coursing-SCA-msg – 6/29/03
Coursing dogs in the SCA.
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Mark S. Harris AKA: THLord Stefan li Rous
Stefan at florilegium.org
From: Ronnie Hodges [womrn at hotmail.com]
Sent: Saturday, May 18, 2002 9:01 AM
To: ansteorra at ansteorra.org
Subject: RE: [Ansteorra] Coursing at Steppes
>It is currently scheduled to happen at approximately 9AM Saturday
Okay, since I'm "it" for running the coursing, there are a very few things
that those who are participating need to know, and they are "cut in stone".
I got these from Mistress Elizabeth, whose coursing equipment we'll be
Coursing your dogs is your choice; good teamwork and paying attention to the
following points will help to make it safe. But, as with any sport, there
are always chances for injury or worse. These points are to minimize those
chances as much as possible.
All dogs must be on a leash that will not snap or break. Dogs are by nature
pack competitors. They get very excited and lunge at their leashes when
they see or hear other dogs coursing, so *both* the leash and the holder /
handler must be strong enough to hold onto them. Some dogs also will want
to go so badly they might forget their manners long enough to bite. Leave
others' dogs alone, and keep yours away from the others, while the coursing
is going on. It might be wise to also keep our younger populace clear of
any dogs' reach during the running, as well.
Bring your own coursing collars or a flat leash that we can turn into a
"slip". We had a few coursing collars, but a number of them have
disappeared. If anyone reading this has any of the coursing collars we have
used before, please, please return them at Steppes Warlord!
There must be course "helpers" to stand around the course, mostly to keep
others from walking into the ground lines on the course, and to reset lines
that get pulled off, but occasionally to help a dog or two to get back to
the course, or to its handler. This is one of those immutable safety
Another immutable safety concern: coursing dogs *must _not_* be allowed to
eat -- *anything* -- the morning before they course. Water's fine, but not
a lot at a time. If you're a "free feeder", make sure they cannot eat after
midnight. Why? Interesting things happen inside running animals. Even a
small wad of food in there as they twist, jump and run through the course
makes it possible for them to get a "twisted gut" that can kill them. It's
not cruel to keep your dog from food for several hours -- it would be much
worse to have them in agony or die from running fed.
Dogs may do well with *a little* diluted Gatorade an hour or two before they
run, and again once they've quit breathing heavily after coursing. However,
if you want to course them again that morning (3 times is the max, the 2nd
and 3rd times only if they have recovered sufficiently from the earlier
run), they shouldn't need any drink until they're completely done. Don't
water them more than a "taste", and don't feed them, for at least an hour
(two is better) after they run.
After any and each run, the dog needs to be walked about for several minutes
to let its body return to "normal" without the double shock of "no to go,
and then go to no". No lying down; no slow wanderings, but a purposeful
walk for several minutes.
A lot of this is because dogs today don't get the exercise they did in
earlier times. If your dog appears to be stressing, don't wait to get help.
The site autocrat should shortly be posting a vet local to the site who
will be open / available Saturday, and should have that information for
reference on site, just in case.
For the safety of your dogs' life and limbs (literally), if the ground is
merely dew-wet, we'll postpone for a bit to see if it will dry out enough to
play. If it's too wet, or if it's raining, or if it's really too hot and
humid, we'll have to cancel. My decision will be final, not because I'm
some kind of control-freak (even though I am! <G>), but because I care about
animals, and don't care to be sued, even though it wasn't my decision
whether to course a dog. So I'll be inclined to make a mistake on the side
Finally, don't be surprised if your dogs sleep heavily and sleep more for
several days after coursing. Do, however, keep an eye out for any signs of
stress or pain, especially during the first full 24 hours after coursing.
There are 3 steps to getting ready to course. "Hold your hounds!" is the
warning that the course is about to be run (one dog at a time); get a good
grip on your dog if it's not your turn! "Are you ready?" is for the handler
whose hound is about to be slipped; we wait until the handler says they are
ready. And, "Let 'm go!" is right after the lure starts around the course,
and only for the handler whose turn it is, to let the leash slip off the
dog's neck. The dogs learn these steps very quickly!
I probably haven't covered everything, so use good judgment and common
sense, and ask questions if you're not sure. For example, dogs that are
old, have had a broken bone (especially legs or backs), have trouble
breathing, or have had similar problems maybe shouldn't course. It's got to
be your call. Check out the course and how dogs run it if you've never seen
it, and take if from there.
I hope the weather's fine: I love the excitement of letting the dogs have
some fun at an event. Please help us all to make and keep it a safe,