Sunday, January 18, 2009


It has been a while since I have written about hunting.It's POURRING rain today and it makes me think of England and hunting.Not that we always hunt in the rain but very often over there it was pourring and freezing but it was GREAT FUN and a real thrill.Hunting over here is quite a bit tamer.

The Aiken Drag is a different thrill from British hunting but a thrill nonetheless.This year we have had a season of many changes but most for the very best.We have a new huntsman,new hounds andI have a new horse that I think is going to be a very solid citizen next to my stalwart Charlie Ferrarri.

WE have put a lot of thought into how we can best manage the changes of our beloved Hitchcock woods,notably the rise in the number of live game in the woods.We have put a lot of thought into how best to improve the drag without changing its character for the changes in horses and riders of our fields.There are fewer people out these days that are comfortable with the speed and large fences of yesteryear.

And so with these changes we have had a super season so far with large fields in the second flight and hilltoppers.Those that take on the first flight have done so with aplomb and stay right up with the hounds.Another change is we have added a third drag to our days,one I am delighted with.

Galloping through the woods ,listening to our new hounds is something hard to describe.My horses have been so balanced and keen ,I can fly through the woods over everyfence with an open hand and say have at it boy!My horses know every turn,every hill,every jump with their eyes closed.It is sheer bliss twice a week.

I had the opportunity to go out with Red Mountain during the Masters Regional meeting on another delightful horse.Spencer belongs to my friend Taylor Myers and she graciously allowed me to ride him up there with Linda Mclean,Emily Smith and Katherine Gunter.Aiken hounds were well represented.Our green livery stood out amongst the field of scarlet coats with all the other Masters.The countryside up there was magnificent and the day glorious.It reminded me of how I love hunting.Sadly my schedual doesn't permit me to take enough time for these opportunities.

I had one more opportuntity to go out with Flat branch Hounds here in Aiken on my new horse Dice.Though I have been riding this giant for years, it is this year that he has decided to really enjoy hunting and have some fun.Again the opportunity to just be out there in the beautiful woods on a horse that it obediant,soft,interested in the hounds is one I never get enough of.There are so many fine people out there in the hunt fields as well,that it makes the experience all the more special.

I can't wait to go out with Whiskey road and Why Worry.We have so many choices here in Aiken it is amazing.It is so interesting to see the subtle differences with each pack and each different country.One can never get enough.

Hunting is the missing ingrediant to so many peoples riding.One has to pay attention to many things around them.It increases ones reaction time to things that are real and not subjective.It makes horses better without a doubt.Our Footing here in Aiken is the best on earth.
we are truely blessed.

AS I get closer to Eventing seasonI just wanted to express a few thoughts on hunting.

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