Whether it’s open field coursing, field trials, or any other sporting event, it’s very important for your dogs to be in shape. We always bring out our dogs in tiptop condition to the hunts to help prevent injury (and of course to be competitive!).
We went out this morning to run the dogs. This will be the last weekend we will be conditioning them before the first hunt of the season (in two weeks). We go out “free coursing” all year around (it also helps that we have a large property for them to run on).
In the summer we have to go out at the crack of dawn and can’t stay out long at all before it gets too hot. As coursing season approaches we normally start running the dogs once a week, and then move up to twice a week to get them ready for the hunts. After today, we will rest them for two weeks until the first hunt to make sure no injury occurs and everyone is sound. From then until about February/March they will be going to hunts almost every weekend, and some weekends will be two-day hunts.
We like to condition the dogs in soft, sandy areas (such as sand dunes) to build up their toe and leg muscles. We are blessed to have areas nearby us where we can do this type of conditioning and also where there is a plentiful supply of game to chase.