UPDATE - March 2021
Due to the uncertainty which we are all currently experiencing we have made the difficult decision to run Firle Place Country Fair and Horse Trials behind closed doors for 2021. Unfortunately we will be unable to have any spectators at this event, however we will be back in 2022 with a great event for everyone
Jevington Terrier Racing & Show
It was a terrier named Grab who started my abiding passion for terrier racing, fast and furious, a terrier’s dream!
Jevington Terrier racing started in a small way in a field behind the cricket pitch in 2004, it then moved to the Monastery Field near the church in later years. It has raised approximately £7,000 for charities since it’s inception, including The Brook Hospital for Horses, Help for Heroes, Blind Veterans UK., The Stevie Fisher Trust and The Kent Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance.
We rely on help from a lot of volunteers who give up their time to set it up, run it, and then take it all down again, leaving the field litter free and ready for horses to go back onto it the next day.
The racing is enormous fun for the terriers, nearly all of them can’t wait to be loaded into the traps by the handlers. They push at the gate to get at the lure which is a fox brush temptingly twitching on the end of a long line, which in itself is attached to an upturned bicycle with a wheel man turning it as fast as possible to bring the lure to the end of a 75yd track. The terriers are released and most of them shoot up the track in hot pursuit of the lure until it disappears into a stack of straw bales at the top end. They all pile into a terrier sized hole, some of them bouncing off the bales or each other. There is a flurry of bottoms, tails and nutty terriers, they are quickly scooped up by big strong handlers and handed back to their owners. Occasionally there is a scrap, typical terrier behaviour, a stop for a pee on the outside fence or a non starter (facing the wrong way in the traps). One local terrier was taken home half way through the day but she wasn’t finished yet! She escaped from her garden and made her way back through the fields. We were unaware that her owners were not present she was loaded into the traps, she came second, had a rosette pinned to her collar and then went home much to the astonishment of her owners!
There have been several terriers over the years who have gained reputations as speed machines, and once hooked the the racing spirit is with them until they are too old to compete. They are still able to have a slow canter up the track at a steady pace just for old time’s sake. If the lure is caught there is no prising them off it without copious amounts of water squirted up the nose to make them release it. The heart is willing, the teeth may be blunt but the passion for the chase is undiminished!
Many people come back year after year, some have become good friends, and to think that terrier racing originated with Hunts running their terriers for fun in the quiet part of the year. We never forget how it started and always welcome working terriers to the show and racing.
This year we are running racing and a show on Sunday June 10th. Do come along, have a pleasant but not too peaceful day in a lovely setting. Your terrier will have great day, don’t forget your ear defenders!