Welcome to the Staff College Drag Hunt!
Please use the menu to have a look around our website.
If you have any questions, please contact our friendly Drag Hunt Secretaries
Sophie Gregory & Tamara King firstname.lastname@example.org
Sophie - 07798 588363 Tamara - 07730 592200
You can also find us on Facebook & Instagram by clicking here:
Subscriptions 2022/23 Season
Welcome to the 2022/23 season! Subscriptions for the new season are now due and we also have 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. We are, once again, offering a SPECIAL EARLY BIRD DISCOUNT for subscriptions paid before 30th June. Please contact Tamara & Sophie our Joint Hunt Secs if you have any questions email@example.com
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 Secs 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.
After an absolutely fantastic 2021/22 season, Staff College Drag Hunt continues to thrive and we are incredibly excited about the new season. We have you, our wonderful supporters, to thank for that and now can't wait until the Opening Meet!
End Of Season Awards
Thank you to everyone who attended our Farmers' Dinner on 29th April 2022 to thank our farmers and landowners for allowing us to drag hunt across their land. A delightful evening was had by all!
Chairman Ash Hambridge gave a warm welcome to everyone and then handed over to the Masters to present the End Of Season Awards. Here are the results!
The Masters took great pleasure in awarding the following people their Hunt Button for services to Staff College Drag Hunt:
Katy & Sarah Hayward
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 nominees were: Grainger (Louise Baird), Maestro (Derek Maclennan), Finley (Annie Higgo), Ugo (Georgie Warden).
The Masters chose the winner as Finley, owned by Annie Higgo. Finley is a fearless hunt horse and has galloped and jumped at the front of the first field all season, leaving rider Annie grinning from ear to ear!
BEST TURNED OUT
This award is for the rider who always puts in 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.
The nominees were: Lottie Hill, The Dabliz Sisters, Roger & Sarah Edmunds
The Masters are delighted to announce that they have chosen Perdy, Dora & Nellie Dabliz as the winner of the Best Turned Out Award. These ladies always looks fantastic, with not a hair out of place, a perfectly tied stock and polished boots. They can be seen ride both side saddle and astride on imaculate horses who sport the most beautiful, neat plaits. Congratulations ladies, and thank you for always making such an effort!
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!
This award can be given to someone who has fallen many times during the season, or to someone who has only fallen off once, but done it with great style.
The nominees were: Catherine Sheppard, Ashton Caddick, Sophie Gregory
It gives the Masters great pleasure to award the 2021/2022 Tumblers' Cup to Catherine Sheppard. Who can forget this epic face-plant at Heckfield where Catherine obliterated one of our mobile gate fences in the process! In this photo she can be seen chilling out at the scene of the crime, still grinning! Huge congratulation to Catherine and thanks for always being such a good sport!
The Joint Masters have decided on a new award this year - Best Junior. We pride ourselves on being a hunt that is inclusive and open to all - whether you are a thruster who likes to ride up front and jump everything , or whether you prefer a more sedate day in the Second Field. The Masters are absolutely delighted that we have so many young followers who can polish and develop their skills, ensuring that drag hunting will have a strong following in years to come. These fierce mini drag hunters have no problem keeping up with the adults with their determination, tenacity and fearless jumping!
The nominees were: Ava Shortt, Tom Sirett, Iman Al Zawawi
The Masters have chosen Tom Sirett, affectionately known as 'Tiger Trap Tom' as the winner. Tom and his pony Tetley can be found taking on the best of our country on a hunting day, flying over timber and hedges alike, all the time being encouraged and coached by Mum Hayley.
BEST HUNT TEA
Staff College Drag Hunt is famous for hunt tea! And that is down to our wonderful followers, who slave over a hot stove in the lead up to each Meet so that we all have something delicious and warming to eat after a day in the field.
The nominees were: Luke & Jason Shirley-Mansell, Dawn Fenton, Katie Higgo and the Hayward Sisters.
Despite stiff competition from all the nominees, Luke and Jason Shirley-Mansell just pipped the others to be the Masters' choice for their simply delicious lamb tagine which was devoured by all after the Minley Meet on 27th February 2022.
We all so enjoy stuffing our faces with delicious cakes after a day’s drag hunting, and this award is for the most delicious cake of the 2021/22 season.
