Mazing Chase is known throughout the sporting dog world as Lure Coursing. It is an exercise or competition usually reserved for sight hounds because of their keen vision. It’s basically a course that has a loop of string with an attached flag or toy going through pulleys close to the ground. A motor moves the loop of string and makes the flag follow the course. Some lure courses, called drag lures, have spool and a free ended line that must be stretched out before dragging flag back.
I am not interested in the competition aspects, I use this for exercise and physiological engagement of the dogs. My course is smaller than the typical competition course of 600-1000 yards of string. Mine is 400 yards. But my dogs make scores of laps a day, whereas in competition they do 2-3 laps tops. I started with a portable battery-powered system designed for typical lure coursing operations that move from place to place for competitions.
This first system I had several problems with. Since I use my course continuously for hours on end, rather than the shorter bursts it was designed for, I had overheating problems with the motor and battery longevity issues. The system even caught fire one time. This, as usual, left me designing and building my own system that met my particular needs.
The A/C motors I choose to use were off the shelf motors of a higher spec than the battery motors. Because they had more horsepower, and they run under their designed limits, overheating became less of an issue. It did required a rethinking of the pulley system at the motor. I had to add a pulley system to slow down the new motor down to get the speed I desired. But, once rebuilt, the system works much better for my needs.
I still use the battery system during the start of an exercise period, because it is faster than the system I designed. It’s acceleration is also faster. This way the dogs can burn off some energy and excitement. Then I switch to my slightly slower system for a long period of exercise. The battery system goes 40mph, my system goes 30-35mph.
I have two locations that I use for Mazing Chase. I built two separate systems that stay at those locations. I did not need portability. I could then use A/C power rather than batteries. Additionally, the portable nature of most lure coursing systems dictates that the pulleys out in the field are typically held in place by a simple stake. This is an effective way to fix the pulleys in place for a day or two, but we found that over extended use, they pulled out. Embedding a shaft in a paver is much more stable. We dug shallow holes to place the pavers at or below the level of the ground. A couple of pulleys out in the field we wished to keep mobile, to adjust tension as the string stretches/contracts from use and weather conditions. These we placed on top the ground.