A small group of people got together to try and figure out how to make this happen and after many attempts and many hours of building machines and rollers and holding fun days trying to get equipment to last the day without blowing up, we finally in 1990, had equipment good enough to form a club.
In 1990 Steve and Sabine called for people interested in forming a lure-coursing club to meet at Ian Smith’s house, it was amazing the amount of people who actually turned up on the day that we had to move the meeting from the living room into the double garage, and the Club was officially formed that night.
At that first meeting it was decided the club would run all breeds in competition, but also be “Dedicated to the Preservation of the Functional Hound’ – which became the club’s motto, and has remained that way till this very day. It was also decided to have a section where dogs without papers could run, as most breed clubs had a rescue arm, we wanted those guys to have the same opportunity to run alongside their new family members. We also decided at that time that there would be no interbreed running, to ensure that each could show it’s full potential while on the coursing field.
With the starting of a new dog sport and the forming of a new club, a lot of things had to be put into place, from implementing club rules, to running competitions, to co-ordinating and training judges for all breeds. It was incredible, the list just went on and on. As you can imagine the first elected committee was meeting every week late into the night trying to put this together and we all relied heavily on Steve and Sabine Mueller’s experience with lure coursing to put a system in place that people would be happy with.
The first competition meeting was held in late 1990, which was a very nervous moment for the hard working committee but it proved to be very successful with people having a very enjoyable day. As the months passed we learnt a lot and improved with every meeting and developed and implemented a successful grading system that suited all breeds and the judging was fine-tuned to ensure equality on all terms. It is a testament to the hard work the committees and volunteers put in from the very beginning to have seen a the “Best in Field” title go to the likes of a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel right through to the Greyhounds.
One of the biggest problems that faced the QLCA from the very beginning was finding somewhere to hold the meetings, and through string of occurrences and masterful strokes of luck, the club has changed venue a couple of times, from a 5 Acre property owned by Steve and Sabine, to the use of the Pony Club grounds to the current grounds the Club has today. It has to be said that we have to offer a very big thank you to the Pony Club who came to our rescue at that time, it was however, a relationship that was unable to continue due to their grounds not being conducive to our dogs running fast.
But the biggest thank you has to go to the Brisbane City Council and the Committee for negotiating and winning the venues we have today, It took many hours of negotiations and even more meetings to secure the 15 acres of land that the QLCA was able to call their own. What a great step forward for the Club. The club then worked hard with their sponsors and the council to develop the land to a functioning race grounds, from purchasing and erecting fences, to building of toilets to the recent Council developments of drinking taps, benches and shelters.
The club is now holding meetings once a month and sometimes twice a month, during the winter months, and running a Summer Cup during the hottest months of the year – in the coolest part of the day. Our championships (Invitation Races) are held in August, where after qualifying during the year, the top 3 dogs of every breed are invited to run a 550m course twice in 15 minutes with Vet checks before, in-between, and after. If the dog does not recover sufficiently it is vetted out at the Vet’s discretion. This is an endurance event and a good meeting to watch.
Well, that’s a brief outline of how lure coursing started and progressed up to the present day.
Ian Smith, Current President, QLCA 2014
25 YEARS OF LURE COURSING IN BRISBANE
DOGS SHARE THE ‘HUNT’ WITH OWNERS
WHAT a strange sight!
A dog running around a paddock chasing colourful plastic strips attached to a motorbike.
No, it is not some strange medieval worshiping technique but a new sport which simulates small animal hunts.
Queensland Lure Coursing Association Incorporated Secretary Patricia Smith said the sport was good, clean, healthy fun and more dog lovers were discovering the game each week.
Australia-wide there are more than 150 members and the numbers are growing all the time.
The Loganholme woman said the object of the sport was for the dog to chase a long strip called a lure and either catch it or keep on the lure’s tail.
Animals are awarded points on how much effort they put into the chase including their agility, cunning and speed.
As Mrs Smith explained in real hunting expeditions the dogs get to chase live animals such as rabbits and foxes but with this sport the same skills and techniques are involved but without the blood shedding.
She points out it is natural instincts which spurs them on the chase.
“It is the same as the animal being on a real hunt and the dogs love it” she said.
