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Just a couple of write ups from recent weeks:


We ran at our 2nd ever trial a few weeks back. 

We ran at a shoot up in Powys. I travelled up with a mate leaving at something silly like 5am. We had non-stop laughts all the way up and it was good fun. 


In the trial they started off running in white grass in a huge clearing that was about waist high. My mate Dave, who is pushing 75 now and has yet to finish a trial was up as dog number 1. He managed to have a decent run with his dog managing a flush and retrieve, and picking the bird as a runner back to hand. 


I was running at dog number 6. On my side they were struggling for game and the dogs were having long runs. The other side was getting into game well and getting through their dogs a bit quicker. I remember the dog before me running for what seemed like ages, before he finally got a flush and retrieve right at the end of the field. After completing we were called in, and advised we were moving into the woodland. 


Every dog before had run in this white rushy grass, and we stepped in the woodland to be faced by green bramble all around. I thought I hope Ted will give it a good go! 


Off with the lead and I clicked him off, and Ted was into the bramble like a rocket, smashing up and down. He hunted from side to side on the whistle, coming through the cover as I wanted. The 2 judges (we were under a 4 judge system that day) told me that the birds have been running on, so no point having a dog sweeping your feet, get on with the job and find the birds! Good thing Ted is shot over regular as this is the style of work we prefer. On he went, we had to stop at one point whilst they did something on the other side, and one of the 2 judges remarked to me that he was a hell of a hunting dog (this was probably the best I've seen him hitting cover up to this point). 


When as we are carrying on, hitting this bramble and climbing steep banks, Ted flushes a bird in the cover and sits to flush, hes about 10 yards ahead, and the bird flushes and flies back towards the guns, coming overhead. The gun shoots the bird close coming towards us, and the bird smashes into a tree before hitting the ground flapping like hell. Ted is sent, and picks the bird, delivering back to hand. 

A momentary pause, and the judge inspects the bird, only to say that the bird is damaged on one side only. I felt it, and there was some damage, on the one side. The judges walk up to the other side, and let the other judges inspect the bird and decide whether to put me out :/ ... lucking when they come back, the decision is to give the dog the benefit of the doubt (bird shot close/hit the tree), but we have to hunt on and have another retrieve. 


On we go ... and this time, Ted is hunting even harder after just picking that bird!! He's flying through the bramble now, before he gets another flush just in front going directly away from us. Sits to flush, and the bird is shot and dropped about 30 yards straight ahead. The judge gives the nod to send the dog, and out he goes, straight to the area. As he gets to the area, up get several birds that were sitting tight down there. Ted ignores those, and hunts looking for the bird that was dropped. He came forward a bit, and I give him a hand signal to go back again, and he goes back into the drop zone, picks the bird and then delivers it to hand. A tense moment whilst it is checked by both judges, before they delcare the bird is absolutely fine, and my first run is complete.  




We had a long wait then before our second run, with a few dogs being put out, but overall the standard was very good, and a lot of competitors managed to finish the trial. 


Up we came under the second set of judges, we were starting on a Bracken banking, going down hill into the open rushes and white grass we had seen earlier today. 


We started off and Ted was hunting ok, going through the Bracken piles and stayed nice and tight to me this time. We hunted the whole bank but no birds, as we hunted on we came into the white grass field and worked our way along for 100 yards or so. After some time the judge asked if we had already had a flush and retrieve, and it was apparently we were going to get pulled up before long. Just moments after this however Ted had a flush right off the end of his nose. 

The bird flew out directly into the rushy field, and was shot down hard on the first shot, only for me to hear a lot of shouting on the other side. The dog on the other side had run in, totally ruining our opportunity for a nice straight out and back retrieve. 

We had to wait some time for the other bloke to get his dog back, and by the time I sent Ted into this sea of white grass and bog, he was unable to find the bird. I handled him several times back into the area but no luck. 


Eventually the judges went out and walked around for a long old time but the bird remained unfound :/ 

We finished the trial but that really put the dampener on our second run and got knocked there for a few handler errors during the whole thing. 


That first run was probably the best I have ever seen my dog go since the day I've had him, but we didn't even get a COM in that trial due to the second run. A bit of bad luck, and a few handler errors, and a good performance can go down the pan.


On the upside, my mate Dave who travelled up with me, managed to get a blank second run, and with his dog picking a runner in the first run, he walked away with a COM, which he was absolutely over the moon with, as that was the first trial in about the last 6 years that he has managed to finish, so to walk away with a COM put him into a great mood, and we had great banter all the way home. 


Despite the disappointment, a good lesson for me and also a good showing of what the dog is capable of :) 

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So the write up from our winning novice trial: Once again we were running up in Mid Wales (must be good luck), but this time it was just outside Newtown. 


An early start, and my old mate Dave came for the trip once again, although he didn't have a run this time, so came to carry game for the trial. 


This was a good crack once again, and we also got a good laugh with a load of lads we met on previous trials, and my mate Dave who bred my young dog Arnie was also there, running a half sister to my young dog. 


The ground was big open Welsh mountains, covered in bracken, some scatterings of gorse bushes and a lot of rushes, as high as your waist in parts, this was not hard cover as in bramble, but it was quite thick in areas. 


It was a great trial to be at, because it was so open you could see every dog run. You got to watch all the action and there were loads of birds about, with every dog getting a good crack at several flushes. 


Before us a lad was hunting a beat of rushes with a fence line along his right, his dog flushed a bird which was shot the other side of the fence, which had a thick hedge the other side of it tight against the fence line. Being barbed wire he was allowed to lift his dog over and send her up a hill to pick and deliver back a hard hit bird, fair play it was a good retrieve which was made difficult due to the fence and hedge. 


