Mr. Blondie got his yellow self adjusted on Monday, and the vet said he really should have 72 hours off, so our huntsman ZoE (PVBZoE on COTH) generously let me ride Orion the Wonder Haffie.
He is so cute. I giggled when I stepped up on a stool to mount and realized that I probably could have gotten on from the ground. (Well, except for the fact that he has no discernible withers, so the saddle probably would have spun under his belly.)
Susie, our MB, was riding Magic, a green-ish Welsh Cob mare who is okay if she's barreling along after the foxhounds, but doesn't do so well on uneven terrain starting & stopping. So our plan was to ride on The Short Bus.
There's a steep hill leading from the parking area out into the desert (Tonto National Forest, actually), and as we were heading up it, the hounds struck a scent and were off.
The hounds apparently took all of Magic's good sense and most of her brain with them, because she promptly started cavorting and leaping about and screaming, "Come baaaaaack! Don't leeeeeeeeeeave meeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!"
Susie dismounted, and was just going to take her back to the trailers. She said, "You can go follow Peggy - you'll be fine."
No way was I going to try to keep up with the first flight on a horse I'd never been on before (never mind the fact that I've never ridden with the first flight before--plus I think Peggy was actually whipping today, and there really wasn't a first flight, just staff).
So Susie twirled Magic in circles for a bit, Magic settled down, and we ventured forth to find the hunt. Which had totally disappeared. Nary a woof nor a toot could we hear.
Eventually, though, we found them, and then embraced The Way of the Bubble: I've discovered during my risk-averse forays into the hunt field that my horse establishes a "bubble" around the hunt. As long as we stay outside that bubble, he's fine if they take off. But if we're inside that bubble and they take off, ain't nobody happy, least of all me. On the other hand, you can't stay too far outside the bubble, or you lose the hunt.
It's a fine art, The Way of the Bubble.
But it's a truly wonderful approach if your main goal for the day is survival.
We only lost the hunt a couple times, when they went screaming off too fast for us to keep up trotting, and then dropped behind a hill where we couldn't see or hear them. We trotted a LOT, and little Mr. Orion even hopped over a little arroyo. Except for an occasional tendency to see if perhaps he could be in charge of the steering (Answer: no) and a complete absence of moving over off my leg, he was a delight to ride. Once I realized that 2-point was going to be much less work than posting that 120-steps-per-minute trot of his, that is. I stayed off his face unless I seriously needed to stop or steer, and we got along quite nicely.
All in all, an excellent day out in the sunshine. Even if there was ice on my windshield at 7:15 am.
Approved helmet: Every time; every ride.
"When a sport gets to be predictable it ceases to be fun." - RAR's wise brother