“Every dog can do it. If it chases a mouse then it will chase a lure”
The simulated small animal hunts began in Queensland but have quickly spread throughout the rest of Australia.
Unfortunately the Queensland Canine Council does not recognize the sport and it looks set to gain acceptance in other states before it does here.
Mrs Smith said the council thought the members blooded their dogs but there was no truth in these claims.
“In Victoria and New South Wales authorities have gone to look at lure competitions and the response was positive” she said
“However we are not having any luck here.”
But this does not stop the club from enjoying its simulated hunts.
While the sport is specifically designed as an outlet for hunting dogs. Mrs Smith said any breed can join in.
She has everything from a Border Collie to a Chihuahuas chase the lure.
How It All Started – by Sabine mueller
LURE COURSING IN QUEENSLAND is a thrill to see
When we arrived here in Australia, we were eager to join the Sight hound racing scene. We had brought two youngsters with us from Germany, an Afghan dog and a bitch which, when trialed over there, showed great potential. So we joined the Afghan Club, after being told that there was no such thing as an overall Sight hound Club. Apparently, Afghan racing was held by the Afghan Club. The venue was a private Greyhound trialing track, but there were only a few dogs that participated. It was a bitter disappointment. After getting to know the owners of these racing Afghans and talking to Mr Ian Smith, the man in charge of the racing, we tried to figure out ways to improve the number of participants. Easter Saturday, 1983, showed a good turn-up at the Capalaba racetrack with different breeds brought out to race. For the first time, we saw some hounds other than Afghans interested in racing. One has to imagine, we were used to racing clubs with at least two to three hundred dogs competing every weekend, with the choice of four different tracks in just half an hour’s reach. We had owned a kennel with 18 racing Afghans. It was just unbelievable for us that nothing of the kind was happening here.
We were used to seeing Greyhounds, Whippets, Italian Greyhounds, Afghans, Deerhounds, Wolfhounds, Borzois, Sloughis, Salukis, and Galgos racing. The races were conducted under strict rules and regulations of the “Deutcher Windhund Zuchtund Rennverband” (German Sight hound Breeding and Racing Council). The standards set were very high and at least as professional as the Greyhound racing here.
Nevertheless, something had to happen. That was all there was to it. So Ian Smith, his wife Margaret, my husband Steven and I, shortly after joined by Patrick and Patricia Smith, sat down and discussed how we could increase the numbers of competing dogs and how to approach other breed owners and get them interested as well. The Afghans on its own just wasn’t enough.
Galaxy Lodge, south of Brisbane, a private Greyhound trialing track, where the races had taken place before was the only place for the moment. The owner was kind enough to rent the place out to us on certain days. The Rhodesian Ridgeback Club arranged racing days there as well. Deerhounds came out on occasions. It was plain to see that the dogs enjoyed their “work”. But the prices for having the races there rose until it became too expensive. The next step was the Beenleigh Greyhound racetrack, which allowed us – the Afghans to start off with – to use their track once a month to race. With time, the Ridgebacks came out, the Salukis, Deer and Wolfhounds also, and we were able to put on display races. The Gold Coast Greyhounds also became interested and allowed us a Show race in between their programmed races. The Toowoomba Greyhounds and finally the Gabba, followed. Naturally, the dogs not having much opportunity to get to know the tracks beforehand, things didn’t always go smoothly. However, the spectators enjoyed it very much and for us it was quite an achievement.
Ian Smith thought of leasing a paddock to build a racetrack for ourselves, but that proved too costly, as most things would have to be imported. We knew Sydney had some type of machine, that they used to run dogs on a straight. The lure was laid out by hand and pulled back by using a car battery. Here we went putting on the thinking caps again.
Steve and I were lucky to own a flat property at the time, at Hope Island. All of a sudden, it dawned on us!! Why not put up a Lure course, and forget about straights and round tracks altogether? So we gathered all our knowledge about Lure Coursing. It was revived a long time ago in Europe and America, and Steve and I had finished our training as track judges in Europe, so it wasn’t too hard to imagine a course being set out. Our biggest problem was to build a machine to pull the lure. Ian Smith, a genius in that field, built the first battery operated model together with the rollers. But the battery only lasted so long and had to be changed before it went flat. We used our own car batteries. Ian organized batteries so we didn’t have to use our own anymore, and we were able to lay out the first lure course on the Hope Island 5 acre paddock.
