Horse and Mule Trails

About Drag Hunting

Drag Hunting is an exhilarating, non-competitive, cross-country, equestrian sport in which riders follow foxhounds that are trained to follow a laid trail of scent. The exciting course is ridden at a canter or a gallop and usually includes numerous jumps and some natural hazards such as river crossings.

Hunting is open to any competent rider and any breed of horse or pony is suitable for hunting, providing that the horse is physically sound and adequately fit.

The Cape Hunt season opens in May, when the weather is cooler and the rain has usually started, which helps the scent to lie well and softens the ground. The season finishes in September when it begins to get hotter and drier. We meet on most Sundays (weather permitting) throughout the season at magnificent venues, where we have the opportunity and freedom of following the hounds over uninterrupted, mostly open countryside.


The first Meet of the season is known as the Bye Day and is primarily a practice hunt for young hounds. The correct dress for the Bye Day is ‘Rat-catcher’ – see dress code for details.

The hunt course is set over approximately 12 – 14kms, which is divided into six ‘lines’ (legs) of about 2½ kms each with checks (a rest stop) in between – including the Champagne Stop at the halfway mark. At each check (rest stop) the hounds, horses and riders have a well earned ‘breather’.

  • Each hunt is started at 9:45 with the traditional ‘Stirrup Cup’ (Sherry, Whisky or Port) which is served to the riders
  • At 10:00 AM the Huntsman instructs the Drag Party to move off
  • After 3-5 minutes the Huntsman will ‘lay’ the hounds on the scent and the Hunt is on its way…
  • In the Field the Hounds are controlled by the Huntsman, with the assistance of the ‘Whippers-in’.
  • They are followed by the Field Master, who is in charge of and controls the Hunt ‘Field’ (i.e. the riders participating in the Hunt)

There are usually two hunting fields:

  • the first is the fastest and follows behind the Huntsman & Field Master at a brisk pace – NEVER pass the Huntsman or Field Master when out hunting!
  • the second is a slower field for those who wish to ride at a quieter, steadier pace.

Read more about the Club’s History here:


The Cape Hunt follows a long tradition of riding to hounds in the Cape, going back over a 195 years. The Cape Hunt holds the distinction of being the oldest of the ‘new world’ hunts dating back to 1822. The first Cape Hunt foxhounds originated from the English Beaufort Hunt and were imported into South Africa by the then Cape Governor, Lord Charles Somerset. They were originally kept in kennels at Lord Charles Somerset’s Hunting Lodge. This Lodge is now the Somerset House Primary School