Thursday, December 18, 2008

Aiken Hounds Opening Meet

Despite gloomy weather reports Thanksgiving Day was beautiful.For me it is a day of tradition and ritual loaded with honor and pride not just for myself and the horses but it is one of the things that makes Aiken so special.

The day before Thansgiving and the early morning is loaded with stress and anxious anticipation.Horses need to be washed ,clipped, braided and sparkling.This is a two day process.Tack needs to be in perfect order.And then there's the human wardrobe.Will I fit into my boots this year?I have learned to find all the clothes at least a week before instead of the morning of.Pins,hairnets,white gloves,white breeches,spurs,whips,extra this and thats.

Hurry up,get to the meet early.I have my annual secret hiding place away from all the other trailers.Getting a place to park is a mad dash.I leave at 9.00 every year for an 11 oclock meet.I live 6 miles away.

Its a huge honor to put on my green coat.I have a new coat this year which makes me a bit sad as it breaks my tradition but the old coat was truely in need of a rest.Riding down to the meet is always special.There are so many happy faces to meet and greet.Every year more and more people come to see the horses , hounds and the woods.Every year is it such a pleasure to see all the riders come out for the very special blessing of the hounds.I always try to imagine Mrs.Hitchcock on this day.So many great people have taken these hounds out. It is an honor to be a part of this day each year.

I truly miss not hunting the hounds anymore and I am sad that more people choose not to jump the aikens behind the field but I try not to think about that and think about the history of the hunt and Aikens past.Preserving Aikens great history is what is important.

It was another glorious day and the beginning of our new season.No doubt there will be many stories this year to tell.Stay tuned.

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