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Thank you to Bob and Jenny Fiddaman for allowing us the use of their farm for our base and tracking; a special mention to Jenny who hands over her kitchen to us and allows us to use it to cook all our food – many thanks, Jenny.  Also a big thank you to Jan Vallack for "allowing" me to be trials manager at a trial that everyone knows is Jan’s baby.

To my judges, Ron Jaques (TD), Gary Martin (WD), Jan Vallack (UD), Belinda Spensley (CD) and Vana Moody (C/A), you all made my job easy, especially as I was on unfamiliar territory managing this trial for the first time.  I will let each of the judges thank their helpers in their own reports.

A special thank you to Val and Rita, who kept us all fed (the chilli jacket potatoes were lovely), and to the usual crowd of helpers from Lincoln and Yorkshire who make the pilgrimage to West Herts every year – our trial couldn’t take place without you all – not forgetting the Essex crew who also come up each year – I guess I should also mention the Herts lot (to keep everyone happy!) – let me know if I have missed out a county!!

We had a variety of weather from thunder and lightening on the Thursday when we were setting up, to bright sunshine and blue sky on the Sunday – sorry if you got one of the days when it rained (Fri or Sat).   This trial seemed to be the battle of the litters with about 6 or 7 different litter brothers and sisters taking part.

The tracking was on winter wheat that was getting stickier and stickier as the rain came down, making the track laying and square stewarding an arduous task – please remember to thank your track layers and square stewards; it’s not easy being out there in horrible conditions.





Steward: Valerie King

Thank you to West Herts WTS for inviting me to judge the CD stake at their spring trial.  This dedicated club has been running trials for nearly 30 years and in the past were a very large training club known as Brocket Park.  Lack of training ground has forced them to stop regular training, but due to the determination and commitment of Jan Vallack and the club members, it has survived and continues to run this very popular trial each year.  Thank you to Penny Bann, the Trials Manager, Rita Banfather and Valerie King for the wonderful food and to Jenny, the farmer’s wife, for allowing the use of her large farmhouse kitchen.  As with most trials, people wear lots of hats and I would like to thank Valerie King for also being my steward.  Valerie, your kind quiet manner and professional, friendly assistance is a true asset not only to me as the judge, but perhaps more importantly to the competitors who, in this early stake, are very often nervous and unsure of the ‘etiquette’.

We had four competitors, two of whom were under the 15" so they worked first on the control.  I was very impressed with your commitment and in some cases patience.  Keep at it!

1st Anne Ferrins with CLOVER HAYES MAISIEMOUSE, X-Breed (under 15"), B, 86.5, Q.  Maisie was a credit to you and happily did everything you asked.   A bit unlucky with the long jump but made up for it with the scale.  Well done! 

2nd Tina Hart with CONNEMARA BELLE, X-Breed, B, NQ.

3rd Carol Burgess with CAROBILLS SIENNE LACE, Min Poodle, NQ




Tracklayers: June Hines, Caroline Martin, Jim Sewell

Stewards: Jackie Sears

Thank you for the pleasure of judging at my own club for the first time.  Many thanks to Penny Bann, Trials Manager, for the excellent organisation, as usual.  Everything was provided and was wonderful.  Bob and Jenny Fiddaman (the farmers) hand their farm over to the club for the week, including Jenny’s kitchen.  Thank you seems inadequate really as their hospitality is fantastic.

Thank you to the ladies in the kitchen for the fab food, Jenny Fiddaman, Valerie King and the Chilli Con Carne Queen, Rita Banfather - you are booked for next year!

To the tracklayers - what fun, hats blowing off, fur hat to indicate wind direction, muscles on muscles in the legs due to the wet claggy ground and my dear friend Jackie Sears stewarding and making me laugh.  Thanks to you all – due to their efforts, I saw some super nosework, but there were only two qualifiers, litter brothers, one track article the difference between the two.  First trial for both dogs.

1st Paul Adams with SHERIGEM GLYNN, BC, D.  Track 88/20, Sq 35, Gun 5.  Congratulations, Paul, being an experienced handler showed here, well done. 196.5, COM

2nd Mick Head with SHERIGEM JAZPER BC (D).  Well done, Mick, at your first working trial. 186.5, COM

The dog our team would have taken home was a little working Cocker Spaniel named ‘Rags’.  What a star, with a turbo charged tail!  Another that impressed me was a GSD bitch, ‘Diva’ with Jill Blinch.  Lovely nosework, I’m sure you will sort the jumps soon Jill. 

