Lee Gregory, granddaughter of a horseman who emigrated from Cork to Boston in the nineteenth century, has enjoyed a sporting life on both sides of the Atlantic. She proudly wears colors of Norfolk Hunt Club (MA) and Ireland's County Galway Hunt, “the Blazers.” Still riding beyond age 80, Gregory's enthusiasm and determination are her hallmarks.
Gregory and her imported Connemara, Aille Corecta. Photo by Kathie Davenport.
Gregory didn’t grow up hunting. In college, she joined the famous Sunday trail rides led by Nick Rodday, then Master of Nashoba Valley Hunt (MA), which attracted many innovators from Boston’s nascent Route 128 technology corridor. She recalls that Kerri Glass, MFH, brought hounds to Rodday’s stable, and meeting them inspired her to try hunting.
Visiting the Dublin Horse Show in 1983, Gregory connected with Willie Leahy (uncle of MFHA President Tony Leahy) and fell in love with Galway’s rocky terrain, similar to her native Massachusetts. “That first time out, I telephoned my mother from Ireland as soon as I got back to the hotel, to let her know I had survived!” Returning annually to Ireland, Gregory hunted with Galway for more than 20 years. Back home, she joined Norfolk, and heartily enjoys social events as well as following hounds.
An accident kept her from hunting last season, but Gregory threw her trademark exuberance into recovery. Finding that lifting her leg to the stirrup was difficult, she went to her favorite swimming beach, located a buoy floating in about three feet of water, and practiced swinging her foot back and forth over it. She brought all her tack to her athletic club, tacked up the piece of equipment most resembling a horse, and rebuilt her stamina.
Earlier this year, she returned to Ireland with a large Norfolk Hunt group, although she contented herself with car following - this time. Norfolk Master Tom Lewis says, "Lee is an inspiration to us all. Still riding with Norfolk Hunt in her 80's no less! She is always smiling and always contributing, whether it be a story of hunting way back when in Ireland on her Connemara pony, or hosting a breakfast for our club at Sweet Water Farm in Westport, MA. We are blessed to have Lee in our lives!"
Asked to identify her favorite aspect of hunting, she says, “Everything! I enjoyed it ever so much, every single time I went out.”