We want to hear from you!

Submit story ideas or reports here:

Submit to Covertside

Hound Show Cancellations

All 2020 Hound Shows have been canceled.

A Message from MFHA President Tony Leahy, MFH

Featured Hound: Lowcountry Hunt’s Keswick Echo

This month’s featured hound, Keswick Echo, resides in the land of salt marshes and moss-covered ancient live oaks of the Lowcountry Hunt’s territory along the coastline of South Carolina. This handsome all-American, hard-working hound is one of the favorites of the club, which often hunt from picturesque historic plantations in the area.

We caught up with Lowcountry Huntsman Tony Gammell and Professional Whipper-in Elizabeth Howard to find out more about this special hound.

Keswick Echo is, “everything you’d want in a hard-working hunter and yet the personality of a kind American foxhound,” says Elizabeth Howard, whipper-in for Lowcountry Hunt.Keswick Echo is, “everything you’d want in a hard-working hunter and yet the personality of a kind American foxhound,” says Elizabeth Howard, whipper-in for Lowcountry Hunt.

What can you tell me about Keswick Echo? How old is he? What are his bloodlines like? 

Lowcountry’s Keswick Echo is a 2014 entry, but in all aspects an incredibly old soul. His personality and demeanor exude a sense of self-awareness and otherworldly prowess. Like his sister, Lowcountry’s Keswick Empress, his cunning and drive to persevere against the posed challenges and is a testament to their breeding.  

Echo is by Keswick Keplar 2007 out of Keswick Wendy 2009, two hard-driving hounds with a keen nose for red foxes. Both were American hounds with deep-rooted Virginia bloodlines; on the bitch’s side going back to Brandywine and on the stallion’s side Bywaters blood.

What is his personality like? 

We call him the “Narf Narf” or “Eggo”; he is The Dude (for those who have seen the Big Lebowski, more about that later in the article). Each hound in our kennels has a nickname and his is derived from his recognizable “narf!” “narf!” as his music out hunting is the herald to the rest of the pack, huntsman, staff, and field that game is afoot, and one better be ready! “Eggo” is a derivation of Echo as he is easy to work with and his specialty is a good morning with a “narf” “narf” to greet you. Everything you would want in a hard-working hunter and yet the personability of a kind American foxhound.

What makes him a suitable hound for your hunt's territory? 

He is the consummate hunter! He is from a line of American hounds that defines adaptability to the country for which they were bred. His determination and spirit have excelled him through the Piedmont of Virginia, the manicured vistas of Mrs. Hannum’s Pennsylvania (under the guidance of Barry Magner), and not the least of challenges the black water swamps and moss-covered alleys of South Carolina’s ACE Basin. In fact, having made his sojourn from the mid-Atlantic to the Georgia/Carolina boarder, he was hesitant of his new task…hunt what you have been told before was “off-limits” (i.e. grey fox and coyote).  The first time he was hollered on the “new” legitimate quarry he sauntered up to the line and lifted his leg! But in the end the bloodlines and drive will prevail as well as that otherworldly prowess which has concluded many a hunt this year with success. He is suitable for hunt country because of his breeding…in essence an American foxhound.  

What are some of his best qualities in general? 

To sum it up, he knows his job and he knows how to complete it.  He is gregarious to humans and other hounds, respects authority, and commands respect when a task is posed to him, he will execute it to fruition.  All the BEST qualities in a hound! 

Has he ever sired a litter of puppies? 

Yes, two. The first of which was when he was on loan to Barry Magner (at the time huntsman for Mr. Stewart’s Cheshire Foxhounds) out of Keswick Tarka, this litter’s entry resides at Cheshire, Rolling Rock, and Keswick (“T” Litter). The second is about to whelp at Lowcountry out of Waterman’s Koala and should exude the best qualities of the stallion (aforementioned) and bitch which also is an American hound with strong Brandywine and Bywaters blood.

Echo winning a top ribbon at the 2018 Carolina Hound Show. Photo courtesy of Lowcountry Hunt. Echo winning a top ribbon at the 2018 Carolina Hound Show. Photo courtesy of Lowcountry Hunt. 

Has he ever showed or participated in performance trials?

