Tight com­pe­ti­tion in Glouces­ter­shire

Shooting Gazette - - Gundogs - Re­port by: ian Bell

Club: URC bor­der Coun­ties & Cotswold Area Event: Novice work­ing test Venue: Ozle­worth Es­tate

Spon­sors: Skin­ner’s

Judges: Claire ray­mond and Mary Jar­rod

We were priv­i­leged to hold this year’s test on the es­tate by kind per­mis­sion of the landowner Mr A. Stone, and at the in­vi­ta­tion of the game­keeper, Mr A. Hall. The ground, al­though chal­leng­ing, pro­vided a bril­liant op­por­tu­nity to set a va­ri­ety of in­ter­est­ing tests.

The ini­tial two tests were per­formed on an undulating bank of ground. The two tests con­sisted of each judge run­ning a two-dog walk-up, both run­ning par­al­lel. Dogs were sent al­ter­nately by each judge for a marked re­trieve to the top or bot­tom of the slope, to the front of the line. The han­dlers then swapped sides to run un­der the sec­ond judge. This test proved chal­leng­ing be­cause of the na­ture of the ter­rain.

The third test was a dou­ble­seen re­trieve in long grass with var­i­ous bunkers, with the han­dlers choos­ing which re­trieve they wished to pick first. Test four was a long marked re­trieve from the top of a bank off­set from a track through an arch­way in the hedge into the next field; the grass was long and there were var­i­ous dis­trac­tions.

Af­ter lunch we con­tin­ued with test five which was a hunt­ing ex­er­cise pick­ing blind re­trieves in two spe­cific ar­eas of the field. These were out­lined in de­tail by the judge, with two dum­mies ran­domly placed in each area. Com­peti­tors were ex­pected to pick one re­trieve from each area in their own time.

Test six had han­dlers fac­ing a marked and a blind re­trieve, which made the most of the var­ied land­scape. The marked re­trieve was thrown out onto a track run­ning up a nar­row field with wood­land on either side. The com­peti­tors were then ex­pected to turn the dog away and send for a blind re­trieve on a 90˚ an­gle down a steep bank with a wind­ing track at a spec­i­fied area.

With all tests com­pleted, a run-off was re­quired to de­cide first place. This con­sisted of a long marked re­trieve on a fresh piece of ground. The first run-off failed to show a clear win­ner so the two dogs com­pet­ing for the trophy ran again and a clear win­ner was ap­par­ent.

At the end of the af­ter­noon we all re­turned to base for tea and cakes prior to the awards pre­sented by Iris Wright. We greatly ap­pre­ci­ate the time given by the judges and all the helpers with­out whose ded­i­ca­tion com­peti­tors would have no com­pe­ti­tions in which to run.

Open test win­ners and judges, from left: Michelle Cox, Claire Ray­mond, Deb­bie Pol­ley, Mary Jar­rod, Roland Stacey & Jan­ice Miller.

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