Amwell Valley Hounds - Opening Day

Amwell Valley Hounds - Opening Day
Link to Pleasant Meadow Farm Website

Friday, October 29, 2010

Another wonderful Opening Day

Dawn of this past Sunday's Opening Hunt was warm and beautiful. The weather was perfect and 35 members and guests brought their shiny ponies, adorned in their clean and polished tack for the glorious event. Everything went off without a hitch. Both First and Second Flights were well in control, and we set off at a comfortable pace. There were numerous jumps to negotiate along with several that were debuted this fine sunny day. Hounds worked for four hours, and at one point we heard them full on... and split, with intensity in their cry, far, far away from one another. I wondered how the Huntsman knew which group to follow. Keen insight proved correct as we followed the hounds down by the river bed, and were on a line for quite some time before putting a fox to ground. Overall, it was a wonderful day. Not a single donation was made to the slippery saddle coffer and the field and hounds returned to the trailers for a brief respite after four hours of running.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

AVH Holiday Card 2010

Big Blocks Black Solid Colors
Unique party invitations and greeting cards by Shutterfly.
View the entire collection of cards.

Monday, August 16, 2010

I feel like I just finished Hell Week in college!

I missed hunting yesterday as I was asked to host another American Warmblood Society Inspection again this year... Of course in the dead of winter when we were snow/ice bound I didn't think twice about offering to host the inspection on a Sunday - woops. So, not only did I have to prep the farm for a dozen or so ship-ins of weanlings/yearlings & mature horses, I also arranged a surprise 70th birthday party for my mother the evening before... What a crazy week. All went exceptionally well - thank goodness. After Mom got over the initial shock (yes, she was surprised - she never would have shown up at a party dressed as she was ;-)) She danced the night away to a kick-ass Frank Sinatra cover band. The inspection went very well too.

OK, as I said this past week was NUTZ and I didn't get out this Sunday. That doesn't mean that I can't entertain with a video clip from our first day out Cubbing last Wednesday. FYI - I edited a bit... OK, a lot... had to make it PG so my kids could enjoy it as well ;-)

Untitled from Joanne Pelosi on Vimeo.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Roading on August 1, 2010 - from River Edge Farm

What a relaxed, mild morning.... Despite being on a new horse that just saw hounds for the first time last week, all went very well. Dudley is absolutely stellar, and I can't wait for cubbing to start. Cool mornings with dew covered grounds, ahhh, soon enough. Today we were out for an hour and covered 5.5 miles at a 6 mph average. We only lost one of the puppies for about 5 minutes (right next to a busy RR crossing) but he was quickly recovered.

I brought along a fellow boarder that joined us once towards the end of last season, and had a much more relaxing ride today, than she did last March. As in, performed far fewer levades, and capriole's than on her previous outing! Actually, Penny's trusty steed Bug was as perfect as perfect can be.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Happy Anniversary!

A year has passed since I was stricken by the contagious “foxhunt bug”. After a lovely family vacation to NE, I arrived home the night before the 2010 AVH Hunt Clinic. It was one year ago, that my fellow boarders goaded me into signing up for the clinic against my better judgment. I think they each deserve a big 'ole smackaroo in thanks!

I took my new "pink pony" Dudley to the clinic to test the "waters". I ended up with one heck of a blister from asking Mr. Doright to wait & whoa. He was ever enthusiastic and eager to please. Dudley’s quite an athletic little draft cross and after a week off (did I mention I was on vacation) he was more than ready to go, go, go! Hounds bounded off the trailer straight for us... He stood with ears pricked and waited for whatever was to come. Our huntsman blew his horn and off we went. We had about 25 riders up, and had a wonderfully successful day.

This year we had a nice mix of Pony Clubbers and Hunter Pace riders join us. I hope at some point they all decide to give the AVH a try during Cubbing season, as all were lovely riders. It was funny listening to their thoughts and concerns about what goes on in the hunt field... Oh I could have shared some great stories of my first rides (x10) out! The Masters did a stellar job, yet again, explaining hunting etiquette. There were a good number of questions from the audience as we sat around enjoying a splendid tea which was provided by members of the hunt. Katy Matthews did a lovely job organizing a comprehensive and informative clinic.

