Foxhunting in New Zealand (Part 2)
Our second hunt took place in magnificent scenery that at times made us feel like we were living in the Lord of the Rings. All of the fences at this fixture were high tensile wire. Unlike barbed wire, which is quite brittle and breaks easily, jumping bare high tensile wire isn't safe because it slices like a razor. So every jump on this hunt was sparred with a plastic roller on the top wire of the fence.
Early on in this hunt Megan had a fall when she came to grief at a wee bitty spar. Her horse started to jump and then thought better of it. Megan was able to cling to his neck long enough to get clear of the wire and land on the soft ground, uninjured. One witness described the fall as 'spectacular' and another commented that it was 'well held'. Megan remounted and continued on. Then she had a second fall, this time sustaining a minor injury to her drinking elbow, which made it difficult, though not impossible, to get a flask up to her lips for the rest of the trip.
At this hunt the entire field often took the gates. By watching the experienced riders we learned this neat trick: Wait until someone else is almost off their horse to close the gate, then yell, "I got the gate". Then you get credit for trying, without having to actually leave the saddle.
Later in the hunt circumstances required us to swap horses around and Amy got the ride on a horse who isn't a regular hire horse because he doesn't jump wire reliably. She had the pleasure of trying to get this horse to jump a fence while some of the staff and the entire field stood around and watched. At some point, someone in a red coat authoritatively yelled for her to growl at the horse as she approached the fence. She growled and kicked as best she could, but to no avail. The fence eventually had to be lowered for her (who knew that was possible?) and the hunt continued.
Finally we were heading home and had one last fence to clear. One rider (perhaps a New Zealand Hillbilly) cleared the fence but landed with both of her legs on the same side of the horse, yet somehow managed to stay on. Eventally everyone except Amy had cleared the fence. Amy was about to turn around and find a gate to head home by herself when our hosts pulled up in the car and John yelled "Go on! Jump it!" Then he had a brief conversation in the car with Anne, after which he added, "if you want." Amy turned the horse to the fence and the horse jumped it easily. He must have known he was going to have to go home alone, the long way, if he didn't.