On January 30, 2013 by Sarah Lewis

Having survived the snowy weather and kept the horses ridden every day, by constantly harrowing the school and a couple of brave forays into the woods when I got very fed up of schooling Kate Brooks, Shane Breen, David Simpson and I set off for two days’ hunting in Ireland on Friday.

 We arrived in Cashel at 12.15 am on Saturday morning, and by 9.15 we were all on the way to the meet of the famous Scarteen Hounds at Elton in Tipperary. Shane’s father, John, provided the lovely Bud for Kate, and David, Shane and I all rode sisters by Harlequin provided by Shane’s uncle James. I was legged up onto Harrietta, Shane had her sister Harriet and David the three year old half-sister.

Broken Ankle

Broken Ankle

After about 20 minutes, while we were watching the beautiful black and tan hounds draw, and trotting down a farm track the cob in front of me whipped round taking my foot with it on a 180º turn. There was a horrible crack and I felt very sick, but my toes still wiggled, and I wasn’t going home without jumping a bank. Hounds ran back towards us and Shane reappeared on Harriet who had lost a shoe, so we swopped horses in case neither Harriet or I lasted the day. After a couple of banks, and a bit more roadwork as we couldn’t cross the river, Harriet started to feel her foot so we went back to James’s trailer.

Having carefully removed my boot a rather swollen and bent looking leg was revealed, diagnosed as probably not broken and so I spent the rest of the afternoon with a huge packet of frozen peas on it, and being beautifully looked after by James.

Hounds packed up at about 4.15 and after a further inspection of my leg it was decided to go to A &E once we had had a drink! When I tried passing out in the pub we decided to go straight to the hospital, however, I had the bright (and not alcohol-induced) idea that it might be quicker to go to the vet. We failed to locate a vet who wasn’t in the pub, and the hospital had been closed down, but we did eventually get an x-ray and I was given the all clear to hunt on Sunday. So we then all went out for a fabulous dinner at the Cashel Palace.

Sunday started with some energetic coat brushing, and then provided with a very interesting couple of rubber riding boots, which were definitely not a pair, we set off for the meet of the Premier Harriers at Rose Green just a few miles up the road. I was reunited with Harriet and off we went over the most amazing, and totally different, terrain and obstacles. First a little wall off the road, a hedge to fly over, a gate off the road, and all types of different banks and unbelievably steep stream crossings. The sun kept coming out and the views were absolutely stunning. Harriet was a super star, and sadly I don’t think she got the best ride ever as my leg was rather sore. We finished at about 4.15 and then washed the horses off in a pond before going home.

Shane, David and Kate then went off to school some youngsters over banks, while I rested my leg and cleaned some tack. We had another lovely evening in Cashel and then a very early start to get back to Gatwick.

All was well at home and I rode Emma, Ferro and Biscuit, before Shane rang to say that when my x-ray had been re-read with a different pair of glasses it did look as though there was a bit of a break! Tuesday morning was spent at the Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath, and I was a bit surprised at quite what a big break there was in my fibula just above the ankle, which is exactly where it hurt and looked a bit bent. How lucky that I got that second day’s hunting.

It had been the most fantastic weekend: fantastic welcoming and kind people; wonderful hunting; beautiful, clever horses; great craic and wonderful tall hunting stories. My own tall story is now added to the rest and I just can’t wait to go again.

The lovely Harriet

The lovely Harriet