Welcome to the Staff College Drag Hunt!
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Welcome to the 2020/2021 season!
The 1st May 2020 marks the start of the new Drag Hunting season and we have much to look forward to! We have two new additions to the Mastership - Jayne Chewter and Captain Daniel Gregory. We are also delighted to announce Vic Ruffy is also joining the team as a Director. A warm welcome to all three!
Subscriptions for the new season are now due and new for this season, we are also offering a non-riding subscription for those who enjoy regularly following the Hunt. Please see the Subscriptions & Cap page of the website for details of prices and how to pay. Please contact Jess our Hunt Sec if you have any questions
So what does your subscription pay for? Staff College Drag Hunt is a 'not for profits' limited company run by a team of unpaid volunteers and ALL money raised from subscriptions (and other fundraisers) goes into running the Hunt - for example - feeding the hounds, employing Stephen our Huntsman, running the kennels and building and maintaining the fences for you all to enjoy jumping over on a day out in our wonderful country. We also have a policy of 'everybody pays' in this Hunt, which means that all of the Masters, leadership team and Hunt Sec pay a subscription the same as everybody else. We all believe that our Hunt is something worth investing in and have enjoyed watching it go from strength to strength over the last couple of years.
Despite everything that the 2019/2020 season threw at us (weather, equine herpes, Covid19), Staff College Drag Hunt continues to thrive and we are super excited about the new season. We have you, our wonderful supporters, to thank for that and now can't wait until the Opening Meet!
Win a commissioned portrait worth £1500!
We are running a prize draw that gives you the chance to win a £1500 animal portrait for just £5! The prize is a personal commissioned portrait of your horse or dog by professional artist Catherine Ingleby. Click here for more details:
End Of Season Awards
Thank you to everyone who Drag Hunted with us during the 2019/2020 season. Here are the winners of the End Of Season Awards as chosen by our joint Masters Ash Hambridge, Caroline Bullen and Johnny Hathaway-White.
***WINNER - TUMBLERS' CUP ***
There are always a large number of contenders for this award and we thank everyone who has drag hunted, and face-planted from their horse, this season!
The winner is the faller that the Masters felt provided the most stylish slither to the ground after coming unseated over the smallest of fences...which made it even funnier. So it gives us great pleasure to award the 2019/2020 Tumblers' Cup to Duncan Green for his fall at Moundsmere. As you can see from the photos, Duncan provided Ellie Osborne with the opportunity to capture the perfect sequence, and he also looked rather pleased with himself afterwards! Huge congratulation to Duncan and thanks for always being such a good sport!
***WINNER - MASTERS' CUP ***
This award is for the horse that the Masters would most like to take for a day's drag hunting. The Masters have been carefully casting their eyes over the field this past season and looking out for the horse that always gives their rider a super day out and puts the biggest of smiles on their rider's face.
The decision on the winner was unanimous - the Masters have chosen Welly Dabliz as the worthy recipient of the Masters' Cup. Congratulations Welly and the Dabliz family - what a fabulous horse!
***WINNER - BEST TURNED OUT ***
This award is for the person who always makes 100% effort to look their best on a day out with us. Being correctly attired on a clean, plaited horse is of the utmost importance when Drag Hunting - it is a sign of respect to the landowners and farmers who's land we are very privileged to cross and it upholds the traditions of our military affiliated pack. Thank you to everyone who makes the effort week in, week out - we know all too well the joys (!) of bathing horses in the winter months and cleaning mud splattered tack and riding kit.
There were several strong contenders this year, but the Masters are delighted to announce that they have chosen Leah Hayden as the winner of the Best Turned Out Award. Leah is always looks fantastic, with not a hair out of place, a perfectly tied stock and polished boots. She drag hunts on a whiter-than-white pony who sports the most beautiful, neat plaits in both his mane and tail. Once, she even had to re-do some plaits that Dad Peter had put in as they were not up to her high standards! Well done for keeping him in line Leah!
***WINNER - BEST HUNT TEA ***
The tea we offer our followers after a day's Drag Hunting is a well known feature of coming out with our pack. Visitors are always amazed and delighted with the spread. A huge thank you to everyone who has made Hunt Tea this season, and thanks to Siobhan Brookman for coordinating the tea rota. It is a sign of how cohesive our hunting community is that we all come together for a chat and a debrief at the end of the day, rather than all disappearing off our separate ways. Long may it last!
