the meet after your longest drive! Or, the flat tire! Or the forgetting the tack thing! Especially the saddle! hmmmm....or the horse! (Don't ask me ever how I thought that one up......) Or the falling off your horse before you leave the meet and break something. Or the not being able to catch the horse in the field that morning in the dark. Or the bad directions/getting lost thing. I mean, really....a lotta stars need to be in alignment to get there and get thru a hunt so....REVEL when it all happens rightly!!! And a good sense of humour is an essential tool for hunting survival. That's why I love foxhunters - they laugh, frequently, long and sometimes for no good reason!! And go with the punches. Don't let those little dissapointments hold you back from reaching your goal. Leave it!! Get on with it!! Happy hunting! .......and report back please!


                      • #12
                        That's, funny wateryglen. Your story reminded me of a season or two back in which my horse decided to play "make the fat lady run off a few pounds".

                        I could have killed him. Simply killed him.

                        Then one day he decided to forget how to load, backed off, and before I could catch him, led me in a merry chase in the backyard - including a little round we go around the pond vamp.

                        The other day a lady forgot her helmet.

                        Someone else once arrived at a meet missing a stirrup and leather.

                        You just gotta laugh about it - go back home, and have a hot cup of tea.

                        Invariably, the hunt you miss turns out to be one for the record books!
                        Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
                        Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
                        -Rudyard Kipling


                        • #13
                          You make me laugh

                          I really got a kick out of reading all your posts! Lets hear it for the lady foxhunters...We're tough! As an avid foxhunter myself, I thought I'd share my experiences for what their worth.

                          I tried for YEARS to hunt various horses of mine, to no avail. They were awful! Bucking, kicking, rearing. I thought the people of my hunt were snobby and it seemed this was something I wasn't meant to experience.

                          When I finally gave up looking for the perfect foxhunter, one fell in my lap and I'm happy to say we are starting our third season together. We both took to it (finally) like a duck to water and I've had the time of my LIFE!! We hunt right at the front and are now jumping everything.

                          Some of my best horse experiences have been since I started hunting and now I'm addicted. After 33 years of riding, I can finally call myself a seasoned foxhunter and it feels great! Sometimes the best things come to you after the greatest struggles. Keep at it, it's worth it. You'll see.

                          Good luck to you! Happy hunting.


                          • #14
                            Dont give up!!!!
                            I gaurantee once you finally experience it, the wait will be well worth it

                            Im not sure how similar/different hunting in the US is compared to ireland but is there any chance you could borrow a horse for a hunt? Is that option available to you?

                            Hunting is one of the best experiences you can have on horseback
                            There is nothing like it for a natural high!!!!


                            • Original Poster

                              Originally posted by LaoiseNic View Post
                              is there any chance you could borrow a horse for a hunt? Is that option available to you?
                              Uh, my horse isn't the problem now. It was my friend's horse that went lame this last weekend. Buddy is ready to go!
                              Barbara www.customstockties.com
                              Tulsa-QH; Schnickelfritz-Holsteiner; Atikus-Danish Warmblood; Buddy-QH/TB; Winston-Shire; Thomas-Percheron/TB; Mac-Belgian Draft, gone but never forgotten


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Rt66Kix View Post
                                Uh, my horse isn't the problem now. It was my friend's horse that went lame this last weekend. Buddy is ready to go!
                                Oh sorry, I though you didnt take him because he didnt want to leave his friend! I mis-read the post and was suggesting borrowing a ride so that you, yourself can get out into the field. I realise now you want to do this with your own horse.

                                Sorry, not totally with it today


                                • #17
                                  Hang in there

                                  I agree, you should have gone on and hunted without your friend. Your horse would have settled down and so would hers as soon as they got out of sight. Especially since they are not stabled together. I do have much more trouble when I take two horses from my barn instead of one. Now I haul my horse and a boarders but so far it has been ok. She whips and once they go away from each other they are fine. But they are not pastured together. I do have issues with ones that are pastured together when I try to separate. Whomever rides behind the other in the field has the puller. The one in front of the other has a nice ride as they are always waiting for the horse behind them.

                                  When I take two horses to a horse trials they are always worse than taking one by themselves.

                                  Hopefully your friend's horse will recover soon and you will both be able to go.

                                  It's really hard when you have to haul over two hours each way. We have one fixture that is an hour and 45 minutes and I skipped it today. I hunted foxhunted Wednesday and then we had a joint fixture/blessing with another beagle pack yesterday so I didn't feel the need to haul three hours today.
                                  -Painted Wings

                                  Set youself apart from the crowd, ride a paint horse, you're sure to be spotted


                                  • Original Poster

                                    I DID IT!!!!!!!!!!!

                                    My friend's horse is still lame, but I went anyway. Everything went just fine. It was about 50 degrees when I hauled down, and after 2.25 hours I think Buddy was a bit stiff. The first 20 minutes he really seemed "off" at the trot, but then suddenly he worked out of it and was better than ever. We were out for about 2 hours, walking and trotting, and a little cantering. It's so dry and hot (82 today AGAIN!) that is was hit and miss with scenting. The hounds would find a line; lose it; find another one, but we never really had any sustained runs.

                                    Buddy received a LOT of compliments regarding his behavior and demeanor in the field. Everyone kept saying, "What a NICE gelding! He really is calm and steady." He didn't care if someone was right behind him; didn't care if someone passed him; stood quietly at checks, but was always ready to go. Even hounds running under his feet didn't bother him.

                                    I had so much fun, and got to see some gorgeous country. Our hunt owns all the land, so there are thousands of acres to hunt. It's in deep southern Illinois, and is a combination of hardwood forests and open fields. Nice rolling hills, creeks and lots of slate rock outcroppings make for beautiful scenery.

                                    So, YAY! I did it! Now here's to many more!
                                    Barbara www.customstockties.com
                                    Tulsa-QH; Schnickelfritz-Holsteiner; Atikus-Danish Warmblood; Buddy-QH/TB; Winston-Shire; Thomas-Percheron/TB; Mac-Belgian Draft, gone but never forgotten


                                    • #19
                                      Way to Go!

                                      Glad the hunting gods finally lined up for you!

                                      Sounds like Buddy is a natural and a star, but fair warning, the 'acid test' will be about the 3rd or 4th time out, when he 'knows' what's coming. Not that you should do anything differently, just a teensy little thought to file away for reference! You would pretty much know when he comes off the trailer if he has developed any qualms or ultra-enthusiasm!


                                      • #20
                                        Super news!! I am so glad it finally worked out for you!! Enjoy the rest of the season and many, many more!