The Masters Of Foxhounds Association elected Tony Leahy, MFH of the Fox River Valley Hunt (Ill.), as president for the next three years during their annual meeting held Jan. 27.
“I’m really excited and humbled by it,” said Leahy. “It’s a real honor to be asked.”
Leahy grew up in Ireland, in an avid foxhunting family. He came to the United States in 1987 to pursue show jumping, before he was offered a job as the master at the Fox River Valley Hunt in 1990. In the late 1990s he became a district rep before taking more of an active role in the board. He sat as chair of the professionals program and then severed as second vice president on the executive board.
“I worked along with the board on different projects over the years,” he said. “I was asked in the centennial year to set up the professional development program. That’s something I’m very proud of.”
Leslie Rhett Crosby, MFH of the Mooreland Hunt (Ala.) was elected first vice president and Penny Denegre, MFH of the Middleburg Hunt (Va.) was elected second vice president. In addition, executive director Dennis Foster is retiring April 1, and David Twiggs will step into that role.
“We’re in a huge transitional period, and I think we’re going to concentrate on trying to serve our membership as well as we can and really try to broaden our base within the horse world and reach out to other equestrian sports and work hard to remain relevant.
“We’re super excited,” Leahy said. “The new headquarters in Middleburg [Va.] is going to develop different strategies to have a more open door policy. We’re really excited about that, and want it to be a centerpiece, and use that as a springboard for us to have some of the hunting art and to really have a strong educational platform. We’re going to have a series of different seminars.”
The new MFHA headquarters in Middleburg is currently under renovation with a projected opening date of spring 2018.