Vetkoek, cheese, savoury mince and a variety of jams for tea after the hunt. Yum!
There were also a lot of hungry beagles tired of sniffing elusive pilchards on the scent trail and hoping the vetkoek was more accessible.
One hundred vetkoeke were devoured by hungry people and beagles alike after the hunt. The catering was courtesy of two chefs who run a cooking school in Johannesburg. However their beagles, tough competitors on the trail, are kept lean and mean. No vetkoek for Poppadom and Roti!
Jemma and Jamie are disappearing for longer periods of time but are yet to finish "a line" (a scent trail).
Each trail is about a kilometre long and over pretty rough terrain. Your beagles need to be fit and healthy to do this sport. I think Jamie (the previously anorexic puppy now greedy beagle) needs to lose a bit of weight!
This weekend I decided to try and do a bit of "home" training to see if it would help Jemma and Jamie get a better idea of what they are supposed to do. I roped in Santacruz and Little Helper as assistants.
Our first attempts were not very successful. I dragged a bag of pilchards a short distance and then hid, but we found that Jemma and Jamie were tracking me by following my scent and not that of the pilchards. When I was down wind from them, they battled to find me.
So we started from scratch. Santacruz persuaded them to watch and follow the bag of pilchards as she pulled it behind her. I slowly disappeared off the scene because my presence was a distraction. Also we needed them to cut the apron strings and realise it was OK to follow a scent trail being set by a stranger.
Eventually Santacruz and Little Helper started playing hide and seek with Jemma and Jamie again. Little Helper, being small and easy to hide, would drag the bag and disappear in the long grass. Each time Jemma and Jamie found her, they received a treat.
Our final conclusion at the end of the exercise was that they were beginning to associate the smell of pilchards in the morning with seeking people... one step closer to understanding the meaning of The Hunt!
I will have to try and get another practise session before the next Hunt. Let's hope it it helps improve their performance!
Thank you Santacruz and Little Helper for your generous time and patience with Jemma and Jamie!