Thank you to the UD competitors for giving me the privilege of judging your dogs, you were a credit to the sport of working trials, enjoy it and good luck to all of you.

If you have or haven’t qualified in any stake, go to the base and say "Thank you" - good manners don’t cost anything.  Thanks for the very useful gift.




Tracklayers: Joan Snowdon, Jim Sewell

Square Steward: Helen Brown

Many thanks to West Herts WTS for the invitation to judge at this well organised and friendly event.  It is a real pleasure to be able to spend time with such a dedicated and enthusiastic group of trialists.  The organisation is second to none, thanks to Penny Bann and her merry gang of helpers.  Nothing is left to chance and everything you could ask for as a judge is laid on with efficiency that is the trademark of this society.  The base, land and company was truly first class and I had a thoroughly good time.  The ladies in the kitchen, Rita and Val (by far the most important people at any trial!) worked like Trojans and kept everyone well fed and watered, thank you so much.  Bob and Jenny the farmers are truly exceptional people.  Not only do they allow us onto their land and move machinery around so we can use their barns, but Jenny helps in the kitchen and I know Bob would put tracks down if he could!!  You are both great people and working trails owe you a great deal of thanks.  

My team in the field were tracklayers Joan and Jim and Helen laid the squares.  Every competitor was given the very best opportunity to get round.  Tracks and squares were just as I had asked - thank you all very much, you were great company and made my task very much easier. There cannot be many sports where the helpers travel such long distances to wander around a field.  I know that Joan, Malc, Nigel and June all travelled down after a day’s work on the Thursday, arrived about 11pm, set up their caravans, sorted out the dogs and then got up early Friday to lay tracks.  Jim and Jan had the `luxury` of arriving at about 9pm and then getting themselves and their dogs sorted!  The sport owes you all a huge thank you, and I personally thank you for all your help and your excellent company.

The nosework took place on well grown winter wheat that was a decent length.  The weather was fantastic, bright, a bit of a breeze, and that all important little bit of dampness on the ground.  I set a track pattern that would offer a reasonable test to a well prepared team.  The articles were a 8cm x 2cm piece of  sponge and an 8cm piece of green garden hose.  The square consisted of a green plastic milk container cap, a 5cm long pice of 40mm dowel, a 5cm square piece of leather and a 6cm piece of green scourer.

We had some very good performances and some that were just not ready, with one or two hard luck stories.  The overall standard was good and in the vast majority I could see potential to do very well in the future.

1st Chris Theobald with her Border Collie bitch, XANDOS ABBYLON AT TYTRI. 87/20/34. What a little cracker Abby is!  Great attitude to work, with a real desire to please you Chris.  As you would expect very well handled, with gentle encouragement at just the right moments.  A team with load of promise for the future. Just a couple of bits on the track which for the most part was really nice.  A square to die for, with one mark lost by Mum giving us a juggling display and then dropping second article!  Abby is a real treasure and I know you were thrilled with her work.  Well done to you both.

2nd Wendy Beasley with her Border Collie bitch, STARDELL LUNAR. 88.5/10/28.  Lunar is a real star in the making, she has a real desire to please and is an enthusiastic worker.  Faultless handling from Wendy – just as you`d expect.  You have a lovely rapport with her, Wendy, and with your sympathetic, quiet handling this is a team destined for the very top.  I wish you all the very best in the future.

3rd Paul Beasley with his Border Collie dog, STARDELL SPIKA.  87/20/19.5.  Spika showed he has such potential and with Paul’s quiet sympathetic approach this is a team to watch.  Tracked really nicely, and when a walker in the next field stopped to spectate, Spika paused and things could have been awkward, however Paul got this youngster back into focus and off he went.  Great handling and a really great dog.  Only two out of the square but he never stopped trying, and that’s all you can ask of him.  Good luck in the future, Paul, you make a great team.

4th Val Isherwood with her male Working Sheep Dog, DUSTERS TWENTY FOUR SEVEN.  85/15/21. Seven does make you work, doesn’t he, Val!!  He is a real livewire who needs all your experience to harness that drive.  In less experienced hands he would run rings round his handler, but your patience and perseverance will see you through.  Nice track with just a few hiccups.  Square tested your resolve, but I know you’ll sort it out.  Good luck in the future with him, Val.

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