Though he may seem shy and modest at first, Millbrook Hermit leaves a lasting impression at shows and in the hunt field. In fact, he even won Champion American Hound during the first-ever International Virtual Hound Show this fall.
Millbrook Hermit has stellar bloodlines, says Erin McKenney, huntsman at Millbrook Hunt in New York. He’s a ¾ Penn-Marydel hound with nearly six seasons and multiple prestigious competition victories to his name, but he’s also come a long way since his days as a shy pup.
“He was a bit slow to catch onto the hunting thing,” McKenney admits. A whipper-in for Millbrook Hunt, McKenney took the horn as huntsman for the club this year after Donald Philhower retired. “[Hermit] would get stuck in a swamp as a pup and bawl his head off until someone came to get him,” she went on. “When he came into his second season though, the light bulb came on and he never looked back.”
Hermit is by MH Humphrey and out of MH Waffer ’09. Waffer (who herself comes from good American blood – Potomac, to be exact) was by GBH Kermit, who was by Rose Tree Gordo. “Many good Penn-Marydel hounds have Gordo in their pedigrees,” McKenney says. “He’s got a lot of good blood behind him.”
By his second season, he’d learned the ropes. Though he still carries a somewhat introverted disposition, his stellar pedigree continued to reveal itself in his sharp nose, resonant voice, effortless movement, and keen instinct in the hunt field.
“He’s very correct in his work. He can trail, pick checks, and has a terrific nose and voice,” says McKenney, who’s hunted in the region since she was nine years old. “Now it’s my first season hunting the hounds and we’ve had a tremendous season so far,” she says. “He can handle the variety of country we have here in the Hudson River Valley. We’ve got some big hills to hunt.”
In 2018, despite seeming a bit out of his element at the Bryn Mawr Hound Show, held at the Radnor Hunt Club in Malvern, Pennsylvania, Hermit handily won the American Stallion Hound class. “I promised him he would never have to go to another hound show after that,” McKenney says. “He’s not very confident at shows.”
She’s kept her promise... mostly. This year, expert judges Mr. Jake Carle, ex-M.F.H., Mrs. Marion Thorne, and F. Houghton Brown, Esq. named Hermit Champion American Hound during the first-ever International Virtual Hound Show, which ran at virtualhoundshow.com from July 31 through September 4. The show featured hounds from more than 250 hunts from seven countries, who competed in thirty virtual rings with classes judged by experts, as well as the popular vote.
“I thought it was perfect for him because he could show off at home,” McKenney says. He posed for the camera and submitted photos and videos to the IVHS’s official site, where his shine transcended the digital medium to claim that championship and also earned him high marks in the public vote.
Just as his pedigree has helped him hone his craft in the field and earn international recognition, Hermit tends to pass on his best qualities to fuel the next generation of seemingly unassuming yet stellar hounds as well. He’s sired two litters of pups who seems to share his forward going way, as well as his all-business attitude in the field, says McKenney. “He’s such an easy-going type and always easy in the kennel,” she adds. “He’s always one you want on your list for the day.”