Everything you wanted to know about drag hunting, but were afraid to ask

Last Updated on March 24, 2022 by Allison Price

What is the difference between drag hunting and fox hunting?

Drag hunting is when a group of hounds follow a scent that has been laid by an animal rather than following it. To maximize jumping opportunities, the line is laid along a predetermined route.

Drag hunting was first developed in the UK around 1800 to test speed and agility of hounds. It involves laying a scent trail that extends a specific distance.

There are two methods to lay a smell. The ‘hunting of the clean boot’ is a term that describes bloodhounds’ amazing sense of smell. The runner meets the hounds and sets off 20 minutes prior to the hunt.

A chemical scent is the second method, which is more common with foxhounds. The runner will dip a cloth in the scent and then drag it along the ground.

It’s scary!

Although I’m a wimp, I enjoy cantering. It’s a great sport that requires courage, but it’s still great fun.

What should we expect from a hunting day?

If it’s a lawn meet, the host will provide drinks and snacks. The field master informs all the participants (the ‘field’), about any information they require regarding the first line before they move on.

The hunt master should not be passed when you are setting off. Once they have picked up the scent, the hounds will move on and the rest of the field will follow them jumping over the fences.

Drag Hunting

Normal meets have three to four lines that cover six miles or more. Riders can skip lines if it is too difficult for their horses. Each line ends with a 15-minute break for horses and riders.

The trip will last approximately three hours. At the end of each day, there is usually tea at the host’s home or at a local pub.

How do you introduce your horse to hunting?

It is a good idea to take an inexperienced horse out for a gentle walk at least two to three times before he goes hunting. You should not let your horse jump on everything and do some standing still to allow them to see what is happening. Once you are calm and relaxed, you can then get on with everything.

It seems that there are many types of meet, but how can they differ?

Hound rides take place at the start of the season to introduce young hounds and teach them how to join the pack. These rides are less strenuous as horses and hounds may not be fully fit yet. However, there will still be canters, jumps, and some jumping.

Preseason meets is the next stage and teaches the younger hounds how to scent and hunt. These meets are a slower pace than main season meets, with fewer jumps.

Children’s meets take place in a controlled area with smaller jumps (optional), a slower pace, and plenty of breaks to let everyone catch up.

What are the jumps?

It varies from one meet to the next. The height of our fences ranges from 60cm (2ft.) to 1.20 (4ft.). However, we don’t have many 1.20m fences these days because people prefer fences between 90cm (29ft9in.) and 1.10 (3ft6in. They are always hedges and are easy to jump over.

We keep many options and have a second fieldmaster to help with the more difficult lines. You can consult the hunt secretaries to get advice or find the best matches for you and your horse on our website.

What should we wear?

The dress code for fox hunting is the same. At any time of the season, a hacking jacket and tie with buff britches are acceptable. A black jacket and a white stock are common, but hunt officers only wear red coats.

Cross-country riding is not without risk. You should wear the best possible crash hat and use back protectors.

What should our horse wear to the races?

When traveling cross-country, it’s best to use the same kit that they normally wear. There are many options. Some people prefer to put boots on horses, while others don’t.

Are we required to tie?

Yes, you should tie your hair for the main season.

What kind of horse do you need?

Drag hunting is a sport that can be done by all kinds of horses and ponies. Although a horse doesn’t have to be fast, he must be able to jump at least 90cm (2ft9in). If your horse has never hunted before, you can put a green ribbon in its tail to let other riders know that it is not experienced. A red ribbon should be tied to the tail of any horse you are concerned about kicking.

How fit should my horse be?

You have the freedom to choose your speed and where you wish to hunt in the field. All the front horses are very fit. However, the slower hunters and second field move at a slower pace. It is possible to change your line and go faster for a straighter line than slow. This is entirely up to you.

How fit should we be?

A minimum of two hours in the saddle requires some level of fitness. !

What is the cost of this?

You have many options for how to pay for drag hunting. These include a day’s full-day cap or a year’s subscription which allows you to hunt every season. A full year subscription costs about PS360, while a single day is approximately PS40. Each meet has a cap of about PS5, which covers the cost of building fences.

Allison Price
Allison Price

I’m Allison, born and raised in San Diego California, the earliest memory I have with horses was at my grandfather’s farm. I used to sit at the stable as a kid and hang out with my Papa while he was training the horses. When I was invited to watch a horse riding competition, I got so fascinated with riding!