The Whipper In

My friend Barbara tells me that the “Whipper In”
is the person who is responsible for keeping the hounds
from wandering away from the pack during a hunt.
She belongs to one of the oldest hunt and riding clubs
which had it’s start in the Philadelphia area,
and is now out here in Southern York County.

When she heard I had bought a saddle and riding boots on Ebay
she offered to lend me her riding attire to complete the painting.
We met for our annual birthday luncheon and in the parking lot afterwards
she gave me the clothing. When she brought the braided whip out
complete with antler carved handle and silver trim my eyebrow lifted.

I am not a hunter.
I do not ride horses.
But I have an affinity for history
and strong women
and leather.

When I arranged this still life in my living room,
with the fire ablaze and the shadows dancing on the wall of the cabin,
I could just imagine Barb
and the hounds
needing only the sight of her on the back of a tall steed,
whip in hand,
to come to heel.