Our Boxing Day meet is up there in my top five meets of the season. Horses are getting really fit, the going is usually pretty good and my confidence is at a comfortable level. There is so much excitement following the celebrations of the previous day and social media really is starting to promote our sport, which adds to the excitement. Plus I usually get one or two “hunting” presents that I am bursting to try out.
Sara has great knowledge and it’s really worth contacting her for anything horsey from hunting to showing. Her web site is www.totalimpactequestrian.com, if you don’t see what you are looking for give her a call. She has a Facebook page too.
We arrive about 11.30am, as we pulled in the familiar site of the hounds poking their noses through the grills greeted us on our right. The field had around twenty trailers already parked up. The lorries were filling up the hard standing area too. There were so many cars parked up, footfollowers were emerging and it looked busy with activities. I quickly unloaded the car, said hello to many friends and fellow riders. Before I knew it, I had to get Tilly tacked up. The time always goes so quickly. I stopped at one point, it must have been about midday and the trailers and lorries were streaming down the driveway to enter the field. They just kept coming..
I realised at this point that I needed to get a move on and it was going to be a huge field. Kirstie was walking around with her green bag, collecting field money and I didn’t envy her. So many people to collect from. I saw AVO and Mark had mounted and were making their way to the meeting point. I couldn’t see much more from my trailer as there was a sea of horses and footfollowers. Susie Moorhouse kindly gave me a leg up and I was on. I made my way over to join in. Mulled wine and sausages were being served as a Boxing Day treat to all. Andrew Groom very kindly passed me a Port.
Footfollowers were called, our time was drawing closer. The horn was blown and the hounds set off. We shortly followed. I felt my chest almost puff out. I felt excited, proud to be drag hunting, proud to be riding my beautiful mare, proud that my mare and I were heading off together as team. I felt slightly anxious too, I always do for the first line. But it’s a nice anxious feeling.
We quickly crossed the road and trotted alongside the picturesque Hawley Lake. The first line was all through woodland with the going well and only sticky in a few areas.
We had our first tumbler; a gorgeous looking grey lost their rider and decided to carry on without them. Fortunately, we weren’t too far from the footfollowers first viewing point of us jumping at Hawely Lake. Jamie Wright tried unsuccessfully to catch the grey; this horse was just to fast for him! Then Jamie was face with another grey charging towards him without a rider. It caused much confusion as the foot followers though it was the same loose grey, only it had shrunk!!! This grey belonged to our second tumbler and boy did this horse dump his rider well. Face down in a muddy, wet boggy patch. The poor rider was covered. I’ve never seen a rider so muddy. He did take it very well and was smiling. Thankfully both riders were unhurt and reunited with their horses.
The flash of mobile phones taking selfies were even more popular on this day.
The second line was through woodland with lots of jumps on option. Tilly and I certainly had our jumping bug fix on Boxing Day; I think her new bridal and my hunting whip had something to do with it! Luckily on the second line all riders stayed on their horses with no more tumbles. The second line soon came to an end however; the third line was across fields, which was perfect to let the horse have a good gallop before the end of the day.
One of my favourite parts of the day was when Chris Milton and I jumped the last jump side by side! I think Tilly and Jolly enjoyed it as much as Chris and I!
Thanks to everyone that helped the day happen and to the landowners that gave their permission for us to cross.
By Ellie Simpson-Ball
Photos courtesy of DigitalPicy
Blogger; Ellie Simpson-Ball
All Enquiries to the Hunt Secretary: email@example.com
Web design by Andie firstname.lastname@example.org | Website sponsored by DigitalPicy
The SC & RMAS Draghunt Limited, Registered Company No. 7276827, is a Not For Profits Limited Company
Sandhurst Draghunt © 2017 | All Rights Reserved