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Thread: Hunt Tests VS. Field Trials

  1. #11
    Member Captzig's Avatar
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    Like Jared, I am curious which venue to focus on myself. After speaking with my brother who was an avid field trial-er in another breed, I am reluctant to try and step into the FT game. He claims there to be too much politics and inside circles for a regular Joe newbie to crack in to the FT circuit. Is this a fair assessment?

  2. #12
    Senior Member BonMallari's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Captzig View Post
    Like Jared, I am curious which venue to focus on myself. After speaking with my brother who was an avid field trial-er in another breed, I am reluctant to try and step into the FT game. He claims there to be too much politics and inside circles for a regular Joe newbie to crack in to the FT circuit. Is this a fair assessment?
    People have been telling that same myth since the early 70's...if you believe it then half the field already has you beat, its one of the few sports where a regular person can go head up against a millionaire, and not only compete, but also win
    All my Exes live in Texas

    Quote Originally Posted by lanse brown View Post
    A few things that I learned still ring true. "Lanse when you get a gift, say thank you and walk away. When you get a screwing walk away. You are going to get a lot more screwings than gifts"

  3. #13
    Senior Member Ted Shih's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Captzig View Post
    Like Jared, I am curious which venue to focus on myself. After speaking with my brother who was an avid field trial-er in another breed, I am reluctant to try and step into the FT game. He claims there to be too much politics and inside circles for a regular Joe newbie to crack in to the FT circuit. Is this a fair assessment?

    I don't think that FT judges are that much different than the people you meet elsewhere in your life - for that matter, the people on RTF

    There are those who see the glass as half full
    There are those who see the glass as half empty
    There are those who are knowledgeable
    There are those who pretend to be knowledgeable
    There are those who are kind hearted and helpful
    There are those who are unhappy and mean spirited

    That's just life
    I have found that in FT, just as on this board, most people want to do the right thing
    But, there are always a few who do not

    I think it's a great sport and encourage you to give it a try
    Competition does not build character - It reveals it.

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  4. #14
    Senior Member MikeBoley's Avatar
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    excellent post Ted.
    'I make my practices real hard because if a player is a quitter, I want him to quit in practice, not in a game.' - Bear Bryant / Alabama

  5. #15
    Senior Member John Lash's Avatar
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    In my experience if you go to a Field Trial and your dog does the best job, you win. No matter who you are. It really is about what your dog did that weekend.

    I believe that most of the people there are happy for you too.

    It is competitive, some are tough, but mostly I've met the nicest people ever at a Field Trial. It is a very hard "game" but more should give it a try. Sometimes it seems impossible and sometimes it's pretty easy.
    John Lash

    "If you run Field Trials, you learn to swallow your disappointment quickly."

    "Field trials are not a game for good dogs. They're for great dogs with great training." E. Graham

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Backwater View Post
    Another words, a dog with FC AFC or especially NFC are very special dogs. Hunt tests are like playing basketball, if you can hit a few free throws and dribble the ball you make the team (everyone who can do this makes the team), field trials you must be the best and win to make the team. Only one dog each year out of thousands of very good retrievers will get the coveted NFC title truly something special.

    Many dogs can enter and do well in hunt test but couldn't begin to finish a first series in the open field trial, my dog being one of them. Hope this helps. Go watch both venues you will see in short order the difference in the dogs.

    Good luck with your dogs.
    Oh, Mr. Water...

    I know this is overly well-plowed ground and I'm bringing this up only because the new enthusiasts who've posted here might be mislead by your basketball analogy.

    First: No question... when you can put an FC or AFC on your dog, you're in the elite. Those are superbly trained dogs performing at a peak level. But getting a Master Hunter title is not chump change. And seriously, the dogs who can finish the Master National can also absolutely claim elite status.

