Opening Hunt is this weekend. I know a lot of my readers are scratching their heads with a “huh?” expression on their faces, but for us foxhunters, Opening Hunt is a big deal. There’s the blessing of the hounds, the stirrup cup (God, I love port), all the horses with their braided manes and tails, their neatly clipped fur – it’s like falling into a time warp and experiencing a bit of history. Except instead of riding side-saddle with twenty petticoats and a huge skirt, I’m in pants with several flasks full of booze, hoping I can stay on my pony while astride.
No, we seldom catch the fox. Honestly we don’t want to. Chasing foxes is great sport and we want a wily one to live to play another day. So we don’t hunt with terriers that will go down the den after a fox that’s run to ground. We don’t shoot a tree’d fox. We just chase them, and 99.9% of the time, they easily elude us.
Last year, I paid one of my fellow foxhunters to clip my horses, and she did an amazing job. This year, I was determined to try it myself, so I purchased the clippers recommended by my friend and showed up at the stable with a six-pack of beer in tow for our clipping party.
“Wow,” my friend Marie exclaimed upon seeing my clippers. “What the heck did you buy?”
“The Andis. I told them I wanted the big ones that could do a full clip on a horse or cattle.”
She looked at her clippers, then at mine that were easily double the size. Suddenly I felt like John Holmes at a nudist beach. “Umm, are these too big?”
“Well, you’ll certainly get the job done.”
And I did. My pony Punch (who I gave a nod to in Angel of Chaos) was amazing. I crawled all over him with buzzing clippers, hacking away at the thick forest of fur that coated his body. It took me three hours to do a trace clip, and I’ll admit it isn’t the neatest job ever. Still, I’m proud of how awesome it looks. Clipped, Punch is two-toned – a bay roan on top, and a gray on the bottom. He’s the cutest damned pony ever.
And after, I vacuumed him. With a shop vac. Then I went home and raced into the shower because I had little bits of pony fuzz all over me. It had somehow gotten down into my bra, and I burst through the front door announcing to my sweetie that my boobs itched like an MF.
Fingers crossed that I manage to not fall off this Sunday. It would suck to have my lovely black jacket mussed, and I want to make sure I’m fit for the incredible tailgate post-hunt.