Friday, 26 February 2016
Tomorrow We Hunt
The local hunt - hunting on horseback - comes through the estate. Though hunting foxes is outlawed, it's perfectly OK to let the hounds follow a scent trail laid down by the huntsman. This benefits the riders too, as a purposely-laid trail takes in nice scenery, easy canters, and a series of log jumps. The fox is less interested in providing a nice day's ride for his pursuers.
Tomorrow the hunt is meeting at this estate, and Mike and I have not only been invited by the MFH (Master of Foxhounds) but loaned two fit hunting horses. Mike will be riding Bruce, from the MFH's stables, and I will be riding Dai, a small Welsh Section D. He belongs to Mike's employers. I rode Dai out yesterday as per request of the groom. I think she wanted to assess my riding ability, and I can't blame her. I guess I passed because I'm riding him tomorrow.
Riding isn't the problem; cobbling together a hunting suit was the issue. There are serious dress requirements for a day "in the field" but the very basics are: beige jodhpurs, white collared shirt / tie, and hacking jacket. I have some beige jodpurs, but they are plain. Essentially stretch pants with knee patches. The only white shirt I can find in my cupboard is linen, but it has a collar and with a bit of starch, it should pass. I found my 20 year old showing tie at the bottom of my steamer truck full of tack and horse sundries. It's brown with pictures of jumping horses. It was never in fashion, so it can never go out, right?
The only tweed jacket that's suitable is a hand-me-down from my sister, Ralph Lauren collection circa 1990. The jacket has got tighter with age and my spreading farm muscles. The moths have also taken their cut of the cloth, but I darned the worst holes. It will look fine as long as I'm galloping by anyone looking at it.
My black showing boots have been re-soled so many times that they no longer fit my feet, so I have to wear my brown workaday ones. Mike's only has his wellies, and he had to borrow a riding helmet.
My boots are polished and my clothing laid out. I have made sure that I laid out mismatching underwear because, as everyone knows, you can't go to hospital unless you have clean, matching underwear. Therefore, I cannot get hurt because I cannot go to the hospital. With mismatching underwear..
It makes sense.