A “watchtower” was built and we organised our first lure coursing day.
Many trial runs were held. The press was invited beforehand and gave us a favorable write-up in the Gold Coast “Bulletin”. Russell Carter and his wife, Leigh, were to operate the video. Patrick Smith and Harry Mokosch were in charge of the BBQ. A lot of PR work was done by word of mouth and people invited to come and at least take a look. I think in the days before this first event none of us slept very well. On the Saturday, cars and more cars turned up and our knees went weaker and weaker, praying that everything would go smoothly. We had around 30 entries that day. The lure had to be laid out by PP (People Power), and the volunteers were quite sore afterwards. It was pulled back with Ian’s machine.
No judging was done, just time-keeping, and every participant received a small bag of dog food. Money-wise, we just broke even, but that wasn’t important. What was important was this first step forward towards new, yet so ancient sport – lure coursing. The video turned out very well and almost everybody on the day purchased one copy.
The second event, held on Hope Island again, was just as successful with Ian improving further on the equipment. It had rained very heavily for days before, and the dogs had to overcome fairly deep water build-ups. Some of the smaller breeds nearly had to swim, but nothing could stop the dogs in their enthusiasm to run. The owners may not have been so enthusiastic having to clean up the “muddies”. Nevertheless, it was another enjoyable day with Channel 9 sending out a camera crew. The TV clip came on in Brisbane and the TV people thought it was so great, that they sent it down to Sydney, where it was shown on TV as well. Russell Carter’s video turned out well again.
In between lure coursing events, we received invitations again for Show racing at several Greyhound tracks. But it didn’t have quite the same meaning any more. We knew we’d rediscovered something exciting, something suitable for all breeds with hunting instinct A motorbike model that would pull the lure continuously. As the number of competing dogs grew, it became impossible to lay the lure out through the PP, otherwise every dog would only get one run and the whole event would get too boring. So this new method was tried and tried again until it was reliable enough to be employed in the next event.
Then came the coursing at Greenbank, on acreage owned by the Williams family. Now we had to get into more serious judging of the racing performances because there were just too many competitors and the better ones had to be rewarded in some way. Patricia had been racing dogs for years, and Steven and I could look back on 15 years of breeding, preparing and racing top performers and last but not least, assessing them. We decided that Patricia and I would start to separate the good racers from the weaker ones, taking the American Field Association standards as a guideline.
Everything worked out very well and as time went by we saw the dogs improve more and more. The interest in lure coursing grew and it was time to get some more people involved in judging the dogs. The first trainees were Ken and Else Airens and Harry Burridge. They had been showing great Interest and were generally heavily involved in all the activities. Everybody worked very hard to make it possible for the events to run smoothly and without disturbances.
The discipline out in the field was remarkable, especially with everybody being new to this game. By the end of 1987, it was decided to try and get a club off the ground. The response was great and the first meetings were held in Ian Smith’s house. A newsletter was published to keep people informed about the happenings Many members had made connections, through their breed clubs, with interested people in other states, and they responded by setting up their own events. I’m sure the “bug” has spread quite well. Subsequent meetings of the club were held at the Oxley Obedience grounds where some lure coursing events also took place until the grounds proved too small.
In 1988, Russell Carter made it possible for us to get a more or less permanent ground at the Runcorn Pony Club, which actually consists of two different venues. We also had the use of our own clubhouse together with the “horsie” people, canteen and other facilities. Floodlights had gone up in order to hold show training classes to help support the club. The future might see race training as well. In 1989 we finally became the “Queensland Lure Coursing Association Incorporated”. In the meantime, we had held countless lure course meetings on the Pony Club grounds and the Number of participating dogs and new members was growing steadily. We were now training three more judges, who would be ready by the beginning of 1990.
We look back on 7 years of hard work, teeth-grinding and pushing forward, setbacks, and achievements.
But it doesn’t stop here. There is no time to sit back. We have to keep working even harder to give our dogs what has been kept from them for too long. Just to see them out there chasing that bit of plastic and enjoying themselves the way they do makes every effort worthwhile.