After this we were called in, and I was just sat hoping we didnt get a retrieve over the fence, as it just made it look very messy and difficult. 


Our first run and I clicked Ted off, and he hunted left to right coming in and out of the rushes, thankfully (somehow) turning on every whilste I blew and making good use of his beat ground. Left pushed on the right hand side, flushing a bird up and over the fence. He sat to flush, and the gun fired, BANG BANG... only to miss both shots! Thank god I thoughts... and clicked Ted off to ignore that bird and carry on hunting. On he went, hunting in front of us, back and forth, and within 20 yards another flush. Down he sits, and again BANG BANG, and we sit and watch the bird sail away into the distance untouched. At this point I was starting to worry a bit :/ :lol: ... once again I game him the signal, leave that and carry on hunt, onwards we went, and this time another 20 yards further on, Ted smashed into a massive thick clumb of rushes so that I couldn't even see him and about 7 or 8 birds all got up at once! BANG BANG, BANG BANG... this time 2 guns both missing the group!! 😮 ... fortunately a single bird had broken away from the group and flown the opposite way down the line and it was dropped with a single shot by the gun out on our far left. 


The judge asked me if I had marked it down, and I told him I had a rough idea, but I didn't even know where my dog was currently. He just laughed and told me to call my dog in. I whilstled Ted, who rushed out and came straight to me, he had never moved from the flushing point. He were walked forward about 10 yards, and I was given a rough mark but the gun said he wasn't really sure where it was, so I pointed Ted into the rough area and told him to get back. 

Up ahead was again like a sea of rushes, and I had no idea where the bird was, so I said to the Judge we would just have to let him get on with it and hope for the bets. The judge looked and me and just laughed, before saying "I wouldn't worry about it if I was you", and I looked over to see Ted burst out from the rushes with a very much still alive runner in his mouth. Straight into my feed and released on command, the judge shook and hand and told me "make sure you have a clean second run!... so I could tell he was quite happy with Teds work on that one :) 


(Just TBA - as the bird was not marked due to him flushing and watching away the large group, this retrieve was a blind retireve on a runner, which went massively in our favour). 


We had a watch of a few of the lads running, and some dogs sadly were put out. I saw some very nice dogs running and putting in a good stint, and I really really liked my mate Dave's little bitch, which worked very well, had a good flush and retireve of a bird that got up in rushes, followed by a cracking flush out of a big clump of gorse and picked an awesome runner that was over the brow of a hill a good 60-70 yards back, a brilliant retrieve. 


As we were running at number 15 when we eventually got called in for our final run we were the last dog left. The 2 dogs before me had both been put out, one for pulling ahead too much/being out of control, and the second one for hard mouth. 


Being the last dog left, everyone still in had gathered behind to watch the final run. 

I was taken up to my beat, a big area of white grass and gorse bushes, with a track on our left, and a huge vast landscape on our right. 

Off with the lead, and I clicked Ted off. He hunted a lovely pattern, coming back and forth nice and tight in front of me on this open ground. he hunted a good 40-50 yards, up and down dips in the ground, working forward, when Ted got to a big clump of gorse, about 2 yards before the gorse Ted stopped, and almost went on point. He leaned forwards slowly, indicating there was a bird in the grass, just as a partridge erupted inches in front of his face. He sat straight away, only to be followed by BANG BANG, BANG BANG!! I watched Ted who almost rocked forward on the spot when hearing the shots, but didn't actually move, very tence, however as I looked over, unbelieveably... the bird flew on, unhit! :/ 


We were told to carry on hunting, so once again I gave Ted the command and off we went, ignoring the missed bird and pushing forwards once more. This time we started to come down a small decline, and Ted was pulling forwards a bit, I was whilstling to pull him back, and this time he pulled ahead, turned back towards me and the guns, and caught the scent on the wind of a bird, which he then proceeded to flush on his way back to me, with the bird rising and going up and over his head. Ted sat solid, and this time we had a single BANG, and watched as the bird was hit hard, and dropped about 40 yards out, into a small copse of trees, into a small stream / ditch running through the middle. 


Ted sat still in the open watching roughly where it landed, only to be followed by the judge saying send your dog. "Back" I told him and he was down the hill like a shot! I saw him running into the copse of trees, and all of a sudden about 10 loose birds got up in all directions! I thought he would chase one, maybe thinking it was the shot bird, and that would be the end of us! I couldn't quite see what was going on, but after a moment, and all the birds had departed, I looked down to see Ted, having ignored all the loose birds, was running around like a rocket in the bottom of the copse, looking for the dead bird. 


As we watched I just saw him emerge at the top of the stream bank and look up at me, and I gave him a low hand signal, followed by him dropping into the ditch just as I wanted, and him immediately hitting scent, and moments later picking the bird. Up the hill he came, and I could genuinely hear people behind me saying "my god! he's got it!" as Ted climbed the hill, came in and presented the bird into my hand. I handed the bird to the judge who shook my hand and told my my run was over. 


I knew that the dog had done me real proud that day, and thought we were surely to be in the awards somewhere. However after the disappointment of my last trial didn't get my hopes up, and on top you just don't know how well the judges scored the other dogs, as without doubt there were some brilliant hunting dogs there.


We waited for the awards, and once they had done the COM's, 4th, 3rd and 2nd I thought for a moment we didn't get anything ... only to be told that 1st Place AND guns choice, was awarded to dog number 15, Middletor Dynamic!!


Absolutely amazed and over the moon to have achieved that, and was told by the guns that the final retrieve is what made them give me guns choice as they said it was one of the best retrieves they have seen :) 



What was even better was that my mate Dave, managed to come second (which I have given him a good bit of abuse for now :D ) with the half sister to my young dog that is coming through. 

A fantastic day and into open trials now, which to be honest is a frightening prospect. 












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