Saturday, December 1, 2012

Garrison House Farm "Die Hard" Fox Hunt

Dreamy and I hunted again on November 21, 2012, the day before Thanksgiving.  The hunt was held at the beautiful Garrison House Farm in Durham, NH.  It is located just a few miles from where I went to college, at the University of New Hampshire, and while I had driven by the farm numerous times while a student there, I had never been until this hunt!  We were lucky that it was yet another gorgeous crisp fall day.  This hunt is the day before Thanksgiving and usually one of the last (if not THE last) hunts of the year, hence the name "Die Hard".  And as you will read, the name was more than appropriate...


Warming up
Waiting at the start, more walking around (we are on the left)

One of the first runs!  Wheee!!!  Our "hunt photographer" Sarah rode behind me at this hunt and got lots of good pics of our bums!  LOL!  Love it!!


I am very lucky that Dreamy is so good during our canter/gallops.  She listens well and has proven to be a good field hunter.

Notice the red ribbon??  This will become important later on...Dreamy is a SUPER mare, but when she feels crowded from behind, she will kick.  Thankfully, most riders, like Sarah, are smart enough to understand how to give her the space she needs for everyone to ride happily!



Headed back out after a check.  Dreamy was so happy!  She was listening and jumping so well.




I love Sarah's horse Daatje's ears!  :-D




I love this pic!




Sometime we have to go down roads to get to our next field, etc.
So, 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.  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 is a rider I have 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! 


I'm told it looked a little something like this, only more on the right side and a bit more "trick rider" like.  Geesh.  :-(
As luck would have it, Dreamy went 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 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 can 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 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

This isn't called the DIE HARD hunt for NOTHNG!  LOL!!!!

Yup, we are real fox hunters now!  
Pretty sure I don't ever want a repeat of this.
Coming back down from the canter after our last run/jump of the day.  Good mare.
We had a great day, despite my involuntary dismount.
This is our huntsman, Kami, with the hounds at the end.  
We all clapped for Kami at the end.  :-)  Yay for a wonderful day of hunting!!  Dreamy looks a bit tired.  I am SURE she slept well that night!
The adrenaline was certainly coursing through me, because I really didn't hurt that much at first.  I hunted all the way back without issue.  I felt a bit sore while untacking and at the tea.  My left ankle was a bit swollen, my head ached, and my right side ribs were sore.  I had a bit of a time untacking and throwing Dreamy's cooler over her because of my side.  I could breathe and it wasn't a sharp pain, so I really didn't think my ribs were broken.

By the time I got home, about three hours after my fall, I was in pain.  Oh, it hurt to unload Dreamy, clean out the trailer, and do evening chores.  Ahhhhh!!  I took a few Tylenol, a hot shower, and went to bed with the heating pad.  Our local health center was not doing x-rays since the tech was on vacation, and by the time by husband got home at almost 7 PM, there was no way I was driving an hour to a "quick care" or the hospital.  I was exhausted and figured I would be OK just sleeping it off. 

Of course, the next day was Thanksgiving, so I was not planning to mess the entire "family" thing up (it was already full of enough stress and micromanagement thankyouverymuch) just because I was dumb enough to take a fall.  I still hurt, but it was manageable.  Friday I was still pretty sore, but by that evening I felt a lot better.  Alternating Tylenol and Advil really helped.  I am sure wine and alcohol would have as well, but alas, I gave up serious drinking in college.  ;-)  I was pretty determined to hunt on Saturday for our last hunt of 2012.  I had everything ready to go and figured I could always make the choice early Saturday morning.

Did I hunt on Saturday?  Stay tuned...

** You know, 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 if she is crowded.  As you can see, Sarah and Daatje had no issue riding behind me for most of the hunt because Sarah paid attention and listened to me.  But it really makes me angry that not all riders take the red ribbon seriously.  I ride 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!!!).  Yeah, can you tell I am still a bit annoyed about this incident??  LOL!  Thank goodness both my horse and I are OK!!!  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

3 comments:

in2paints said...

As I was reading, I was wondering if the rider said anything to you about the incident... I guess I'm not surprised she didn't, especially since you've had words with her before. I'm just glad you and Dreamy are okay!

Laura said...

I'm so glad you and Dreamy weren't hurt too badly in the fall.

I don't get some people - if you can't control your horse well enough, stay home. If you don't want to get your horse kicked or someone else hurt, stay back from a red ribbon.

It's a bit of a different story on a slow trail ride at a walk if someone gets a bit close, but at a full gallop in a big field of horses? Yikes - be careful!

finnhorseblog.com said...

Nice photos you have there. Looks fun :)