I love October

Ahh, ’tis early October, that wonderful overlap of summer and fall, with cool, misty mornings and warm, sunny afternoons. This time of year, a weekday presents the opportunity to enjoy the sunrise on horseback with friends and a flask of Bourbon, and later stroll across campus eating an ice cream cone and enjoy the view of the students enjoying the warm weather. Yes, hunt season has begun. Actually, it began Saturday, but it was raining when I woke up at 5:00 AM, so I went back to bed rather than heeding the advice of a weather girl who promised it would end before daylight. A tragic mistake for which I was suitably scolded, but today made up for it.

Actually, my fact-checkers will probably catch my use of poetic license and point out that the flask didn’t come out until well after sunrise. It’s true that we were in the saddle and underway as the sun crept above the horizon, but I stuck to my tradition of waiting for the first jump or the first half hour, which ever comes first, before imbibing. And since I had decided to take Arthur and ride in the second field, the flask had no chance of coming out until 8:00. I didn’t think about toasting the sunrise until much later, but since that seems like a wonderful reason to bend a tradition, I’ll have to remember it next time.

Since my last horse news mentioned Crossbo’s somewhat mixed performance with the Mounties, I have to brag about a compliment he received a couple of weeks ago.

I’m a strong believer in the philosophy that you should never get off your horse before you have to. So, after a hunt, I usually ride up to the trailer, swing the door open, and ride on before dismounting. But at a recent hound walk, the trailer was parked on a slight slope so the trailer door didn’t want to stay all the way open. Instead of the usual inviting open space, Crossbo and I faced an opening that looked more like this.

We approached the trailer from the side, and without hesitation, Crossbo entered the partially open door, turned neatly, and stepped up into the trailer. As I was dismounting inside the trailer, someone said “It’s amazing the way that horse does whatever you ask and goes wherever you point him.” For the sake of Crossbo’s ego, I didn’t tell her that a couple of police officers might disagree strongly with that appraisal.

And, speaking of police officers, as I took my afternoon sight-seeing stroll around campus, I was not surprised to see a member of Lexington’s Mounted Unit (not one of Crossbo’s instructors), and his equine partner, hanging out in the center of campus, enjoying the weather and the view, and patiently tolerating the admiration of the students, mostly female, who just could not resist the lure of a horse and/or a man in uniform. A middle-aged computer geek with ice cream melting on his hands just couldn’t compete, even if it was chocolate. (Minor complaint about the local ice-cream store switching from Baskin-Robbins to Hershey’s: they’ve dropped some of the better summer flavors, like daquiri ice.)

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