Anyway, the meet was at our Riding Mill Farm, which used to be owned by The Weedons and was called Meadowberry, due to the wild strawberries that come up each year in the field we met in. Our farm has been on the fixture card since Amwell was formed 52 years ago and we renamed it after our first home in England which was The Mill House in the tiny village of Riding Mill, Northumberland.
This farm used to host New Jersey’s only one star event, and was the main fund raiser for Amwell Valley Hounds Pony Club. When we moved here nearly all the jumps had disintegrated, but we have eventually got around to replacing most of them. Master Joanne did a sterling job today steering the first flight over a great many of them. Judging by some of the grins I saw when I caught up with everyone it was a blast!
Now speaking of Pony Club it was great to see so many juniors. August (Gus) Torselleri and three of his delightful sisters, Geneva, Piper and Holly seemed to have had a great time out, as did our youngest and newest member Alex Valle. Until we reached a road and there was a clanging sound and his horse was about to loose a shoe and so he had to walk back. The Torselleri family are following a tradition of hunting in the Valley as Gus’s late uncle, Marc, a very special person, rode with me for my first year out with Amwell in Second flight. Marc made me feel so welcome and we would often be found at the end of the line giggling at something or other.
Talking of end of the line, it looked quite a long line today when I started in Third Flight in fact I was 29th! Trying to accompany Master Stephen, who is still recovering from a back injury, I realized just how hard it is to ride in the third flight, my horse normally very well behaved acted like a real cow. She was having none of it. Cindy Nance how do you do it? you are a Goddess! So, we gradually moved up to Second Flight- a tradition that this flight goes just as fast but elects not to jump. The Second Flight Master, Brian in our case, has to know the countryside well enough to be able to take alternative routes quickly and help settle new folks in, who often chose to start here. Yeah for Brian!
After I excused myself from the field for a bit, I returned and moved my way up to first flight where the tradition in Amwell is to pay a donation to the hounds if you have a unintended dismount-There was a “Dan in the Ditch” moment! You owe Master Stephen $25 but glad you are fine!
So with a pretty poor scenting day, but yet still managing to put two fox’s to ground and after the trip around our farm we crossed to the Wielenta’s fields, skirted around Unionville Winery and went along Linvale Rd. On our return trip we went along Rocktown Road passing Clearview Farm and then rode a fast circuit back to Wertsville Road. After a couple of hours out it was very pleasant to enjoy another tradition of Amwell – the Hunt breakfast hosted by Ruth and Sue D.