Wow. . . What a day. I had my doubts when we went out but by the end of the first run I knew Imatexan was going to be great! In hindsight, I probably should have picked a better fixture.
Cedargate is always full of game and we never fail to have good sport. Our huntsman elected to road out down the Chattahoochee river for about a mile and then cast hounds back towards the trailers. Which meant when he did make the turn he was coming back at the third flight that Texan and I were in.
There we were just walking along, all calm and relaxed, when the huntsman and 15 couple of hounds came up off the banks of the river just to our left. That was all she wrote for Texan. She tried to spin around and run but since she is so light on the bit she would not just grab the bit and go. Her only alternative was to back up…..FAST! We must have gone 40 yards directly backwards at lightning speed.
When she finally stopped I tried to turn her but she had other ideas and pulled the same rapid retreat…only this time sideways and for only about 20 yards. By then the hounds had moved on down the river and I was able to fall in behind the rest of the flight, who were all standing there with their jaws dropped…the whip galloping by to catch up casually suggested to me that I might have a better day if I tried hunting in forward instead of reverse! Smart!@#$%^!
But that was as bad as it got.
For the first 30 minutes after that we had nice quiet trots and canters as they cast hounds. Texan settled down and seemed to start enjoying herself.
The occasional hound that came by got her attention but never caused a panic.
As for the hunting…… once we hit the first line we never slowed down. We were out 3 1/2 hours and went from one coyote to another. 3-4 different ones were viewed during the course of the runs.
Texan remained incredibly light and obedient. She never leaned on my hands or tried to bolt. All I had to do when I felt like we had too much speed down a hill was tap the brakes and she slowed.. But when we hit the big fields…WOW. She had so much fun.
The only other tense moment came when we had actually ended up between the hounds and huntsman and the first flight. We were galloping along the edge of a hay field when first flight came out of the woods behind us. And to top it off, a whip was in front of them cracking his whip and scolding a hound that had strayed from the pack. He was gaining ground on us screaming and firing off that whip. Thank heavens the hound finally took a short cut thru the woods and got him off my butt!
I had so many compliments on Texan. The usual, “I never thought an OTTB could be that quiet.” (They must have missed the start!)
I kept telling everyone this is the way Bits & Bytes Farm horses act.
All in all..an awesome day. . . and she never got too hot or tired.
The next hunt is Wednesday and I think I’ll take her to that as well. Should be a more quiet day at Bear Creek. And, then we go camping this weekend.