A Round About day on Saturday and a Fantastic Sunday!
It is odd but after all of the years hunting in the US on a Sunday, I thought hunting on a Saturday, (which we did because of the Hunter Pace) would feel odd. Strangely enough it felt like the old days in England where most of the hunts meet on a Saturday. The day was the coldest of the season to date, and with this in mind the meet was pushed back to 9am. It really was chilly and when I went to feed the horses the thermometer registered 26 degrees, a couple of hours later we still had to scrape the frost off the truck before we left. Arriving at Big Sky I was pleased to see so many people were able to come out, 27 in the field plus Masters Joanne, Brendan and Stephen, and our whips.
I am always impressed at the lengths people seem to go to and the hurdles they overcome to go hunting, Lisa T brought a guest and stated she was at work having just finished a nightshift as a nurse, 90 mins before arriving in Amwell, and she lives in Langhorn PA. Roy who failed to check the tape, started to get his young horse Mattie ready for the off, but Mattie had other ideas. Roy put him on a loungeline but that didn’t help, as he led Roy a merry dance around his farm. I would have caught the rat and given in, but Roy realized he now had more time than first anticipated, chased him some more until Mattie turned himself in. Needless to say he was perfect in the field!
So where is this leading up to… well despite our keen 20 ½ couple of hounds the day was rather a roundabout sort of one, we went one way round a cornfield, then back on ourselves, went the other way and lapped the place again. (x6). It was one of those days where the riders enjoyed the brilliant blue and cloudless sky and the warmth of the sun as it came out, but overall the scenting was poor. Our pack did manage to put up four foxes, which allowed us to lap some corn a few more times, and then double back on ourselves again! Steve F seemed to be practicing for the National Horn Blowing Contest (this Monday in Harrisberg) as he tooted a great deal, but after nearly three hours we called it a day. We very much enjoyed a delightful breakfast hosted by Ron and Rita. The carrot and ginger soup was to die for and Jacqui Richie's apple cake rates as one of my all time favorites.
Sunday AVH Huner Pace
After two successful Hunter Paces earlier this year, Steve F thought it would be a good idea to consider a new venue, and Master Stephen discussed the idea with the Amwell Valley Trail Association of running our last event of the year from their venue. As Steve F would be grooming the trails they would gain, and we would gain as it would offer our customers access to trails we don’t normally hunt on.
The plan seemed to work and Steve F and Trish Buckwalter (AVTA President) worked together and laid out a fantastic ten mile course, which seemed to offer everyone some of the best of the valley, oak and beech woods, long gallops up hills, a few coups to pop, the odd stream to cross, a view of the golf course and winery, in fact a bit of everything.
While AVH has put on many Hunter Paces, Brian knows there is no room for complacency and in his usual efficient manner and with the help of Steve P, they organized another winner, because at 10.30am when Charlie and I arrived we found the parking area almost full, and Master Brendan directing trailers to any spot he could find.
The tent crew arrived early (Steve F, Ralph, Brian and Master Stephen) Lynette and Joanne P warmly greeted each of the 117 riders at the sign in desk, and Bruce and Laurie installed at the starting point set the teams off. At the first road crossing Donna and Maria were relieved by Katy and Michael by the haunted house, it made weird sounds all day long-no kidding!. Riders were greeted warmly by Barbara and Brian at the half way point (Dan I missed you!) and by Cheryl and Christine, who when we arrived to cross the Wertsville Rd on the way home, marched out fearlessly in front of a van to get them to stop so we might cross! Way to go girl! Roy and Richard were at the finish line.
Lisa and Steve F set the time- and Sue D did her magic with a computer to work out the scores. Kris wrapped the day up by serving refreshments and the odd glass of champagne (that girl has style!). What a great way to celebrate an outstanding Hunter Pace-every rider returned safe and sound and seemed very happy, the trails were groomed and well marked, the footing great and thankfully the weather perfect!