Horse Play

Pick a day, any day

Have I ever mentioned that I love my horse? I woke up Saturday morning feeling like crap, which was hardly fair since I only had four beers Friday night. I had the usual Saturday morning discussion with myself about whether I wanted to drag my ass out of bed, with the Hell No faction presenting an even stronger than usual position. With the typical end-of-the-season frenzy, hunts were scheduled for Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. So there was no strong incentive to get up today; there were plenty of other opportunities at a more civilized time in the afternoon.

But then I remembered the weather considerations. As usual, the forecast had been changing almost hourly for the past couple of days. One thing that seemed constant was the promise of lots of rain on Sunday, so it was crossed off the virtual calendar in my still-addled brain. Despite earlier forecasts, Saturday was obviously shaping up to be a no-rainer, making it a no-brainer choice over Sunday. But with the latest forecast also promising a dry Monday, that made it a strong contender.

Then the bird-in-the-hand factor weighed in. If I skipped Saturday in favor of Monday, and then it ended up raining on Monday, I would be pretty pissed at myself. Besides, even if Monday was dry, the amount of rain promised on Sunday would leave things pretty muddy. So it looked like Saturday was the day. So I groaned and rolled out of bed.

As I pulled into the meet, the two rigs in front of me helped confirm that I’d picked a good day to hunt. As I greeted one of the Bitch Pack and confessed that I felt lousy, she said she could top my woes. And I did have to acknowledge that I only had half of her problems. But I also had to deal with the feelings of extreme old age associated with having a hangover as a result of a nephew’s birthday party, especially since I really hadn’t over-consumed.

The next decision was where to ride. Hungover or not, I wanted to be up front. Arthur was ready, and had the blood test to prove it, and we damn well weren’t going to end the season without some good jumping. In spite of my assumption that most of the Bitch Pack would be hilltopping, I’d had enough wimping around for a while. By God, I’d finish my flask myself if I had to.

As we moved out and the fields began to segregate, I happily realized that I’d been wrong about who was riding where. My assumption really wasn’t based on chauvinism, it just seemed that, for one reason or another, second field had been the place to be the last couple of weeks. But, fortunately, that’s not the way it worked out today. I ended up with the excellent company of most of the Pack.

As the day progressed, and Arthur continued to remind me why I love him, I also began to remember why I drag myself into the saddle on days when I really feel like I’d rather be somewhere else, anywhere else. Because it doesn’t take long to realize that there’s almost noplace else I’d rather be (assuming we’re sticking to reality; if fantasy is allowed, I could probably think of some scenarios that could even top hunting with the Bitch Pack).

To make the day even more poetic, towards the end of the day we went through the field with my infamous ditch. And, as usual, I was kindly reminded of that day as we approached it. And, as Arthur exuberantly cleared it (WITH me in the saddle), a couple of people in front of me seemed startled by my loud exclamation that “I LOVE MY HORSE!”

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