Coursing: a week-end workshop

“LEVRIERI” – n.17/2011

On January 8th and 9th the Club del Levriero, the Italian Sighthound Club, hosted a (free) training session for Race Directors and Lure Operators in charge of the trailing and retrieving of the lure at the rural resort “Agriturismo Palazzo Manzoni” in S. Zaccaria.
The training was attended by Mesdames Simonetta Ghioni, Antonella Bussi, Tiziana Azzolini and Anna Vigorelli, Messrs. Fulvio Vigorelli, Stefano Marchetti and Renato Dal Cero.
The goal of this training session was to allow attendees to understand the different coursing styles of the various sighthound breeds, the appropriate and accurate design of a course and the efficient trailing of the lure to simulate live coursing.
On Saturday morning, the Jury’s member Mr. Massimo Bottura and Mr. Enrico Borile explained to the attendees the principles of Coursing, covering the very first competition on Italian soil which took place at the end of the Eighties, the various types of course designs with the related critical points and illustrating today’s Coursing competitions including the remarkable improvement both under a technical and a safety point of view on behalf of our sight-hounds.
The lure operator needs to inspect the course and figure out which criteria this was based on , realize its difficulties and critical points and decide how these should be tackled by the dogs, while at the same time trying to provide each breed with the best chance to demonstrate their different characteristics and rate the best conditions for the Jury to evaluate them.
After a short break the Judges asked the attendees to draw a course on a sheet of paper and them -once on the field to give a practical demonstration of what they had learned by trailing the lure in front of their own sighthound.
By so doing, attendees were able to become aware of how much understanding is required to figure out the abilities of a racing Sighthound, and how it is vital to properly trail the lure by anticipating with the right time certain crucial changes of direction based on the competitor’s characteristics (speed, responsiveness, etc…)
During the Licensing session on the following day, attendees worked side by side with Judges and the lure operator, which turned out to be a very important part of the training.
The Judges pointed out the differences in the coursing style of the various breeds, and how these “resolved” certain “technical” points.
It was especially during the second run, which the licensees complete together with a sparring partner, that it was useful to understand how one would deal with two competitors who are repeatedly swapping position during the run.
Once having dealt with the License tests, attendees were able to design a second course and trail the lure again, except that this time the coursing dog was not one’s own but someone else’s sighthound, so that it was possible to have a demonstration of the different challenges posed by the various breeds.All attendees were very happy about this meeting and about mastering the technique required to proper lure tailing.
Their war, thanks go to Judges Massimo Botturea and Enrico Borile for their notorious professionalism, experience and…patience, which they invested – together with their own personal time – to make it very interesting and instructive two-day meeting.
Special thanks to to Maria Cristina Leonardi for her efficiency in organizing this crucial training session.

See you again next year!

Tiziana Azzolini