Hunting + lots of jumps = happiness

In the beginning I really didn’t understand why Allie kept thinking Dixie was worth the big money. I mean surely he is a nice horse but why in the heck would people pay that much for a nice hunt horse. Now I totally get it ;D

Headed out at O’Neals at 11am. It was 34 degrees with 30mph wind gusts making it feel much colder. Dixie is just so calm about everything and instead of getting more anxious because he knows what is going on he has found his inner zen. He never jigs even when all the other horses do. As we headed off to cast the hounds we were riding through the open fields and the wind blew the horses sideways. It was blowing so hard it was almost unbelievable how hard it hit you. Not to mention the sand was kicking up and getting in our eyes.

I was excited to be back at this fixture because there are lots of jumps and last time I did not do that many because I wanted to take it easy with Dixie. I figured today we would allow him to show his stuff. I started out 4th in first flight. I believe there were eight of us in first field and 28 riders total but don’t quote me on that. I was suprised to see that many people as I seriously considered not going b/c I can do cold but cold + high gusty winds make me a whimp. I figured I should toughen up after all if I am going to call myself a fox hunter cutting out due to high winds is not a good enough excuse.

We started out slow but the pace picked up as we went on. The interesting thing about riding at this fixture is that you are in the woods riding on paths were you are mostly single file but sometimes you can ride double. The jumps leave enough room to go around and there are a good variety of logs, coops and other types of jumps. Midway through a good run there was somebody in front of us riding a bit slow. The girl immediately in front of me who is also on a big striding Tb passed her as we were coming across jumps and her horse was hard to hold and the other horse was so slow. Once she passed I was not sure what I was allowed to do?? I could package Dixie up and make him canter really slow but we were way behind the front three riders so I decided to pass. I have read that if somebody is moving slower then the rest of the group it is okay to pass so around I went. I did ask the fieldmaster if what I did was okay and she said absolutely you always want to keep up with the group and if somebody is riding to slow they should move back.

At one point in time were were going down this trail that was not cut back. I had some thoughts going through my mind that I was going to get t-boned by a tree and knocked off my horse. I ride one of the tallest horses in the group and I was ducking and getting smacked by trees. I will say one thing which is Dixie is the most agile and bendable horse you could ask for. I just shift one way and he moves right over. He does his best to make sure I keep my kneecaps attached. Gotta love him for that. I was glad when we were off that trail as it was seriously wild riding. That is where being able to really ride comes into handy b/c I was all over that horse doding trees at the gallop and there were times I was flat on his neck just letting him do his thing.

My favorite thing about the whole day was riding Dixie over the jumps. We must have jumped 20+ fences. There was one trail we were on that had six or so coops and they were big coops. I see the jumps and I do balance him up a bit to let him see what is coming but he handled everything with ease. How funny that Mr. I can’t canter jumps while in the ring jumped easily from the canter. He was so confident and boy is he easy to ride over a jump. Soft mouth, never speeds up, always gets to the base and pats the ground softly on both sides but does not rush away from the jumps even if the other horses are a bit in front of him.

He is one class act and I can truly say if he was mine he would not be for sale. I have a full understanding of why people pay good money for a hunt horse and I think Dixie is a horse that is worth a big price tag. I know he will go in 2nd field to and I am sure I will ride back there if I bring a guest along but I like the fast pace for now.

He was so relaxed today and seemed to get why we would stop to stand. He did not even have one moment today where he got anxious and I think he finally got the big picture.

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