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Thread: Lets talk about HT vs FT

  1. #1
    Senior Member Tater 7's Avatar
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    Default Lets talk about HT vs FT

    So i'm pretty new to the HT/FT community. I an currently starting to run hunt test, have gotten addicted to training and wondering about Field Trials. How come you don't see a lot of people running both? I haven never been to a Field Trial and understand that distances are longer and it is dog against dog instead of dog against standard. How do people train differently?(other than distance) I would like to possibly start running FT when I get my dog to an HRCH/MH title. Just curious in the major differences. I don't quite understand the differences in the titles either but I'm sure the rule book has those. Don't be too harsh, I'm new to the whole sport and want to run my dog in just about anything I can but from what I've read/talked to others about, you need atleast a HRCH dog before even being about to compete in a FT. I'm sure this subject has come up before but I think it would be a good thread for new comers like me to the sport. I've also seen stuff on SRS but haven't even looked into it except a quick glance at the website.

  2. #2
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    I am one that competes in both. I am on my first dog and the training group that I got involved with does FT, but I started in HT. I ran a few club derbies, just to support the club and run my dog, since I was there to help anyways. I got a SH on my dog, and started running Qualifying stakes in FT at the same time I was running Master stakes in HT. I ended up getting him QAA before I got the MH title on him.

    It is doable. It is attainable. The two main differences between HT and FT.

    1. Distance. HT is limited to 100 or 150 yards or less. FT is not limited. You can see 100 yards marks or shorter, and you can see 400 yard marks or longer.

    2. Precision. While running blinds, I noticed that HT people line their dog up and send, no matter whether the dog is on a good line or not. FT people take the time to make sure their dog is lined up in a good direction before sending for a blind because initial line, length of carry of cast, and fewer casts count. As a result of this, I was able to 1 whistle many HT blinds at the Master level, because I took the time to make sure I had precision.

    3. And of course, a HT uses a standard (that is subjective to the judges that weekend) and a FT is a competition. Only the best dog will win, and if you run in a series and do not have a chance to win, you get dropped. Only the strong survive.

    Yes, as far as titles, and stuff, that is all in the rule book.

    JH (junior hunter), SH (senior hunter), MH (master hunter). These are HT titles. As you go higher, the more requirements that exist.

    FC (Field Champion) - Although not required, usually the Pro is running the dog. Need certain number of points and a win to attain title. Not easy.

    AFC - Amateur Field Champion - Amateur runs dog. Need certain number of points and a win to attain title. Not Easy

    Those are the only two titles in Field Trials (besides National being put in front of each of those titles, of which a National is held each year, and again, you need to get a certain number of points within the annual qualifying period to be able to attend and compete in the national).

    Designation - Qualified All Age (QAA) - This is for a dog who enters the Qualifying stake and takes first or second place (they can also get this designation when competing and placing in AM or place or JAM in Open or something like that).

    Non official AKC title - Derby Champion - This is for the dog who has accumulated the most points in the Derby stakes. The Derby is for dogs who are under 2 years of age.

    I think that is a quick summary.

    Good luck if you do decide to run both. It is fun, and all about spending quality time with your pet.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Dan Wegner's Avatar
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    Zman1001 had a very good response. I too, have run both. It can be done, but you will likely have more success if you focus and train for one specific game over bouncing back and forth.

    As for titles, there is NO COMPARISON between a MH and a FC or AFC. Not taking anything away from a good hunt test dog, but only a handful of MH's ever cross over and win a Qualifying. Even fewer go on to be competitive in the All-Age (Amateur and Open) stakes, let alone title. The FC and AFC titles require an extraordinary animal, with extreme owner dedication, time, knowledge, grounds and/or a boatload of money to compensate for a lack of one or more of the other essential elements.

    Hunt tests are great because the average person can train a dog to success at the Master level with a little time, more than a little knowledge, average grounds and a fair amount of money. Field Trials require allot more of everything and then on the weekend, you have to beat other dog handler teams that have been working hard at it too. It's tough to do, but if you're a competieve person at heart or just like to always push the envelope, you just might like trials. The ribbons aren't nearly as plentiful as in hunt tests, but they sure feel about 10 times bigger when you are lucky enough to get one.
    FCR "Ransom" - Coastalight Toodoggone Much CD MH *** (2012 MN Qualifier and All-Age pointed!)
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  4. #4
    Senior Member Hunt'EmUp's Avatar
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    Hmm go run them both and see what happens; Main difference is running against other dogs vs. running against a standard. As for needing an HRCH or MH before running a FT, Whelp apples and oranges; It's all about skill set, not titles; a derby dog needs to be able to mark (singles Doubles, I've not see a triple but who knows). A qual dog needs to be able to mark (doubles triples, quad who knows) and run blinds (which are their own separate series). Theoretically best dog there that day takes the prize. The thing about FT is until you try them you just don't know. Varying degrees of difficulty is seen in both venues, but usually you don't need a completely finished MH to run a qual.

