Tessa Waugh’s hunt­ing di­ary, plus our weekly car­toon “The Fi­nal Straw”

Tessa Waugh re­flects on her mother’s en­dear­ing com­ments about watch­ing her en­joy hunt­ing, as her own child — and a friend’s — have a hell of a day tack­ling their first hunt jumps

Horse & Hound - - News Insider -

‘I don’t cry of­ten, but

hunt­ing al­ways has the power to hit

my but­tons’

IDIDN’T have a horse through my late teens and 20s, but I was lucky enough to do plenty of hunt­ing be­cause my par­ents and my un­cle had horses and they were more than happy to share. Kind friends would also lend me their horses to hunt from time to time.

My mother al­ways used to say, “It gives me as much plea­sure to see you go out as it does to go my­self,” but I never re­ally un­der­stood her at the time. Like many of the things your youth­ful self dis­misses as strange about the older gen­er­a­tion, it all be­comes abun­dantly clear later in life.

I was pon­der­ing all of this while plait­ing ponies for hunt­ing. I wasn’t go­ing my­self (Jim is still off ) but I didn’t feel grumpy or re­sent­ful. Strange to say it, I was ac­tu­ally en­joy­ing my­self and this feel­ing car­ried on through­out the day. At the meet, that needling pang of “wish I was out” didn’t come. Nor did it come when I pulled up in the car to watch Adam and the hounds and the rest of the field head­ing up a track to the first covert. Alec was rid­ing Sally, the new pony, and a friend’s daugh­ter, Maddy, was on

Rusty. Both ponies and chil­dren looked great and they were en­joy­ing them­selves — it was a joy to see, and with­out warn­ing I found my­self welling up as if some­thing mo­men­tous had just hap­pened. Weird, you might say. In my de­fence, I’m not a hugely emo­tional per­son and I don’t tend to cry very of­ten, but hunt­ing al­ways has the power to hit my but­tons.

I felt it on big oc­ca­sions such as the Coun­try­side March, the rally in Hyde Park, but this emo­tion also creeps up on me un­bid­den at other times, dur­ing the best days, hack­ing home late in the af­ter­noon. Do other peo­ple get emo­tional about the things that they love — pothol­ing, bak­ing, cy­cling — I won­der?

THE af­ter­noon came around quickly and Maddy and Alec were sup­posed to be back at the trailer at 3pm. At 4.15pm they were still “10 min­utes away”, but when they fi­nally ap­peared, I couldn’t find it in me to give them a bol­lock­ing; they’d had a hell of a day, jumped their first hunt jumps and done hun­dreds of gates.

Maddy hadn’t been hunt­ing un­til this sea­son but she’s al­ready got the bug and, like Alec, never feels cold and never wants to go home. “We are mak­ing an­other mon­ster,”

I said to Adam as Maddy emerged from the trailer in the twi­light, pony in tow.

Child­hood mem­o­ries are made on these kinds of days and if you have a pas­sion for some­thing, it is won­der­ful to share it.

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