The following day, Dudley and I headed back to Tiffany Teeter & James Rigney’s, Plum Broke Farm in Stockton, NJ. It’s a perfect venue for Roading, as the area is heavy forest with an umbrella of green over primarily hard packed, quiet country back roads, scattered with spectacular farms. We were expecting the temperature to rise to least 95 degrees, so the shady lanes made for a lovely first day to condition hounds and horses. We were out for just over one hour (40 minutes moving according to my GPS) with an average moving speed of three miles per hour and all horse and rider combinations did very well. Everyone stood quietly at the road “checks” and waited for hounds to move off. The three puppies that joined our English pack for the first time were a bit nervous, but all did VERY well.

I digress, I wish a very Happy Anniversary to all my fellow "Newbies"! I'll say it yet again. I love my extended family and can't wait for the fun filled, action packed, scent laden season to begin!

Tally Ho Y'all!

photo credit: Cathy Evans

Friday, July 2, 2010

Did I forget to mention Hunt Horse 2 & 3

Here are a couple photos of my other two hunt horses.... I hope to travel around this season, so naturally I needed more hunt horses! Here's Maya (8 yr. old TrakhenerX), she came foxhunting one wild and crazy day with her former owner. She took everything in stride and seemed to love being out with the hounds and crowd of horses.

I also purchased a new "all-rounder" to fill in as well. He's an 8 yr. old draft cross. So far he hasn't taken a mis-step or given any indication that he isn't the complete package.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

So many updates... where to begin?

How to summarize the end of my first season? This has been the best year EVER! I’ve been exceptionally blessed throughout my life, and joining the AVH has definitely been the pinnacle thus far. My mare ended the season like a pro, and we both found our “happy place” in the field.

I’ve made lifelong friends and have very much enjoyed the social side of foxhunting. I missed everyone once we were shut down due to bad weather. Although, we didn’t have to work hard to come up with excuses to get together. Sometimes for a group trail ride, sometimes for wine tasting at the vineyard in the Amwell Valley, sometimes a potluck dinner at my place just so we could spend time together.

Not only did I develop close relationships to my fellow hunt members, but I also developed relationships with a few on-line mentors through the Chronicle of the Horse forum. Since I started a “thread” about my new adventures, I’ve made friends from hunts all over the U.S. The dearest of which is Robin Hirst. Twice this year, I've driven down to Virginia to visit Robin, her family and all of her furry four legged creatures. I’m so grateful for the friendship we’ve developed over this past year. Robin and her son Mason, drove up from Virginia last week to spend the weekend with me (along with their horses) so they could participate in the Amwell Valley Hunter Pace. What a blast we had. Robin and Mason received a fourth place in the Family division and Holly and I a 6th place in the Hunt division (we were too busy chatting the entire ride)!

Recently appointed to the Board of Trustees, and I look forward to assisting my hunt in whatever capacity I can. This year has truly made me believer in the saying “You can accomplish anything you set your mind to”. I can’t wait for the upcoming season to begin. Roading is just around the corner and I can not wait.

Now - to find a way to start a livery service so those like me can get a feel for what foxhunting in the Amwell Valley is all about!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Well, we planned on a beach ride.

As hunting is still a no-go for the AVH due to poor ground conditions, I figured we could hit the beach with our local trail association. So, we planned on heading to Island Beach State Park for a glorious ride on 6 miles of open beach. One of my fellow foxhunters had a better idea though. He called the Monmouth County Hunt Club based in Freehold, NJ and inquired if they were hunting. Waaa-hooooo! They too have had limited opportunities to go out and were taking advantage of Mother Nature's generous gift. Invitation was extended and off we went.

I've now been out with four different hunts, in this my first season, and what an education I've received. MCH are a gracious group, and are privileged to hunt from the same location since 1885 when the kennels were built. They have access to both an enormous wildlife area and abundant farm country. MCH hounds, although a crossbred of English & American, had a different appearance from our hounds. The hunting style differed as well. Overall, it was a wonderful experience in a grand territory. I'm hoping to go out with the MCH again before the end of the season if they'll have me.

