Behind the Scenes: Eleanor Menefee Parkes

Eleanor Menefee Parkes grew up in a family of equestrians. Her parents, Valere and Albert Menefee Jr., were active members in the Hillsboro Hounds, and some of her earliest memories are of watching the hunters off behind the hounds at meets. At 16 years old, she participated in her first hunt. Today she carries on the family tradition as the first female Master of Foxhounds of the Hillsboro Hounds. Invited to the position based on experience, knowledge and ability, Eleanor is honored to give back to the sport she loves and to build on a history that dates back to the 1930s. In addition to serving as Master, she pursues her other passion, combined driving, a three-phase carriage competition that is both elegant and demanding. Eleanor can frequently be found with her hunt horses or driving ponies at her farm in Giles County, but it was in Nashville that we learned more about this accomplished lady.

The Basics

Name: Eleanor Menefee Parkes

Professional title: Joint Master of Foxhounds

Hometown: Nashville

Zip code: 37205

Years in Nashville: All but a handful!

Number of hunting horses you own: Five

Do you have an all-time favorite horse? My first hunt was on Panorama Farm in Franklin, riding my dearest horse of all time, a big Belgian/thoroughbred cross named Charlie Brown. He wasn’t handsome, but he was fun and dependable!

What are your duties as Master of Foxhounds? The duties shared among the Masters of any foxhunting group are the oversight of the staff and hounds and the conservation of the land we are allowed to use. There are layers to all aspects, but central is the relationship we have with the landowners, some who share our interest in hunting and some who have for generations allowed us to cross their land even though they do not hunt with us.

Do you have a horse-related bucket list item you’d like to cross off? My “other” equestrian interest is combined driving, which is a cross between three-day eventing and pleasure driving. I aspire to compete internationally someday!

What are your favorite restaurants and places to go for cocktails? Table 3 and Sperry's. They are unique from each other but both my “go to” choice.

What’s the best shop to buy a gift? I find myself in Helen’s Children's Shop in Green Hills a fair amount as friends and family have babies and grandbabies arriving!

For a quiet getaway, where do you like to go?[I'm] always happiest in the country.

What annual fundraising event do you look most forward to every year? Iroquois Steeplechase

What’s your favorite local event? Since day one, I have been a Predators ticket holder! Love the Preds!

What is one luxury you can’t live without? My horses and ponies

What’s your all-time favorite movie? That’s hard because there are so many to consider. The Sound of Music would be a leader in that category.

What trait do you admire most in others? Empathy