Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

Hunting Recap - Christopher Kerr

As I've mentioned before, I'm always interested to see how other people view the same events I do... At the same place, at the same time, but somehow the stories are never exactly the same... So today we have a guest blogger! This blog follows the Of Foxes and Facebook post and is written by Chris Kerr -- the highschool friend of mine who invited me (and a friend) to go hunting last weekend. We had an amazing time and he was amused enough by my post to write a response... So here it is! Enjoy!


It was soooo much fun having you guys out last week. Having read your take on the day on your blog, I thought I should respond in kind :)

As you said, I had my reservations about the day myself. The weather was not looking good all week and I thought I was sticking my neck out a bit by inviting someone that I hadn't seen in years and whose riding I could only vouch for by reputation. That, compounded by the fact that you were bringing someone who I didn't know at all and would be riding borrowed horses for whom I would feel responsible made me wonder what on earth I had been thinking when I extended the invite. To make matters worse, we weren't meeting at the same place. I know Tracy would look after you fine, but it removed the option of me changing my mind if it turned out that I was out of my mind by inviting you.

Kris picked me up early on Sunday and we made our way to the meet thinking we were running late. It turned out that we were right on time and drove by Dave's farm just as you were arriving so at least I knew you had made it out ok. We got to Cornerstone farm in plenty of time and were among the first to arrive. I tacked up, got dressed and generally fussed about for a bit saying my "Good Mornings" to the Masters and assembled riders/car followers. Once people had started to mount up and make their way over for the stirrup cup, I began to get worried as you guys hadn't shown up and the field would move off sharply at 11. I decided I would hack down the road and meet you guys en-route. It turned out that you were just about there by this point and I felt much better finding you both happily mounted and well turned out (as pompous as it sounds, that was a HUGE relief for me. I brought a guest once before who didn't have proper riding habit and "tried their best" to look the part. Ughhhh)

After a brief welcome from the masters and the hosts, the first flight took off across the XC course while the hounds drew the woods in behind. I was happy that you both agreed that, at this early stage at least, discretion was the better part of valour and we followed the first flight down the road. As you mentioned, Paynter was a "bit" high and dancing around pretty good, but clearly no more than you could handle. Charlie was, of course, perfectly well behaved and clearly not going to be an issue. I had my doubts about Paynter however. Once horses and riders were settled, I think we made the right decision to move up to the first field. After the first run, I could tell by the ear-to-ear grin on your face that you were going to have a good day and since by this point we had left Jenn/Charlie well behind, I did a quick circle back to check on them. Jenn seemed to be doing fine and was happy riding towards the back of the field and in good company so I left her to enjoy her ride, though I did check back on her from time to time throughout the day.

I don't need to re-iterate the details of the days riding as you were there and I couldn't recount it any better than you, however you missed a good run at one point. After the coyote was viewed across the field with the hounds in full cry, there were the moments of confusion as the field were at a loss as to which way to go to get in on the run. You chose the high road and followed the field over the stiffer fence into covert, where I ran back down the length of the field to the smaller coop where we had been checked moments before. I had some idea where the hounds would come out and opted to take the faster run through open country intending to get to the other side of the covert first to see the hounds come out. Unfortunately, there was a bit of a bottleneck at the fence when I got there as it had been knocked down a bit and had a large hole in the near face that was causing a number of horses to refuse it. Once everyone got out of the way, I put Fergus over and took off around the fields. The footing was as good as any that day and the 5 or 6 who followed me had a fantastic run of a mile or so to the check by the cornfield where I met back up with you. By the time we got there, the hounds were head up (lost the scent) and after the remainder of the field caught up we headed off.

At this late point in the day, there were not many of the field left (I still don't know where/when we lost them) and while I will never vote in favour of calling the day, I will admit that I had had enough and was not at all disappointed when the huntsman blew for home. The mile or so of serious power-trot that we had on the road heading back to the trailers was a bit much on the legs at that late point in the day, especially since we chose to take in the XC course that we skipped on the way out, so when we got in I was very happy to dismount and stretch a bit. It was over 3 1/2 hours start to finish which is a long day, even for those of us who hunt twice a week. A friend often carries a GPS to track the total distance covered but he was not out that day so I couldn't even guess at just how much ground we covered, but it was a lot.

It was a shame that you guys couldn't make it back up to the house for the breakfast. Hunting is as much a social activity as it is an equestrian sport and the food is always fantastic, not to mention how much I enjoy my post-hunt gin and tonic.

In closing, you guys were fantastic guests and I hope you had as much fun as I think you did. You were lucky to have picked that day to come out. It was far and away the best day of the season (So far, at least. The season isn't over). The weather was great, the field was large and the sport was good. Not much more you can ask for in a hunt. You are both more than welcome to come out again (and invite friends).


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