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Championship Trial
Venue: Lauder
Trial Held: 31 August 2014

 STAKES: INTRO AND CD

 Judge: SANDRA LEWINDON

 My thanks to Scottish Working Trials Society for extending me the honour of judging their Intro and CD Stakes at this friendly well run trial. Mark and I love Lauder Common, with its panoramic views in every direction.

As in all trials, they are not possible without the help of a dedicated group of people and Lauder trial has the added task of erecting two marquees, a precision operation overseen by Derek McAuley. My thanks to all involved in the preparation, running and shutting down of this trial and my apologies if you are not mentioned by name.

David McPhillips was the original Trial Manager, a task he has undertaken for a decade plus, but unfortunately David was not well enough on this occasion so Caroline Wright stepped up to the task, guided by the very experienced June McPhillips. Caroline has offered her services as future trials manager and I wish her every success. I am sure that everybody would also like to join me in thanking David for all his past hard work and wishing him well. Gwen Matear helped in the "office" and between Gwen, Caroline and June, they managed to read my writing and add up the scores, write the certificates and all associated paperwork, thank you.

One of the hardest tasks at a trial must be the kitchen and without any running water, limited cooking facilities and no electricity, SWTS managed to offer a three course lunch for the judges and helpers, plus catering for all those that needed the trialist staple of a bacon buttie! My thanks to kitchen staff - Cath Gordon, Elaine Adams, Lorna Cottier and Alison Robertson and my apologies for anyone that I’ve missed.

My thanks also to the farmers - without them we would not have trials. In this instance Jimmy Runciman and Derek "the shepherd" allowed us the use of a lovely large grass field, with lush growth of approximately 8 inches.

Moving the sheep on the Friday of the Intro Stake was interesting. I’ve never herded sheep before and the sheep knew it; they didn’t take me seriously and we had a bit of a stand-off, captured in a photo which Lorna Cottier very quickly posted on social media! Don’t know how many collies there were at the trial, but, "have a dog and bark yourself" sprang to mind. Between myself and Lorna we managed to push them into one corner of the very large field where they remained for the Intro test.

My sincere thanks to all competitors who entered, giving me the opportunity to see your super dogs.

Weather on both days was reasonably kind, no rain but a bit of a gusty wind on occasions.

 

INTRO STAKE:

 Steward: Lorna Cottier

 5 entered, 2 ran. Articles were: a soft green material toy snake, approx 8" long; a piece of green hose pipe 7" long; a wooden garden plant stick approx 1"x7" and a piece of grey rubber backed carpet approx. 2"x7". Steward was Lorna Cottier (think she may have done this before ), who ably laid squares and gave the competitors clear and precise instructions. Lorna, thank you for stewarding and being such fun, the sheep herding memories will stay with me forever!

 1st FORGUECROFT MIDNIGHT FOLLY, GSD, B, owned and handled by Alison Robertson, 82.5 Q. A lovely young GSD, Folly was certainly full of life; I am sure you will have a lot of fun

2nd KNOXHILL CHAMOIS FOR DREAGANTA, Whippet, B, owned and handled by Sheila Shearer, 77.5. I would not have believed it possible for a whippet to compete in Working Trials, but Sheila’s many years of dog training experience were reflected in this classy little girl’s performance. Chamois was a pleasure to watch.

 Thank you Alison and Sheila for entering and working my test, allowing me see your lovely dogs.

 

CD STAKE:

 Steward: John Atkin

 16 entered, 8 ran. Articles were: a piece of green hose pipe 5" long; a wooden "lolly stick" approximately 6" long; a piece of green carpet approximately 2" x 3". Steward was John Atkin, who kept me on track and scribed the test - thank you, John.

1st WAGGERLAND CAPPUCCINO, WSD, D, owned and handled by Fran Atkin, 95.5, Q CDEx. A very polished performance from this very experienced handler with her young dog. Well done.

2nd BEELAHOLT BRYN, CDEx, BC, D, owned and handled by Jenny Holt, 91, Q CDEx. Another very experienced handler making the test look very easy; very handsome young dog who I am sure will go far.

3rd BEELAHOLT BRIAR, BC, B, also owned and handled by Jenny Holt, litter sister to Bryn, 84.5, Q CDEx. Briar jumped like a cat, a really big jump for a little girl, very sweet dog.