    Ex; Our group decided to run a couple of Quals this year (peer-pressure ), 3 dogs are Finished MH-HRCH, (we don't train for FTs, their titled out) they play well, usually in till the end, 1 dog is an SH (transition) level ( also in till the end). Another friend has a 18mt still in derby (transition work)(her first qual she saw every series).

    on the other hand; I know a few people that have young QAA dogs, they are also in (transition) some run Master-some aren't ready for it yet. Overall the dogs are in need of a bit of seasoning/ they aren't ready to consistently pass every test; but most of the time they play.

    Now if your thinking of wrangling the bull and throwing your hat into Amateur-Open you need a FINISHED and experienced Dog. Figure those that play the FT game and only the FT game every day oftentimes don't see every series. So you need a finished dog, with FT experience and need to be pretty finished and experienced yourself; a bit of luck never hurt .

    I've contemplated throwing my dog into an upper stake, as I did the Qual (just to see); however I'll just never be as into it nor as dedicated as most of those playing that game. I'll never put in the focused training-time required to play well and consistently, if I'm not going to play well and consistently; I don't really see the point. Doesn't mean I won't be conned into trying it
    Last edited by Hunt'EmUp; 05-03-2014 at 10:48 PM.
    "They's Just DAWGS"
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  5. #5
    Senior Member Tater 7's Avatar
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    I am competitive by nature and would like to run both once I get to a level to be able to compete with my dog. I was not trying to say that you have to have a MH or HRCH or GRHRCH dog to run FT but getting to that level of training and skill is about the time I was told you could start to compete and have somewhat of a chance. FT seem interesting and I am more focused on having an excellent hunting dog more than winning at a game but FT would be something that I could enjoy with my pup once I get to the HRCH/MH level IF we ever get there. I was just tossing up the idea since I did not know anything about it.

    So in FT, different levels are defined by what are called "stakes"?

    With the titles, theoretically, a dog could place 2nd in a few stakes and accumulate points towards a FC or AFC title and when it takes 1st place to get the FC/AFC title it could also get a QAA title as well?

    What is a qualifying stake? A stake that is recognized towards points to enter the National?

  6. #6
    Senior Member BonMallari's Avatar
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    Tater : it would be in your best interest to download a pdf copy of the Field Trial Rules and Standard Procedure for Retrievers....even print one out and keep a copy in the truck its a very valuable reference book designed to answer many of the questions that you have
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  7. #7
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    Derby stake: 2 year olds and under. 4 series. marks only. more than 10 points by the time dog turns 2 and makes the Derby List.
    Qualifying Stake: Dogs in the latter part of transition. 4 series. 2 series of marks. 2 series of blinds. this is where you see a lot of upper level hunt test dogs "cross over to FT game". Get 1st or 2nd and you are considered QAA or Qualified All Age. (note-you do not have to be QAA to run AA stakes just more of a barometer test)
    Amateur: All-Age (AA) test open only to amateurs. 4 series 2 are blinds 2 are marks. jam or place and you are automatically QAA. 15 points including a win and you become AFC
    Open: All-Age (AA) test open to amateurs and pros. 4 series 2 are blinds 2 are marks. jame or place and you are automatically QAA. 10 points including a win and you become FC. points earned by amateurs running their dog in the open count towards the amateur required 15
    Nationals: takes a "blue plus 2" or a win and 2 points from the open (to qualify for nat'l open) or amateur (to qualify for nat'l am). 10 series week long trial. one dog a year is awarded the NFC or NAFC title.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Tater 7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BonMallari View Post
    Tater : it would be in your best interest to download a pdf copy of the Field Trial Rules and Standard Procedure for Retrievers....even print one out and keep a copy in the truck its a very valuable reference book designed to answer many of the questions that you have
    I did download and read most of the rules but was confused on some of the terminology they used since I have never been around any of it. Its starting to make a lot more sense now though.

  9. #9
    Member vScottv's Avatar
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    Tater, This may be a better conversation if it was held on the tailgate of your truck over a couple of beers after a training session with your buds

    Just sayin...
    Scott

    HR Kiowa's Li'l Girl "Abby" MH, WCX, CGC
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  10. #10
    Senior Member Keith Stroyan's Avatar
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    My advice is: Go watch an Open.

    If you like competition, HT's eventually won't "do it" for you. You'll find plenty in FTs.

    Go see and do the one you like.

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