Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thanksgiving Day, the Myopia Hunt, and yours truly

Thanksgiving Day was a mixed bag for me; I’d been sick for a week with a low-level but persistent bug that left me headachey, fuzzy-minded and dragged-out-feeling. Never blew up into something horrid; never would go away and leave me alone. So although on Turkey Day itself I felt somewhat better, I chose not to inflict any lingering contagion on my brother and his family, and stayed home rather than driving to Melrose for the festive dinner. Don’t feel too sorry for me (I did a good job of that myself anyway); I had tasty takeout and a most excellent Zinfandel for my private feast, so there’s that, anyway.

One thing I did go out for (besides the obligatory horse care), despite my somewhat enfeebled state, was the annual Thanksgiving Day meet of the Myopia Hunt Club. It’s their traditional season-ender (though they do go on hunting for a week or two longer, weather and ground permitting), it’s a huge social occasion, and they welcome spectators, with or without camera. Despite living in Hamilton and Ipswich for the last fifteen years or so, I’d never gone to see it; but this year, what with being at loose ends and having a budding photography business, I figured, what the heck, why not? The meet was at Appleton Farms, a gorgeous and highly photogenic backdrop, only a few minutes’ drive from home and a place I’ve ridden through many times over the years.

I got there in plenty of time to see and photograph the riders arriving, eventually the hounds, and to capture (I hope) the feel of the event. I did not, unfortunately, capture the hunt leaping over any fences. It seems that the field of riders does a ceremonial loop around and over a coop and stone wall flanking a farm lane, in full view of the delighted spectators who line the fence to watch, before heading out to gallop over the countryside on the drag hunt proper. Another photographer told me which way they’d be coming, and I trudged out into the adjoining field to get the perfect angle on them coming toward me over the coop. Alas, they took it in the opposite direction! So I have some good galloping pictures, but............

Anyway, despite that disappointment, I had a great time, ran into some friends, handed out a number of business cards, didn’t freeze to death though I could have used one more layer – oh, and got some photos! And here they are.

Oh, yes, I did get more traditional sorts of rider, alone and in group shots, but here are three somewhat less orthodox samples:




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