So it was a difficult decision for the Masters to decide on the Best Hunt Tea award, but after much deliberation, Caroline Bullen, Johnny Hathaway-White & Ash Hambridge are delighted to announce that they have chosen Katy & Sarah Hayward as the winners of the Best Hunt Tea Award. Katy and Sarah made the most delicious and hearty stew for riders and followers to enjoy, and everyone who tasted it said it was fantastic! Thank you and well done Team Hayward!
***WINNER - BEST CAKES ***
The Masters are delighted to announce that they have chosen Brewer Chandler as the winner of the Best Cakes Award. Brewer provided an epic spread of delicious cakes for the Lead Rein Meet and the Minley Meet, and also always stuffs everyone full of cake when she kindly hosts a Meet on her land. Thank you and well done Brewer!
Welcome to the world, puppies!
We are very excited to announce a litter of whelps who arrived on 4th April 2020. Huntsman Stephen Hall chose Lavender (bitch hound) and Danger (dog hound) as the parents and they have produced this beautiful litter of pups who are all doing well. We hope you'll enjoy watching them grow and join the rest of our pack when they are older to develop their future Drag Hunting skills!
Hunt Ball 2020 - Thanks For Coming!
Friday 17th January 2020 saw us celebrate 150 years of the Staff College Drag Hunt in true glitz-and-glam style at our annual Hunt Ball, held at The Elvetham Hotel.
As usual, the organisers surpassed themselves as guests were treated to fabulous food and wine, dancing into the small hours, heads & tails, horn-blowing and a rendition of the Post Horn Gallop! Not to mention a raffle with wonderful prizes, a surf simulator and a shooting gallery! Phew - no wonder there were a few sore heads the next day.
For the full round up of fun and frolics go to the Hunt Ball page here:
On Sunday 10th November 2019, we held a special Remembrance Day Meet at Moundsmere Estate. The Meet was well attended with over 50 riders, including a large military contingent on this special day. Before we set off, we observed two minutes silence to honour the fallen. Horses and riders then enjoyed riding around the beautiful estate in the sunshine, cantering round the headlands and hopping over the hedges. The final line finished with a rather poignent cavalry charge up the last field, led by Major JJ Hathaway-White MDH.
“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.At the going down of the sun and in the morningWe will remember them.”
Celebrating 150 Years!
The 2019/2020 season is our Drag Hunt's 150th year and as part of marking this momentous occasion, we are changing our name back to the original name of our pack. The Staff College Drag was formed in 1870 by officers of the Staff College along with staff and cadets of Sandhurst. The fun was furious and the sport exhilarating. At Sandhurst, the Drag was considered to be ‘quite the most important part of the curriculum’. Rumour had it that those who did not go hard with the Drag stood little chance of a staff job. So to mark our 150th year, we feel it is a fitting tribute to once again be called the "Staff College Drag Hunt".
The name change was first announced to our loyal Subscribers at our Subscribers' Dinner on 11th October 2019. Everyone enjoyed a fabulous white tie dinner in the Former Army Staff College at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.
And then we spread the good news at our Opening Meet on 13th Ocotber 2019! The Four Seasons Hotel, Dogmerfield, kindly welcomed us back for another year to kick off our season in great style. Over 100 horses and riders joined us for a wonderful day crossing the beautiful Hampshire countryside and jumping the famous Swan's Farm hedges.
Summer Show & Inter-Hunt Relay
We had a whale of a time over the August Bank Holiday weekend running our Summer Show, Inter-Hunt Relay and various displays at Wellington Country Fair and Horse Trials.
Sunday saw an army of beautifully presented horses and riders turn out for our Summer Show. There were 19 classes over 3 rings, including Working Hunter plus various Ridden and In Hand classes and associated Championships. Most classes were qualifiers for Royal London Show and we also ran a group of Equifest qualifiers - it was lovely to see grinning competitors leaving the ring clutching their beautiful rosettes and qualification cards. Our generous sponsors also provided some fabulous prizes to the winners of each class - thank you to all the companies that supported our show.
