Today was an ideal winter Wednesday. It’s the beginning of a brief warming trend, which will continue through the end of the week, bringing joy to the saner elements of the population who think 60-ish temperatures in February are a godsend. Actually, it will be pleasant, but I’m glad it was just starting with 40-ish temperatures today. The thawing ground was finally beginning to dry out a little, and while still not ideal, the footing was satisfactory. So I filled the flask with VanWinkle, loaded Arthur, and set out. The only thing lacking was my bro and faithful hunting buddy; he’s currently between horses after having to put down his mare last Wednesday.
For a while, it looked like we might have a fairly slow day, which really didn’t bother me much considering how little work Arthur has had this year. But about 30 minutes into the hunt, someone cried “Tally Ho!”, hounds struck the line, and the chase was on. The next shout I heard was “Here we go! Tighten your bras!” As the only male in the field, I wasn’t sure whether some corresponding precaution was in order for me. But, as I looked around and spotted no adjustment activity, it appeared that the warning was just an expression, not to be taken literally. I suppose it’s similar to the more commonly heard suggestions to buckle chin straps and tighten girths when things heat up, even though all such buckling and tightening should have been done already.
Actually, later in the day, we did have a round of girth tightening. After a very pleasant run, in which Arthur demonstrated that his eagerness and agility hasn’t diminished during his downtime, a couple of girths (apparently including mine) appeared to have succumbed to the rigors of the run (or just not been tightened sufficently to start with). Someone had dismounted to tighten another girth, and then came over and checked mine, and proceeded to chastise me as she tightened it. When I asked if her services also included sheath cleaning, I was told “Not without a twitch and tranquilizer.”
Unfortunately, as well as causing some girths (but unfortunately no bras) to loosen up, our run also claimed one of Arthur’s front shoes. So, after an interval of gathering hounds, tightening girths, and draining flasks, when the hunt started to move off again in a direction away from the trailers, I regretfully decided that it was time to take my leave, and hacked back to the trailer. As it turned out, I apparently didn’t miss much. As I got back to the trailer, the road whips and hound trucks were pulling in, indicating that things were probably wrapping up. And it still beat the hell out of being at work.