Amwell Valley Hounds - Opening Day

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

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

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Definitely NOT a drag!

Wow, yesterday was one amazing day! I was fortunate enough to procure two invitations from different foxhunts in Florida. Both were so very different, and equally enjoyable. I feel blessed to have taken the chance trying something new, and expanding my extended family!

I'll start with my morning outing with the Misty Morning Hounds:
I woke up at 4:00 after three hours sleep, (went out to an amazing seafood restaurant with hubby, family and a few colleagues.)got dressed in the dark, and left the hotel dressed in my cubbing attire (as suggested by both masters). I hit the road before 5:00 am, and arrived at the Perry Plantation, home of Alexis and Walter Macaulay (Joint Masters of the MMH) as the sun was rising. As I slowly followed Alexis up the driveway I was awestruck at how beautiful her farm is. Gorgeous open fields with cross country jumps scattered across, and the main home reminded me a bit of the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC.

Having arrived so early, Alexis invited me to follow her around as she prepped everything for the days' hunt. I spent time in the kennels, helped tack up, and met the staff... Still not sure who my COTH friend is... Yeagermiester, you forgot to introduce yourself as my COTH contact :D ... I was a bit nervous doing a drag hunt for the first time, but felt confident that I was in good hands. I met such a wonderful group of ladies. It was 34 degrees, (yes, here in Florida)so, a bit of Port was necessary to warm things up. Alexis, it was such a pleasure to meet and talk to your mother. I could have listened to her stories all day! Everyone was so welcoming. As I'm horrible with names (unless it's attached to four legs and a tail) I'd like to thank the group as a whole for a wonderful outing. I would have loved to spend the day getting to know everyone better. Marsha-Marsha-Marsha, Adrian, Barbara, Susan, Katie... I can't wait to come back and ride with everyone again.

On to the drag: Alexis filled me in on the logistics of drag hunting and I got to watch our "fox" take off and lay scent. Duke, my first flight mount was the epitome of a gentleman, and graciously carried me in the second field as I wanted to take a few minutes to get to know him before I moved up. Yes, he was disappointed as first flight would gallop past, but did his job with aplomb. We were both rewarded to a couple of good gallops, when I finally had the confidence to move up to first flight. I believe the hounds had three "kills" yesterday, and are all fine representatives of the American Foxhound breed. AVH hounds would be soooo jealous if they saw the digs their southern brothers got to enjoy!

Wow, what a great way to start a beautiful day! Thank you again ladies for your company and great sportsmanship. Alexis, if I had room in my barn, I'd scoop Duke up and put him in my suitcase!

View Misty Morning Hounds in a larger map

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Well that was interesting!

I thought today would be even better than the last couple of outings... Oh, was I wrong. Perhaps it was the barrage of gunfire that had my mare a bit "UP", but she wasn't quite as steady on her feet as she's been. So, I decided to back out early. All in all, it was a great day (any day out with the AVH is a great day) and I'm glad I went. I wish I had time this morning to prepare a dish for the pot luck, but getting the barn done at 6:00, church at 8:00, and leave the farm at 9:00, didn't leave time for much else.

I must admit, I completely forgot to turn on my mapping application - so no google map this outing. Didn't forget the helmet cam though!

Packing tonight (including saddle, cubbing jacket and field boots, along with t-shirts and shorts) and heading to sunny Florida tomorrow. I'm planning on going out with the Misty Morning Hounds on Wednesday morning, and the South Creek Foxhounds the same afternoon. I'm sure I'll suffer later in the day, but a couple of Margarita’s and a good book and hopefully I'll be ready to spend the following day volunteering at the Little Everglades CDE just a short drive from Orlando. I won't forget to pack my full length gown for the black tie affair on Friday night, as it's a mystery whether or not there will be bruising to hide from Wednesday!

I'll keep you posted. If I remember all my gear, I'll download video/map from FLA!

January 24, 2010 - AVH at Unionville Vineyard from Joanne Pelosi on Vimeo.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

All dressed up and no where to go - or so I thought.

After washing the trailer, cleaning tack and giving my horse a bath, today's hunt was canceled. Understandable, as an inch of rain fell a couple of days ago. One of the hunt members called me and invited me out for a trail ride. OF COURSE I want to go! Considering it was a 5 minute trailer ride to his farm - how could I say no. Holly (one of my boarders and fellow newbie) and I tacked up, loaded and headed down the street.

The weather was great, footing OK, and boy did we have fun. I did more jumping out today, than I've done the entire season with the hunt. I'll get up to first flight yet!

Here's the google map of today's adventure:
View Brian's in a larger map

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Thank goodness for the 10 second heatwave!

Yesterday I spent the day washing things... Trailer, dog, horse, kids... It didn't last long, but I was able to work outside sans jacket for half the day. Cleaned & oiled tack today, and can't wait to go out again tomorrow. Spent too much time cleaning the barn this morning to get down to walk out with the hounds. Just grabbed my AVH directory out of the truck and started thumbing through it. There's a list of all the AVH hounds, and I think my next project will be adding a photo of each hound to go along with the list.

I try and get out to walk with the hounds once a week and add a couple of names to my short list of easily identifiable dawgs. To date (off the top of my head) here's who I recognize straight off: Barley, Harry, Diver, Jogger, Heku, Nettle, Cobweb, Spotlight, Spokesman, Lola. Not a large list considering there are approximately 50 hounds in the kennel. I'll get there - slowly but surely.

Monday, January 18, 2010

January 17, 2010 - AVH at Big Sky Farm

It feels so good to be back out again. We were all hoping for a heatwave, and praying that the rain would hold off. Oh well. Temperature was in the 30's and the rain held off for about 15 minutes. All in all, it was a good outing. It was a better scent day than the 13th and we put at least one to ground.

AVH at Big Sky Farm - January 17, 2010 from Joanne Pelosi on Vimeo.

View Big Sky in a larger map

January 13, 2010 - AVH at Now or Never Farm

The name of the fixture said a lot regarding my trepidation going out on frozen footing for the first time. Not having hunted in WAY too many weeks - the answer was "It's now or never!". So off we went. Despite trappy footing, everyone had a great day out. Scent wasn't great, but as long as we all make it home safely, what more could I ask for.

AVH Hunt at Now or Never Farm 1 13 2010 from Joanne Pelosi on Vimeo.

View Now Or Never in a larger map
Google map:
View Now Or Never in a larger map
Total Distance: 10.38 km (6.5 mi)
Total Time: 1:58:36
Moving Time: 1:10:22
Average Speed: 5.26 km/h (3.3 mi/h)
Average Moving Speed: 8.85 km/h (5.5 mi/h)
Max Speed: 30.19 km/h (18.8 mi/h)
Min Elevation: 28 m (92 ft)
Max Elevation: 66 m (216 ft)
Elevation Gain: 195 m (641 ft)
Max Grade: 3 %
Min Grade: -2 %
Recorded: Wed Jan 13 10:46:36 EST 2010
Posted by pmfarm at 10:57 PM

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