Who we are



The Berks and Bucks Draghounds were founded in 1974 by the late Roger Palmer. Roger’s love of draghunting started at University when he rode with the Cambridge Drag. Such was his determination that on his first day as whipper-in, he reputedly fell off at every jump. Involved in every aspect of the Berks and Bucks Draghounds, Palmer relished the drive, the scenting power and the music of the pack. As the huntsman himself, he knew every individual hound’s characteristics, and became a successful and knowledgeable breeder.

Like many keen field sportsmen, Palmer was dedicated to the conservation of the country and of country life. As chairman of the Country Sports and Conservation area at the Royal County of Berkshire Show, Newbury, he promoted fly-fishing, dry-stone walling and hound demonstrations.

Always full of energy and drive – and sometimes a little impatient of others with less – he found time to organise draghunt balls, point-to-points and sponsored rides to support the draghounds. He once narrowly avoided crashing his car when attempting, while at the wheel, to change his shoes for riding boots.

Our stunning black and tan hounds are very distinctive and originate from the Dumfriesshire Hounds that have been bred for over 40 generations to follow a drag scent.

The Berks and Bucks Draghounds are well known for their inviting jumps with provision for easier alternatives.

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Draghunt Staff

 

Nick Quesnel – Chairman

Nick is our Chairman and also a trustee of the Berks and Bucks Draghounds. He hosts a popular hound exercise early in the season from his home Blandy’s Farm. He also runs our Point to Point in May.

 

Andrew van Oostrum – Joint Master

Andrew has been a Master for the Berks and Bucks Draghounds since 2017 and brings 30 years of draghound pack experience with him. He owns an import business as well as running a small stud/livery yard and breeding working and show Hungarian Vizslas in his spare time.

 

Kate Honey – Field master & Joint Master

Kate has fearlessly fieldmastered for the Berks and Bucks Draghounds since 2018. When not leading the field Kate is a successful professional eventer, competing up to 5* level and has ridden at Badminton.

Victoria Ruffy – Joint Master

Victoria Ruffy joined us in 2023 after a season travelling across packs in the South East and before that as a director at the Staff College Drag for a number of years. Alongside draghunting, Vic runs the PR agency Little Red Rooster where she represents many brands including Ariat, Marshall and Smeg. With her husband Christian she runs a small holding at their home in Oxfordshire. Always on good form on the draghunting field and never without a unique concoction in her hip flask she always has time for a chat with our followers.

Sasha Dabliz – Hon Secretary

Sasha Dabliz has ridden most of her life, but usually attends meets with her three daughters Perdy, Dora and Nellie who all draghunt regularly, and sometimes side saddle. At least once a season she takes a horse out to remind them she can still just about keep up! A force to be reckoned with in a plaiting emergency Team Dabliz always lead the charge in the turn out stakes.

Darren Foxley – Huntsman

Darren has been a Master of the Border Counties Draghounds for the last six years and has kindly stepped in to manage the Berks and Bucks black and tan hounds.

Justine Thompson – Whip

As well as looking after the hounds (and Darren) during the week, Justine keeps them both firmly on the scent on a Sundays’ draghunting.

 

Katie Powell – Whip

New to the Kennel Team is the fabulous Katie, who spends some of her week looking after the hounds in Kennels and her Sundays ensuring they stay on mission!

Richard Spanswick – HoundFather

Richard has been looking after and out for our hounds for thirty years. If you want to find him at a meet, find the hounds and he’ll be in the middle of them!

 

Tyrone Battle – Quad Driver/Scent Laying

Tyrone ensures the all important scent is laid exactly where it should be making the hounds work and speak perfectly.