I must say, that after many weeks of ringwork, my mare was stellar out in the field. I do believe she was better than ever! She stood like a statue at checks watching hound work, and always positioned herself (at least her perky ears) in the direction of hounds. She was soft and happy in the bridle, and we did more moving around within the field than usual (as we were both quite relaxed). We started off hilltopping and moved up to first flight hoping to view houndwork better. Ms. Too-hot-to-trot was happy, happy, happy. If her reaction to foxhunting after a long hiatus is any indication how season two will be - I think I've got it made for season two! I’m crossing fingers and toes.

We're (I'm) actually contemplating Eventing her this summer. She's still overjumping new fences (I try to change it up in the ring DAILY) but she seems to be figuring out her distances better, and not rushing at everything. If only I could get over my anxiety I think we'll be in good shape.

Might have to change or start a new Eventing blog for the summer. Ahhh, can't forget all the Hunter Paces I have on the calendar to keep it interesting. Funny how I didn't mention dressage shows.... We'll see. As a good deal of my schooling this winter has been over BABY fences, and not as much on collection... I think our dressage scores will suffer.. perhaps not.

Happy to report a GREAT day yesterday!

View Monmouth Hunt March 7, 2010. in a larger map

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Still no hunting...

So, conditions still aren't conducive to hunting so we've found alternative ways to enjoy time together. I've arranged weekly gymkhana games, followed by a delectable pot luck lunch.
Here's a link to photos from our last get together
Competitive group we are!

Good thing Ruth didn't spill much... What a waste it would have been. :D

I'm really looking forward to Spring blooming and getting in a few hunts before the season ends.

Happy Hunting to those fortunate enough to enjoy nice weather!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Gators, and Bobcats, and Coyote's - Oh my!

Up north we hunt (chase really) fox... Not so, in the south! It took just over two hours to drive from fixture one to fixture two. Yet, I felt like I was in a different world. The South Creek Foxhounds are based in the Tampa area. They hunt very different territory than the Misty Morning hounds do. After heavy rain, the fixture was a veritable swamp. The forest was dense and with beautiful Spanish Moss hanging from the trees (which the horses consider a delicacy), giving the impression of being in the deep south (which we were) and it was magical to experience.

Again I met an amazing group of people that welcomed me like family. Joint Masters: Rick Michaels, Michael Ferraro, and Barbara Phethean were wonderful hosts. Leslie Fox, of Leslie Fox Stables, kindly rented a WONDERFUL hunt horse to me named Freckles. You weren't kidding Leslie, about her wonderful gaits, but I humbly disagree about her not being able to be left behind... She was a perfect lady when I stayed with one of the SCF members as she remounted. Sergio and Steve were true gentlemen in the field! It was such a pleasure meeting another wonderful group of avid foxhunters.

I wish I had my camera in my pocket to get some photos of 10 year old Maya on her adorable (spunky) pony! What a fine young rider she was! I hope my daughter has half her talent at 10 years old. As I respectfully stayed to the rear of the field, I didn't get to watch hounds hunt as much as I do at home. I was told we were twice on the line of a coyote, and considering the speed we were at, I wouldn't dare argue!

It was a unique experience riding through the swamp. The horses are all so unbelievably sure footed. As we navigated through quite a bit of water at all three gaits, it was impressive to watch horse, rider, and hound work their way about safely. I must say - the SCF sure do know how to put together a "tea"! I wish I could have stayed longer.

Disclaimer - No, I did not see any alligators, and held the question until we were walking back to the trailers.

To both the MMH and SCF, If ANY members are up in my neck of the woods, look me up! I would love to invite you to join me going out with the Amwell Valley Hounds. We foxhunters are a rare and special breed. I am so proud to be a member, and to have now have extended family in the south!

Thank you, thank you, thank you - I will forever remember my first time hunting outside my comfort zone (and territory), and every member of both hunts helped make it an amazing experience!

View South Creek in a larger map