By Lauren Schiavone
Hometown Weekly staff
Sunday, September 11, marked the 19th annual Polo in the Country event. Hosted by the Norfolk Hunt Club on North Street in Medfield, spectators came prepared for the rainy weather with umbrellas and some took shelter under tents in preparation for the day. Sure to not let a little precipitation spoil the fun, there were nearly a thousand people in attendance.
Hunt Club Secretary Ruth Baltopoulos enjoyed herself amidst the chaos. “It’s always a great event,” she enthused. “Everyone’s having fun. There’s no contention. Since COVID, everyone’s even more excited to be back.”
At the heart of the day was the polo match itself between Norfolk Polo and Dedham Polo. Announcers called the game, reiterating rules enforced by the referees and keeping those in attendance informed. The match went smoothly, with great involvement from spectators, cooperative horses and riders as young as fifteen years old.
At halftime, Huntsman Steve Farrin took to the field for a hound and horn-blowing demonstration. The huntsman trains hounds for drag hunts (in which dogs follow a scent that was laid previously), and the horn-blowing presented an opportunity to explain traditional hunting signals. Shortly after, Farrin invited spectators to meet the well-behaved hounds and stomp the divots in the field — a necessary task, given the holes and torn-up grass left by the horses during the match.
For most of those in attendance, the result of the match itself was secondary to the convivial atmosphere.
“There’s camaraderie,” Dan Moon, a volunteer, member of the Hunt Club, and local rider commented towards the end of the afternoon. “It’s so nice to have a horse. Work is stressful during the day and you come here and relax. It keeps you going physically and mentally.”
Carolyn Pope, Master of Foxhounds and hunt organizer, organized 22 hunts during the season. Between the hard work of making sure the weather is in favor, calling venues, and making food arrangements, she was able to enjoy Polo in the Country. “It’s one of our community outreach programs,” she explained. “We love to have the community know what Norfolk Hunt Club is about. We call ourselves a family, and of course the community is part of that.”
Indeed, community concern was at the heart of Polo in the Country. The event raises funds for the preservation and protection of recreational space in Medfield, Dover, Sherborn and the surrounding communities. From that perspective, the success of 19th annual Polo in the Country was something of a family affair.
More information for upcoming hunts and events can be found at www.norfolkhunt.com