    Here's why I say this: There isn't any FT competence that is not now probed by judges in HT's . Really challenging marks using all the elements to make them complex for the dogs to pull off. Same for blinds. The differences (as I see it) are only with regard to 1. distances... (not going to see 300 yard marks/blinds in a HT) and 2. all the guns are concealed (which should make the marks harder in many respects than a FT.) Furthermore, because the judges are limited with regard to distances, I think they put more complexity in the path to the birds. (I gotta tell you... I was gob-stopped when I saw our first series in Demopolis in 2012. And we flamed out... but there's always Corning!!!) I'll be honest with you, some of those tests at the MN would kill FT dogs as quick as they slam talented HT dogs.

    It is true that HT's don't select for the "best" dogs when the ribbons are handed out. And no one can "win" a HT. But you sure as heck can LOSE at one. (I'm here to tell you.)

    On a very positive note for new people... I think the 3 graduated steps (Junior Hunter, Senior Hunter and Master Hunter) make HT's a great entry venue for a person new to the retriever game. They can get some early positive reinforcement as they learn along with their dogs. THEN... to really test their mettle... they can step it up to FT's.

  7. #17
    Senior Member fishduck's Avatar
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    Wisdom usually comes with experience. Many on the forum can impart their wisdom from either a hunt test or field trial perspective. The individual actively participating in both is rare.

    Watching both venues as mentioned would be a good start. Find a person running dogs you like & ask to be included in their training group. That will give you a huge head start on your journey.

    Keep it fun for you and the dog & you may find a lifelong passion.
    Good luck!
    Mark Land

  8. #18
    Senior Member EdA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Captzig View Post
    Like Jared, I am curious which venue to focus on myself. After speaking with my brother who was an avid field trial-er in another breed, I am reluctant to try and step into the FT game. He claims there to be too much politics and inside circles for a regular Joe newbie to crack in to the FT circuit. Is this a fair assessment?
    I assume that what you meant is that he was an avid field trailer in another venue. If that venue was not retriever field trials then making that correlation is false. That is not to say that politics never comes in to play but it is certainly not widespread nor pervasive and no doubt exists in hunt tests as well. Any competitive venue which is judged rather than timed can be the victim of human behavior. All of us who participate in retriever field trials were newcomers once and if your brother's theory was true there would be few who participate. It is difficult to achieve success even for people like me who have been heavily involved for over forty years. As others have stated if you have a good dog and work hard you will enjoy your share of success. You should not be deterred because of something negative you were told no matter how well meaning the messenger.
    Last edited by EdA; 01-16-2014 at 07:36 AM.

  9. #19
    Senior Member Good Dogs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Shih View Post


    There are those who see the glass as half full
    There are those who see the glass as half empty

    And then there are folks like me that wonder why the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

    Having played the AKC and HRC hunt test game for years, I recently started trying my hand in trials. Neither I nor my dog were ready, and it showed, but my FT experience has taught us a lot about dogs and training and how to step up and meet higher expectations. Dog games are, as has been said, like any other endeavor. There are great folks in both venues. As there are jerks in both. You'll quickly figure out who is who, but just have fun with your dog, and good luck.

  10. #20
    Senior Member Rainmaker's Avatar
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    Got my first purebred Lab in 1998. Happenstance put me with a local trainer and HT group. I'd never fired a gun, wouldn't touch a duck back then. Don't think I've ever been so nervous as my first JH attempt, and pretty crushed when we failed it. I have a lot of dogs now, MH, one QAA, finished my first derby last summer and ran a few Amateurs. But I'll never forget my first backyard-bred chocolate from nothing that gave me everything. He only made SH, but, he started me on this roadtrip that I wouldn't trade for much of anything else.

    Doesn't matter what venue you pick, try them all, find what suits you, what you can afford in time and resources for training and running. It's all good, from JH to FC, as long as you're enjoying the ride with your dogs, don't let anyone convince you that any of those ribbons are meaningless. Every one of them will mean something to you.
    Kim Pfister, Rainmaker Labs

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