Kennel Club FT Report - 27 1 2005
The Kennel Club held it's first ever Trial for Any Variety Spaniel Except Spaniel (English Springer) and Spaniel (Cocker) this year which is to be an annual event.
All Aged Field Trial - Wednesday 27th January 2005
Held on Sutton Scotney Estate, Hampshire
Judges Jack Davey, Christine Bridgwater, Sarah Chichester and Peter Amor.
1st SEDGEHURST TORMENTUM
2nd SEDGEHURST HAWKRIDGE John Zurick
Guns Choice was Gil Tully and Sh Ch HIGHCLERE ENERGIZER
Our Host was Peter Corney, who had kindly given permission for the Trial to be held on his ground after being approached by Chris Page (Working Section Secretary of The Clumber Spaniel Club). The occasion must have been pretty difficult for John Holmes, Head 'Keeper, to take on board. It was the end of the season and all wily birds worth their salt, having learnt all the tricks in the book about the evasion of dogs and humans bearing sticks or guns, would be sprinting off in all directions at the slightest hint of any disturbance.
It was a freezing cold but bright day and six Guns, picked by the Head 'Keeper, were keen for the off. Anne Greeves was Chief Steward, also KC FT Secretary, and a number of KC representatives were present as interested spectators. It was the first time that I had judged under the Four Judge System, introduced recently by the Kennel Club. It was also the first time that our handlers had ever experienced this system. Many of them had never heard of Sarah or Peter, although are both are well known in open English Springer Trials. Sarah has also made up a FTCh Gordon Setter and Labrador, indeed she won the Retriever Championships a few years ago. A superb lady with any dog, she was paired with Jack on the right side of the line and Peter joined me on the left.
It has to be mentioned that, being the end of the season, many shoots were holding their own "cock" days and to see such enthusiasm in everyone from the Guns to the shooting handlers, from all around the country, was absolutely wonderful.
The day was to have seen all "minority" breeds of spaniel in competition together. But the only American Cocker had been withdrawn. To be hunted were the wide boundary hedges to the huge fields. Although the 'Keeper, John, had put several stops out, there were times when the birds either ran like stags, well in front of the dogs, or got up so far away as to be impossible shots.
Our first dog, a veteran Clumber, worked for ages. Please note that as I was judging on the left I cannot fully comment on the other side's performance/s. He had a blank run apart from being tried on a rabbit that had managed to go to ground. Hunting thoroughly and athletically; he even jumped a water trough. The poor dog tried to "bank" it and gave himself a wack - which at over ten years old must have hurt.
Next on the left was Sandy White's Welsh who had a tidy run with positive finds and proving itself steady to flush, shot and fall. Sadly, it flatly refused to retrieve although it handled out and found the bird across the field very well.
Our only Field spaniel must have become over excited during the build up to his run as it made a noise early and was lost. Following in quickly was Tina Smith with her Welsh that put on a great show. A couple of hot spots had pushed out several birds in clattering fashion and I think the Guns could not have been blamed for having frozen fingers - few were brought down. Tina had one clean retrieve in the open and was also tried on a strong runner before being allowed to return to the gallery.
Bill Cadwell's very experienced Sussex was our next in line. Rarely out of the awards this bitch was very unlucky as she pegged. A real temptation for any good hunting dog should a bird refuse to be pushed up.
Mr Windebank and his second of two Welshies came into line and was obviously a very useful tool in the shooting field. An excellent hunting dog he soon found, and pushed from cover, two pheasants but, unfortunately, carried on going. We exchanged words with the handler as he put the dog back on the lead, he admitted that he hadn't realised he was supposed to stop the dog on flush... which he could easily have done with his whistle. It was his first Trial and I'm sure he will not repeat his mistake. It just goes to show how valuable stewarding can be, or at least attending as a spectator before dropping yourself in at the deep end. I'm sure these dogs could do very well next year.
Finally for our last dog in it's first run we saw Chris Page's young clumber bitch. At less than two years of age she did well but was lost from the card.
Several dogs had been lost but our first second-run dog was with John Zurick. He hadn't had a flush in his first run so was delighted when he had one with us. His dog was hunting strongly and had several other excellent flushes. You just knew John was nervous as his whistle appeared to be melting. His dog had no retrieve in this run and it looked as if John was relieved to be dismissed back to the gallery without one... maybe he felt that his dog might run in? As luck would have it there were no birds shot to put temptation in his way.
Poor man was straight back in with us, with his other dog. This one hadn't had a retrieve in it's first run. The nerves of the handler were in shreds. Despite all this, the dog hunted very well indeed, had several flushes and two retrieves - one being excellent.
Our last competitor was Chris Page with his experienced Clumber dog. Jack and Sarah had finished on their side so Chris had all eyes on him. It was not one of George's best performances, unfortunately, sadly he was not going to be in the awards this particular day.
The Trial was finished by lunchtime and everyone made their way back to the barn for the Awards to be handed out. Guns Choice was given to a very surprised Gil Tully. Her naughty Welshie had disappeared after a hare in her first run under Jack and Sarah. I think the dog had turned the hare three or four times before being encouraged back to the line by the handler's dulcet tones! There is a very active coarsing Club in that area of Hampshire so perhaps the Guns were looking for new blood?
A happy occasion all round and finishing early enough for the more local chaps to get half a day of shooting cocks in. The Beagles were hunting at home, back at Preshaw, so I went back to join them.