The Committee and helpers turn up at the field for 8am, in order to set up for the days event.
The field is first prepared by fencing off gaps in the hedging and the parking area. A gap is left to enter the field from the parking area. A gazebo is erected over this area. The towers for the lure driver and judges are erected in the field and the lure machine prepared.
The Field Manager and helpers lay out a course, using pulleys and line which is hooked up to the lure machine. The type and length of the course vary in length depending on the condition of the ground, the weather and the likely condition of the dogs, i.e. shorter courses with no tight turns at the beginning of the season when the dogs are just coming back after the winter break. The average course is around 500 yards.
The course is walked by officials to double check angles, fill in any holes and check for other hazards. Anybody present is very welcome to accompany them and this is actively encouraged.
While the course is being laid out people trialling dogs should sign in and those competing will pick up their tickets which has their dogs running number on it. Owners then write their dogs numbers on the race list whiteboard. The tickets are retained. When the field is ready the whiteboard is taken down to the entrance tent.
The competition begins after the trials. Most dogs will run in a pair of the same breed. Pairs maybe arranged by owners or a suitable match can be arranged for you. Dogs can run on their own if no suitable match is available. Paired dogs wear a red or white jacket to distinguish them from each other for the Judges. Before going on to the field, owners/handlers hand the dogs tickets to the official at the entrance who calls the numbers out for the Judges and records them.
The two hounds that are running are taken out the starting point on the course by their owners/handlers. Leads are removed and the dogs are held on their collars. Once they are ready, an official signals the lure driver to start the lure by holding a flag up. As the lure comes past the start she/he will drop the flag and shout "Tally ho!", the hounds are released on the "T".
Owners/handlers should then walk to the finish point ready to collect their dogs.
Now it is between the dogs and the Lure Driver. Driving the lure takes skill and concentration. The lure needs to be ahead of the lead dog but close enough to encourage them to chase with determination. If the dogs loose the lure, it can be slowed until they find it again. In the event of a problem, such as a loose dog running onto the field, the lure must be stopped instantly.
At the end of the course the lure slows and stops and owners/handlers collect their dogs, put them on lead and walk them off the field collecting the dogs tickets from the entrance tent on the way.
While the dogs are running the course the judges will be scoring the dogs performance on enthusiasm, follow, speed, agility and endurance. This is done on a score sheet which is returned to the event secretary to be processed.
Once all the dogs have run there is a lunch break before the afternoon trials and competition runs begin.
We aim to print out the dogs final scores on the day but this is not always possible. When we have the scores at the end of the day, there will be a short presentation of rosettes and awards. After which it is time to pack away, we always appreciate a hand with this as we have to clear the field by 6 pm.
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