aiken hunting etc

riding out of the meet with Whiskey Road hounds, thursday

bad Ranger

good Ranger

just as we left the meet, reached the first big field, and one of the whips went to jump out of the field over a mid-sized coup, and took a departure from his horse, ending up on the opposite side of the jump than his horse. here we are regrouping

still regrouping, christa, jen, calvin, and a whiskey road member


we spent a lot of time walking and chatting. calvin demonstrating his backwards riding skills.

Ranger showin some love

"dear calvin, please give me some of your almonds, i promise ill be good for christa if you do! love, ranger

the boat swallowing bog. curious how it got there.

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the most treacherous footing i've ever ridden on. in a forest actively being logged, to the sweet sounds of trees being bulldozed

still walking

 Well. needless to say, i had plenty of time to take photos this first day of hunting. though it certainly seemed  like a crazy fast and exciting hunt compared to the one we participated in on friday.

Maybe i am being a little too harsh. It was beautiful, and i have never been through so many different ecosystems as we hunted through on thursday. (except for a trek from san jose over the mountains to the rainforest when i visited costa rica last winter, but that was different i suppose)

We started out in the tundra, huge open fields, brown and sparse. Then we rode through the desert, huge sand dunes, low brush, pine trees of the gnarly variety and sun warming us. Then we went on to ride through a few highly wooded areas one of which being a very maine-like forest that was in the process of being logged. That was a crazy experience.... all the logs were covering the ground, and by covering i mean there was no way for the horses to step on the ground, only tree trunks, and they were slippery and unstable. I was commenting to one of the other folks out hunting that it was the craziest footing i have ever ridden on, and he said, "Oh. When they are on a run, they will gallop through here." like it was no big deal.
Then we picked up a trot up a hill and around the turn, i thought it was curtains for springer and i. Oi. Down on a knee with one front leg basically sticking out between his hind legs. thankfully he has some sense of self preservation and got us out of the sticky situation. Hopefully I will never have to do that again. That was scary.

Anyway. Hunting is always an experience. That. Is for sure.

kitten rehab

I arrived home last night around 8 or soon there after.

Today and tomorrow we recuperate, and the jen and i return to work on wednesday, hopefully much refreshed after our long drive yesterday. I woke up this morning with a charlie horse in my calf from driving, and a stiff body to match. I tossed around the idea of a yoga class, but i felt that since there was a good one tomorrow mid day, i would save the hard work for tomorrow and do some serious strtching and relaxation, settling in, and kitty-lovin today. and so i have....

i must say, its must easier to stretch when there are no kittens climbing on you, though zilla did the most spectaular thing today. while in bound angle pose, he lept up into the space between my arm pit and hip, sticking his head into my neck, and stayed put. it was genius kitty-yoga work on his part.

anyway. its nice to be home, but not having had ANY free time for the last three weeks has left me with out any idea of how to occupy myself for the next day and a half. though i am grateful i got to sleep in past 6 and got to lie in bed without waiting for an alarm to go off, kittens curled in the crook of my knees.

i think, as the weather is nice, i shall try and go for a stroll, get a tea at the coffee shop, and hope my internal upset-ness goes away before the next meal time .

doing five hundred loads of laundry and reclaiming the disaster that is my dresser.
-stay posted for photos. promise.


a little video snack time

To tide ya'll over until i can stay awake long enough to load some more photos, here is a video i took while hunting today. We went out with the Aiken hounds in the Hitchcock woods, which is one of the largest in-city parks in the U.S. or  so we've been told.

The hounds were beautiful though there was one in particular who had wonky legs, or atleast when he ran, it was a miracle they all ended up touching the ground before his snout for his crazy leg-flinging lope seemed a bit less energy efficient than any other creature's movements, ever. I mean, he had a seriously crazy way of running.

anyway, it was a super fast and super fun drag today, jumping loads of jumps, including cathedral row, which is a series of brush jumps that were originally built to train/ school steeplechase horses over.

It was really fun.

wait, did i mention it was fun?
first "kill"

second "kill"

a slightly out of focus christa and springer

cause it definitely was.

note: all these photos are from today, saturday, our last day of hunting.... the other ones will go up hopefully sooner rather than later. but i need my z's right now.


whiskey road

today we went hunting with whiskey road, and there were plenty of clay sad roads, and definitely not enough whiskey for my sore bum after the almost 5 hours of hunting we did today that consisted of mostly walking. and not walking as in the most beautiful area i've ever seen in my whole life walking, but walking through woods and clay-sand dunes that looked identical for hours, trying, trying and trying to get a scent.

much to the hounds avail.

but, it was fun. we took four/six horses and jumped a couple little coups. it was fun. and exaughsting. but we go again tomorrow, so i guess we will just cross our fingers and go to bed, hoping tomorrow brings a bit of runig and leaping and running and leaping.

