Saturday, 23 October 2010

Melodrama, anyone?

Took Angel out hunting today, Richard took Felix...Andy sensibly stayed at home.   While I was tacking up the horses the rain was HAMMERING on the roof of the barn, so hard that even Felix rolled his eyes as if to say "Are we really going out in that?!".

Off we go - still so dark that even after unboxing we needed headlights on the horses, let alone the vehicles, and I couldn't take my eyes off the purple-black storm clouds which were rapidly approaching.  Hounds ran beautifully, despite everything, and luckily we were cracking on so kept fairly warm, but after an hour or so it got really melodramatic.   Literally, the huntsman cantered past down a valley towards a gate accompanied by rumbles of thunder and bolts of lightning - it was like being in a bad play!

Poor Angel was a star - unfazed by yet more thunder and lightning as we crossed onto a huge open field(!) with not a scrap of shelter, not a hedge, not a tree, not a hillock for miles around - what joy...It was nearly as black as night, and I was wondering what happened when you were struck by lightning in the middle of the moor - did you vapourise or did they have to come back for the body?  If it warmed you up it might be a bonus...

The master's comment was "You're all right, at least you haven't got shoes on" - another unforeseen benefit of barefoot is apparently that you can ride in lightning, if you really want to :-0  I wouldn't recommend it, however...There was worse to come, as the rain at that point turned to hail - very hard, very big hailstones, no shelter, riding a thin-skinned Dutch Warmblood who is fully clipped and who is trying to tell you that hailstones hard on the bottom really, really sting.  I knew because they really, really sting your ears, face and neck as well...

To his eternal credit, and bless his cotton socks, he didn't throw his toys out of the pram, scream and leave, (though I suspect he was thinking why, oh why did I emigrate from the land of indoor schools and lovely sheltered arenas to this god-forsaken arctic region...) as he would have been well within his rights to do, and he did work out after a minute or so that pacing round actually made it worse, best to just stand, bum to the wind, being drenched in icy hail :-(  Meanwhile, Richard said, the hounds had formed themselves into a communal ball, in the shelter of the huntman's horse, and looked exactly like a group of penguins during a polar storm!

And all this before 10am....Still, any day out hunting is a good day ;-)


jenj said...

Sounds like you should've stayed home with the horses well rugged and had another mug of tea... in front of the fire, and with the foxhound puppies at your feet!

Ah well, the things we do... makes for a good story at least!

Nic Barker said...

Ah, but the tea tasted better once we got home and dry :-) With a dry pair of trousers I could take on the world ;-)