Many thanks for WGDS (Ray Davies) to invite me along with Jim Field (A Panel) to judge their novice stake Field Trial in a very prestigious ground in the heart of Worcestershire on 14/10/16.
Also a massive thank you to Clive the Keeper,Darren Layton,Libby Mellor,Ray Davies to provide their time and help to run a day as smooth as possible.

The day has been run with 4 guns who provided their time and skill to put birds in the ground and make us to be able to assess the dogs retrieving skill. Mark Spearing,Richard Price, Dave Buggins and John Parkes thank you gentleman.

The weather was overcast in the morning with light westerly wind but it warmed up and we were able to experience some sunshine as well during the day.
I was delighted to see a good selection of HPR breeds and assess them during the day considering the difference on their own hunting style. The ground itself a perfect habitat for partridge and pheasant but also a difficult ground for novice dogs as the birds intend to run in front the dogs. Unfortunately it was reflecting in the end as we only awarded two dogs who grow up to the required standards during their runs what was necessary in this environment.

Competitor No.5 a Brittany bitch Hawkwise Iduna owned and handled by Fiona Wensley worked a slight cheek wind hedgerow in the left on her beat and a path on the other. The ground treatment was very good with the determination to find bird but the dog gave a hard time to the handler to keep her in places. Into a good 7 minutes she picked up scent and worked towards a solid point what she held well and flushed a cock bird on command. The guns positioned themselves well but only winged the bird. The dog remained steady to a fall 2 but unfortunately could not find the bird. The cock pheasant proved to be a hard runner as the picking up dog came back unsuccessful. Later on the day the dog was called up for a retrieve on a hen bird. She could have done it better but we got the bird with slight damage . We gave the dog the benefit as the guns shot it too close so for that reason 10 minutes later she have been called again. A big cock bird have been picked with very little handling. Her water retrieve was perfect and we awarded the pair with a 2ND place.

The next dog in the card was Ian Jones’s Ynyslas Bella Bee GWP bitch run as No.7. She hunted on a cheek wind from behind and it was visibly confused the dog as it was reflected on her hunting. She was looking back for contact and direction. We reached the end of the beat near a large pheasant pen and turn into wind on a very thick thistle covered ground. In the end of the run some partridge lifted and a single bird was hit but not been found unfortunately even by the picking up dog. On the second run we see the improvement how the dog handled the now not so new back wind. Her ground was similar like on her first run and she coop with it well. In the end of the beat she came into a solid point and waited for instruction. A different cock pheasant flew up between the handler and her and been shot dead. The dog remained steady to shot and fall and kept her original point nicely on another cock bird. She flushed it nicely on command and remained steady again and retrieved the bird still alive. Her water was good so we awarded the pair with the 4th place.

The guns given they award to Deb Bowns as her dog worked extremely well but unfortunately run onto a bird in the back wind.
Finally I have to say I was enjoying to judge all of the competitors and all the best to you all for next time.

PETER SZALAI