Like his aunt (Keswick Kestral 2007) and uncle (Keswick Kiely 2007), Echo has been Champion American Foxhound at several shows.  The focus of our breeding is suitability and stability to hunting.  Breeding along those lines will organically lend itself to a hound that can secondarily participate in showing/performance trials. The proof is in the pudding!

Do you have any fun stories you'd like to share about him?

There are so many but let us return to the “Big Lebowski” reference. In 2019, Lowcountry Hunt was propositioned by the MFHA to partake in Charleston’s South Eastern Wildlife Exposition. Echo was our hound of choice to showcase the biddability and enthusiasm of an American Foxhound. From early morning amongst the throngs of deer, duck, and wildlife connoisseur, with tail wags and a smiling face, he met every inquisitor with grace. Echo was the perfect poster for an American Foxhound, but the day was not over. With a brief reprieve, Echo participated in a black-tie art gala cocktail. Brushing elbows and snouts with those to see and be seen he conducted himself amongst the passing trays of hor d’oeuvres and martinis as a perfect gentleman. As the evening concluded it was time to shake off the kit and enjoy a Charleston evening. This amazing hound with the breeding and bloodlines of the ultimate American Foxhound also exuded that perfect Je Ne Sais Quoi for a huntsman’s service “dog” and sauntered into a bar, contentedly laid down under the table and enjoyed his truffle cheese fries with a White Russian in complete bliss.

Leadership in the Field and in Life

A junior member gives back to her club when it needs it most.

When it comes to involving children in foxhunting, seek a club that welcomes juniors, says Grace Pariso, joint-MFH at New Market-Middletown Valley Hounds in Middletown, Maryland. When her daughter Lily Adams joined the hunt in 2012, she found countless opportunities for growth as a young horsewoman as well as a charitable member of her community. But perhaps the most profound lesson Adams will carry into her senior year of high school will come from the club’s supportive and sincere character that’s helped shape who she is.

During her junior year at Oakdale High School, Adams was accepted into the school’s Leadership Program where students complete a set of self-initiated goal-oriented tasks that serve their communities.

“The service project I chose benefitted the hunt,” Adams says. “COVID-19 has had a huge impact on our club and its ability to hold a series of spring fundraisers upon which we rely for the upkeep and care of our beloved hounds.”

Adams composed letters and reached out personally to people and businesses in her community, requesting donations to secure materials and supplies vital to club staff and members like herself who help keep kennels clean and hounds healthy.

“So far, the project had been quite successful. We have acquired or been promised over a month’s worth of hound food as well as other much needed kennel supplies,” Adams says.

During her eight years of membership with NM-MVH, Adams has enjoyed the ups, and even the downs, of riding many different horses across its varying terrain because of its supportive and encouraging environment. Pariso, who’s foxhunted for 34 years and been with NM-MVH since 2001, says she owes much of Lily’s maturity to the club’s unique character.

“It’s much more encouraging and forgiving than the competition world,” Pariso says. “Having a stop or a fall doesn’t necessarily mean the day wasn’t successful or enjoyable. This kind of riding, with purpose but without being judged, has made her a very patient and mature rider and I’ve seen that translate to her riding in competitions.”

Adams pays it all forward by readily ushering younger junior to the group and helping them learn and grow as riders and young men and women. “She’s always willing to keep an eye on the little ones,” Pariso adds.

The club’s territory offers rolling hills and dense mountainous forests. Adams’ off-the-track-Thoroughbred, Howie, loves it all. She says he’s as interested in the hounds as she is. Her favorite hound is Actor. “When he was a puppy, I got to visit him a lot and work with him,” she says. “He’s easy to recognize out hunting and does his job very well.”

So perhaps then it’s no surprise that, when it came time for Adams to choose her self-initiated goal-oriented tasks to fulfill her Leadership Program, she chose to give back to the community, people, and animals that have given so much to her and the junior members to whom she serves as a role model.

“After I graduate,” Adams says, “I plan on attending college and studying international relations.” Naturally.

Lily AdamsLily Adams with her parents, Grace Pariso and Charles Adams.

Lily Adams hugging a hound.Lily Adams hugging a hound.

Lily Adams jumping on a horse.Lily Adams jumping on Alabama.

