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Thread: HT changes over the past 20 years?

  1. #1
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    Default HT changes over the past 20 years?

    I'll make this short and sweet.

    How many of you true blue hunt testers have seen the percentages of pro handlers in Senior/or Master tests grow over the last 20 yrs or so?
    A couple weeks ago at the Tejas HT, I looked up while sitting in a Master test gallery, and noticed this beautiful F-250 pulling a big dog trailer, heading to the Junior test, while being followed by an entourage (sp?) of 7 or 8 trucks. Obviously filled with clients and their friends. The incident motivated me to pull out a catalog from 1993-94 and look up the number of pros back then. The pros made up about 30-35% of the handlers. This spring the Master pro numbers were up around 65-68%.

    I have also noticed that the number of FC/or AFC sired dogs has nearly tripled, while the number of passes have gone down. Of course, the tests have become a little more demanding over the past few years.

    Better dogs? Better handlers? Just a thought to ponder.
    Last edited by David Maddox; 05-17-2009 at 08:17 PM.
    We are only as good as those that surround us.

    Birthplace to:
    •FC-BAYOU TECHE TEX-'09 Nat'l Finalist
    •FC-BUTCH's DREAM CODE of TCR-2x Nat'l Qualifier
    •FC-DREAM DANCIN'-2x Nat'l Qualifier
    Gettin' Jiggy Widdit-MH
    Dancin' Dreamer Kate-MH (•FC-"FINN",QAA-"Coal"-MNHofF, QAAs-"Tank", QAA-"Allie", MH-"Tease", QAA-"Hardy", MNH-Ruby)

    RIP Sweet mama Dancy!!!

  2. #2
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    Default

    Somethings have gotton more difficult and some things have gotten easier. I think hunt test trainers have stayed pretty much consistant in their dog training savy.
    The longer you train in theory the better you get as an individual.

    Its a sport that takes on a much bigger percent of new people than trials. So there is a turn over of learning curves which commonly take place.
    I think judging has gotten a little more stringent but the tests seem the same. The rules have softened a little since then.
    Thats my recollection anyway
    Pete

  3. #3
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    Absolutely.
    Most newbies do seem to play the HT game first. I'd venture to guess that a lot of the trial people got their starts in HTs as well.

    Junior HTs certainly bring TONS of new people into the game, however, it seems as though about 1/3 will take the step and train their own dogs to the Senior level, 1/3 will have nice enough dogs that they bite the bullet and send them to either a HT or FT pro for advanced training, and the other 1/3 just seems to disappear.
    Last edited by David Maddox; 05-11-2009 at 09:09 AM.
    We are only as good as those that surround us.

    Birthplace to:
    •FC-BAYOU TECHE TEX-'09 Nat'l Finalist
    •FC-BUTCH's DREAM CODE of TCR-2x Nat'l Qualifier
    •FC-DREAM DANCIN'-2x Nat'l Qualifier
    Gettin' Jiggy Widdit-MH
    Dancin' Dreamer Kate-MH (•FC-"FINN",QAA-"Coal"-MNHofF, QAAs-"Tank", QAA-"Allie", MH-"Tease", QAA-"Hardy", MNH-Ruby)

    RIP Sweet mama Dancy!!!

  4. #4
    Senior Member AmiableLabs's Avatar
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    Over the last twenty years? IMHO --

    AKC HTs -- More pros, MUCH harder (read "more technical") tests, stricter judging, steadily growing entries. (Think about it, all the symptoms feed each other.)

    UKC/HRC HTs -- Same number of pros, tests a little more technical, stricter judging in certain aspects only, some growth.
    Kevin Walker

    Drive is the manifestation of Desire, and measured in Style.
    Thank you judges who score Style, you are preserving Desire!

  5. #5
    Senior Member Mark Littlejohn's Avatar
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    David;

    There's no doubt that HT's have become a pro's game as well. Its been questioned and discussed on this forum all too often; are pro's good for the sport? do they contribute enough? etc, etc, etc. But that's not the question here.

    I was judging one of those Jr tests at our event that weekend, and can guess which entourage you are referring to (the "Roady Show" perhaps?). It is very cool to see his clients turn out like they do and follow him around (although he sure ain't going to sneak up on a test). The clients' kids are there watching with interest and it truly is a family event for them. In fact, Rody's son handled a dog and did a great job. Very cool and fun to see. Its the type of thing that even the misconduct rulebook references when they use the litmus test of: "would a family, watching for the first time, be likely to return after witnessing the event?" (something to that effect). Without a doubt, most any family would see this crew and say that it is pretty cool and a good time is being had by all. Might even motivate them to jump into the game if they've been sitting on the fence.

    My only disappointment that more owners don't handle their dogs themselves, especially at the Jr / Sr level. I recall one owner/handler in that test was having a helluva time getting his dog to deliver to hand. He commanded, begged, negotiated, etc with his dog to pick up that 4th bird and bring it to him. My co-judge and I even offered an idea or two before telling him it just wasn't their day. Probably not 100% by the book, but dang it, the guy was out there doing it himself and trying like hell. That's why I'm in this sport, for the satisfaction of accomplishing something myself, but different strokes these days, I guess... (BTW, Phil has a smokin' good pup from one of your breedings).

    To answer your question; Yes. Better dogs, better handlers, and better training methods. The combination makes the whole sport more competitive (there's another frequent thread topic, "raising the standard"). This in turn exasperates the situation for a newbie, perhaps compelling him/her to seek a pro instead of the DIY path.

    Mark

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