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South Carolina Hog Hunting, part II

Published: 6/29/2012
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Editor's Note: This three-part series by Dr. Rebecca Gimenez was transcribed by friend Pat Gillespie. Many thanks to Rebecca and Pat for your contributions!
Dr. Gimenez is president of TLAER and will teach at the Operations Level Course offered in Windham, Maine.

CLICK for Part I
CLICK for Part III

By Dr. Rebecca Gimenez

These small horses, all of them barefoot, may not be the fanciest thing on the planet, or even know how to move off your leg, but they are sure-footed and brave.
They probably knew exactly where they were at all times, since this is all the “trail riding” they’ve ever known.
They went wherever they were pointed, most of which was bush-whacking through briars, swampland, around and through mud holes, up and down hills and dikes, and jumping logs or trenches. I have ridden several fox hunts, field trials, camped with horses, trail ridden most of my life, but hog hunting makes those endeavors look like a summer picnic!

One man asked his horse to rear – then used the chest of his horse to push a small log about five feet high that was blocking the “trail” to break it so we all could get over it. Many logs were two or three feet high and two or three feet wide. Remember, these could only be jumped from a stand-still in the brush. Obstacles seemed to be conveniently placed by Mother Nature at the top of steep embankments, or at the bottom of sharp drop-offs, or under an overhang of branches.

Ditches three feet wide and eight feet deep were to be jumped, with no questions asked, and we weren’t riding on clear or even ground for take-off or landing. Jumping into snarls of thickets on the other side of these mini ravines made me appreciate the hunter paces I’ve ridden. I spent so much time ducking under branches and deflecting vines that I became intimately acquainted with my little horse’s strong neck!
On the full-out gallop to the trailers when the heavy rain threatened, these little horses ran boldly through mud and slop and never slipped, even when making hard turns without slowing. I was grinning as we galloped, but had to duck my head down because the hooves of the horse in front of me threw huge clods of dirt in my face.
I didn’t win the race to the trailers, but I was mightily impressed with the speed and endurance of my horse!
When we got there we only pointed them at the trailers. They hopped in and calmly started snoozing after a full-out gallop. They knew that there was more to come. There we were: 11 dogs, four horses and four people standing together in the back of a 16-foot stock trailer, sheltered from the deluge.
When it cleared 15 minutes later, we headed back out for another couple hours of hunting.

Picture a twenty five-acre briar patch.
Picture it with a trail mowed thorough it.
Now picture this trail all grown over five years later!
This is what we forged through. Add the low-hanging branches with a thicket of thorns, not forgetting an occasional log to jump (with the low-hanging branch before, after, or over the log), and you get the idea.
This wasn’t a ride in the park!
This was RIDING, and with a swirl of dogs around, between and through the horses legs a lot of the time. I knew that David was making sure that I was SHOWN what these horses could do – with not one comment or bragging ahead of time. I tightened my helmet and took a few pictures when the canopy opened enough to see.

Coming Next: Swamps, Snakes and the Right Horses and the Right People. CLICK HERE



View Reader Comments:

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6/29/2012 Rebecca
Thank you!
7/4/2012
Someday before I'm too old or poor to own one of these horses, I'm going to get one.

   
"Want to end up with a million bucks in the horse business? Start out with five million." - Anonymous