Dick Verrilli was 11 years old when he started hunting with his father with the Westchester Greenwich Hunt, which eventually became The Fairfield Hunt as Westchester County became more populous and built-up. As a junior, he hunted on Irish horses stabled at the Galway Stables and often went out with Meadowbrook, Smithtown out on the end of Long Island and Goldens Bridge.
After college, in the ‘50s, Dick joined the Air Force and became a pilot flying B-47’s which had six jet engines. Obviously, foxhunting had given him a taste for speed and adventure. Being stationed in many different places over the next five years gave him the opportunity to hunt with many different hunts which he took full advantage of. Going out with hunts in the Carolinas, Georgia, Texas, and Kansas were all good experiences, but he especially enjoyed his time with the Moore County Hounds.
In 1967 he joined the Millbrook Hunt where he says, “I had many exhilarating moments with retired Huntsman, Betsy Parks, in the beautiful Millbrook Hunt country. Staying up with Betsy on her fast Thoroughbred horses was a challenge with no radios. There were few blank days and many four- to five-hour hunts.”
In 1995, Dick became Joint Master of Millbrook Hunt with Farnham Collins. This involved him, competing in the first Performance Trials. “I really enjoyed the first Performance Trials in Alabama with Ben Hardaway and Mason Lampton in the mid-'90s. The quarry was fast and furious with challenging runs on fox, coyote, and wild boar followed by amazing and delicious hunt breakfasts and, of course, evening parties and dinners.”
Reminiscing about fast and furious hunts, Dick relates, “The MFHA had a very memorable three-day joint meet with Randy Waterman as Huntsman at Piedmont. Only ‘thrusters’ and first flight, high fences, no go-arounds and foxes everywhere followed by hunt breakfasts and awesome dinner parties with the MFHA hosting an unforgettable Formal “Pinks” dinner party at the Red Fox Inn.”
This year is Dick's 53rd Opening Meet with the Millbrook Hunt. After Millbrook closes for the winter months, he will do as he has done for the past thirty years and go to North Carolina and hunt with the Moore County Hunt.
At 87 years old, Dick is proof that foxhunting will not only give one great pleasure but also keep you young. “My passion for the sport of foxhunting continues -- my objective is to hunt until I’m 90 and God willing more!”