Friday, February 13, 2009

The Coursing Season in Review: Part III

And now for the final installment of the coursing season review.

Gil attended one last hunt for the season while Fecni attended two. As mentioned in a previous post, Fecni tried her luck at a NOFCA mixed hunt and ended up tying for 5th place against some of the top coursing Greyhounds and Whippets in this part of the country.

The weekend prior to Fecni's mixed hunt victory both she and Gil headed back out for another rare breed hunt. The weather was much fairer this time around (thank goodness!) and we had a nice entry of 6 Ibizans, 1 Galgo, 4 Afghans and the two MA's. That gave us enough dogs to split the stake into two with the Ibizans forming one stake and the rest of the dogs making up the other stake.

Since we had had a lot of luck popping rabbits in the high brush up against the levy we decided to start there. It turns out that without the strong winds all the bunnies had moved out into the open. We were happy to move ourselves out of the high brush and out into the middle of field, but unfortunately there were quite a few rabbits that got away because we were moving too fast. Still, we managed to finish on finals at a decent hour. Gil ran a very nice prelim course with Santana the Galgo and Wendy the Afghan. The rabbit broke right and took the dogs right back towards the high brush that we had just come from. The dogs had a good decent-length chase before the rabbit decided to head up the levy. Gil wasn't able to clear the levy and lost sight of the hare. The Galgo managed to climb up the levy but by the time he reached the top the rabbit was long gone. Gil won the course and moved up to finals.

Fecni didn't have such good luck in her prelim. Even though the brush was thinner out in the open, there were a lot of these toothpick-like reeds that stuck out of the ground all over the place, making it hard for a lot of the dogs to get sighted. Fecni put in a hard run but in the end she didn't make it to finals. That left Gil and the two Afghans Neka and Fiana running off in the final course.

We didn't have to walk long before the rabbit popped from the right and took a hard left right in front of the dogs. Gil got a late slip which gave the Afghans a good lead on the rabbit, but it didn't take long before Gil caught up and wrenched a right-hand turn on the hare. The rabbit carried all the dogs waaaaay out into the field until they were just about out of sight. We could see some dust kicked up about midway through the course where we believe Gil attempted a take but failed. He was temporarily slowed down but picked up the pace quickly with the two Afghans following up from behind. This rabbit also tried to escape by heading up the levy, but this time Gil climbed his way up and continued his hot pursuit with the Afghans following along the bottom of the bank ready to catch it in case it decided to come back down. It was an incredible course, by far the longest one run that day, with a lot of hard work put in by all three dogs. I have to say, the Afghans did an amazing job and their owners should be very proud of them!

At the end of the day Gil ended up taking first place, followed by Neka in second and Fiana in third. That gave Gil the last points he needed to finish his Coursing Championship, making him the very first member of his breed in America to earn a NOFCA title.

All in all it was a great coursing season, with a lot of great running and great people. We can hardly wait until next year!

Many thanks to Dave Mills for the wonderful photography!

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