On Sunday I went out with the Readyfield Bloodhounds for the very first time! Bloodhounds don't and never have hunted animals, instead they hunt what is known as "the clean boot" what this means is they have a runner who sets off around 20 minuts beforehand, and we get to track him down. Apparently they don't need new ones 'that' often... haha!
I had grown up hearing tales of fabulous fast days out with the bloodhouds and it being mums favourite hunt, so to me it was a bit of a household legend. Mum has a photo of when she and Salazar had crossed a river, and I had always dreamed that I would one day have a picture like that. When I heard the meet was at Edwinstowe,the place the photo was taken I knew I had to go! We were going on the same track my mum did all those years ago, which meant that maybe I would get my picture taken in the river!
As I entered the field where all the people that had paid go, I was confused to see people trotting round! But I needn't have panicked, because it was only a warm up. Just before we set off, someone told me that my flash was undone and I nearly had a heart attack, thinking that the hunt would leave without me!!! Just in time I had it done up and with that the horns blew, hounds started singing my heart was thundering and we were off! We set off immediately in trot, almost straight away jumping logs, fences and hedges, now I undetstood why people warmed up first! I stayed near the front most of the time, chatting, (like I do) and generally having a ball and in between finding that Zhak was just as excited as I felt and was a little stronger than normal. He was such a good boy though and was flying over everything. It wasn't an optional jumping day so we were expected to jump all of the fences. There was some pretty big ones as they were all 3ft or more of solid fence, but the going was great and the fences were lovely. Somebody put a lot of effort into making it just brilliant.
I got worried that it was already over when we pulled back up onto the field we had started in, but it was only to give the horses a well earned break(and for the adults to have some port!!!) and before we knew it, we were off again!
When we finally reached the river, we had to wait for some time before crossing while they made sure the hounds were all safelyacross. My turn was over to quickly, seeing as Zhak thought he would just, you know, canter across a RIVER! We were splashed all over but I was so happy to see the photographer there and my mum managed to film it and take photos at the same time. I have a multi tasking mum, she's cool.
After the river there were only 2 more fences then we hacked back to the lorries. When we got there, mum pointed out that Zak had lost a shoe at one point and had a little cut his leg. I got off straight away feeling bad, but luckily we'd been on grass most of the way back, and we'd taken it steadyso he wasn't lame. We cleaned him up and administered first aid, but Zhak was only interested in settling down warm and cozy in his rug with a lovely haynet to munch on.
I thought my legs might have shattered though, I could hardly walk! But mum and I just had to go into the main house and sample some of the famous pie and peas that I'd also heard about so many times. It was delicious (I even ate peas!!!), and how friendly and welcoming was everyone? It certainly finished the day off prefectly.
All in all an epic day! Would recommend to anyone! There are videos on my You Tube channel and loads more pics on my Facebook page both Alanna Clarke Equestrian.
Oh and I got my photo, it's brilliant, thanks to Emmelleff photography.