On Saturday, my neighbor, one of her college-aged former students, and a horsey friend who trailers in for lessons next door headed to Flint Creek for Harvard Fox Hounds first annual trivia trail ride and wine tasting. My phone died about 5 minutes after we pulled in, so enjoy photos of Flint Creek from foxhunting season.
I was pretty pumped for this event. I love trivia, and combining it with wine and a trail ride at a beautiful place meant this was a can’t-miss event for me. I also offered to sponsor a wine table on behalf of The Horse of Course; I recruited a friend I hunt with to help decorate the table in a hodgepodge of hunt themed items. I brought two bottles of Dark Horse pinot noir and two bottles of Dark Horse sauvignon blanc. My friend brought several bottles of a red wine she likes, as well as a few bottles of various wines donated to our cause by High Gravity, a local homebrew and winemaking store.
I decided to take Candy to this ride. She’s the fittest of my horses, and the terrain at Flint Creek is hilly and rocky. I knew this would be a fairly long trek, too. Candy’s been going very well on trail rides this year, but she still needs to gain confidence going through water. Plus, Flint Creek has a lot of jumps that I hoped to school her over. This venue is also Harvard Fox Hounds’ usual hunt fixture, and I figured that the sooner Candy got used to it, the better!
Candy was very well behaved from the get-go. She loaded into my friend’s slant-load trailer without hesitation, stood quietly by herself while she was groomed and tacked up, and stood fairly patiently as we waited our turn to set out on the trail. She was a little hot and prancy when we started on the trail, but she was generally polite and calm. She was happy to lead the group or follow the other horses and didn’t once try to kick anyone. The water crossings at Flint are different from those we’ve encountered before (which have all been either splashing through a narrow, mostly still creek or wading into a lake)- they’re all broad, shallow crossings through the brisk-moving waters of Flint Creek. Candy was very suspicious of the water, but willingly followed the other horses through. I’m optimistic that with more exposure, she’ll be confident enough to lead the way soon!
The highlight of the ride was jumping Candy over a very small (18″) log. Most of the jumps at Flint were either missing (presumably they’re being repaired or replaced) or inaccessible due to high grass, so our opportunities were limited. However, we encountered one small, inviting log about midway through the ride. I walked Candy over it at first, then circled around to trot it. Candy gave it a graceful hop and cantered away at what I felt was a totally reasonable pace. She came back to a trot, then a walk, then a halt with zero fuss and without a lot of half-halts. I was super proud of her!
The trivia element of the ride was fun, even though our team didn’t win. Some of the questions from the ride were:
- Who’s the richest woman in England?
- What shape are the black parts of a soccer ball?
- Which two 20th century US presidents shared a last name but not a political party?
- Which US state has the most miles of coastline?
- Which metal do bronze and brass have in common?
Once we finished the ride, we untacked and groomed the horses and headed inside for lunch and wine! The HoC table had some of the oddest wines from High Gravity, but people seemed to really like them! The hard limeade and strawberry watermelon Shiraz were very popular; I thought the limeaid was okay and the Shiraz tasted like a Jolly Rancher.
I had a fantastic time on the ride, and I hope HFH will make it an annual event. And I’m not just saying that because I took home all of our table’s excess wine. (Does anyone have suggestions for using up 6 bottles of red wine and 2 bottles of white??)