In 2009 my brother and wife persuaded me to have a day out with the Mid Surrey Farmers Drag, I’d been concentrating on training and riding point to pointers, and my hunting had been limited to wrapping the race horses in cotton wool for tepid days at the back of the field with the Fox Hounds. We met in a local pub on foot, and recieved a fantastic welcome from the core members before we set off. From the moment we jumped our first fence I was hooked – there was no messing about. we just got stuck straight into it, and jumped our first line: some 15 obstacles, rails, tiger traps but mostly hedges. Some small, some bigger but all beautifully prepared, clearly marked and safe, The day continued for another 4 lines before we took tired horses home to be washed down and put in the lorry with a well deserved hay net. Then back to the pub, for tea and lots of chat about the day; the members were hugely welcoming and encouraging. I think a drink or two might also have been taken whilst we were looking at the photos (see Gallery and you’ll see what I mean), all taken of the best fences of the day, and most likely the most flattering of angles!
It is a day I have repeated many times since – the following year I took out one of the point to pointers who had fallen out of love with racing. It perked him up nearly as much as it did me and I haven’t really stopped since.
So what is so good about dragging? To me it is time efficiently spent – you don’t start until 12:30 to 1:30, so there is time to get things done before you head off. I can ride out two point to pointers comfortably before getting ready to head to the meet. The racehorses can be hard work – we don’t generally start the pointing season properly until February and to have the release during the Autumn and early winter to go out and have fun is fantastic, and I think it has been hugely beneficial to my riding too. We are guaranteed a good day; across the best of the country and we are lucky to have some beautiful patches of land we can cross and we get to challenge ourselves. We have varying days in terms of fence size, from the chunky, which is a challenge to all, to the smaller days, but even then they are a good test of horsemanship – it helps that those around you generally go well, and you get a good lead; but where else could you be guaranteed to jump 40 to 50 fences in a day?
So if you have a limited concentration span, enjoy adrenaline, want to get out and get on with it, and have a horse who enjoys his jumping then come and find us!