The 2000 British Cocker Spaniel National Field Trial Championship - Page 2

Helping You Get the Most From Your Hunting Dogs

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A thick frost greets the competitors and the gallery.
Photo by: Author
Each competitor entered the cover slowly and covered the beat cautiously. Ian Openshaw and FTCh Sandford Tara of Maesydderwen [bitch] started out early and showed that they would be ones to reckon with. Ian started out and covered the course carefully and purposefully. Each cast was expertly planned to cover the ground that was likely to hold game, for passing game is a sure way to send you packing for home. Ian's first contact was a nicely flushed hen pheasant in thick bramble and in a heavily wooded part of the course. A single shot from the guns brought the pheasant down within about 40-45 yards. The cover was thick but the retrieve was to hand only seconds after Ian sent FTCh Sandford Tara of Maesydderwen for the downed pheasant. The second contact was a quick moving hen pheasant that was stopped by the right-hand gunner before making it to the field about 55-60 yards away. Ian and Tara did another splendid job picking up the second bird and were then asked to retrieve a bird on the brace mate’s beat, FTCh Findlay’s Flyer. She handled the eye wipe with remarkable ease and showed that she would be a figure in the placements.

Eye wipes, as they are affectionately called in English field trials, are done when the one dog fails to perform a retrieve. The brace mate (the dog running on the other course) is asked to make the retrieve that was not picked up by the first dog. If the second dog makes the retrieve, the first dog is out of the trial or "wipes his eye". If neither dog comes up with the retrieve, the judges go out to where the game fell and if they find the game that was shot, both dogs are out. However, if the judges are unable to find the game that was shot, both dogs continue and are judged on how well they hunted the fall area for the game.

This years winner,FTCh Parkbreck Perfection, awaits the go ahead from handler Ian Openshaw.
Photo by: Author
Carl Colclough and FTCh Kelmscott Swoop worked a narrow belt of fallen trees and bushes to produce a hen pheasant that eluded the gunners. The second bird was a blind retrieve from a wild flush on the other side of the course. The third and final bird, which was shot and landed in thick Hawthorne, looked like it was going to present problems for FTCh Kelmscott Swoop - not so, she handled with ease.

Just when you thought the action on the course could not get any more intense, Ian Openshaw, running under Tim Crothers with FTCh Parkbreck Perfection, put on a game finding seminar for the gallery. Within minutes, the team of Ian and FTCh Parkbreck Perfection found and produced 5 birds, 3 of which were tough runners falling in the thickest cover of the day. Their performance was sure to leave an impression on the judges at the end of the day.

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