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VIDEO COURTESY SIGHT HOUND ORGANIZATION OF TIDEWATER (SHOT). CREDIT ALISTER SANDERSON, VIDEOGRAPHY; COLLIN SANDERSON, COMPOSITION AND PERFORMANCE OF MUSICAL SCORE.

The Beginnings

Lure coursing is a performance event developed in the early 70's by Lyle Gillette and other California sighthound fanciers who hunted jackrabbits in the open field, which risked the harm caused by barbed wire fencing. They invented lure coursing as a safer, more controlled sport for sighthounds that would recreate the physical requirements of open field coursing, allowing them to continue testing the functional abilities of their sighthounds. The hounds chase plastic bags on a course laid out to simulate escaping game.

In 1972, they started the American Sighthound Field Association (ASFA) and invited other sighthound fanciers from across the nation to join the organization, with its democratic structure and centralized method of keeping hound records.

To fully comprehend the rules of ASFA, people should acquire a copy of ASFA's Running Rules, available in PDF version or for purchase, elsewhere on this web site.

Normally, several field trials are being held every weekend in the U. S. by some of the more than 100 ASFA member clubs. ASFA clubs are listed on this web site, and you will find 10 ASFA Regional Directors who can help newcomers get started in the sport. There are no cash awards at ASFA events. An owner might enjoy a ribbon or trophy, but the hounds run just for the fun of it. To find out about field trials in your locale, check out the ASFA Schedule for a field trial near you.

The Course

The hounds will run the course twice, a preliminary run and a final run. Scores from both runs are added for a combined total score. Hounds are awarded placements and points based on where they finished and the number of hounds they competed against. The hounds are running not only for fun and to keep their natural abilities alive, but also for titles.

Titles

Hounds must be certified to enter an ASFA field trial. Certification is earned by practicing with a hound of similar running style, which is evaluated by a judge. A copy of a certification form, signed by the judge, is turned in with the hound's first entry. After a hundred points for placements, as well as taking at least two firsts, or two seconds and a first, a sighthound earns its Field Championship (FCH) title. With four first placements and another three hundred points, the hound earns a Lure Courser of Merit (LCM) title. Subsequent LCMs are earned in the same manner, and currently the highest achieving sighthound is a Whippet with an LCM 20.

If a hound is entered in the Veterans Stake, there are special titles that can be attained. The requirements are that the hound begins with no points carried over from other titles. A Veteran Field Championship (VFCh) is earned by accumulating 75 points from placements, as well as taking at least two firsts, or two seconds and a first, a sighthound earns its Veteran Field Championship (V-FCH) title.

Veteran Lure Courser of Merit: The ASFA shall recognize and make appropriate awards to those hounds who have attained the ASFA Veteran Field Championship, and who, after receiving the championship, continue to compete and receive four first placements with competition and 200 more points, which must be in the ASFA Veteran stake. Hounds who shall have attained said number of placements and points shall be known as Veteran Lure Courser of Merit (V-LCM). When a hound completes the V-LCM title it may continue to compete for additional titles in the Veteran stake. After receiving an additional four first placements with competition and an additional 200 points, the title of V-LCM 2 shall be awarded. This process will be indefinitely repeatable for V-LCM 3, 4, and so on.

SINGLE Stake

Any hound otherwise eligible for competition in regular or limited stakes, including hounds with breed disqualifications and competition disqualifications, shall be eligible for entry in this stake. Single stake entries from all breeds shall be combined into one mixed stake, with proficiency points and placements awarded across the breeds. A hound entered in the Single stake shall be barred from competition in the Open, Field Champion and Veteran stakes at the same trial. Each hound shall run alone in the preliminary, the final and as applicable, the runoff course.  Only proficiency points and placements toward the Title of Coursing Proficiency (TCP) and the Title of Coursing Proficiency Excellent (CPX)  will be awarded. No ASFA points or placements toward the Field Championship or Lure Courser of Merit titles will be awarded from this stake, and no points or other considerations toward an ASFA title of any sort will be awarded to dogs in the Limited stake. The winner of this stake shall not be eligible to compete in Best of Breed nor in Best in Field, but will be awarded High Scoring Single.

Judging

Hounds are normally run in trios, in yellow, pink, and blue colors. Judges assess performance based on each hound's abilities, identifying hounds by their blanket color. The hounds run a preliminary course and a final course, and then may run for Best of Breed. Finally, the Best of Breed run for Best in Field, as an optional stake. The hounds are scored by the following criteria:

Points
Follow
15
Enthusiasm
15
Agility
25
Speed
25
Endurance
20

Equipment

The equipment needed to course your hound is very simple. You will need three blankets, one in each color. Many clubs have blankets to loan in a variety of sizes or you can have your own made to fit your hound. You will also need a slip lead to release your hound at the line. Be sure you bring water for your hounds since there may be none available at the site of the trial.

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