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Thread: British field trials?

  1. #21
    Senior Member Keith Stroyan's Avatar
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    Default Both Sides of the Pond

    Thanks "kennel maiden" and "Colonel Blimp" for your descriptions. Many years ago I spent a day at a "Working Test" in north Yorkshire (while on a business trip.)

    The dogs were very nice looking and more uniform in conformation than North American field Labs, on the small-to-medium size for that comparison, and generally smaller than Norwegian ones I've seen earlier that trip in Trondheim. On the average, better looking than either. They also didn't look at all like American show Labs.

    Both the dogs and humans were well-mannered. I had a wonderful time and was greeted most cordially - well, except for a little razzing about repeating shotguns .

    What that visit lets me add to my understanding of your comparison is a little better understanding of the conditions of "an ordinary day's "shoot"" (we call it "hunt"). They are vastly different on the two sides of the pond. For example, I've never hunted wild pheasants with my Labs at heel and other breeds flushing game (though I have heard of people in the MidWest who do. It's very rare.) In fact, one of the traits I prize in Labs is the ability to do the flushing job (as well as the ability to use their noses and other things prized in your trials). I've never even heard of a "drive" on wild birds. Waterfowl hunting here on land or water wouldn't compare to anything I saw, even though there was one (basic) water blind in the working test.

    So while it is fair to characterize North American field trials and hunt tests as "fake", transplanting a British estate shoot here would not represent the conditions of our "ordinary day's "shoot"" either. (Our game laws likely would prevent making it "real" - even given other difficulties.)

    Back then I very much wanted to see what you folks did so I could see if any of it could apply to trying to make North American Hunt Tests more realistic. And I think "realism" in hunt tests is less important than good preparation for real hunting. For me the games are only a pass-time and preparation for the real thing. Alas, I couldn't transplant any of it to tests. But I did enjoy the day an remember it fondly.
    Last edited by Keith Stroyan; 12-09-2013 at 04:31 PM.

  2. #22
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    Sorry, by 'fake' I meant using dummies/bumpers/cold game and manufactured/man made scenarios that are the same for every dog running. It wasn't meant to offend! Just came out a bit wrong/negative!!

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Billups View Post
    Do you feel that politics ever enters into the "draw"?
    Not in England...

  4. #24
    Senior Member truthseeker's Avatar
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    Judging: Judges are appointed by the UK Kennel Club. To become a judge takes a few years, an obvious deep knowledge of FT's and the shooting scene, you must have handled a dog to at least one win. You start as a non-panel judge then move up to a 'B' panel and then an 'A' panel. In order to achieve B then A status you are judged by existing 'A' panel judges at a minimum number of trials over a minimum number of years, their
    evaluations are discussed by a meeting of the Field Trial committee at the Kennel Club and will determine the success or otherwise of an applicant.

    Eug.
    I really like the way you pick your judges. I wish we had something similar, seem a bit less political.

    As far as the trials, you know us yanks, we go for more flash and dash. we like to look at more drive and style, them obedience. ( even though they have to be under control ) We have never be ones to be subdued !!!.

    Keith

  5. #25
    Senior Member Bartona500's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by crackerd View Post
    Oh, you "understand" it, or should I say your agenda understands it. Bill's asked another pretty pertinent question, even for a 12- or 24-dog trial; maybe you could elaborate on that.

    MG
    It seems you like to read an agenda in Robert's comments. I understand that you may not like Mr. Milner's ways, but he just gave a simple answer to the question about ams/pros and how many dogs they run. I mean, really, your responses are a prime example of why these conversations always take a negative turn. It was a fun convo on field trial work, lots of new information, lots of questions asked/answered, and then you feel the need to jump on a comment, call someone a "purist", and then talk about hidden agendas.

    Goodness man, take something and relax.
    -Barton Ramsey

  6. #26
    Senior Member HNTFSH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by crackerd View Post
    L, we prefer "more challenging, and more artifice." That, n.b., test the same traits we want to see in our (duck)hunting retrievers, a/k/a waterdogs.

    MG
    Did you just use Nota Bene?
    We shoot dogs with a Canon

  7. #27
    Senior Member Keith Stroyan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by paul young View Post
    I, for one, am glad my hunts are not judged.-Paul
    My hunts are the only thing I want to judge anymore.

  8. #28
    Senior Member Dave Flint's Avatar
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    The difference between retrieving on land in the British tradition vs. the water in American is relevant to what each culture regards as important. A long crippled pheasant that goes down across the fence into the woods is very likely going to run a long way from where the dog marks it. The ideal dog in this situation watches the bird for as long as he can see it and often has to estimate the distance it probably will land. Then he runs to that area but drifts a little w/ the wind to bring his nose into play until he either scents the bird or crosses itís trail where he drops his nose to the ground & follows it until he catches it.

    This is not however quite as practical a strategy to use while swimming. Here, good eyesight and memory are the most efficient tools and since we think of retrievers as duck dogs, Iím sure thatís why they are more highly emphasized in our games.

    I think the British strict demand for calm, quiet line manners has probably disqualified a number of outstanding retrievers for a squeak or bark that would only bring an admiring smile to the face of an American but on the other hand, I think the line manner standards of the US hunt tests are too low.

    I find a lot to like about the British perspective of what constitutes good dog work and although the mechanics of their version of a dayís hunt arenít similar to ours, I think their idea that the nose (rather than eyes) is the primary reason for the dog is the correct one.
    "The bird hunter watches only the dog, and always knows where the dog is, whether or not visible at the moment. The dogí nose is the bird hunters eye. Many hunters who carry a shotgun in season have never learned to watch the dog, or interpret his reaction to scent."
    Aldo Leopold, Round River

  9. #29
    Senior Member Jennifer Henion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Flint View Post
    The difference between retrieving on land in the British tradition vs. the water in American is relevant to what each culture regards as important. A long crippled pheasant that goes down across the fence into the woods is very likely going to run a long way from where the dog marks it. The ideal dog in this situation watches the bird for as long as he can see it and often has to estimate the distance it probably will land. Then he runs to that area but drifts a little w/ the wind to bring his nose into play until he either scents the bird or crosses it’s trail where he drops his nose to the ground & follows it until he catches it.

    This is not however quite as practical a strategy to use while swimming. Here, good eyesight and memory are the most efficient tools and since we think of retrievers as duck dogs, I’m sure that’s why they are more highly emphasized in our games.

    I think the British strict demand for calm, quiet line manners has probably disqualified a number of outstanding retrievers for a squeak or bark that would only bring an admiring smile to the face of an American but on the other hand, I think the line manner standards of the US hunt tests are too low.

    I find a lot to like about the British perspective of what constitutes good dog work and although the mechanics of their version of a day’s hunt aren’t similar to ours, I think their idea that the nose (rather than eyes) is the primary reason for the dog is the correct one.
    A well thought out post! A pleasure to read.

  10. #30
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    Batona500, I'm glad you responded to Crackerd's not so nice and unnecessary comments.
    There's always one in a crowd.

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