Beagle Chasing – Atherstone – 3

Excerpt from the book Sports the Olympics Forgot This book describes 40 sports that ought to be played but aren’t, because I made them up.

The second oldest event is the Rosette Removal. Once again individual hares chase after the beagle, this time carrying two vegetables, and have to pin a rosette onto the dog’s collar. The dog is given 10 minutes start in this race. Once again the hare has to return to the finish line without dropping either of the vegetables.

On Easter Tuesday the beagles are given some time off from running and instead take place in the Beagle Herding. The dogs are herded in pairs by teams of three hares, who must be on all fours at all times. The event is similar to a sheepdog trial. The beagles are placed in a chalk circle and then the three hares advance upon them. The hares must encourage the beagles to move without ever touching them.

Once the beagles are out of the circle they must then be herded through a pair of gates, around a pole in a clockwise direction and then pass through a series of ten small bushes, to the left of the first one, to the right of the second bush, to the left of the third bush etc. Once the bushes have been negotiated the hares must then herd each beagle into a separate kennel. Once both beagles are in their kennels the clock stops. The best team of the early twentieth century were the Fenny Drayton Sheepmen, who won the Beagle Herding fourteen times between 1921 and 1936. All three hares, brothers George and Dennis Fox and Benny Tabard, were naturally gifted athletes who seemed as comfortable on all fours as when they were standing. They worked as a team and knew how to keep a beagle moving in the right direction.

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