The nominees were: Andi O'Regan, Gemma Beckett and Nellie Dabliz
The Masters chose Gemma Beckett as this winner of this award for her delicious chocolate tray bake. When Gemma makes this cake you have to be first to the Hunt Tea table to secure a slice as it disappears in seconds!
Hound Sponsors' Morning 9th April 2022
Kathy Tuggey from the HSC, along with Huntsman Stephen Hall and family, welcomed our Hound Sponsors to kennels for this special event. Sponsors enjoyed an early morning walk out with hounds, followed by a talk about the hounds and kennels from Stephen, a 'meet and greet' with their hounds and then tea and pastries for brunch!
Everyone remarked on what fantastic condition the hounds were in and on how friendly they were - lots of cuddles were had all round!
Thank you to Kathy Tuggey, Siobhan and Steve Brookman, Georgette Green and the team at kennels for putting on such a fantastic morning.
If you are interested in sponsoring a hound, please contact Kathy by email firstname.lastname@example.org
For further information about the hounds and our kennels, click here:
That's All Folks!
Saturday 26th March 2022 saw the Closing Meet for the 2021/22 season, held in the beautiful surroundings of Stratfield Saye as guests of the Duke and Duchess of Wellington.
Riders enjoyed fabulous sunshine, old turf to gallop on and hedges, ditches and timber to jump!
Huge thanks to our four Joint Masters Jayne Chewter, Jess Telford, Dan Gregory and Stuart MacTaggart, alongside Huntsman Stephen Hall, for organising the most wonderful drag hunting season for us all to enjoy.
The Masters would like to extend their heartfelt thanks to all those who have helped with putting on the drag hunting days - including country prep, fence building, laying the scent, port and hunt tea. We should all be proud of the wonderful team we have at Staff College Drag Hunt.
Over to the HSC now for Summer fun! Check out the Forthcoming Events page of the website to see what they have in store...
How To Come Drag Hunting With Us
We pride ourselves on being an inclusive and friendly drag hunt where everyone is welcome from newcomers to seasoned hunters to children, so don't be scared about trying our sport - it really is the MOST fun you can have on your horse!
1. Have a look at the Meet Card page of our website and choose which Meet you would like to come to.
2. Email our Hunt Secretaries Sophie and Tamara at email@example.com asking if you may book in for that Meet. If you've never been drag hunting before let them know, and also tell them a little about yourself and your horse. You can also ask any questions you may have.
3. Sophie and Tamara will tell you if there is space at the Meet and if so, send you bank details for payment of your cap. Payment of your cap secures your place on the drag hunt, so please send it promptly.
4. Fill in a disclaimer by going to the Disclaimer page on the website - you can fill this in very easily online. We only need one of these per season (not per Meet).
5. Download the What3words app onto your phone - we will put up addresses for our Meets but often the postcode doesn't get you to the right place but the What3words reference always will!
6. Make sure you know what to wear and how to turn out your horse. As a pack whose history is steeped in the tradition of the British Army, and whose hounds are kennelled at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, we take pride in ensuring that our turnout is correct. Full details are on the What To Wear page of our website.
7. Read the What To Expect and Etiquette pages of the website so you know how to behave and keep safe.
8. Finally, email Sophie and Tamara if you have any questions and enjoy a fantastic day out!
Shout out to our amazing runners!
It takes an army of volunteers to put on a day's drag hunting, and we'd just like to take a minute to show our appreciation for our amazing team of runners who lay the scent for the hounds to follow. You may not notice these guys on the day, but they play an absolutely essential part in providing sport for us all! The lines are pre-determined and planned by the Masters, who then send the maps to the runners. On the day, the runners are provided with a rag which is soaked in the scent that the hounds know to follow (a mixture of oil and Tesco's perfume!). The runners then drag this rag along the pre-planned line, clutching their phones to navigate. The rag is surprisingly heavy, and the going is often deep, so the runners need to be super-fit and it takes a huge amount of effort.
Thank you to everyone who has run for us this season: Jimmy King, Jason Shirley-Mansell, Nicky Cripps, McKenna Glass, Will Kellard, Emma Kellard, Stuart Bruce, Freya Bloor, Max Walker, Caz Bullard, Chris Osborne and James Roberts. You guys are the BEST!
Need cheering up?
If you fancy a giggle to cheer you up on a cold and damp winter's morning, then have a look at the Tumblers page of our website.
There is a fine array of epic faceplants from the season, all caught on camera by Ellie Osborne.
