Monday, October 22, 2012

Coursing? What fun!

What fun!  We had the best weekend and tried a new event with some of the Dals - Coursing!  If you know what coursing is, you probably think in terms of an event for Sighthounds - Greyhounds, Afghans, Whippets and such, chasing a "rabbit" (really an artificial lure consisting of white plastic bags) over a course.  It's not straight racing like at a dog track, but rather a 660 yard course with corners and angles.

About 18 months ago, the AKC approved Coursing Aptitude Tests for all breeds, and the sport is really catching on.  These tests can only be offered by Sighthound Clubs, so there are not a lot of tests available yet, but this sport will grow.  It's fun!

We entered Argus, 9-year-old Josie and Argie's granddaughter Meribel.  To complete the CAT (Coursing Aptitude Test) title the dogs have to qualify three times, and because there were only two tests offered, we could not complete titles - but we could start them.   Most Dals have very high prey drive and will chase almost anything, especially squirrels and rabbits, and friends in other parts of the country were running their Dals successfully.  Josie has always been obsessed with critters, and is slim, sound and fit at 9.   Josie's friend Sue Kelly came along to run her on Saturday.

The show site was fantastic with lush grass and secure fencing, and was cropped to an appropriate height by the Lhamas who normally live there.  (This did result in a few dogs taking a roll in Lhama dung!)  Weather was ideal and the Greater Twin Cities Afghan Hound Club hosted a wonderful event, complete with a great $5.00 lunch each day.  And to make it even better, the owner of the site (King's Ranch in Ramsey) also sells raw food, so we came home with 60# of turkey heart, ground turkey with bones, and ground salmon.

There were 125 dogs entered each day, a wonderful variety of dogs including Bassets & Beagles, St. Bernards, Poodles, lots of Viszlas and other sporting breeds, small terriers, Dobes, Boxers, you name it!  And Dals.  The Dals ran even better than we had hoped, and were extremely fast and intense.  On Saturday Jess ran Meribel & Argus, and Sue ran Josie.  They all qualified and are pictured above with their ribbons.  On Sunday Don ran Meribel while Jess filmed, Jess ran Argus and I ran Josie.  They ran even harder and faster than they had the previous day, doing something they absolutely loved.  What a thrill to watch them, it just gave you shivers.  The 660 yard course had to be completed in 2 minutes - the Dals did it in half that time and were so totally focused.

Meribel Coursing.   Take a look at this video.  What fun!

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