Draghunting for the first time?
Here are some of the frequently asked questions (and answers). If you have anything else that you would like to know, please contact our friendly Drag Hunt Secretary, Jessica Telford, who will be more than happy to chat to you.
How fast do you go?
Contrary to popular belief, draghunting is conducted at a sensible pace - to ride in the First Field, you need to be comfortable at a 'working' canter and be happy with riding in a group. We always have a Second Field for those who would like to go a little slower and gain confidence before moving up to the First Field.
Do I have to jump?
Most people come Draghunting because they enjoy jumping. However, there are very few Meets where there are compulsory jumps. Jumps on our country range anywhere from 2' rails to 5' hedges. Most of the jumps are between 2'3" and 2'9". If there is a larger jump, there will ALWAYS be a smaller alternative jump or a gate that you can go through. Look at the descriptions of the Meets under 'Meet Card' on the menu on the left. If you have any questions about specific Meets, please contact Jessica our Hunt Secretary.
What happens at the Meet?
Please allow plenty of time to get to the Meet. We Meet at 12:30pm unless otherwise notified. This means you need to be on your horse at 12:30pm. Good draghunting etiquette demands that when you arrive, you should find the Hunt Secretary and offer her your cap, rather than waiting for her to approach you. Similarly, you should say a good morning to the Masters (the correct greeting being "Good morning Master" even if you know them personally). The Huntsman and Hounds will join the Meet at 12:30pm. You will be offered a glass of port and have a chance to chat to your fellow Draghunters. The Field Master will then welcome everyone, thank the Landowners and offer information and instructions on the days' Draghunting. It is very important that you are quiet and listen carefully to what the Field Master says. The Field Master will then say "Hounds please!" and the Huntsman will blow the horn and lead the hounds to the first line. Any time the Field Master says "Field please!" you should follow them.
What sort of country do you cover?
We are very fortunate to have supportive Landowners who allow us to cross a wide variety of country. This can be anything from old turf on country estates to farmland to forestry and military land. The days' draghunting will consist of 3 or 4 'lines' of about 2 miles each (although this can vary). These are pre-determined routes planned by the Landowners and Masters. All jumps on these lines are carefully maintained and inspected in the week leading up to the event.
What happens during the days' draghunting?
You will see a runner who lays a scent for the hounds to follow along the pre-detarmined route. The hounds then follow this scent, under control of the Huntsman who is assisted by the Whips. The Field Master then leads the field of riders to follow the Huntsman and hounds. The Second Field Master follows this First Field with the riders who prefer to go more slowly. At the end of each line, we all rest for about 20 minutes before setting off again.
What happens at the end of the day?
Please wait until the Huntsman has put the hounds away before you go back to your lorry. The Field Master will indicate when you are free to move. The Hunt Supporters' Club always provide everyone with a hunt tea after the horses are washed off and put away. At the Sandhurst, we pride ourselves on the quality of these teas, so do come along to have something to eat and drink and re-live the thrills of the day. Everyone is welcome. Riders' tea is included in the price of their cap and we ask for a donation towards the cost of the tea from foot-followers. Hunt Supporters' Club members also have free hunt tea at all the meets.
Will I be shouted at?
We pride ourselves on being a very friendly Draghunt where everyone is welcome, whatever their age or level of experience. To make draghunting an enjoyable and safe pass-time for all, it is very important to follow the instructions of the Masters and other Hunt Staff. If any of these people raise their voices it will be in the interests of safety. Please look at the 'etiquette' section carefully, and adhere to it's rules.
Can my family and friends come and watch?
Yes of course! We actively encourage non-riding draghunt supporters. One of the Hunt Supporters' Club will be on hand to guide foot followers around in cars to get the best views of the day. To minimise environmental impact, we do ask that foot followers car share. We recommend you bring a car suitable for off road driving.