The wedding is over. The marriage is happy. I have a new job.
Now time to get back to foxhunting!!!
Today was my second hunt clinic with Potomac, but in contrast to last year when I was so worried about impressing the owner of the horse I borrowed and not falling off and breaking every bone in my body, this year I actually helped other new people. It was a great feeling.
I’m leasing a new horse, Lefty, who so far has shown himself to be completely trustworthy and fun. He doesn’t care if he’s with the group or not; he doesn’t care if we’re going faster or slower than the group; AND he is super careful and balanced going downhill and into ditches. All of this makes him the perfect hunt horse in my mind because I’m 100% in control, not relying on the person in front of me to babysit!
Instead, I can actually be the babysitter, which I’ve been doing all summer with a friend and her young horse, and today at the foxhunting clinic. Of course it’s fun to be on your own and go as fast or slow as you please, but I remember last year when I was so appreciative of friends who would give me a lead over jumps or help me walk through a stream rather than leap over it.
|Lefty on the hilltop|
So on Thursday I gave a copy of “Riding to Hounds in America” to a hunting newbie, and today I babysat two horses and riders who had barely ridden outside an arena. I even struck up a conversation with a complete stranger my age (something that ordinarily terrifies me). As it turned out, she was in a very similar situation to me last year–borrowing horses, a little more than slightly obsessed with the charm of hunting.
|My secondhand boots|
It’s amazing how much more confident I feel not being the new kid on the block anymore. After borrowing so many different people’s horses last year, the hunt members feel like extended family. And not the stressful kind of family that make you freak out over whether they’ll all behave themselves at your wedding (which, if you’re wondering, they did). More like the kind of family that will wash your horse for you just to be nice, or recognize when you need a little liquid courage. And who won’t judge you for sipping from their flask before noon.
I still can’t really believe I get to do this regularly.