Page 10 - 4th Issue

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Features
Monday, December 6, 2010
The Talon 10
By Heather Cieszynski
This is my account of the fox
hunting trip I made to Afton,
Va., Oct. 22-23. I traveled with
others from William Woods at
the invitation of best-selling
author, Rita Mae Brown. Most
recently, Brown wrote “Cat of
the Century,” which is set on the
WWU campus. She was here in
May for a book-signing and to be
the commencement speaker.
It was one of the most amazing
experiences of my life and I will
never forget it! I went because I
felt this was a once-in-a-lifetime
experience that would not only
test my riding skills, but would be
a fun, horsey mini-vacation! And
I was right on both counts!
Laura Ward and Colleen
Harper-Hertzog accompanied
students, and we went fox
hunting! We rode across Rita
Mae’s beautiful and expansive
property and the property of
neighbors.
Rita Mae let some of us use
a few of her horses (including
myself) and some of the other
girls rode the horses of other
members of The Oak Ridge
Fox Hunt Club. They were all
different breeds, colors, ages and
experience levels.
We went across all kinds of
terrain: lots of steep inclines
and declines, tight quarters in
the woods and open felds on
the top of a hill overlooking the
mountains. We even got chased
by a few stray cows!
When the hounds caught a
scent (they do not hunt to kill;
they follow a scent), they would
howl and take off with Rita Mae
(the hunt master) right there with
them and then we would all take
off in pursuit! We rode for about
two hours and then headed back
to the barns to take care of our
horses.
Saturday, the terrain was a bit
more challenging this time; we
were not always on a trail and the
up and downhill was steeper, but
everyone managed just fne. We
also got to jump.
Everything about this trip was
perfect. It was unlike any other
riding experience in my 18 years
of hunter/jumper riding. All of
the students stayed in a three-
bedroom house that belonged to
one of the members and everyone
got along perfectly. Many of us
bonded. I got to know a few girls
who I have seen around the barns,
but have never hung out with and
found out what great people they
are!
I am forever grateful to Laura
and Colleen for everything they
did to make this trip happen
for us. A thousand times thank
you to both of them, Rita Mae
Brown and the members of the
Oak Ridge Fox Hunt Club. If I
ever have an opportunity to go
fox hunting with these wonderful
people and horses again, I will
jump on it without any hesitation.
Tally Ho
!
Fox hunting in the fall