4th BUDLAUBER ANYA, GSD, B, owned by William and Jemima Mackie, handled on this occasion by William, 80, Q CDEx. Just bits and pieces lost during the test making this a very close call.

 Qualified CD:

FORGUECROFT MIDNIGHT FOLLY, owned and handled by Alison Robertson, 73. A broken down stay cost heavily on this occasion, but she’s a lovely young dog with a bright future. Better luck next time.

 For those teams that qualified, very well done and I wish you good luck in UD. For those who did not qualify on this occasion, better luck next time.

  

STAKE: WD

 Judge: MARK LEWINDON

Tracklayers: Jill Carruthers and Andrea Lynd

Steward: Sylvia Austin

 Sandra and I were both blown away when we were invited to judge at Lauder and I would like to thank the SWTS committee for the privilege. At the time of writing, we didn’t know whether this would be the last time that we venture north of the border without our passports. As we approached Lauder, I was unsure whether the large ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ signs were indications of the support or otherwise for the invitations proffered for us to judge, but when we arrived there was no doubt about the warmth of the welcome. The company was excellent throughout (even if I couldn’t get mushy peas that far north). We involved ourselves in the efforts to put up the marquees on the common (I avoid using the term ‘helped’ because I’m unsure how much use I was in this military style operation!!!). A special mention for Derek McAuley who coordinated the setting up operation. I am always amazed how the helpers at SWTS can run a trial and provide excellent catering from a couple of tents, without electricity or running water.

The WD stake ran on Friday and Saturday. Tracking was on heather that was not too deep, with some of the later tracks having large areas of long grass. I decided to use fairly generous articles, the first being green hosepipe approximately three inches long and the end article a piece of green carpet about three inches by one and half inches.

As we were waiting to go out for the first track, the area was struck by a torrential shower that I knew would make it challenging for the early tracks. After the early rainfall, the weather stayed fairly calm and the best tracking took place on the first day with five nose-work qualifiers out of the eight competitors who took the test including Tanya Whorwood with Riva, who won the best nose-work trophy. The gale force winds that usually characterise Lauder - whether in May or August - arrived on the Saturday and the teams found it far more challenging to complete the tracks. I would like to highlight Barrie James with Gus, Lorraine Wilson with Millie, Jackie Hilton with Sonic and especially Joyce Watson with Ceilidh, who completed their tracks on Saturday. Joyce tracked on a piece of ground that was particularly rugged and I had to follow her round. At the end, I was shattered, so I dread to think how she felt!! The two tracklayers, Jill and Andrea, were particularly experienced and laid the tracks perfectly. I know that they didn’t find it easy on the terrain and I would like to thank them for their hard work.

The square articles were a piece of raffia, about a foot long tied in a loop, a metal piston rod approximately five inches long, a piece of wooden broom handle approximately three inches long and a piece of lino approximately two and a half inches square. Sylvia laid all of the squares as I wanted and was very good company, keeping me on track over the two days. Six teams recovered all four articles and the metal article, that was laid to one of the back corners of the square, proved most difficult for the dogs, especially on Saturday when it was quite a bit colder.

The control round started with the down stay and I would like to thank Terry Austin for helping steward the stay exercise. Individual rounds were started with the retrieve followed by a heelwork pattern that took the teams around, into and back out of a sheep pen. The sendaway was approximately 75 paces to a metal cattle feed bin and the round finished with the jumps. Sylvia stewarded the control round, giving clear instructions that could be heard and understood, even in the strong wind. Thank you, Sylvia, you must have been exhausted by Saturday evening.

David McPhillips has managed this trial for many years and its success is very much a product of his hard work and experience. Unfortunately he has not been well recently and Caroline Wright stepped up to manage the trial. She did a brilliant job, ably assisted by the steady hands of June McPhillips and Gwen Matear. Good luck to Caroline for the future; I’m confident that the team will help her and that the trial is in good hands. I hope that David recovers quickly and I look forward to seeing him around at future trials with Maddie, his cheeky little Springer, who bullied me mercilessly for two days. I would also like to thank the kitchen staff - Cath Gordon, Elaine Adams, Lorna Cottier and Alison Robertson - who produced excellent food in difficult conditions. The trial could not run without the cooperation of landowners and farmers, in the case of Lauder, Jimmy Runciman and Derek "the shepherd" who moved their stock from the fields so that we could use them.

