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Hound Judging 1 Spring 12Karen Monroe photoThe day is to be keen, I feel.
Don't keep me in this kennel seal.
My dream awakened by the real.
Let me to the hill!

He was here! I surely saw him! He was smiling as he stood!
My dream required me to go even deeper into the wood.
It was ME! I was the One! who tracked the pungent scent.
I strained to see him as I ran, tongueing, yet still bent.

Another hill? All right. I still have more than I have given.
To be so close, to grasp his hide, to shake his red coat riven!

What's in Your Hunt Flask?

derek frenchThe Eglinton and Caledon Hunt in Canada has thrown down the gauntlet. They claim to have the best recipe for good cheer in their hunt flasks. The challenge is on. Reputations are at stake. Covertside is pleased to be the referee in The Great Hunt Flask Recipe Sip-off.

All MFHA members are invited to contribute their recipes on behalf of their hunt. Simply send your formula to publisher@covertside.net. We will print the recipes for the best concoctions after we have recovered from sampling them all.

Hume's Poe Hunts Hounds, Espouses Theory on Aging

Mr Poe birthday1Betsy Burke Parker photoMelvin Poe was born in a rural corner of northwest Fauquier County, VA in late summer 1920. Following the footsteps of father Ollie, Melvin Poe grew up riding and hunting, following hounds around fields and forest of his virtually limitless neighborhood near the center of Hume. Some nine decades later, he's still at it, and Poe celebrated his 93rd birthday Sunday in a predictable way: going foxhunting.

Along with a dozen neighbors and family members, Poe hunted hounds from his Ozark Farm Aug. 25, drawing a favored wooded copse across from the post office and finding it “full of game,” Poe said as his seven-couple of hounds pronounced the presence of a late-to-bed night-fox. Rapidly warming conditions made scenting difficult, Poe said, as the morning hours passed.

Poe knows from experience the vagaries of trying conditions– he's worked in hunting for 66 years, first whip then huntsman at the Old Dominion Hounds and later, from 1964 to 1991, at the Orange County Hunt. In 2011, Poe was inducted along with younger brother Albert to the sport's Hall of Fame – the Huntsmen's Room at the Museum of Hounds and Hunting.

After riding all morning, friends gathered at Melvin and wife Peggy's farmhouse for cake and to discuss Poe's secrets to nearly a century of success.

Will Your Horse Be Ready to Hunt?

Rose MerleSmithGretchen Pelham photoIf your answer is, “YES! My horse will be ready to hunt!”, then you might as well skip reading this article….

If NO is a possible answer, perhaps I can help you sort out how to have your horse ready for hunting when you receive your fixture card this fall. Preparing your field hunter for the coming season begins NOW!  If you wait until the leaves drop, it will be too late for “repairs”. 

Ask yourself, “Did I have any trouble with my horse this past season?”

Problems might include: running away, not stopping, refusing to jump, fighting the bit, shaking the head, bucking, rough gaits and falling down.

Sweet Tooth Satisfaction in a Flask

flaskHow I love sweet flask fillers! In recent years I have been using a mixture that actually does change a little from batch to batch.

Fill a big enamel or steel cooking pot nearly halfway with raisins, other dry fruit, or a mix. Pour in a very large bottle of spiced rum, a bottle of brandy, whisky, rye, or anything else that feels right. The fruit should be well covered.

Let this glorious concoction sit for two weeks covered in a larder, or otherwise safe place away from heat or extreme cold. When you are curious (and you will be), open and stir the mixture. Sample the liquid. If it is not as sweet as you want or if the fruit seems to be more exposed than when you first covered the pot, pour in some peach brandy. When you are satisfied with the taste and the fruit is again covered, close the pot and leave it again for another two weeks. 

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