A Brr-brrr-blustery spring day

With the temperature around 40, today’s weather was much more appropriate for hunting than the last two times I went out. It would have been even nicer without the 15 mph winds, but with the end of the season in sight, any day without rain is a good day. When bro called about 11 PM last night and said “Let’s hunt!”, I had already decided I was going with or without him, but I was certainly glad to have his company once again. It’s always nice to know that, regardless of what happens or who else shows up, there will be at least one other person to share flasks and warped humor with.

As we arrived at the meet, we did a quick surveillance of the situation and decided that riding in the second field might be more prudent considering that neither of our horses were especially fit, and second field seemed to have a more congenial population today. A more sensible pace might allow us to stay out longer instead of burning up our horses in the first hour. The decision was clinched when we realized that the British film crew that’s been filming us occasionally this season was back today, and was setting up at the first jump. Bro said there was no f’ing way he was going to take his first jump in three months in front of a camera. I was even more superstitious, since the jump was the same one where Arthur dumped me on my head in front of an ESPN camera crew last year. I wasn’t especially anxious to repeat my bad luck with that coop and cameras. So we hung back and let the braver and/or more vain members strut their stuff for the camera. Seeing several of them have their refusals recorded on film for posterity made us feel even better about our decision to avoid the limelight.
After the publicity-seekers all finally made it over the coop, we moseyed through the gate and listened to consultations about which direction we needed to hunt for optimum camera angles and lighting conditions. Priorities are important in this game!

Aside from the feeling that a lot of time was being spent getting in position for photo opportunities, we had a pretty good afternoon. We stayed fairly relaxed most of the time, with just enough running to keep things interesting. Arthur even had one good chance to prove himself, when bro suddenly decided he wanted to go over a coop instead of through the gate next to it. It wouldn’t have been right for me not to jump after he did; it might have made him look like a showoff. We only had about three strides into the jump, which unfortunately was more than enough time for me to screw up. Somehow I managed to lose a stirrup in that short distance, and had no opportunity to get back into it before the jump. In spite of the short approach with no warmup, and my very sloppy riding, Arthur managed to get over without losing me. It’s probably a good thing we weren’t running hard at that point; otherwise I don’t know if I could have maintained enough control after the jump to slip my foot back in the stirrup.

After the hunt wrapped up, we had more photo ops as the whole group rode behind a truck-mounted camera back towards the trailers, and this time they managed to get a good shot of me riding Arthur onto the trailer. They’d tried to get that shot on an earlier hunt, but missed it

We have two hunts left on the calendar before the end of the season, and the weather forecast isn’t very promising for either day. Wednesday is supposed to bring a return to the 70-degree weather that’s better for staying on campus and ogling students, and Friday might bring rain. But we can’t just let the season slip away, so I suppose we’ll probably be out in the heat on Wednesday.

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