It was a lovely sunny day today with a nice crisp frost on the ground. The ideal day for a bit of Beagle-cross! What is Beagle-cross I hear you ask?
We all know that the ideal sport for a Beagle is drag hunting – a pack of Beagles running across the countryside following an aniseed trail with humans following the hunt on foot. In the old days the pack would have been hot on the tail of a bunny, but that’s illegal now so an aniseed trail laid by a human is the next best thing.
There are two obvious drawbacks for the typical Beagle owner:
- Finding a farmer that’s happy to let a pack of Beagles go careering across his land is not easy (Although it has to be said that the farmer next door to us has offered. In fact the fox hunt used to meet at the end of our road!).
- How likely are you to get your Beagle back? Are you willing to take the risk that he’ll favour deer or sheep over aniseed?
The next best thing we could think of was to have our Beagles follow the trail whilst on lead. Sounds dull? Well actully it’s superb fun because you run with them! Here’s how it works:
- The trail layer runs off dragging an aniseed rag behind them. Their objective is to loose the Beagles.
- A little later the Beagles are set off to follow the trail. They’re attached to a runner via a harness, bungee line and belt. The Beagles will go full pelt and stick to the trail like glue. Through streams, mud, woodland, over walls and fences….the level of chaos depends entirely upon the imagination of the trail layer. For the humans it’s the ultimate cross country running experience! The game ends when the Beagles catch the trail layer.
We aim to make it last for about 2 kilometers. Of course a Beagle can run much further, but when attached to a human they’re pulling a heavy load. They won’t let you know they’re tired as they’re driven to hunt so for safety reasons we think it’s best to keep it short and sweet. In addition, you’ll run much faster over a shorter distance and that’s more satisfying for your Beagles!
The more Beagles in the ‘pack’ the better, but in our experience it’s best to let them hunt as a pack. That means everyone runs at pretty much the same speed. It’s not fair on a little Beagle to be left behind the pack just because he’s attached to a slow hummie. Staying with the pack is very important to a Beagle!
Other tips are a good warmup first – we even do a little 1k cross country run before hand to really get their blood pumping. And a nice long cooldown walk afterwards. If you try Beagle Cross with your Beagle please send us a video of the fun!!