The temperature was seventeen degrees when we rose at 5:30 to begin our day with horses and hounds. The promise of the day’s adventure outweighed the desire to stay warm in bed. The pack could feel it even in the dark. They bugled excitedly as horses were fed, stalls cleaned, and ice chipped away in the buckets.
The pack always knows when they are going somewhere. Even when the routine is the same in the morning, their hive mind senses the excitement of something different. On this inky black, frozen winter morning typical of the Pacific Northwest, they felt an adventure coming on and sang out a beautiful song to the entire neighborhood: rise up, gather your hunting kit and your best horse, and join us for some fun! Not all appreciate the early, noisy invitation, but the jongleurs, undiscouraged, serenade the neighborhood anyway, hoping to be loaded and on their way as soon as possible.
The Woodbrook Hunt Club (WA) is fortunate to have our hunting country located literally out of our kennel door. The kennels are on a military installation, part of Joint Base Lewis Mcord (JBLM). We have a lot of access, but we must acquire a permit, or the area must be open to recreation. This weekend we had neither permits for the area, as it was Thanksgiving weekend, and the ground was so frozen and slick, it would be galling on our steeds. Our clever huntsman, Jennifer Hansen, who never misses an opportunity for hound action, planned a trip to the ocean with our pack where the weather could be cold, windy, and rainy, but surely not frozen. And we were permitted to ride to our hearts content.To read more, log in (above) or click to subscribe.