After a couple of weeks with nothing to say, maybe “double your pleasure” refers to the fact that I actually managed to write two posts in one day. Or, maybe it refers to the fact that today was doubly delightful as it was a wonderful hunting day following a night of delightful election news. But, since I try to segregate the topics here, and I’ve already fulfilled the daily political quota, we’ll skip that. But there were other factors that doubled today’s fun.
I know it’s been quiet here lately. Fortunately, that doesn’t mean I haven’t been having fun. Unfortuntately, it doesn’t mean I’ve been having so much fun I haven’t had time to write about it. It just means that most of the fun has been the usual routine that’s been described here before. Today was about the same, with the exception of one minor loss.
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.
Yes, you are looking at a picture of Crossbo being ridden by a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Yes, that’s a real Mountie, and not some clown in a costume. No, he wasn’t impounded after an international pursuit for RUI. This picture was taken at a recent clinic provided by the Lexington (KY) Mounted Patrol, with instructors from their force, along with the RCMP and London (England) Metropolitan Police Mounted Branch. It was quite an interesting day. I’ll have to admit that I was a little disappointed in Crossbo’s and my performance. But I think he learned a little, and I learned a lot about what we both need to learn.
This is the weekend when everbody makes a big deal about some piddly little 2-minute sprint, far less impressive than Kentucky’s most exciting equestrian event, which happened last weekend. I managed to avoid the hype, not even learning who won until I saw the newspaper Sunday morning. I didn’t manage to actually get on a horse on Derby Day, but Crossbo and I had a nice uneventful ride on Sunday, fulfilling my promise to myself to ride sometime this weekend. Not much to say about that, so I suppose this is mainly going to be a reference to the annual Rolex report.
I’m not sure, but I might have said that before. Oh well, it never hurts to say it again. Actually, I just wanted an excuse to show off this picture of me and Crossbo from this month’s team chase. I don’t have very many good action pictures of me with any of my horses, and until now, I had no jumping pictures of Crossbo. Now I do, thanks to Jim Lane, who has taken a lot of wonderful pictures and very graciously permitted me to use this one here. Check out his work at The Photo Lane.
Actually, although it may not be obvious from the picture, an equally good caption would be “Crossbo saves my ass … again”. We may look like we have the situation well under control, but that’s all his doing. I had a foreboding sense of an impending train wreck as we approached that wall. If Crossbo had any doubts at all, he never showed it.
The word of the day was Yee-ha. In a day of continually evolving plans, Crossbo and I attended a local hunter pace/race event. The only thing I knew for sure in advance is that we were supposed to be there with beer. We lived up to that, and rolled with the ever-changing events.
Just in case anyone is still reading who doesn’t know what a hunter pace is, it’s an event where pairs of riders are timed on a cross-country course, and winning pair is the one that comes closest to some optimal time, which is not divulged to the riders in advance. Theoretically, it’s a test of the riders’ ability to maintain an ideal “hunter pace” over the course, hence the name. Realistically, it’s closer to a crap shoot, but it’s a load of fun.
Another hunt season has ended, and I’m still alive. According to my calendar, I hunted 35 times this season, 14 on Arthur and 21 on Crossbo. And I almost had one very good statistic, a big zero for total falls. I ruined that streak yesterday, the last day of the season. I don’t think I’ve ever had a perfect season, and I came so close this time. The worst part about it was that I was riding Crossbo, so I ruined his perfect record too.
Today brought some ups and downs and interesting quirks. It started out great. Crossbo’s mystery lameness disappeared yesterday and he was feeling sassy today. I decided to play it safe and give him some more time off, but that was no problem because Arthur was also feeling in his prime. With a 2:00 PM hunt, I had lots of time to relax and prepare without rushing. I should have known Murphy’s law would have to kick in sometime.