This past Saturday June 20th we went Lure Coursing, unfortunately there are not a lot of LC events in our immediate vicinity. We traveled with my friend Susan Trow & her deerhounds Atzberg’s Legacy and Caretta’s Marcus (Field Champion) with my Fernhill’s Cailean to Youngstown New York for the Lake Country Lure Coursers (LCLC) weekend American Sighthound Field Association (ASFA) coursing event.
We hit the road by 6 AM & arrived in time for the deluge of rain that hit the Niagara Peninsula & Southern Ontario for much of Sat. Rubber boots, ponchos were the order of the day. Much of the day was spent shivering and pacing back and forth to the field with giant damp dogs oblivious to all but the most torrential rains. Through the heroic efforts of the LCLC team in spite of the rain & blustery wind all coursers were able to run safely.
For anyone who has ever attended a Lure Coursing event one of the most striking sensory experiences is the cacophony of howling from the varied sighthounds in attendance. From the time the lure machine starts up till it is quiet the excitement is just too much for some dogs. It makes me smile thinking back to the strange orchestra of discordant howls coming from every quarter of the car park. It is wonderful to see hounds of all sizes & colours stretch out at full gallop & run as they were meant to. A big part of the enjoyment is also meeting other dog loving people sharing a common interest and their dogs who are all so different and fun to get to know. Reine the Irish Wolfhound matriarch was as playful as a puppy jumping and body-slamming her human friend Heather-Jean. Lady Bug and Malone the Afghan hounds so beautiful it is easy to overlook that they can be brilliant coursers too. Islay and Oban the Scottish Deerhounds beautiful keen runners both. Whippets, Greyhounds, Saluki’s, Ridgeback’s and all the rest, Pharaoh hound, Azawakh, Ibizan they are all special and lovely to watch.
To say the dogs are happy to race is a huge understatement. Many of the dogs can’t even catch site of the field without straining to get to where they too can go after the lure.
By the time the Scottish Deerhounds were up the rain had slowed to an occasional drizzle; for which I am very grateful. We ran two races Sat. and I am very pleased to say that Cailean enthusiastically ran beautifully to a first place finish and a Best of Breed. Sunday was a gorgeous day, a little hotter than I would have liked, but still a beautiful day. The course was much more difficult Sun. & had many of the dogs anticipating directions that were completely off in the wrong direction. Cailean was as anxious as ever to get out there & tear that bag to bits. Unfortunately her owner nearly fouled her up completely by falling flat on her face with thumb stuck in the lead. We were allowed to start again & Cailean ran really well, just not as well as she might have. We were 4th on Sun. and look forward to the next event (probably LCLC in Sept.)
The LCLC team is an extraordinary bunch of people that are incredibly friendly, very welcoming and helpful to newcomers. I am very grateful to Laurie Soutar, Cathy Sanderson and all the other people who give so freely of their time and advice to new coursers.
Please visit the following site for pictures from the day. Cailean is in slide 43, 45, and 46. http://www.panmurray.smugmug.com select album for LCLC Ft. Niagara N.Y.