Courtesy of Bill Gamble
Opening meet heralds the start of foxhunting
There was a distinct whiff of Brigadoon in the air early Saturday morning with a fog bank hanging over the Genesee River and the golden dome of Geneseo’s courthouse bathed in sunlight as the Genesee Valley Hunthounds, staff, and subscribers made their way down Main Street to celebrate the opening of the formal foxhunting season.
In fact, the hunting season began in early July with the cub hunting season when young hounds are being trained by their elders, young foxes are being encouraged to find their own territories upon leaving their home dens, new hunting mounts are learning the ins and outs of hurry up and wait, riders are (re)familiarizing themselves with the territory, and all are becoming physically conditioned for the fall season of galloping over hill and dale in pursuit of the wily fox or coyote.
This occasion is the only time during the year that the hunt starts out from the Wadsworth Homestead at the south end of the Village of Geneseo and heads north into the Senator’s Woods on the Hartford House estate at the north end of Main Street.
Upon my return home after watching the wonderful assortment of horses and riders pass, and hearing that rare sound of so many shod hooves on the pavement, I was hanging laundry on the line and had the further treat of hearing the exuberant music of hounds at full cry ringing across the Valley in the still morning air. “Such sweet thunder!” (Hippolita in Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream)
Fear not, those of you who think otherwise, the occasions where foxes or coyotes receive more than a bit of exercise are extremely rare.
The point is to observe how well the hounds are able to sort out the vagaries and mysteries of scent and tracking, and try to be a good enough rider on a good enough horse to go wherever the day may take you.
Foxhunting will continue three days a week until cold and poor footing bring an end to the season, so keep an eye out for hounds and horses if you see the sandwich boards by the roadside urging caution.
The Genesee Valley Riding and Driving Club has added a new category of opportunity to its offerings by holding its first Trail Trial at Booth Farm in Scottsville last Sunday. Thanks to Lindsay Klik LaBella for proving the following details for me to share.
Lindsay started the Rochester Trail Riders Facebook group – a wonderful place for networking and sharing information on a variety of horse and related farm-life topics.
The farm was easy to find with lots of great parking and it was nice to see a wide variety of disciplines and breeds represented. There were TBs, QH, Appys, Gaited, Drafts (Mickey the Belgian was there) and of course my Friesian and Moriesian.
Folks rode in every style English, Western, Aussie, Endurance, and even a bareback rider with a hand painted Indian pony. It didn’t matter the age, tack, or breed of horse, I think everyone had a great time.
The two mile trail itself was well-groomed and even with the morning rain the footing was decent. There were nice, long, leisurely trails in between obstacles where you could just take it easy or enjoy a nice jog or lope.
USA – remove a full size American flag from a cone and, depending on your class, replace it or walk to another cone and dock it
Walk In the Woods – straddle a log and side pass over it
Foul Weather – remove a poncho from a jump stand, put it on, walk to another stand, remove the poncho, and replace it
Car Wash – tarps hung and slit so your horse had to walk through them like a car wash
Barrels of Fun – dog-leg of barrels and boards that you walk through and back out of without knocking any over
Pool Party – tarps filled with either pool noodles and toys or plastic balls. The morning rain filled the tarps with water for added difficulty and depending on your division there was even a sprinkler you had to walk through. Very colorful!
Flamingos – a gigantic 10 foot tall inflatable flamingo and smaller lawn flamingos arranged into a lane that you had to navigate through
Trail Clearing – a rope tied to a branch that you had to drag from one cone to another, turn around and back your horse up dragging the branch back to the first cone
Gate – open and close it without dismounting (Practice all you want at home, but will your horse let you do it under pressure?)
Bridge – either walk over or stop and stand on it for three seconds before walking off
Farmer’s Market – a colorful display of veggies with deer and turkeys lurking about, you had to pick up an apple from a table and toss it into one of two baskets to win tokens for added prizes
Horse Bowling – barrels stacked on one another that you had to have your horse knock over.
Hats off to all the volunteers and the show committee on this event. It ran SO smoothly. Obstacle judges were well educated on what they were looking for, took time to explain clearly what you had to do at each one, and were all smiles and seemed to be having just as much fun as the riders.
Prizes for tokens won along the way were given at the end. Each competitor received a Cosequin bucket filled with goodies just for entering, and ribbons were given out for each division. A raffle was also held for a table full of goodies, as well as a food vendor with hot coffee which was needed on a cool fall morning.
All in all, the first GVRDC Trail Trial was a great success and many of the riders hope to do it again next year.
(Sorry not to have horses’ names or where the riders are from, but…. Please help me give proper credit in the future if you are in a position to do so.)
Youth: 1. Tika Burley; 2. Ellie Ramirez; 3. Jacob Burley
Greenhorns: 1. Glenn Hall; 2. Sarah Batzing; 3. Tammy Moore
Trail Boss: 1. Joann Long (I would hope so!!); 2. Susan Clark; 3. Judy Fuller Brown
Full results can be found at gvrdc.org/TrailTrialResults.pdf
Saturday, October 6 – Rolelu Show Series: Dressage Show (Introductory through Fourth Level plus “eventing” tests), Combined Test (Introductory through Preliminary Levels, dressage and stadium), and Jumping Derby (Introductory through Preliminary level) – Weather permitting, Cross Country schooling (Introductory through Training Levels) For more information and entry forms go to: www.rolelu.webs.com or contact Chandra Wong at 243-0916 or Rolelu@hotmail.com.
Sunday, Oct. 7 – GRDC Pumpkin Derby at Paduka Run on the corner of Route 39 north of Geneseo and Roots Tavern Road. For more information and entry form go to gvrdc.org and click on Jumper Derby
Saturday, Oct. 13 – Genesee Valley Hunt Races at Nations Farm, Geneseo. For more info, go to GVHRaces.com, Facebook, or contact Janice Barrett at (585) 243-3949 or email@example.com