Monday, August 30, 2010

Last Hunt of the Season coming up...

Jamie in yellow (behind) with a friend

Jemma looking pretty in pink.

There is only one more hunt of the season on Sunday 12 September. After that we will miss all the fun enormously. I am still stressing about what we are going to do until the new season starts again next winter.

There is a final competition run at the very end on the season for only the most experienced and fastest beagles called "The Top Ten". They follow a 5 to 7 kilometre long trail non stop. Last year only five beagles finished. This is quite an achievement as the normal trail is about 1 kilometre long but the tough terrain adds to the difficulty. We normally do five of these trails back to back but with a break in between each one for water and rest.
Jemma works much harder than Jamie because she completes the trail and then returns to where the owners are waiting at the start. Jamie (oh sly one!) has learnt to stay at the finish of the trail and wait for all the owners to trickle in. Very clever! So he does not work nearly as hard as Jemma.

In October there will be a Beagle Ball attended by owners who (for a change) get all dressed up and have a swell time. People often don't recognise each other when they are decked out in all their finery. We are used to dressing in very unglamourous, thick protective clothing to keep us warm against the early morning cold and looking bleary eyed and blue in the face because of the 5.00am wake up call.

Trophies and prizes get awarded to the top ten beagles who have won the most points for coming in consistently in top places during the season. I also think it is a reward for all those dedicated owners who have given up so many Sunday morning "lie-ins" so that their beagles could have some fun.

Next year I will be entering Jamie and Jemma as a team because I think they will have a good shot at doing well in the team category. But in the meantime I am going to have to work on my fitness training programme with them during summer. My sporty sister has advised me to get them to build endurance by following me at a trot on a bike in the park. On the in between days she suggest we do sprints around the complex. But first I will have to work on my own fitness to follow this strenuous programme!


  1. Hi, I'm a bit confused by your blog ... how can you support / participate in anything associated with a hunt if you are an animal lover as you say in your profile?
    I'm hoping for some form of clarity here, as I too am a passionate animal lover and a hunt goes against all those values.

  2. I quite agree. I would not participate in a hunt where live animals were involved. Though the organisers call it a "hunt", the dogs follow scent trails that are laid by dragging a bag of tinned pilchards across the ground. This leaves a scent that does not disperse quickly for the beagles to follow. Beagles have a strong olfactory sense so this "hunt" challenges that instinct. It also exercises the dogs in a way impossible to do so by only walking them at the end of a lead. If you go back to all my blog posts related to the "hunts" you will see how and why my interest developed.
    As a dog lover, one of my greatest concerns is how to give working dog breeds who are city pets, adequate stimulation and exercise. This is a huge problem as so many of them live in the limited confines of city gardens and apartments.
    This is one way of enriching my beagles lives. They are very active dogs with a highly developed sense of smell and they need a lot of exercise and mental stimulation.
    Thanks for the comment. Write in again.