On May 19, Gina and I competed in Harvard Fox Hounds’ spring hunter pace. Sadly, our original plan to have Levi and Bubba and Kyla and Cal on our team was foiled by Cal’s persistent abscess. It ended up being just Levi and Bubba with Gina and me.
Gina was a total champ through the day; she loaded easily, stood quietly while being groomed and tacked, and was just anxious and excited enough before we took off to make me feel confident.
Levi and Bubba were beautifully put together, what with Levi’s pearl-snap shirt, fancy belt, and finely detailed Western saddle. Bubba had finally shed the last of his grubby winter coat and revealed a stunning gold palomino coloring that was both impressive and unexpected. Bubba was restless and alert- I think he wondered where the cattle were.
When we took off, both of the horses galloped easily and confidently over the trail. They were eager to be off and going instead of standing around. Levi pointed Bubba at a small log jump- Bubba swerved, then decided to take it at the last possible second. Levi nearly fell off, but stayed on through a combination of sheer determination and the horn on his saddle. Gina took the log without a problem.
We galloped for long periods of time- both of the horses were feeling good. We only slowed when we found the twisting, rocky trails that led up the steep hills that comprised the latter half of the course. Bubba took off like a shot any time Levi gave him a loose rein; Gina followed suit in a rhythmic, steady gallop; she felt as if she could go all day.
Along the way Levi and I debated the merits of riding English; I touted the virtues of the lightweight saddle. Levi expressed his disdain for the silly garb required at foxhunts and the like.
When the end of the pace was near, we urged our horses into a victorious flat-out run and crossed the finish line with a time of 1:39:12, ten minutes faster than our nearest competitor. While we were most definitely the fastest time, we finished dead last in a field of fifteen.
Happily, our horses finished sound and cooled out easily. Levi and I had a fun time in beautiful countryside, and our entry fees went to the HFH kennel fund. Levi has it all figured out for the fall- our team is definitely winning first place!