Field trials: are they ever cancelled due to weather?
I have attended a few field trials and on one occasion the weather was extremely bad and the trial, which was a spaniel championship in the north, had to be suspended for some time as the rain was horizontal and no one could face it. I was amazed that everyone just carried on when the storm abated slightly and though the dogs and handlers were extremely wet and cold, it did not seem to affect the standard of work. Do trials ever get cancelled because of wet weather?
The field trial fraternity are mostly a hardy lot of enthusiasts and will endure the very worst that the elements can throw at them. I have been at a spaniel trial on rabbits when torrential rain all day resulted in the judges’ books
82 • SHOOTING TIMES & COUNTRY MAGAZINE disintegrating completely and the awards were done on memory alone — not a satisfactory nor fair outcome. The advent of waterproof paper has stopped that happening. When trials have been cancelled it is usually at the request of the host or his keeper and generally happens before the trial has begun. Pheasants will not stay out in wet sugar beet fields and tramping through fields of roots in heavy rain looking for game that has long since left the area is not productive, enjoyable or safe.
I once had the pleasure of working my spaniel in line at a retriever trial following a day of torrential rain. It was a bright sunny morning and the game was in abundance, but it was all on the headlands drying off after the night’s storm — nothing was hiding in the roots. There are times when abandonment through extreme wet weather is necessary, but it doesn’t happen very often. PR
The field trial fraternity are a hardy and resilient lot