For the last five years, Harvard Fox Hounds has hosted a Ride for the Cure fundraiser in September. One of our members put the ride together after participating in the Komen Race for the Cure at work, and it’s been a wildly popular event for HFH ever since. This year’s event felt especially important and meaningful since one of Harvard’s members was diagnosed with breast cancer earlier this year.
Back in August, a local news station came out to film footage for a story about our event. (You can watch the story here– Moe and I have an extremely brief cameo around the three minute mark.) The actual ride was in September, and I took a break from homework and hauled Moe out.
We went with the walk/trot/sometimes canter group. Moe was very excited to be out and about! He’s a good trail horse, but I usually opt to take Gina because she’s less fussy in a big group. Moe usually wants to be in the front at all times, and his brakes can be, uh, unreliable. It was disgustingly hot and humid, which took some of the wind out of his sails. Five minutes into the ride, he was sweating and walking at a reasonable speed.
Our group stayed out for about an hour and a half and spent most of the ride checking trails we’ll use hunting this winter. Some of them had downed trees and most were wild with lush vegetation thanks to all the rain we’ve had this summer. Moe was a real trooper and carefully stepped over branches and happily pushed through vines and weeds. Lots of the jumps were clear enough to go over, though!
Moe behaved reasonably well about jumping and galloping in a group. A hundred years ago when we were both younger, I took him hunting. It was a disaster- he was way too excitable and nearly passed the field master several times. Since then, he’s gone on walk-only trail rides or gone out with one or two friends who were okay with moving quickly. But on this ride, he was good about stopping and standing when the group did so, and he wasn’t hellbent on leading the pack.
Moe really seemed to enjoy himself on this ride! He jumped every log, barrel, ditch, and coop I presented to him without any hesitation. He even tackled one of the trickiest coops on the property without a blip. The coop is at the end of a narrow trail hemmed in by big trees. Its landing is on a downhill slope, and there’s about half a stride before you jump a ditch and land on the gravel road. Moe seemed surprised when he found himself on a road, but trotted on without any trouble. He also had a funny moment where he jumped a big log and caught up with another horse on the other side. He cantered alongside the other horse for a couple of strides, then shot off at a dead run up a hill and left that horse in the dust.
It’s been a while since I took Moe on a ride like that, and it’s been a long time since I did much jumping with him at all! He’s sound and happy, but he’s 24. He had EPM a couple of years ago. And there’s a little scar on one of his eyes from an ulcer. He seems to see fine and feel fine, but it’s not something I really wanted to test the limits of. However, he had zero trouble with this ride and greeted me the next morning as perky as ever.
So Moe’s going to take up his fourth career as a foxhunter this winter! It’ll be good to take some of the load off Gina- she does well and seems to enjoy hunting as much as she enjoys anything, but I know she’ll be happier if she’s not the one going out every week. I still want to take Candy out a couple of times this season, but having Moe as another first field horse will be nice. And having two reliable horses means I can bring a friend! (Seriously, come visit! I have a spare bedroom!)