stay tuned for photos tomorrow.


photos from days reciently past

man. what a day. an easy one, not too much riding, but everything took 3x longer than it should have, however, it ended with a black cat waiting outside of the inn for us.... slinking around my ankles. nothing better in the whole world that a beautiful black cat appearing to show you that things are going your way.

 i never have been one to assume negative after such an encounter, adn you figure that when the rest of the world thinks witches are bad alng with their black cats, then wehn you are one, well. then. you see where this is going.

i have been feeling a little out of touch with my other side lately, needing to get in touch with the world around, and then the black cat, the peacocks parading around the property where the horses are stabled, and the beauty of the woods around there, the ground covered in moss, the trees tall and strong, mostly evergreens, growing to the sun defying gravity and the sand they root down in.

it is a beautiful place here. i really is. a lesson in adjustments, letting your eye figure out where the differences are, and appreciating what is around you for what it is. i hope to beable to post some photos of the beautiful little scenes creating themselves around the farm and around this inn we are staying win, which has all the charm. all the charm. it's lovely.


    let me preface this photo entry with the note that it is a crazy mash up of the last few days.... there are a dozen or so photos that i will also put up at some point that have little anecdotes to go along with them about the little things that slipped through the framework of "the bigger picture"

this first photo is one of those... on the way to hunting with Live Oak for the second time, this store caught my eye, as i was the back seat commentary provider and let me tell you. this one certainly got some squeals from Missy and Jen. although its not the greatest photo i've ever taken, it certainly has some nice qualities :)

after the second huge rainstorm we had, with tornado warnings and all, the grass suddenly grew like crazy, and turned the landscape into huge swaths of greish brown, and neon green. this is the view out of the back of the barn the horses stayed in.

keeping the horses fully drugged happy and pain free. happy is of course referring to the treats

our two doggie roomates in ocala. jamie and riley

using classic suitcase -closing-style

this is the inn we are staying at in Aiken. it's incredibly old, and has quite a bit of charm including a few doors that dont stay closed and a number of original architectural details.

to dinner to dinner to eat like a hog.(both of us obviously)

home again home again to fall asleep like a baby in a bog. or something. the rhyming needs a little work i suppose.

a dessert menu i pan to sample from every day we are here

the road into the farm where the horses are stabled while in Aiken.

it pains springer to give kisses.

the bog on the side of the drive into the farm, across from the riding arena

riding arena with pony sized jumps just out of view.

on our morning walk

i really love wyntons troll doll hair style. its so effortless.

a pasture i would retire in

two of many peacocks roaming the property

afternoon nap time

lunch brought these into our lives. jen received the top one, and i the bottom. hmmm.

a nice finish to another long day. thanks c&c.

and now, yet again, the clock has crept by without me realizing how much time has pasted.
hunting tomorrow with whiskey road.
hoping to have a fun day with four of our horses out. a black cat was waiting outside for jen and i when we went to finish at the barn this  evening, so i think things should go our way tomorrow. mmmm good luck omens.


101th post.

yup. turns outs i have a bunch to write about. but only sometimes.

and right now... its pissing rain and whipping the trees around like she wished they would all rip out of the ground and make us run around like ants without a trail.

seriously missing having my own space... to do anything. missing my helen. and my stupid snuggly kittens. definitely not missing the cold weather/snow/ice. but missing my alone time like it was a pet that died (at the weirdest times and in a super intense kind of way which makes me feel like i might spontaneously implode)

the end.


hunting with live oak. round 2

missy being a ham 

we all were practicing our stretches starting about 2 hours into the hunt

we chased two bobcats today. lesson: bobcats are no fun to chase.

waiting in the sun makes for good photos. i swear the boys were having fun despite their faces....

missy attempting to keep hunter still with an ear rub while i took photos.
he had ants in his pants the whole 4 hours we were out

the award winning hounds

Today was slower than last sunday.... we spent a little too much time chasing bobcats, and unfortunately, didnt get to see one. despite the slower pace, we still all had a blast, and of course Springer was the most well behaved of our boys. Ranger was just happy to be out.... and perhaps a little bored at times, and Hunter seemed to think it was his job to be the jokester, nibbling any horse within range, tugging at their reins and or ears when we were standing around (though only his two pals of course), and generally having fun spinning circles whenever i got my camera out, just to make everything a little blurry. we all were hoping for a good coyote run, but they made us promise to come back next year and they would provide.... wink wink.

But, as always, the weather was perfect with a little nip in the air to start and the scenery was just stunning.
and we couldn't have asked for a sweeter, more jovial crowd of folks to take us out on a nice long four hour ride.