Yesterday while galloping through the Hitchcock woods after the Aiken Hounds in full cry,I kept thinking about how much I love the horse I ride,Charlie Ferrari.This hore is a TB gelding ,that raced,went up to 2 star eventing,knows fourth level dressage and at age 19 is just about the finest drag horse anyone could ask for.He is gorgeous to look at ,he moves like a dream and jumps like a stag.I have been riding this horse for years.He has hunted hounds and led the field with grace and speed and the lightest footwork imaginable.
He can fly downhill as easily as up.Yet he will wait and listen at anytime upon command.He reads the land as well as the hounds always looking and knowing exactly where to go and how to get there.He is a horse that gives me a thrill and a tear every single time I have the honor to ride him.
He fits right in at paradise and should definately be on the devil list as he delights in opening any stall door,throwing the bar down with a crash and gallops down the lane as fast as he can ,laughing al the way till someone comes to catch him which is another game in itself.This happens on almost a daily basis.There are always ropes and barracades around Charlies stall door (and he still gets out!)
He thrives on his hunting and gets very hurt feelings when I choose to ride another horse.I have been so blessed with fine horses to hunt.I must make mention of my Blessed Pierre.A different sort entirely but remembered with eqaul amounts of love and admiration.
To have horses like Charlie Ferrarri , a horse that will gallop and jump yet wait with the most extreme balance and grace is simply and honor and a thrill.That is the sign of a great hunter.I am sad when people think hunting is wreckless and dangerous.It does not have to be.It takes years and years to make a great horse.It takes time to get a horse to read your mind and know your every move.
Charlie has run off with me many times.He has stopped at fences and I have gone over his head.He rarely walks back to the meet and often jigs home in a lather.Those are not the signs of a great hunter.He hates the show ring and ALWAYS refuses at the show in the woods!I have walked out of the ring mortified more than once.Oh and he won't live hunt.Not patient enough to stand around for that!
But he always knows when it is Tuesday and Saturday.He always knows when I go to clip him out that he is going to fly with the Aiken Drag the way he loves to go.And for all his other sins,he is forgiven with a huge smile and the biggest hug I can give him around his hadsome neck.He is worth an oil painting,A perpetual trophy even a bronze in my mind.I hope everyone feels that way about their horses and their days out with hounds.