17 entered and all ran

 1st Ann Bedford with VYTENSA BORDER REIVER (Diesel), CDEx – WDEx, GSD, D, 187.5, Q. Ann and Diesel tracked on Friday achieving 87 on the track, recovering both track articles and all four square articles. A well-deserved win, qualifying WDEx.

2nd Judith Stamp with LITTLE MADAM MABELLINE (Mabel), CDEx – UDEx, XB, B, 186.5, Q. Also worked on Friday in fairly wet conditions. Judith worked the track slowly and steadily over the difficult ground. We were all delighted when she reached the end. They achieved 85.5 on the track, also recovering both track and all four square articles, qualifying WDEx.

3rd Alison Pollard with HAGGIS OF GLENDALE (Hamish), CDEx – WDEx, XB, D, 163.5, Q. Another team that worked on Friday. Did most of the track very well but found the three 45° turns towards the end of the track more challenging, achieving a score of 83 and 15 for the two track articles. Hamish could not find the wooden article in the centre of the square and achieved a score of 24 for the three recovered articles. A hard worked for WDEx qualification.

4th Jenny Wood with FORGUECROFT TOP GUN (Maverick), CDEx – UDEx, GSD, D, 160, Q. Also worked on Friday and having difficulty with the 45° turns. 80.5 track, missing the first article and leaving the piston rod in the square, scoring 25.5. I was delighted that this lively shepherd qualified achieving 160 marks (phew!!) Well done, Jenny.

 Qualifying WD:

Joyce Watson with COLINTON CEIL (Ceilidh), CDEx – UDEx, X-Breed, B, 156, Q WD. Jill and I both felt that Joyce and Ceilidh deserved a gold medal for their dogged persistence on the track. The only team to manage any formal recognition on the Saturday, achieving 76 on the track but only recovering the end article and leaving an article in the square, scoring 25.5. Jenny should be proud of Ceilidh for their achievement in very difficult conditions and qualifying WD on 156.

Winner of the Dunmonaidh Janiz Leif Shield for the best WD Nosework: Tanya Whorwood and GUNNISWENS ARRIVA-LA-DIVA (Riva), CDEx – WDEx, GSD, B. Achieved 87.5 for the track, recovering both articles and scoring 31.5 for the square. Well done, Tanya, it was good to see Riva working.

Finally, I would like to thank the competitors for entering, allowing me to witness some super dogs working and accepting my decisions with good grace. I am sure that all of the teams will achieve their WDEx’s in due course.

 STAKE: TD

 Judge: LOL CAMPBELL

Tracklayers: Ann Bedford (2 days), Jimmy Scott (3 days), Derek Macaulay (3 days)

Square Stewards: Lorraine Wilson (2 days), Patricia Templeton (1 day)

C/A Steward: Ann Bedford

 Rain – rain – wind, and more rain. Then "summer" came on Sunday. Thank you to SWTS for the pleasure of judging TD. Special thanks to my tracklayers – fantastic job. Thanks to all my helpers and for your company in "trying" times on the common. Thanks also to everybody at the base – great job.

I really enjoyed my appointment at Lauder, "Special Place". Finally, thanks to the competitors for accepting my test. Hope you all enjoyed it – I did.

35 entries, only 25 worked.

 1st Alan Bexon, WTCh FLY BY NIGHT LAD, CDEx – TDEx, PDEx, 201, Q TDEx. Possibly the best track I have ever judged, it was stunning for the conditions. Good luck in the KCC’s 2015!

2nd Barry Gilbert, WTCh GLENALPINE COSWORTH, CDEx – TDEx, 187.5, Q TDEx. Tracked Friday after heavy rain, made it look easy. Left one on the track – expensive. Well done.

3rd Glenys Page, WTCh BILKO’S GLORY, CDEx – TDEx, PDEx, 169, Q TD. Very windy – coped well. Let the judge tell you when you’ve finished in future! Well done.

4th Mike Williams, MARINA BEN’S PAL, CDEx – TDEx, 187.5, NQ. Had a good go, very good nosework. Well done.

 Finally, big thanks to June and David McPhillips, Trials Managers 11 years. Enjoy your rest and your dogs.

 

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