The Windy Acres event for November took place on Saturday the 16th. Eight riders gathered at Buckland Faire for the most frightening race of the season, the infamous Haunted Derby. Equestrian fans enjoyed music, dancing and fine food before the race.
Kikilaa registered her pony Shooting Star, Meneladan rode his Dusk Watch trained Major, Oddenkad brought blonde sorrel Pi, Tinybel arrived on Donner in Harvestmath tack, Tinylea brought shaggy goal Dunkel in golden pretzel gear, and Vethlo led treasure-laden Silver to the start line. Finally, Zalana rode Capall and Zalddor rode Brandywine, both in the livery of Michel Delving.
While Kiralynn explained the race rules, Valtharon took up his judging position at Tom Bombadil’s house and Belyndil rode out to the Dead Spire in the Northern Barrow-downs. The riders were allowed to use any steed, except for those trained for battle. All equestrian aids were allowed, so competitors were able to take advantage of advanced riding training.
Oddankad’s Pi was an unfancied juvenile. Dunkel, Donner, Silver and Shooting Star were all well in with Hobbit riders. Dunkel was also the “dark horse” of the race, since no one knew how a goat would fare in the tight confines of the Old Forest. After the “Call to Post”, all riders indicated their readiness. A charging shout heralded the beginning of the race. Pi dwelt at the start while Shooting Star became an immediate front-runner.
The sun set quickly below the horizon, leaving the riders to navigate the maze-like passages of the Old Forest in near total darkness. The trees there whisper to each other and sway when there is no wind. It is said that the oldest trees of the Withywindle Valley are dark and malevolent, misleading travelers until they are hopelessly lost. The soft glow from the windows of Tom Bombadil’s house was a guiding light to the first checkpoint. Beyond lay the foggy, unnatural stillness of the Barrow-downs. Some of the riders had difficulty reaching the second checkpoint at the Dead Spire. The presence of angry and mournful spirits causes most steeds to flee in panic.
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