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Open Trial
Venue: Ruckinge
Trial Held: 20 September 2008

Trial Manager’s Report

"No problems, I’ll run our next open trial down our neck of the woods, we’ve got a friendly farmer who will let us use his land." What an educational experience this turned out to be!

This was my first attempt at being "Trial Manager" and although I have been involved in this sport for over twenty years I quickly realized that I needed more experienced help especially when working out how many tracks you can fit into a field. Many thanks to Ron Jaques for all his help, before, during and after the trial.

A fortnight before the trial Pip our farmer, myself and Ron went out and had a look at the land available. Whilst there was more than enough land for us to run the trial the fields were fairly small and had different crops on them.  No problems we said, PD on rape stubble and WD and UD on wheat stubble. Well, a fortnight in farming terms is a long time. Two days before the trial this had been changed to UD on wheat stubble and WD on bean stubble.

The evening before the trial whilst showing our WD judge her tracking land the farmer showed up with a great big seed drill on the back of his tractor, " I am just going to drill and slug pellet this lot, I’ll be finished by eight,  it will be fine for you to use tomorrow". Arrgghhh!, after politely explaining that we would be grateful if he could postpone it for a few days it came to light that the rape stubble was being ploughed as we spoke. I think Pip saw the panic in my face and quickly stated that there was a 100 acres of untouched wheat stubble out at Woodchurch that we could use. Snag was it was a twenty five minute drive or we could use pasture just around the corner.  No contest!  In the end it couldn’t have turned out better, PD on wheat stubble, WD on bean stubble and UD on grass – panic over. Thanks Pip.

The weather was great and the rest of the trial went smoothly with qualifiers in all stakes.

I have been told that this was the first trial held in Kent for over twenty years and I hope it was viewed as a success, if so it is with no small thanks to our band of helpers, I know the judges will thank them in their reports but without their help this trial could not have happened.

Many thanks to Ron and Paula Jaques, Barry and Paula Harvey, Ann Wright, Carole Brook, Allyson Tohme, Les Allen, Andy Baker, Ruth Payton, Karen Saunders, Sylvia Cook, Steve Grange and last but not least Anne Bussey who showed us just how multi talented she can be.  A special thanks must go to SATS newest committee member Linda Allen for single handedly feeding all of us. Thanks Linda you’re a star!

As for my stint as trial manager – would I do it again?  The short answer is YES, thoroughly enjoyable few days, nice company, nice competitors. The good news is after all this, our farmer is happy to have us back next year!

Mark Skillin




Tracklayers: Andy Baker (2 days), Ruth Payton and Paula Harvey ( I day each)

Steward: Carole Brooke

Thank you SATS for asking me to judge the UD at Hollybush Farm.  I really enjoyed my two days, with only 9 competitors.  Overall I was able to give extra time at the end of each day to talk with them.  Special thanks to everyone who made it possible to run the trial, including my tracklayers, Andy, Ruth and Paula.  For search squares and C/A, thanks to Carole, who left the new babe with Dad, which could have caused her to lose concentration, but no, great stewarding on both days.  Last, but not least, Lynda ….  Thank you for all the food.

I think the competitors accepted my comments; they all seemed happy at the end of the tests and I hope we will meet again soon.

1st Jodie-Lea Phillips with FLIP FLOP RIP, CDEx, 183, Q. 

Jodie and Rip knew exactly what they were there to do, and were worthy winners.

2nd Richard Cornwell with LAKATAMIA NORTON, CDEx, 163, Q.  Richard, as always, had his dog under control, but I think General would like a little more smile from you. What good toe-nails he has!!

3rd Pam Stare with KASSIEGE FINESSE, 176, NQ.  Finty is getting there once you can come to terms with the jumps.  Sorry, Pam, it is you, not the dog, so in 2009 you are going to qualify.  OK?

4th Les Allen with ANTILLI BAZKO, 153.5, NQ.  Shame about the stays, but his itch in the warm sun didn’t help.  Also, you were both too complacent in the control, but it was lovely to see the dog enjoying himself.



Tracklayers: Ron Jacques, Barry Harvey

Square Steward: Anne Bussey (Friday), Les Allen (Saturday)

Control Scribe: Anne Bussey (Friday), Les Allen (Saturday)

Escort: Mark Skillin

Many thanks to: the society for inviting me to judge; Linda Allen for the lovely lasagne lunches; Ron and Barry for laying the tracks superbly and Anne and Les for being both square stewards and control scribes.

Mark and Anne not only put up with me and my dogs as well as put us up in their lovely home, but ferried me about when required (due to my car expiring for the fourth time in two weeks)!

8 entered and ran.  Breeds: GSD, BC, GSP, HWHV and X breed.

Track pattern was an "H" with 11 legs; first article was a yellow shotgun cartridge and the second a wooden dolly peg.

Square articles were: 4" piece of green twine, a metal teaspoon, 4" high transparent plastic tumbler and 3" x 2" swatch of green and white material. No one article proved to be more difficult than any other.

The tracking conditions were not easy, very dry bean stubble; however two of the dogs did qualify the nosework proving that a well prepared, trained and motivated dog can cope with very challenging surfaces.

The C/A round was extremely straightforward, starting with the retrieve, followed by self stewarded heelwork, a sendaway of 130 yards to an inviting marker and then the jumps, all of which could be observed from the gateway.

3 competitors scratched from the C/A and of the remaining 5, 3 had excellent rounds.  One dog failed the stays, another was  docked for minor movement and yet another docked for minor movement and whining.

Unfortunately I was left with only 1 overall qualifier.

1st Bert Maynard with his GSD dog, LAKATAMIA NOMI, 179.5, Q. 

A dog totally committed to the track; it was a shame that more people could not have seen this demonstration of intensity and focus which triggered a spontaneous round of applause.  All 4 out of the square followed up by a steady, competent control round.  Bert’s handling was a pleasure to watch.  (The fact that this dog is a GSD and a distant relation of my boy is, of course, neither here nor there)!  Many congratulations, a very well deserved qualification and win.

2nd Mary Prentice with her BC dog, MOUNTLOCHAN LAIRD O’LEYS, NQ.  Also tracking on Friday, this team made a gallant concerted effort; managing to get over a third way round the track.  Unfortunately it was a little too much for this young dog however he never stopped trying.  I could see the influence of your mentor in your line handling.  A good square and a superb C/A round followed.

3rd Pat McMaster with his X Breed bitch, KRISTAL MIGHTY, NQ.  This dog worked her little socks off on Saturday and never showed signs of giving up and we were all willing her round at every corner.  However, as Tennessee Williams once said, "time is the longest distance between two places" and there was just not enough for them to complete the last two legs.  Three out of the square meant they were just scraping through on the nosework, only for it all to go to pot in the C/A!  Bad luck, Pat, but you should be really proud of your dog; she had attitude and then some!

4th Maggie Moran with her BC dog, ALTRICIA TODDIE, NQ.  Maggie and her young dog really did not have the experience for these conditions and sadly could go no further than the first leg; however a good square and a beautiful C/A round meant that they did at least go home with a rosette.  Better luck next time, Maggie.

Final thanks to the competitors for entering under me and accepting my decisions and to the society for the bottle of wine which will be consumed with satisfaction!

Enjoy your dogs.


Stake: PD

Judge: Anne Bussey

Tracklayers: Ron Jaques, Barry Harvey

Steward: Paula Jaques

Patrol helpers: Ron Jaques, Steve Grange, Andy Baker, Les Allen and Allyson Tohme

I would like to thank SATS for asking me to judge the PD stake at the first trial held at Hollybush Farm. Whilst I did not have to spend any time travelling to this new venue, but I found that acting PD judge, WD steward, hostess, and general dog’s body did prove to be an interesting job description. Mark Skillin (first time trial manager) coped well when we lost the tracking ground the night before the trial. He overcame this and did a superb job ensuring everyone had what they needed and everyone was in the right place at the right time. Thanks Mark.

In the brand new base we were treated to a new face in the kitchen, Linda Allen. What a treasure! Linda you did a first class job providing hot meals for all helpers as well as catering for competitors. Well done and many thanks – I hear Les had to take you out to dinner all the following week whilst you recovered. I am not surprised!

My thanks also go to Paula who laid all the squares, and stewarded the control and patrol rounds leaving me to concentrate on judging. Brilliant job thanks Paula. Thanks also to Ron who laid all the tracks and to Barry for the spare, which fortunately we did not need.

Many thanks to the acting criminals Ron, Steve, Andy, Les and Allyson.

We had 4 entries in the PD. The nosework was done on stubble and 3 dogs got 2 articles off the track and 4 out of the square - well done. I was surprised that some handlers offered their dogs a drink whilst under test without first asking the judge. When competing personally, I always ask my judge rather than risk being suspected of rewarding my dog in some way. I think it is only polite and at least it gives the judge chance to check what you are doing!

The control caused a stir when I had 2 lads throwing a ball whilst heelwork was in progress. The dogs were fine, in spite of the handlers’ reservations! In my book if you are going to teach your dog to chase and bite you should be able demonstrate control around the park!

The patrol started with a noisy Test of Courage into a horse trailer. Only one dog (the winner) had the experience to deal with this scenario. This was followed by the escort and attack on handler. The quarter was next and I made use of the natural hides provided in this field. The spectators were roped off in the centre of the field and could see most of the action around the edges of the field. In the first corner was an ‘innocent bird watcher’ who needed to be identified and left. Further round the field a hiding ‘criminal’ placed a gun in the root of a tree to complete the quarter and the search.

The recall along the bottom of the field back towards the gate was done well by all dogs who all then gave a good chase and detention.

I enjoyed the challenge of setting out a patrol round. I had the benefit of an excellent field (on our own land and so I had months to plan), experienced helpers and a couple of first time patrol assistants. I believe everyone had a good time and I would like to thank everyone involved.

Thank you also to the competitors who entered under me and accepted my decisions in a sporting fashion.

1st Mr Gary Martin with TYTRI ROY CDx-TDx B/C. 296/320 CoM.

ROY achieved good marks in all exercises and thus became a worthy winner today. Well done!

2nd Ms Manda McLellan with ASTRA STORM CDx – WDx B/C. 285/320 CoM. STORM has been placed under me before and today he produced the best track mark and easily the best control round. Well done.

3rd Mrs Lauren Marlow with JOTUNHEIM KID CDx – WDx Malinois. 281.5/320 CoM. DENNIS worked well today and at great speed. I thought that might be his undoing on the recall – but he turned round impressively just at the last minute! Well done Lauren.

4th Mrs Lynne Davies with MISTER MISFIT MONGREL CDx – WDx Crossbreed. NQ. ZEKE came unstuck on the track today, but made a good stab at the other exercises. His time will come LYNNE.





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