Yesterday, I took an unwitting Hamish out to hunt at a fixture that was new to me but not to the hunt – I’ve never been there, what with one thing and another, so it was great fun to go for the first time and see new territory. The hounds got one beautiful hardy fox up, and that guy ran right handed, then left handed, then right for almost 2 hours for us. Several times I was able to view the hounds working the line in less-than-ideal scenting conditions — a high breeze across the fallow fields — and each time they were quite true to the line. We got a lovely view of the fox, as well, towards the end of the hunt. His tail was bushy and full and he was quite healthy. Watching hounds as they cast and find scent is something really special and you see why so many people love foxhunting, and foxhunt for years and years. It is a credit to the incredible experience and knowledge of our fieldmasters and staff that the field was so close to the action and able to see hounds working all day long!
Hamish was delightful, although standing still at the off is still a work in progress — his only fault. He is fantastic once going and hunts on the buckle; one could not ask for a safer, easier, funner horse to hunt with our flatlands group. Wet, muddy ground – no problem. (I love the way he powers through tough going, it’s amazing.) Woods – stickers, bushes, picking your way — no problem. Galloping to keep up with master – wide open field – no problem. Jumps – of any kind – no problem. He is getting used to having others coming up behind him and more comfortable with it now. Nothing seems to bother him in the field at all. I can ride him up front, or in the rear, or now, he’s more comfortable in the middle. Very happy with him and his excellent learning curve! It is a joy to hunt such a horse and I am gratified that he’s learned hunting is so easy to handle, because now I can enjoy it while riding him. I didn’t think I could find a horse as good as Rugby to hunt, and I have to say, Hamish is just about exceeding Rugby in this area although it is early to say.
Because of all of the time lost around the holidays, where I had planned on hunting quite a bit, I am way behind where I wanted to be with all of the horses and their training; by this time I thought I’d have Rugby fit enough to hunt a little and also Little George out somewhere, and I’m not even close with either one of those horses. Actually, Hamish has only been out hunting a handful of times so it’s even more extraordinary that he is so wonderful. It was great fun to be with friends and enjoy a pretty nice day, because it does look like weather is on its way, and we’ll soon have the white manure to contend with yet again this winter.