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AVON Venues: Keevil
Trial Held: 23 January 2011


Without an excellent team behind you, managing a trial would simply not be possible.  Avon is very fortunate in that although several of our team are new to trials, they have thrown themselves in at the deep end, running a wonderful kitchen; Kate, Lily, Heidi and Sharni kept everyone very well fed (I thought some of the competitors went home a little larger than when they arrived, with a waitress service and a mountain of cakes to be consumed) and made a profit - many thanks.

Rick sorted out jumps, put up signs all over the farm, went all the way home for a caffetiere to keep our discerning tracklayers happy (they only wanted the best coffee) and was generally there to do whatever needed doing - thank you.

To Nicky and Bronwen for cakes and Adele who walked miles personally escorting competitors to their tracks - thank you.  To Allyson, Janette, Marney and Flis - judge, steward, and tracklayers - thank you.

Flis again for being trials secretary, newsletter editor, cake baker, emergency shopper etc etc - thank you.

Francis and Rosemary our farmers - without them Avon could not run a trial, and on behalf of everyone involved our thanks must go to the whole Banfield family for allowing us use of their land, not only for the trial but all year round.

Thank you to all who took part in what ever capacity, for making this trial such a friendly and relaxed event.





Tracklayers: Felicity Veasey, Marney Wells

C/A and Square Steward: Jeanette Hickson

Escorts: Adele and Rick

Many thanks to the society for inviting me to judge, Mr and Mrs Banfield for the generous gift of their land, Pippa for being Trials Manager, Rick for all his behind the scenes work "gofering" and transporting the agility equipment, his other half, Kate, and the girls Lily, Heidi and Sharni, not only for keeping everyone well fed and watered but for their lovely smiles and manners, not to mention Nicki and Bronwen for their gateaux!

Marney and Flis laid the tracks exactly on time and Jeanette was an absolutely outstanding steward, who not only laid the squares exactly as I wanted, but chaperoned the handlers around the C/A with consummate ease and warmth.  I would recommend her services to anyone at any level.

Last but not least thanks to all the competitors for entering under me and accepting my decisions with good grace.  I really like judging this stake and I hope you all enjoyed my test as much as I appreciated your company.  This very friendly and welcoming trial is my "local", with everyone mucking in to help and support all involved.

Before I go any further I must formally apologise for arriving late on Saturday (thanks go to those who sent the facetious texts and gift suggestions of an alarm clock, you know who you are)!  I had absolutely no excuse and had the positions been reversed I would have been annoyed if, as a helper or competitor, I could have had an extra 30 minutes in bed!

13 entered, 11 ran.  A total of 10 breeds were represented: Bearded Collie, BSD, BC/WSD, Bouvier de Flandres, Boxer, Dobermann, ESS, GSD, Lab, Weim.  As an owner/handler of "another" breed, I always look forward to learning about different approaches to life and work, and so I was in my element!

Tracking was on grass; 7 legs, 700 yards; articles: 16 x 10 cm blue fabric, wooden dolly peg. Square articles: half a wooden peg, green cartridge, 10 x 8 cm green fabric, 10 x 8 cm green pan scourer.

The C/A round commenced with the retrieve, then medium and slow pace heelwork to the sendaway, which was 100 yards to anywhere in a hedge, followed by fast pace heelwork prior to the agility section.  There were no turns in the heelwork due to the uneven terrain and handlers were permitted to put their dogs on the lead on the approach to the jumps.

Saturday was extremely cold with temperatures around freezing point most of the day; all competitors completed the track and square successfully.  The rise in temperature on the Sunday appeared to release a cocktail of scent with the sad result that no dog actually completed the track.

4 of the 5 competitors on Saturday went into the stays on good qualifying marks but of these, 3 decided that it was much too cold to lie down for 10 minutes and I can’t say I blamed them!

On the Sunday no dog qualified the C/A  and only one made it round more than 3 legs of the track, which thus left us with only one qualifier overall. 

1st Chris Young with her WSD dog LLYNELLEN MEADOW SAGE, 183.  The last leg was a bit hairy but this team recovered both articles on the track and all 4 from the square.  Full mark retrieve, heelwork, gun and stay meant a very well deserved CoM.  Congratulations!

2nd Sasha Holden with her Bouvier de Flandres dog SILVENROK XEVEN VIKA, 183.5.  Another team which recovered both track articles and all those in the search square.  Full mark gun, retrieve and agility; such a shame about the stay!   I have seen this pair work before and I have to say they get better and better; I was particularly impressed with his focus in the square.  Well done!

3rd Fiona Britten with her Weimaraner dog OWLSLEY TIKOUKA, 183.  I have to admit to a soft spot for this dog having recognised his potential some time ago!  The picture looks much better now that Fiona has slowed down and improved her line handling.  Once again both articles off the track and all 4 from the square, along with a full mark gun and sendaway. Very clever handling in the C/A round meant that you maximised your chances of success but sadly another dog that went out on the stay.  Winner of the Shardee Shield for the best nosework.

4th Meg O’Kelly handling Mrs W L Beasley’s BC bitch STARDELL NAOS, 166.5.  First on, this team left one article on the track but recovered all 4 articles from the square; full mark gun and sendaway.  Another victim of the stays!

Hard luck story of the trial: Rosie Lane and her lovely Dobermann bitch CHAANROSE GET-OH-FABULOUS; an "if only" at the long jump.  A very stylish tracking dog that managed all but the last leg in textbook fashion.

The dog that the judge would most like to take home: this was a tie between the lovely Beardie and the ESS.  The former had a lovely focused tracking style and full mark jumps and sendaway (not sure I could cope with all that hairdressing though)!  Marney and I fought over who should kidnap the Springer.  I shall watch both dogs’ progress in trials with interest.

Finally, I would like to express my gratitude for the lovely gift which, as you know, will be deeply appreciated (once the hot weather returns)!

Enjoy your dogs.

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