Paul McEnroe Featured on Horsemanship Radio

The retired engineer and avid fox hunter talks about his decorated career and life on a ranch in the Santa Ynez Valley.

Many know Paul McEnroe as Santa Ynez Valley Hounds’ Joint Master. What some might not know is that he developed the UPC barcode we see on many products today, as well as numerous other game-changing products whose prototypes now live at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C.

He recently joined host Debbie Loucks on Horsemanship Radio to discuss his career as an engineer at companies like IBM and Trilogy, as well as his life raising cattle and horses (and entertaining grandchildren) at his ranch in the Santa Ynez Valley in California.

Tune In

Joint-MFH Paul McEnroe, leading the field at Santa Ynez Valley, as his young granddaughter Coco Barnicoat stay close behind. Photo by Tiffany Evitts.Joint-MFH Paul McEnroe, leading the field at Santa Ynez Valley, as his young granddaughter Coco Barnicoat stay close behind. Photo by Tiffany Evitts.

Featured Hound: Stonewall Bernadette

This month’s featured hound is Stonewall Bernadette (Stonewall Charlie x Stonewall Bonnie), a 7-year-old female owned and bred by Lili Wykle, MFH, and huntsman for Stonewall Hounds, based in southwest Virginia. We caught up with Lili to learn a bit more about this special hound.

Stonewall Bernadette comes from a long line of great hunting hounds.Stonewall Bernadette comes from a long line of great hunting hounds.

What can you tell me about Bernadette's background and bloodlines? 

Her bloodlines, which are all-American, go back on both sides to a draft from Jill Summers, MFH of Farmington. His name was Farmington Sailor. He is her great-grandfather on both sides. He was old when I got him, but he had a fantastic nose and drive. I think those two qualities go together and have been passed down to Bernadette. 

Both of Bernadette’s parents, Stonewall Charlie and Stonewall Bonnie were excellent hunting hounds. In fact, Bonnie’s parents, Stonewall Solomon and Stonewall Sally, were two of my favorite hounds. Sally and Bernadette were very similar – and typically the first ones to speak!

What is her personality like? 

Bernadette’s personality is what you want in your kennel. She is smart and listens, and is neither wimpy nor aggressive, which means she gets along with everyone. She is calm and loving, too. She has excellent conformation—she’s very well put together. She’s never lame and never seems to get tired. 

Bernadette, nose down and always looking for the scentBernadette, nose down and always looking for the scent

What makes her a suitable hound for your hunt's territory? 

Bernadette is perfect for our territory, which is about average, meaning neither very open nor very wooded. She is an independent hunter with the best nose and a “never quit” desire to find game. It's like she is obsessed when we hunt. I have to keep close tabs on her walking out in the summer months because her nose always stays down looking for any scent.

What qualities make her a good hunting hound in general?

Her great qualities are scenting ability, drive, conformation, and kennel attitude. She lacks one thing and that is a strong voice, which is why I bred her twice to a hound with an excellent voice. They both have some PMD in their breeding. 

Bernadette with her first litter by Stonewall Henry.

Berndatte with her second litter by Red Oak Bishop

Has she had puppies before? How many litters?

The first litter, by Stonewall Henry, is hunting and doing well. The second litter, by Red Oak Bishop, will start this fall.

She's also participated in performance trials – what were some of her notable results?

Bernadette was the best overall hound at the 2019 Sedgefield Performance Trials, as well as third in 2017. She didn't attend the trials in 2018 because she was ready to whelp. Obviously, I'm very proud of this hound!

Bernadette after being named champion hound at the 2019 Sedgefield Performance Trials. Pictured with Libby Ragland (left), Lili Wykle, MFH (center), and Billie Bryant (right).Bernadette after being named champion hound at the 2019 Sedgefield Performance Trials. Pictured with Libby Ragland (left), Lili Wykle, MFH (center), and Billie Bryant (right).

Any other fun stories about her?

The best story about her (you can watch the short video demonstrating this) is her ability and desire to climb out of the kennel and go hunting. I almost drafted her because I could not keep her in. First, she would scale the shorter 4-foot fence, so we hotwired it. Then she would climb over the 6-foot fence, and so I had to hotwire our whole large hound yard. At the time she was getting out, we had a few red foxes on my farm. You could hear her going around and around over to my neighbor's farm and back again!

