Championship Trial
Trial Held: 21 October 2023
PD Stake

2023 Kennel Club Championships

Hosted by Surrey Dog Training Society



Judge: Stan Ford

The sport of Working Trials is just short of one hundred years old and brings together annually the dogs that have won a Championship Tracking Dog Stake and/or a Patrol Dog Stake during the past year.

Tracking Dog Stake was judged by Len NEWMAN and the Patrol Dog Stake by Stan FORD two extremely experienced judges sharing the same year of birth. The Working Trial Manager was Christine BROOKS ably assisted by Elizabeth STAPLETON in the base and Lauren MARLOW in the field. Christine, despite a number of difficult situations to deal with during the run up to and during the Trial remained admirably in control throughout.

The event was based at De Vere Hotel, Horsley Towers, East Horsley, LEATHERHEAD, Surrey with the nosework base at Oakwood Hill.

Surrey DTS are indebted to our local landowners Charles CALVERT from Ockley Court for all the nosework land and Clare and Chris MATHIAS for the control and agility and patrol field adjoining the hotel, normally the home of polo ponies.

Horsley Towers Mansion was built in 1820 designed by Sir Charles Barry (Architect of the Houses of Parliament). In the late 19th century the mansion was bought by Lord LOVELACE who further enhanced the property with the bold architectural features that can still be seen throughout the Estate including the stuccoed tower, great hall, chapel and cloisters. The estate was later purchased by Tommy SOPWITH inventor of the Sopwith Camel aeroplane, who was also responsible for subsequently selling off parcels of land that were acquired for the high class housing that East Horsley enjoys.

The nosework was on grass with good growth that had been silaged in August and was awaiting the arrival of keeper sheep in November. My track layer was Mark LEWINDON, if there is a better track layer in our sport I am yet to meet him/her. My search steward was Tess SHOOLBRED another most capable helper.

Jo QUICK tracked first with GSD, Floyd and completed the track well but unfortunately missed the end article – a large piece of carpet. They recovered all four search articles losing just sixteen nosework marks overall.

Dave CLARKE tracked second with Border Collie, Blade encountering some difficulty early on but managing to complete the track and recover both articles. In the search only two were recovered resulting in the loss of twenty five marks overall.

The control and agility was completed the following morning in a large grass field adjoining the base at the De Vere Hotel, Horsley Towers, East Horsley. Sue ATKIN was my control and agility steward, special thanks to Sue’s husband Graham ATKIN the scorer for having the scores and results readily available without delay – greatly appreciated. Jo and Floyd scored 28.5 control and full marks agility; Dave and Blade scored 30 control and 19 agility meaning both dogs entered the afternoon patrol work in a qualifying position. Storm Babet soon joined us and it rained steadily throughout the majority of the day. Later in the afternoon we were blessed with the end of a rainbow falling in the field. Before the patrol round could commence we had to await the arrival of a helicopter landing in an adjoining paddock with the Groom for his wedding!

My patrol steward was Mick Tustain – vastly experienced who also provided equipment and sleeves. Mick’s grandson Jack was chase and test of courage protected steward, joined by Rob MURRELL – recall, Les THEOBALD and Mark LEWINDON - hidden persons and my scribe was Lauren MARLOW meaning there were five persons present qualified to judge the stake. Setting up, I was most grateful for Mick working his GSD, Dennis for the run through which made me realise I had got carried away with a big field and had to reduce the quartering area in size.

My patrol round commenced with the quarter, with hides and natural features and the handler moving up a central walkway working the dog first right and then left to six predetermined points. Les and Mark were hidden in a wooded area and accessible to the dog. Upon location and searching persons and area both walked out, turning right together after 30 yards

and then walking a further 30 yards before splitting and running off in opposite directions. Once the dog had detained person one the other person attempted to attack the handler. Upon being detained by the dog both persons became compliant.

Next exercise was the chase to detain. Jack walked out from behind some hay bales then turned and ran. The dog was sent and the protected steward upon detention had to await the handler walking up to release. This was followed by a chase and recall in the opposite direction. The final exercise was the test of courage. The dog was sent to detain Jack running through a tunnel of red plastic security fencing and jumping over a single bale in the middle of a wall of hay bales. The wall of bales was toppled over by the hidden Mark and Les just prior to the dog reaching Jack on the other side dressed in a bite jacket with jute covering on the right arm.

In the patrol round Jo worked first, quartered well but missed one hide, excellent location, good escort if a tad reluctant to ‘out’ for attack on handler. Excellent detention on chase to detain and again reluctant to ‘out’ until second command. Very good recall, Floyd was already turning when he received second shout due to Jo’s vision being obscured. Good courage in test of courage but again second shout to ‘out’.

Total patrol round 124/150

Dave worked second – good quarter but dog initially ran past hidden persons before turning back. On escort Dave allowed himself to be handled by one helper whilst Blade detaining other in attack on handler. On chase missed initial bite, full mark excellent recall, good courage displayed in test of courage exercise.

Total patrol round 127/150

First place – Jo QUICK with WTCh Falkenwold High Places, German Shepherd Dog, CDEx, UDEx, WDEx, TDEx, PDEx. 271.5 qualifying PDEx. Worthy winner on the day.

Second place – David Clarke with WTCh Blade of The Glade, Border Collie, CDEx, UDEx, WDEx, TDEx, PDEx. 266 qualifying PDEx. David was another Covid victim immediately following the event which may have affected his handling. Was first to congratulate winner – excellent sportsmanship.

Thanks to my scribe Lauren MARLOW. It is imperative that one watches the action 100% of the time whilst judging making the scribe’s role so important. Lauren soldiered on throughout the test but also fell victim to Covid later that evening. Excellent helper throughout. The pandemic struck once again as one of my competitors had to withdraw on the eve of the Trial with the virus leaving only two competitors to compete in the PD Stake at the event. My commiserations to Bill and Moira for the effort that must have been put in before the event only to have been prevented from attending and Bill competing.

And finally, please remember:

“Take nothing but memories

Leave nothing but footprints”

Stan Ford