A Long Summer

So there I was, end of the day (a long one, farm stuff and work work and then two hours of maths tutoring) and about to sit down to Love Island and some dodgy gluten- free chocolate pudding… Then I checked my phone and saw that my blog page has reached OVER A THOUSAND LIKES. Now I am well aware that half of them probably hate follow me, but seriously A THOUSAND. Thank you people. Anyway, so with a thousand followers I figured that maybe I should write something new. Hound exercise is not too far ahead, but here are a few of the things we have been getting up to since I last wrote about the Three Counties Bloodhounds closing meet. Scroll down to the very bottom for a photo that will I hope make you all laugh.

Hunt Ballin’

Obviously I’ve been to a few parties, including the Horn and Hound Ball which truly was an AMAZING night. Excellent food, brilliant band, great company. Then I got up the next morning and drove back to Wales to be the “number cloth official” at our point to point.

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South Pembs Hunter Trial

So after a fantastic hunting season and a great schooling round at a local cross country course I thought that it would be a great idea to take Bluey sideways to our smart neighbours’ hunter trials. What could possibly go wrong, I mean, he jumps beautifully behind hounds so…. About as good an idea as trying out new underwear under tight breeches, a long day’s hunting, and a fresh Brazilian. If I said that at one point a group of Pony Clubbers ran away from me, their ringleader shouting “The lady riding side saddle, her horse is MAD” you may get the correct assumption. Mission aborted.

Smash

After S Pembs I looked at alternative options, and so took Bluey astride to the Tivyside hunter trials. E#1 and I had a great pairs round in the intermediate, flying around and finishing in mutual agreement to do the same in the open class. Our former chairman gave some Badminton- worthy commentary, omitting to mention that this may have been the First Time Ever that a Horse and Hound cover star (E#1) and a Country Life frontispiece (me) competed in the pairs competition at a Welsh hunter trials.

Again we were going well, looking forward to the challenges ahead, when we came to a simple rail. Bluey stopped and hit me in the face, a little daze I turned him around and made another attempt. This time he cat leapt it, and I landed arse first on the concrete- like ground. For a while I lay on the floor and shook, which apparently looked like I was having convulsions. Quite the good look. Bluey had pulled up straight away and the stewards had come over to find out what had happened. The ground was VERY HARD, and I was having a nice lie down, trying to figure out whether I could stand up when a car pulled up, bearing the First Aider and Tivyside who were I think checking if they needed to file a disaster report (“well- known local side saddle rider dies of shame trying to jump small rail”).

“Let’s take you back in the car and your friend can hack back your horse.”

“No, hang on, I can stand up, can I get back on or is this like the South Pembs and I have to retire?”

“You can get back on, but…”

“I’m fine, come on give me a leg.”

So poor Bluey was reeled around, I found my silk and whip, and the First Aider legged me back on. We went around the course, missing out a few fences when the magnitude of my injury started to manifest. After loading the horses up and collecting a pair of “special” rosettes we had some drinks and the hunt doctor signed us both up for the inter hunt relay team.

Those of you with a keen knowledge of West Wales geography will know that Carmarthenshire is a long windy drive from Tivyside country and so it was a bit uncomfortable driving home. After putting Bluey away I had a lift to A&E and was told that my coccyx was broken.

“It will hurt for very long time. There is nothing I can do. Take paracetamol and maybe find cushion with hole in the middle.”

“Ah okay.”

“And you were kicked in the face?”

“No, I’m naturally this ugly. If I was kicked in the face I would probably look better.”

Anna Pays Her Hunt Subs 

I think I left you with some vague sentiment about where I would invest my subs this season. Obviously my English portion went to the Croome and West Warwickshire (via monthly instalments, because I’m trying to do the adult thing of buying a house, and so am making cashflow management decisions). In Wales there was slightly more choice, although I had to rule out the Vale of Clettwr because I think I once referenced them as the Vale of Clit-wr-is and so can never hunt with them. Anyway my decision was made for me by a Tivyside subscriber who firmly told me “You’re one of us now” and then at the hunter trials I was thrust into a hunt polo shirt. Besides, Tivyside subscribers get a car sticker and no one else was offering that level of stash. And, as you can tell from my previous reports, I like this hunt.

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Photo by Vicki Freeman

Inter Hunt Relaying

We made two attempts at inter hunt relay, dosed up to my eyeballs on co-codamol (thank you GP) and homeopathic remedies (thank you organic client with skills in alternative medicine) and were eliminated both times. After the second I realised that Bluey had a bad back rather than being an idiot, and he has since seen an osteopath and is back jumping with enthusiasm and a small amount of nerves. We are due to make another attempt next week. Maybe side saddle. Watch this space.

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Modelling

Last month I teamed up with the immensely talented Justin Harris and we shot some images with Bluey. Here are the two that have been edited and disseminated. LOOK HOW PRETTY THE SKY IS. Have a Google and seriously consider using him if you want your wedding or something photographed. I’m ugly as hell and he makes me look a solid 5/10.

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Half Marathon

I may not be from Ceredigion (the county of tight people), but I was still loathe to waste £30 entry that I paid for Swansea Half Marathon. So on zero training I went there and ran the whole bloody thing, at one point being sprayed with water by a man in a Donald Trump mask. IT WAS FUN. Go and run one guys, do it.

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That’s it for now, super excited to get going on the hound exercise reports. I’m also currently sitting on some super duper exciting news which is going to result in the Downton Abbey Christmas Special of write ups. You have been warned.

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Here you are 😛