Myopia Hunt Club: Thrill of the Chase
But Merlin hasn’t always behaved magnificently. Before the hunt began this afternoon, he was acting up, tossing his head and backing away from the other horses. Some of the riders seemed put off; one suggested that Merlin doesn’t yet “know his job.” Only now, deep in the woods, far from the eyes of the spectators, does he finally get it together.
“He did really well,” Heather Player will later observe in her understated way. The turnaround is fortunate, because the hunt will wend its way several more miles across Hamilton, though Pingree Reservation, west to Brick Ends Farm, then down over Vineyard Hill, before circling back.
The sun is low in the afternoon sky, the air chillier, as the meet draws to a close. The group as a whole seems worn out. Only a few horses attempt the final jump, and some of the hounds are panting. Paws and pasterns are splattered with mud. The group assembles near Myopia’s polo arena and the huntsman’s horn sounds, announcing the end of the meet. Following custom, the riders press close to thank the master of foxhounds and the huntsman.
Widespread admiration of horses is evident. “They’re the most generous animals in the world,” says rider (and assistant to the master of foxhounds) Linda Donovan. “My horse anticipates what I want. He takes care of me. It’s a partnership based on mutual trust.”
Spectators are welcome at Myopia events; there’s no admission fee. Event schedule, club membership details, and information on introductory rides and the Learn-to-Hunt program at: myopiahunt.com. For a slide show of additional photos, go to: YankeeMagazine.com/more