November brings with it many reasons to be excited. Family gatherings to celebrate Thanksgiving, the launch of Christmas season, the leaves changing colors on the trees, and Opening Hunt! I was introduced to fox hunting in Texas in the fall of 2010 and fell in love with the sport instantaneously. The lovely horses, dapper hunt coats, flasks of good cheer, handsome hounds and the overall camaraderie of riders.
Opening Hunt this year was a bit later in November than is customary which may be why it was SO much colder than usual! When I arrived at the hunt I was greeted with messages that we were going to go ahead and bless the hounds, but skip actually riding out as it was cold and freezing rain. Many of us were disappointed at the prospect of not riding after getting up early (or staying up late) to braid horses and prepare formal hunt attire so were delighted when the decision was reversed to ride out. Some had already taken horses back to cozy stalls, but about 15 riders remained and made the best of the cold weather.
Our Masters and hunt staff led the hound blessing for the 2013-2014 hunt season and we were off. The weather started to turn when we were about half way out and so we turned for an earlier than normal arrival back to the host’s home for lunch, but it was well worth the ride out. One rider was unseated, but incurred no injury other than pride. Many of the hounds were young and hunting only for the second or third time. No quarry was followed, but we did see rabbits and deer.
I look forward to the remaining hunt season with my old partner, Jaguar.
I don’t make it home nearly as often as I should. I’m sure most of us can say that about visiting family who live far away. I had originally made plans to go to Europe for Thanksgiving this year, but realized in the latter part of the summer that I was homesick for the holidays and made plans to head north. Plans changed a few times, as they do with a family as large as mine, but we settled on celebrating Thanksgiving with my Mom’s family in Dickinson, North Dakota then making our way to Miles City for a few days before I headed back to Texas.
It was a delight to meet my cousin’s two young sons and see some of my aunts, uncles and my grandparents. After a yummy Thanksgiving meal us girls went to the stockyards my uncle co-owns to decorate for Christmas. There was to be a large cow sale on Friday after Thanksgiving and my aunt was grateful to have a myriad of helpers get the tree up and hang lights to give the office a festive ambience. We made quick work of the light hanging, ribbon tying and ornament placement to have plenty of time for photo ops.
I have never in my life seen such EXPENSIVE cows! My family has been in the business for many years for multiple generations and in all those years I could never have imagined a $2,500 cow!
The next morning we met at an old church turned coffee house to have a warm cup of joe before heading to the cow sale. I can’t put into words how grateful I am for my family. We are blessed to have minimal family dramas and all get along quite well. I would count my cousins among my very best friends.
After coffee we headed to the cow sale. The sale had started early Friday morning at 7a and when we arrived a little after 11a they were just starting the bred cow sale. These were cows that will have calves sometime next spring, most seemed to be due around mid-March. I have never in my life seen such EXPENSIVE cows! My family has been in the business for many years for multiple generations and in all those years I could never have imagined a $2,500 cow! Granted you’re kind of getting a 2-in-1, but cow prices are high and there are no bones about that fact. I overheard many a rancher discussing how long these prices will last. No one knows, of course, but it makes me excited for those ranchers finally making a good living with their cattle.