Last month the Cumberland Mountain Hounds hosted my hunt, the Tennessee Valley Hunt, for a joint meet at their East Fork fixture in Jamestown, TN. It was the first joint meet since CMH and TVH had split in 2006. I was just in my first year of hunting back then, so I was eager to see my old friends again.
East Fork Stables is located on top of the Cumberland Plateau and encompasses about 12,000 acres with around 100 miles of trails. Up top there is a vast pattern of open fields and cover all intersected with trails and wide gravel roads. There were lots of easy places to flat out gallop like wind.
We hunted two days in a row, the first day with the CMH Penn-Marydel pack and the second day with our TVH Penn-Marydel pack. I was so grateful that Gretchen didn’t put her fat butt on my saddle. I would have been mortified if she had. [Gretchen’s Note: Watch it, Lard-o. I don’t think anyone would have noticed my backside for the vast expanse of shocking white blubber that consists of your hind quarters.] I’m so ignoring her.
Instead I got to be paired with Kennedy, one of my favorite students. She is infinitely better than the Scarlet Wench. Plus she gives me kisses and sneaks me banana peels when Gretchen’s not looking. That Woman just gives me nasty dewormer. Yuck. Gretchen was not on her usual pony, the Mr-Darcy-Wannabe Phillip. Instead she was on another lesson pony of hers, Bella, who is in her first season of hunting.
We arrived on Saturday for an afternoon meet. The CMH huntsman, Phil Hopson, cast the hounds in their cover. Their hounds hit soon on a coyote. The merry chase lasted almost 2 hours and went in and out of cover. We covered a lot of ground, but eventually Wiley Coyote went down into the river gorge of the Big South Fork River, and the Field did not follow. I heard that Phil and a few of his whips had to dismount and walk down to the river to call the hounds back. The hounds were having too much fun down there!
I took it upon myself to teach Bella the ropes of galloping in the field. She listened so intently, as she knew that I am the best Hunt Horse Ever to Grace a Meet. [Gretchen’s Note: Bella was doing everything she could to bolt with me, no thanks to you. You had been filling her head with craziness the entire trailer ride up, so by the time I mounted she was so flipped out that if it weren’t for Phil’s Pelham in her mouth she would have gotten the best of me! And don’t think I didn’t hear you sniggering behind me. I know you were why she was so jacked up in the beginning.]
I told her nothing but the truth, Woman, which may have involved a little fudge about some lava spewing bunnies that live up on the Plateau. She was just trying not to get scorched! [Gretchen’s Note: Lava spewing bunnies, eh? What if I tell about the time you insisted that there was a real cave troll from Tolkien’s book living down in the ditch at the Knobs fixture? You wailed on and on about how you would get squished into jelly if you came within 50 feet of the ditch!]
I would never go on like that. I hate Tolkien’s books. Hobbits are stupid. [Gretchen’s Note: You only say that because a Hobbit would be too big to ride you, my little pudgy munchkin. ;-)]
I’m taking the high road, Wench, and I will not rise to your bait. [Gretchen’s Note: Yes, but can you reach the high road? Or the so called bait?]
Ignore. You. Now. And Forever. Horrible. WENCH.
Anyway, back to the hunt report. That night the members from both hunts had a party, which we lowly equines were not invited. Gretchen has such terrible manners. But no matter, there was a rocking good keg party at our barn that night!
The next morning my hounds were cast by our huntsman, Andy Bozdan. They hit in a cover on a coyote and proceeded to run for about 2 and a half hours! There were some checks, but mostly the hounds were on a coyote the whole time. And fortunately they didn’t go down into the river gorge again. I think Kennedy and I covered about 20 miles that day. Talk about tired!
Kennedy had never run that far or gone that fast before. Most of our galloping was on an old gravel road that was mostly packed sand/dirt (the rocks had worn away). It was so great to just GO. Kennedy told me that it was her best day ever. She didn’t stop grinning.
We said goodbye to our new again friends and trailered home. I was still munching the bacon and chocolate chip cookies that Kennedy had snuck me from the breakfast. I love my job.
Ziggy Pelham, one AWESOME Hunt Horse.