Well, I think we can all agree this has been a horrible, miserable, wet (very, very wet) winter and for that reason until yesterday I had not been out hunting.

After a few dry days, however, and an overwhelming urge of wanting to get out, I decided to go, and a lovely day was had by all.

I decided to head out with the Readyfield bloodhounds. They had a meet on over in Leicester, about an hour away from me, and this specific meet was suitable for “Novices and newcomers”. Although Arlo is neither when it comes to hunting, I did want to give him a steady go for his first one of the season.

Person on horse

Bathed and plaited the night before, with only a few poo stains to remove in the morning (why do I buy greys?), we headed off at a reasonable time of about 10:30. Arlo really is such a good boy on the ground, almost dog-like, and so it’s so easy to take him out and about on my own.

I got him tacked up on arrival and then got straight on for a little walk around. All in all he’s very easy to hunt, but he can be tense and impatient at the beginning, and I try to keep him as near to the front as possible. If he has to wait for a jump or to get through a gap, he will rear, or threaten to, until it’s his turn – but this is his only “quirk”. Other than that, he’s just a joy. He always looks after me, will walk buckle end on the slower parts and jump anything you place in front of him.

On this day, however, I was feeling a little wimpy and, although we did jump a few jumps and got a little braver towards the end with a couple of bigger hedges (after my port, of course), I didn’t go wild on the jumping front. I must note that it was still really, really muddy and I am very cautious with Arlo and his legs (I’m the type that likes to look behind a jump to see what the ground is like before I jump it with him), but there were some smaller fences and we enjoyed the ones we were brave enough to do.

We went at a lovely pace throughout the day, with a good amount of road work which suited us with the deep mud in places. And to top it off, I stayed on, Arlo didn’t buck me off (after some pleading with him at the beginning) and we had a safe and enjoyable time out. There were quite a few spills on this outing, lots of muddy riders to be seen about, but in good hunting fashion everyone was still having a great time. Of course now I’ve done it once, I want to do it again. So I’m sure we’ll be back out over the coming weeks (if the rain stays at bay).

Until the next one…

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