St. Paul's Horse Show at Myopia Schooling Field in June 1973
|Rosemarie Springer, the seven-time German dressage champion, at Flying Horse Farm in October 1974|
While fox hunting is often seen as a male-dominated sport, Myopia Hunt Club has long opened its fields to skilled women who were raised riding alongside their brothers and fathers. In the early days of Myopia, women rode sidesaddle next to men on both daily excursions and elaborate hunts.
“Polo was probably considered a little unladylike, but women were always allowed to hunt the fi eld,” says Patrick Keough, the third generation in his family to run the stables at Myopia. One woman who embraced the sport was California native Eleanor Sears, who caused a stir when she rode astride at Myopia in the years right after World World I. In fact, during both World Wars, women didn’t want to see the hunting fi eld empty and stepped in to keep the tradition alive. Anna Agassiz Prince, whose husband’s family started Myopia, even took up his horn as Master of the Huntsmen in 1942 and ’43. “I really enjoy carrying the horn,” says Heather Player, who has been riding at Myopia Hunt Club for 23 years and foxhunting for 17; most recently she served as the Whippers-In, keeping the hounds from straying on the fi eld. “Last year I stepped in for the injured Huntsman, and that was probably the fi rst time a woman had carried the horn at Myopia since the second World War.”
While women may now share the clubhouse with the men (females once had a separate annex), the same camaraderie on the fi eld exists today. “My grandmother hunted at Myopia in the 1930s and ‘40s,” says Player, who now owns and runs New England Fox Hunting. “It runs in our family.”