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Open Trial
Venue: Hockley
Trial Held: 20 July 2013


The morning of our first trial in over 20 years dawned - what a relief that the weather had cooled.  This was my first time as Trials Manager, duly encouraged by Sandra and Mark Lewindon to have a go; to quote, "The Intro Stake is only usually 8 entries."  OH NO!  The applications kept coming, final count 18.  Unfortunately 3 had to withdraw before the date.

The trial was split into two venues, with the nosework done at a local farm, and the control section at our club base in Hockley.  We had 11 qualify, of which 4 were from BWTS; congratulations go to all and it was lovely to meet new people from different clubs and see the wide variety of dogs participating.  My thanks go to Mark and Sandra, their stewards Chris and Les Theobald, and not forgetting all the helpers behind the scenes, especially my chefs for the early breakfasts - without them I could not have arranged the trial.

The Winner was Sue Cunningham from Stowmarket with NOSETOTAIL JAX (Gismo) a 4 year old crossbreed.







Nosework Search Steward: Chrissie Theobald

Control Steward: Les Theobald

Stay Steward: Simon Hall

Many of us remember the contributions that Benfleet WTS made to the sport in the past and we were thrilled when the society decided to host an Intro Stake.  The current Benfleet Committee have never run a trial and have limited experience competing.  Sounds like a worrying combination?  Absolutely not, the Benfleet "Team" ran one of the most organised competitions we’ve been involved in.  Kay Abbey, the trials manager, organised everything above and way beyond the norm.  Well done, Kay and the Benfleet Team - you put on an excellent, well organised and extremely friendly trial.  Hopefully this is a first step back into running trials (fingers crossed). 

Both of us were also delighted to have been invited to judge, although we thought that separate judges for the C/A and nosework may be a bit excessive!  Happily we were proved wrong with a total of 18 entries.  It seems, from discussions around trials, that the jury is still out on the value of the Introductory Stake.  I’m willing to nail my colours to the mast and state that this event was exactly why the stake was conceived.  All of the entries were people new to trials, giving the sport a try with their dogs.  Our heartfelt thanks to the committee for the invitation to judge the stake. 

With such a big team, the "thank you" list is also big and our apologies to anybody that we’ve missed.  There was a lot of preparation before the trial, setting up and breaking down, thank you all.  Anyway here we go, many thanks to:

Kay Abbey, Trials Manager, brilliant job of managing the trial - well done, Kay.

Lucy and Beth supplying endless cups of tea;

Melissa and Veronica, delicious food from the BBQ (with special care taken of the vegetarian food not being contaminated by the meat tools and grill, thank you);

Simon Hall, Stay Steward;

Simon Brown and Debbie Moore helping with just about everything;

Karen and Tiggy helping to set up;

Frank for being the strong man for all those jobs needing a bit of clout;

Val for being the nosework field steward and organising the competitors;

Liz, the farmer, for the use of her land.  Where would we be without the generosity of farmers allowing us to use their farms?

Chrissie and Les Theobald for being search and control stewards respectively and both for being such good company.

Of the 18 entries, 15 attempted the test.  We both thought that the standard of the dogs was very high and most would hold their own in CD.  It was a pleasure to see so many people new to our sport, with some very happy teams, handlers and dogs clearly enjoying a good relationship.  A couple still need a little work, but you are doing really well; carry on training and enjoying your lovely dogs.  To the eleven qualifiers (yes, eleven), good luck in CD and beyond.  Everyone who was there had a super day, helpers and competitors alike, with the added bonus that every competitor went home with a "well done" rosette and dog treats, a souvenir of the first Benfleet Intro.



The articles were: Beermat, 9 x 9 cm; white electric cable, 22 cm long; rubber backed beige vet bed, 4 x 12 cm and a piece of wood, 4 x 10 x 1.5 cm.  The field was rough grass approximately 8 - 10" long.  When I asked Kay what the field would be like so that I could decide on articles, she sent me a photograph.  A really good idea and something other trial managers might want to use.  A different combination of articles was achieved by most teams, with only a couple not recovering the required three.


The control round started with simple heelwork on lead pattern that took the handlers towards the sendaway point.  The teams then completed a recall that moved the teams to a point from where they did off lead heelwork, taking them to the pole indicating the start of the sendaway.  The sendaway was approximately 27 yards to a cone against a wild hedge.  The teams then completed the agility exercises before doing the sit stay and completing their rounds.  I was very impressed with the standard.  Usually the jumps, sendaways and stays prove expensive in the CD stake.  Fourteen of the fifteen dogs remained in position for the down stay, eleven teams qualified in the agility, five with full marks, nine teams scored 10 for the sendaway with a further four achieving 8 or more.

1st Sue Cunningham with NOSETOTAIL JAX, XB, D, ‘Gismo’, 97, Q. Very competent round with Sue losing half a point on the retrieve and square, and 1 point on the control field.  A lovely boy who is definitely ready for CD and beyond.

2nd Angela Gourd with SEZANNE LARENTIA, BSD Terv, B, ‘Tia’, 96.5, Q.  Tia was the only dog to achieve a full mark control round - well done.  I know you were very nervous - don’t be, she’s lovely.

3rd Jade Lindsey handling Mr and Mrs S Dickenson’s VONHAUSWOLF PHOEBE, GSD B, ‘Mercy’, 96, Q. Jade, you’ve been taught well and have a super dog; once you get over your nerves and relax, you will go far.

4th Fiona Pindar with DIANDE SUMMER ROSE, GSD, B, ‘Maggie’, 94, Q (after slight hiccup with scores, apologies). A polished nosework round with Fiona only dropping 1 point and only five further points lost on the control field.

Also qualifying:

Pat Handfield with DIAGEMTAS PERFECT LYRIC, BC, B, ‘Lyric’, 93 (apologies Pat, the scoreboard hiccup knocked you off the 4th place).  An excellent control round only losing 0.5.  Some slight dropping of articles were costly today but one of the only two dogs to get a full mark retrieve.  Well done.

Simon Brown with KENTISH KNIGHT, Working Cocker, D, ‘Jasper’, 92.  Super team, and a real pleasure to watch this strong little character work.  Simon, you’ve trained him well and the only other team to get a full mark retrieve.  Good luck in CD.

Juliet Maskell with KAMARDA JULIETS DREAM, BC, B, ‘Dream’, 90.  A very sweet dog who worked very nicely.  Well done.

Henri Chidgey with BLACK KNIGHT OF ARDLEIGH, XB, D, ‘Bailey’, 88.5.  I know Bailey has been challenging on occasions, you are doing really well with him, Henri.   Well-handled on the control field, only losing four marks and full marks agility.  Keep it up.

Elaine Mills with WILLOWRISE HONEY, LAB, B, ‘Poppy’, 87.  Bit of a hiccup with the retrieve but followed by a good square.  Held it all in place on the control field, another team achieving full marks for the agility.  Well done for holding it all together.

Debbie Moore with REDSTUBBLE LADY GEM RIOJA, LAB, B, ‘Amber’, 84.5.   Little bit of dropping in the square, but a happy dog with a nice attitude.  You can do well when you hold it together.  Well done.

John Mayes with PANOMARA TESTOROSSA, ESS, D, ‘Bill’, 73.  Bill was a bit "self-employed" in the square and went his own way a bit on the control field, but, with John’s experience guiding him, he got all three out of square and did enough to qualify on the control field. 

Good luck to Benfleet WTS in all their training and trialling.  We know you are talking of hosting CD next year, based on this trial it will be a very good competition.  Well done, Benfleet WTS.

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