Before reliving the glory of this afternoon, I need to try to get myself out of the doghouse by giving proper credit for last week’s plagiarized title. “Baby’s First Hunt” was suggested by one of Crossbo’s loyal fans, his adoring Aunt Julie, without whose meddling he might never have embarked on his new career with one of the nation’s most intimidating hunts. And now, back to our story.
Although Baby’s First (Official) Hunt may have been last week, it really didn’t feel like a hunt. Today was real. The weather was better. A good contingent of the Bitch Pack was mounted. We had a good coyote run, following a view and “TallyHo” from our eagle-eyed Master of ChowHounds. We ran fast. We jumped over stuff. And we had flasks.
Actually, at least from my perspective, the partaking of libations was purely ceremonial. After a rip-snorting wedding reception last night, I would have been happy to stay on the wagon today. But it would have been blasphemous to not appropriately toast Baby’s First Real Hunt.
So how did Crossbo do? Awesome. Admittedly not perfect, but awesome, and as close as perfect as one could hope for. Early in the afternoon, he showed a little hesitation at a creek. He still has some moments of doubt about some things, but as he usually does at such times, he gingerly crossed after realizing that really was what we wanted to do. Later in the day, after the adrenaline kicked in, he was galloping through creeks without slowing down (maybe without even noticing them).
We had a fairly long slow stroll before finding our coyote, and I was beginning to wonder if it would be last weak repeated with better weather. Still feeling the effects of last night, I altered my usual rule of hitting the flask after the first jump or first half-hour. It would be strictly first jump today, regardless of how late that was. For a while, it looked like the cap might never come off. But then the fun started, and after the first jump, we actually cleared two more before we slowed down enough to get a chance to properly toast Baby’s First Jump in the Hunt Field.
After things slowed down again, we caught sight of the second field, and I couldn’t resist riding over to brag about Crossbo’s behavior. And that’s where the angel made his biggest goof of the day. As the saying goes, pride goeth before a fall. Actually, there was no fall involved, but a damn close call. After behaving impeccably all day, he suddenly spotted a horse-eating monster that required emergency evasive action, almost dumping me in front of all the people I was getting ready to brag to. I wasn’t sure what the threat was, but others seemed to think it was the scary sight of a child getting off her pony that was more frightening than anything else we had encountered all day.
But, aside from that little bobble, he made me glad I didn’t let somebody talk me out of buying him. When things got fast and furious, he didn’t let me forget he’s a thoroughbred. But, when I needed brakes, they were usually there. He’s not just handsome, he’s awesome.