These lucky people will all be in the running to be nominated to win the Tumblers' Cup, presented by the Masters at the Farmers' Dinner on 29th April.
No horses or riders came to any harm from any of these falls and, once remounted, continued with their day.
Flying Through The First Half Of The Season!
Phew! What a fantastic first half of the season we have had!
There have been so may highlights that it's hard to pick out just a few...
We were delighted to be able to return to the prestigious Four Seasons Hotel for our Opening and New Year's Day Meets where riders enjoyed drag hunting around the parkland and surrounding farms, including the famous Swan's Farm hedges.
Speaking of hedges, the Masters have been working hard with Huntsman Stephen Hall putting in new fences for this season which now include a new ring of hedges at our Paley Street Meet, and some introductory small hedges at a new Meet at Spencers Wood.
For Remembrance Day, we were honoured to meet inside the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst before heading out onto Barossa to enjoy the many and varied jumps there.
From the Military Meets at Barossa and Minley to the rolling countryside at Itchen Down and Elvetham Estate, we are truly thankful to our landowners for inviting us to drag hunt across their country and can't wait to enjoy the second half of the season!
Opening Meet 2021 2022 Season
And we're off!
Thank you to everyone who came to our Opening Meet at the prestigious Four Season Hotel on Sunday 10th October. A large field of riders enjoyed a stirrup cup and a catch up with drag hunting buddies before the off.
Jess Telford MDH welcomed attendees before reciting some verse about the English countryside to get everyone in the mood. The hounds were flying and in fine voice and riders enjoyed crossing some beautiful country, including the famous Swan's Farm hedges. We are now up and running, drag hunting every Sunday until March, so if you'd like to join us, take a look at the Meet Card page of the website and then email our Hunt Secretaries to book in. Kick on!
The English Grass
Come, horseman all from every field
And taste this rare delight!
And see what English pastures yield
To those who's hearts beat right!
Come, haste a quaff the stirrup cup!
Turn down the empty glass!
The horn is blown, the hunt is up
And here's our English grass!
And here are runners swift to find
And fences strong to break,
And here are double steep and blind
That try the best to take,
And dappled hounds to keep in sight
And rivals you must pass
Before the long October night
Enshrouds the English grass!
The meadows stretch from stream to stream,
Close-bitten, firm, and sound;
No stubble stands, no plough man's team
Rips up the ravaged ground;
But level far as eye can see
Like smooth green-tinted glass,
A battle-ground for bravery,
Is spread the English grass.
Though thorns be thick, though binders lace,
Though stout be stile and rail,
Though nought but blood can live the pace,
And nought but pluck prevail,
The call's to all, the field is fair
To every creed and class;
So draw your girths, all ye who dare,
And ride the English grass!
Hound Exercises & the Champagne Breakfast Ride
Thank you to everyone who came to our pre-season hound exercises which have been running on Wednesdays and Sundays since the beginning of August. Hound exercise is the perfect way to get your horse fit for hunting and is also great for newcomers to introduce their horse to hounds in a more sedate environment.
Lots of riders have joined us over the last few weeks culminating in a very special hound exercise on 26th September 2021 - the Champagne Breakfast Ride. Riders enjoyed a glass of fizz and a pastry before setting off to ride around the beautiful countryside at Itchen Abbas with some lovely long canters and some hunt jumps to enjoy along the way! Afterwards, Jayde Payne from the HSC and Mum Debbie Payne cooked up a storm and fed riders breakfast baps on their return.
Thanks to everyone who came…next stop: Opening Meet!
Puppy Show 26th June 2021
The Masters had grand plans for our Puppy Show this Summer; after last year's lockdown we had two litters of puppies to show for 2021. Unfortunately, due to ongoing government restrictions, it ended up needing to be a more scaled-down affair. We were, however, delighted to welcome our puppy walkers to a lunch at kennels, followed by a traditional Puppy Show where Huntsman Stephen Hall and son Ben presented our puppies to judges Christopher Austin MFH (Kimblewick Hunt) and Oliver Thompson, Huntsman Old Berks Hunt.
Dog Hounds, Entered 2020 - 1st Dannatt
Dogs Hounds, Entered 2021 - 1st Lawless
Best Dog Hound - Lawless
Bitches, Entered 2020 - 1st Dashwood
Bitches, Entered 2021 - 1st Lapwing
Best Bitch - Dashwood
Overall Champion Hound - Lawless
Lawless (L) & Dashwood (R)