Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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I’m wondering how many foxhunters will identify with this escapade. Your editor certainly does. Though, thankfully, in the two experiences I have in mind, the rascals were at least honest enough---indeed more than enthusiastic enough---to jump the fences!

echoes of the hunting horn.cropped.lynch.olive whitmoreIllustration by Olive Whitmore

I knew by the wag of his head that he was a bit-of-a-lad. When I mounted him he flung his bit-bars in truculent resentment. When I jogged off, his jaws took a vice-like hold of the bit, his head poked sideways and, if horses wore hats, his would have been very definitely "on the Kildare side." I soon discovered that it was a waste of energy to attempt to alter his head-position. His jaws were rigid, his neck inflexible, in fact, everything in front of the saddle seemed to be set in reinforced concrete. Reins are ornamental accoutrements on hobby-horses: mine were just as effective.

I had been told he was the heart and soul of a rascal, but as I have ridden, and occasionally fallen off, every conceivable brand of rascal, I felt I could forestall any equine acrobatics which he might have under consideration. His owner had given me the animal's whole character; that is, of course, assuming that there was a shred of it left to give to anyone; and I had gladly accepted the offer of a day's hunting, character or no character! Two stable companions had had a hard hunt the previous day, a third was lame and a fourth had a cough; so it was ride this old reprobate or nothing.

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Comments   

+1 # Olga Danes-Volkov 2015-02-10 09:21
This is such a charming story that I have just bought the book from www.abebooks.co.uk!
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+2 # Melvyn Haas 2015-02-10 11:21
I rode such a beast with the County Clare in Ireland some 30 years ago. For those of you who don't know, the Clare is an Irish Drag Hunt, if you can imagine such a thing. The members are suicidal and at times, homicidal in the hunt field. Perfectly friendly in the pub before or after the hunt, but devilish in the field. This horse was totally out of control, galloping along with his nose inches from the turf. When he saw or sensed a wall, the head would snap up and over we'd go, with the head dropping back as we landed. This worked until we landed in a bog and he flipped. I held the reins as I rolled, and then made my second mistake--I remounted. I survived, muddied, bloodied, and exhausted. And I made it back to the vans on the horse! Mel Haas, exMFH.
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