Five Tips to Help Learn Hound Names

Learning the names of the hounds in your club can be a challenge… a fun challenge, nevertheless! It’s always nice to be able to recognize your favorite hounds when you’re out hunting, though trying to remember them all isn’t easy. For members who aren’t around the hounds on a daily basis, it can be tricky differentiating all the members of the pack. With hound walking gearing up this summer, now is a great time to get to know your club’s pack better—this way, you can refer to them easily by name anytime you see them.

Kelly Walsh, of Bijou Springs Hunt, came up with the idea to create fun social media graphics, with handy tips to help their club members get to know their hounds better. Kelly Walsh Photo.Kelly Walsh, of Bijou Springs Hunt, came up with the idea to create fun social media graphics, with handy tips to help their club members get to know their hounds better. Kelly Walsh Photo.

Here are a few tips to help you...

1. Build a Photo Directory

This is the best way to begin the process. If you can, try and print out photos of each hound—both sides, face, and from the top (don’t forget, this will often be your view when you’re mounted during a hunt). Put them into a notebook or create flashcards—whatever works best for you. It might also be helpful to separate them by color: Tri-color, black & tans, lemons, heavily ticked, etc. This is a bit more difficult if you’re in a club like Orange County Hunt, with a beautiful array of matching red and whites!

Some hunt clubs, like Stonewall Hounds, have their hound rosters posted on their website to let members get better acquainted with their hounds. Others, like Bijou Springs and Lowcountry Hunt, utilize social media to offer fun “guess the hound” contests or tips to help distinguish hounds. 

If you’re a bit of a techno whiz, you could also include labeled photos of the hounds on your cell phone. That way, when you’re stuck waiting around at the DMV or some other tedious outing, you can whip out your photo roster and do some studying.

Also, if your hunt doesn’t have a roster, maybe this is something you could volunteer to produce for your club. Sometimes clubs offer hound “sponsorships,” so this would be a nice way for that member to get to know “their” hound better.

Caza Ladron Hunt’s guide book includes photos of their hounds, as well as breeding information. Emily Esteron Photo.Caza Ladron Hunt’s guide book includes photos of their hounds, as well as breeding information. Emily Esterson Photo.

2. Start with Unique Hounds

Is there a hound in your club with a crooked tail or a noticeable scar? Maybe there’s one with a little chunk missing from his ear? Look for hounds with distinguishing characteristics. Or maybe your hunt only has one tricolor and a couple lemon and whites--memorize them first! Then, just pick one or two at a time to add to your knowledge-base.

3. Create Nicknames, Rhymes, or Phrases

Coming up with a funny little term to remember the hound by can be helpful. Do they have any interesting markings that look like something memorable? Maybe “Spirit” has a marking on his side that look like a cross or “Orbit” has a star shape on her back. Keep their personalities in mind, too—maybe “Piper” is as sweet as pie. Make little notes about these characteristics in your photo album.

4. Pick a Few Hounds Each Time

Each time you interact with the hounds, whether it’s during a meet or a hound walk, try and pick just one hound or two hounds to concentrate on. Test yourself and look for that hound throughout the whole outing until you can reliably find him or her all the time.

5. Get Involved

Being around the hounds more frequently is also a great way to become more familiar with them. If you can, try and walk out with them or volunteer at the kennels, helping to feed or clean, if that’s an option, or even just spend time with them. You’ll hear the staff call them by name, and soon you’ll pick up on each one. Most likely, this won’t happen during your first outing, but after a few weeks of being up close and personal with the hounds, you’ll start to know them, and each of their unique personalities, better.

Featured Hound: NMMVH Yukon

This month’s featured hound is NMMVH Yukon ’16, owned and bred by New Market-Middletown Valley Hounds, which hunts out of Frederick and Washington counties in Maryland and portions of Berkeley and Jefferson counties in West Virginia. We caught up with NMMVH’s Huntsman, Emily Melton, and Katharine Byron, MFH, to learn more about what makes Yukon so special.

logo mfha smtiny

Subscribing Membership to the MFHA is open to anyone who cares about the future of country lifestyles and wants their voice and vote to make a difference. You will also receive Covertside magazine 4x a year!