Everything you wanted to know about drag hunting but were afraid to ask!
Drag hunting is an equestrian sport, where mounted riders hunt the trail of an artificially laid scent. In a drag hunt the hounds are training to follow/hunt a prepared scent. It does not involve the hunting of live animals.
About an hour or so before the hunt can begin, a “drag layer” simply dips a cloth in the scent mixture and trails it along the ground behind him/her to create a cross-country trail (or “dragline”). The scent, although repulsive to humans, is irresistible to hounds. There are usually three to four lines, of approximately 3 – 4 kms each, laid for a day of hunting. These lines are laid over a pre-determined route to take advantage of the best footing, optional jumping opportunities and to ensure the safety of the horse and rider. At the end of each line there is a “check” which is a resting period of about 10 – 15 minutes which allows the hounds to rest and the horses and riders a chance to relax and socialize.
Drag hunting is a very safe, fun way to hunt. Because the trail has been laid by a human great care is taken to ensure that the route is safe for the horses but will still provide a challenge to the hounds.