The entire long Thanksgiving weekend was blessed with beautiful weather, and I was able to maintain tradition with a Thanksgiving day hunt. Unfortunately, there was no opportunity to cut anybody’s clothes off (a tradition which has probably never been explained here, since it dates back to the pre-blog era), but other traditions were appropriately honored. And I managed to continue my amazing feats of manual dexterity, with not just two flasks, but three.
I arrived with the traditional saddle flask full of port, and pocket flask full of Knob Creek. As we were tacking up, a Republican friend (yes, I do admit to knowing some) presented me with this beautiful token of bipartisanship, filled with Wild Turkey. (It was suggested by another hunter that Rebel Yell might be a more appropriate filler for this particular flask. Maybe I need to look a little below the top shelf at the liquor store.)
It’s beginning to look like this may be a bad season for crops, as Thursday claimed another casualty. This time, it was not a loss due to fumbling fingers as I juggled flasks. Nothing of value slipped from my grasp at any time. My crop returned home with me, just not intact.
For some reason, Crossbo has recently developed an unpredictable irritability about being crowded from behind. After the third time he tried to kick another horse Thursday, I broke my crop on him. I’m planning to take the pieces back to Dave and see if there is any warranty. If not, I might have to start carrying a Craftsman wrench. If I break one of those, I can get a free replacement.
Friday, I took advantage of the balmy temperatures to bathe and clip Crossbo. Saturday, I was a little lazy, and opted out of a morning hunt, and instead spent the afternoon outdoors at home doing miscellaneous cleanup.
Sunday, I wavered a little. The weather was really approaching the “too hot to hunt” range. And there was more work to be done at home. But I had a freshly clipped horse, so overheating would be less of an issue. And it was too nice a day not to spend on horseback. As the time approached when I had to make a decision to start prepping if I wanted to go, I decided to go for it. Although I’m not a believer in destiny, it was a fortunate coincidence that I made the right decision.
I was a little out of touch this weekend, as my cell phone didn’t survive an unexpected encounter with a mud puddle Thursday night. So, when I walked back into the house to get dressed after getting Crossbo ready and loading my tack in the truck, my answering machine was beeping.
I avoid answering the phone on hunt mornings, to avoid getting snared in anything that might interfere. But there would be no harm in listening to a message; I could always pretend I hadn’t heard it. It turned out to be my brother, saying he wanted to hunt if I was going. So I called him back, and left a message on his voicemail saying I assumed he wanted to ride one of his horses, so I was heading his way with an empty trailer slot.
I’d guessed right, and we loaded his mare and a-hunting we did go. I decided to let thrill-seeking take priority over sibling loyalty, and abandoned him to the second field while I rode up front with the fun people. That didn’t last long. Before an hour had passed, I looked around and there he was. He decided it looked like more fun up front.
When the moment of truth came at the first jump, he decided it was a little too intimidating for his mare’s first time. So he opted to take the nearby gate. After that, it looked like the first field was on a long run to nowhere, and I wasn’t really anxious to chase after them. So bro and I decided to follow the hilltoppers through the next gate, close it for them, and then turn around and head home over the adjacent coop.
He let his mare get a close look at it, and then instructed me to catch his horse if he fell, even if he broke his neck. It turned out to be a needless worry, as his mare cleared the coop without the slightest hesitation.
Approaching the next jump, the one he had opted out of the first time, we found a group of stragglers. We stopped and shared flasks, and boasted that his horse had just taken her first hunt jump, and was about to take her second.
Of course, this guaranteed us an audience, which could have been a perfect opportunity for Murphy’s law to kick in. After performing beautifully with no one watching, it would have been typical to crash and burn in front of spectators. But not this time. Murphy must have been asleep, because both horses cleared the jump beautifully, bringing rousing cheers from our adoring audience. And, on that triumphant note, we headed for home, happy with the knowledge that he indeed had a true hunting horse.