On Monday, 20 teams from Hunts, Riding Clubs and Pony Clubs across the country came together to battle it out in our Inter-Hunt Relay for the spectacular first prize of £1000! Huge thanks to Little Red Rooster PR for sponsoring the relay. It was a tightly fought contest, but the overall winners were the New Forest Hunt (Team Ipley) consisting of Tristan Ingram on Salsa, Alisha Coombes on Peaches, Lucy Fairman on Custard & Nicola Denness on Dollar. Well done!
Throughout the weekend we also paraded our Hounds and ran Side Saddle and Skill At Arms displays and demonstartions, plus a Chase-Me-Charlie competition - all of which drew large crowds and were enjoyed by everyone.
As always, these events only run so successfully due to our wonderful team of helpers who give up their free time to muck in. We couldn't do it without you - THANK YOU to everyone who helped!
Festival Of Hunting, July 2019
Report by Johnny Hathaway-White MDH
Our pack entered hounds at the Lycetts Festival of Hunting again this year, the summer's premier gathering of hounds of all varieties. The Masters of Draghounds and Bloodhounds Association show was well attended, and the standard of hounds was high. It was reassuring to see.
Excellent work with hounds by Stephen Hall in preparation for our own hound show paid off in the ring at Peterborough, where he was ably supported by Mandy and Ben Hall. All three immaculately turned out, and brilliantly professional. Harry Denovan was a huge help behind the scenes on the day, and the team worked really hard in stifling conditions.
The hard work paid off with great results, which bodes well for future days in the field and shows on the flags.
-Tenant took third in the unentered dog hound.
-Status was pipped to the top spot in a very close split judges' decision to take second in the unentered dog class.
-Textile got a third in the entered dog.
-In the entered bitches we took second and third with Tender and Daydream, respectively.
-We then put this same dream-team into the couples, where they took second place, again on a split decision.
Hounds showed really well in hot conditions (so hot that static judging was done on the grass, not the flags, as they'd become too hot! As you may have seen and heard, the whole lot was topped off by a splendid (and slightly boozey) picnic! Perfect!
Hound Show and Kennels Open Day, July 2019
We had over 100 people attend our annual Hound Show and Kennels Open Day on 14th July. The Hunt Supporters' Club had pulled out all the stops in organising such a great day. Adults & children enjoyed browsing a range of stalls, a raffle, a bouncey castle, face painting, pony rides, a fun dog show and hound racing. A delicious afternoon tea was served featuring the cakes from our cake baking competition, won by Katherine Marshall with her wonderful raspberry muffins! All this ran alongside the main event, the Hound Show, with our hounds kindly judge by visiting Master of the South Downs Bloodhounds - Jeremy Whaley MBH. Jeremy cast a close and expert eye over the hounds on show, and decided that our Champion Hound was Strident, with Tender running a close second. Tender then put in her own winning performance by storming to victory in the hound racing.
Congratulations to all the winners in our Fun Dog Show:
Best Terrier - Sonny with Havoc
Best Gun Dog - Stuart with Jack
Best Any Other Breed - Jackie with Fergus
Waggiest Tail - Siobhan with Lulu
Prettiest Bitch - Daniel with Inca
Most Handsome Dog - Jason with Rex
With Best In Show going to Daniel with Inca!
Heritage Day, RMA, June 2019
We had a fantastic time taking part in Heritage Day on 16th June 2019. We paraded our hounds, led by Huntsman Stephen Hall, followed by a hound meet & greet for onlookers. We then gave a Draghunting demonstration with runner Stuart Bruce laying a line which the hounds hunted, hotly pursued by Huntsman, whips, and a small field led side-saddle by Caroline Bullen MDH. The final part of the afternoon was an exciting gate jumping competition where we were represented by Rebecca Hardman, Sarah Elliott, Perdy Dabliz & Katya Browne. Thanks to everyone who came along to support and help, and to Johnny Hathaway-White MDH for co-ordinating the day and providing excellent and informative commentary on the proceedings!
Royal Windsor Fun Ride 2019
What a fantastic couple of days at the Royal Windsor Fun Ride! Huge thanks to everyone ‘behind the scenes’ without whom this ride could not go ahead. Thank you to Amanda Stewart & her team for their top organisational skills, to our fence builders for the fabulous selection of jumps that the riders enjoyed and last but not least - to everyone who gave up their free time to steward the ride. We couldn’t have done it without you! The result of all the effort? 650 smiling riders having a great time in the beautiful setting of Windsor Great Park.
For more info on our Fun Rides, click here: