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Tracklayers: UD, Lindsey Poole and Alan Hedges: WD, Adrian Quick and Alan Hedges

Steward: Liz Hickman

Thank you Portland Dog Training Club for the invitation to judge the UD Stake and the WD nosework at their Open Trial in October.

Trials Manager Pat Middleton-Smith puts a great deal of effort to ensure that this trial is a success, opening up her home as the trials base for starters, which makes for a very informal and friendly atmosphere.  Pat’s very good friends Carol and Alan Hedges give her tremendous support in every way.  Neither competes in Working Trials, but Alan’s a retired Police Dog handler and does a great deal of the running around needed to run a trial.  Carol is amazing, doing all of the catering during the day and preparing wonderful meals each evening.  I doubt that this trial would be the success it is without the help of these two lovely people.  Thanks again to Carol, assisted by my wife, Gill, for the very important job of catering for all our needs during the trial.

Special thanks go to my tracklayers, Lindsey Poole and Alan Hedges in UD, and Adrian Quick and Alan Hedges in WD; my steward for all three days was Liz Hickman.  You all did a great job, worked very well together, and were a pleasure to be with.  On behalf of the competitors and myself, thank you all again for your time and efforts.

The trial took place over three days, UD on Friday, WD on Saturday and Sunday.  There were six entries in UD and seventeen in WD.  Tracking was on grass; although it did vary in length it was all very good for tracking.  There were some really good tracking performances in both stakes, but in UD the search squares were disappointing.


The control field for UD was on a slope with long thistles and grass, but with the help of Alan and his four-track we were able to flatten an area to make it easier for heelwork and the jumps.  Heelwork and retrieves were of a good standard.  The sendaway, which was eighty of my paces out into the rough grass to crossed poles, was made to look easy by most dogs.  Stays, unfortunately, were the undoing of three dogs, which rather spoilt things for all concerned.  In Open UD, as we all know, the Agility section often causes problems and today was no exception, with only two teams gaining qualifying marks in this section.  This was a great shame, as in other respects there were some very good performances.  Sadly, I finished up with no qualifiers, but hopefully some positives were taken away at the end of the day.

1st Maureen Regan with WILLOW MEG FRATEAS AT KIRLIZEGAN, GSD, 157, NQ.  Track 80, Articles 10, Search 18, Control 34, Agility 15.  Tracked in the field with long grass, and, I suspect, lots of wildlife.  She was going well until the last leg of the track.  She needed a good search square and although Megie worked very hard, she only managed to find two articles.  Megie’s control round was the best in the stake, only losing one mark, but unfortunately no long jump put final qualification out of reach.  Only a minor blip today – I’m sure they will do well in the future.

2nd Fiona Britten with OWLSLEY TIKOUKA, 178.5, NQ.  88, 20, 27.5, 29.5, 13.5.  A very good track with both articles, followed by three out of the search square.  Very well handled, a pleasure to watch.  Good sendaway and retrieve, and very steady in the down stay.  The Agility section let you down today, with no long jump and a second command going over the scale spoiling what was otherwise a very good all round performance, which really deserved a qualification.

3rd Gary Martin with CARISHILL ATLAS, Golden Retriever, 156, NQ.  85, 20, 19, 21.5, 10.5.  A very positive track on what proved to be the most difficult field; Dylan had to work very hard to get round, Gary allowing him to sort it out without undue pressure.  It was good to watch.  The search square was a little disappointing but a good performance nonetheless.  Although Dylan uncharacteristically broke his stay, his control round was very good; Dylan’s interpretation of the retrieve today was very interesting!  One of two dogs to make the long jump look easy.  Dylan is such a happy dog, a pleasure to judge.

4th Sally Baker with CLASOLA DASKA, Weim, 144, NQ.  89, 20, 12, 13, 10.  Vita tracked in a very hilly field, with lots of thistles, and, for me, did the best track of the stake with both articles, a pleasure to watch.  Unfortunately, after that things did not go well today for Vita, which was a shame as I felt they deserved better – but that’s trials.  Good luck next time.


WD nosework was on the same land previously used for UD.  Thirteen teams took part and of these, nine put in really good performances, followed by good positive search squares.  The weather on Saturday was at times stormy, with very heavy rain (ask Lindsey!) which made some of the results all the more satisfying.  I was generally very impressed by the standard of nosework and wish you all the best in your future trials.

1st Stella Richards with FERNHAVEN SHESADELIGHT, BC, 190, Q.  Track 84.5, Arts 20, Search 33.5.  Sade gave us a scare at the first corner of the track, when all looked lost, then picked up and hardly put a foot wrong after that, finding both articles, followed by all four out of the search square.  Very well handled – looks good for the future.  Well done.

2nd Pat Tag with ABAPSOMA BIANNKA, GSD, 184, Q.  88.5, 20, 31.  Tracked in a field of very short new sown grass – no foot prints!  This was a lovely track by this team; you were rightly very pleased with her today, very positive and a pleasure to watch.  This must have given you a lot of confidence in her for the future.  Followed by four out of the square – a little untidy but a performance to be proud of.  Well done.

3rd Margaret Tarvit with VEREKER NUN NICER, Hung Vizsla, 177, Q.  89, 10, 33.5.  Tracked in the same field as Pat; not one I would have chosen – shows what I know!  Best track of the stake; Jazz never lifted her head, just went round as if on rails.  She was going so well she had no time to stop for the first article, which was a shame.  Four out of the square in no time at all.  Unstoppable today, a nosework day to remember.  Very well done.

4th Brenda Nevard with REDFOR SPIN, WSD, 175.5, Q.  86, 10, 34.5.  Just a few minor casts on the track, but never looked in any trouble.  Found just one article, otherwise a good performance followed by the best search square of the stake.  Looks good for the future – well done.

Also qualifying:

Jean Coutts with CRADBRIDGE BILL, Lab, 170.  86, 20, 20.  First to track on Saturday on quite long grass, with lots of wildlife I would think, but coped very well, locating both articles.  He did not find the search square easy, but still a very good nosework performance.  Well done.




Steward: Pearl Bray

Many thanks to Pat for opening up her home once again and organising this most friendly and relaxed of trials.  Every year she says "not again", but fortunately for us all she does do it.  Thanks to Carol for the catering and especially to Pearl, who, despite her personal problems, kept me company and helped to ease the nerves of the competitors.  We were very lucky with the weather and only had to dodge one cloudburst during the weekend; fortunately no one was working their dog at the time.  The C/A field was quite long and lush grass but Alan had driven his truck around the field to flatten areas so that the jumps were clearly visible.  Despite this quite a few dogs seemed to have problems especially with the long jump.  The grass also seemed to interfere with the heelwork and scores were low.  The retrieve and sendaway were generally executed to a higher standard.  Thank you all for allowing me to watch your dogs work.  At the end of the two days we had five qualifiers.

1st Stella Richards, FERNHAVEN SHESADELIGHT, BC, 190, Q.  Well done.  One of only two full mark jumps.

2nd Pat Tagg, ABAPSOMA BIANNKA, CDEx, GSD, 184, Q.

3rd Margaret Tarvit, VEREKER NUN NICER, CDEx, UDEx, Hungarian Vizsla, 177, Q.

4th Brenda Nevard, REDFOR SPIN, CDEx, UDEx, WSD, 175.5, Q.

5th June Coutts, CRADBRIDGE BILL, CDEx, Lab, 170

Nice to see a good selection of breeds qualifying.

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