Monday, October 11, 2010

Foxhunting Beau

In keeping with the New England tradition, the Houston's hosted a fox hunt yesterday. This local hunt group rides out of the farm a few times a year, but only once before have I ridden with them. Some of you might remember that I pulled Poke out of retirement to hunt a number of years ago. That was a cub hunt and Olivia and I rode hilltop division... yesterday was a formal hunt and a bit different:
It was a beautiful fall day, and the hunt group arrived bright and early. I hadn't mentioned to Beau what was up, and he was happy to go along until we tried to get down the driveway... "humm" he said. "Something seems odd..." The trailers parked up at the big barn were his first tip off, and he snorted himself right up and got pretty jazzed as I explained "A' hunting we will go!"
There was a smaller group and they wanted to ride in one field. "Gulp" I said. Was I o.k. with canter/gallop they asked...? "Sure" I replied. And we were off!
The time I hunted Poke we were on a lovely trail ride with the distant braying of hounds and the call of the horn. Yesterday, well yesterday was a blur. We were catering/galloping about 90% of the time. Other than that we were waiting for the hounds to get scent. It was cool to be in the first field and be able to see the hounds working the track (don't worry, these hounds are trained to a drag... they follow a prelaid trail of fox urine, and the "catch" is a huge pile of dog treats!) but it was certainly the most intense riding I've ever done!
I tried to keep tucked into the back of the group, worried that I might have trouble, but Beau was awesome! I gaped all the larger fences, but did hop a few of the smaller ones. He was game for everything, and did so well catering/galloping in the group. He seemed to know right what to do, and even though we came back thru the yard and passed the pastures he came/went by the other horses willingly and was a champ! I was so happy with him! There are no real good pictures of me, since I was "hiding" in the back most of the time.
I'm working up the courage to do it again since Beau was such a super star... but it was a stretch for me! Most of you know I like the controlled feeling I get in the Dressage arena, and this was about as far as you can get; I actually almost cried walking him home. After doing the ride I experienced quite an emotional "rush." It was a great reminder for me though, that it's not him; it's me! Beau can do anything! (ok, not for a few days as he "recovers and gets the shoe he threw put back on!)


  1. Alex!!! that looks like great fun, though like you, I'm not so sure I would be up for that "kind of riding", but it must have been really cool to follow the hounds!! dogs and horses, right up my alley.... congrats for giving it a try!!! you're pretty brave........

  2. ohh good golly- I hope all of the old injuries- horse and riders!- are still ok today!!

  3. Wow, I just got caught up and you look like you had come great times! Your little guy has grown so much. what a cutie

  4. Amazing photos Alex - they look they came from a movie :)