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Author Topic: Australian Field Tests  (Read 941 times)
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« on: May 18, 2010, 11:29:18 PM »

I've been corresponding with Iain Macdonald, of Echuca, Australia.  He hunts over two Tollers and runs them in tests.  I asked him to explain the tests in Australia.  Thought y'all might find his descriptions interesting (permission granted to post them here).

Gundog working Test: This is basically nothing (in my eyes) it has two levels Novice and open, both have two retrieval runs with marks out to about 70m, no gunfire and frequently no game is used (dummies instead). Open has a short 40m blind. Not a title as such yet but will probably be so next year. This is non competitive, you just need a passing score and each dog is run individually. the danger is breeders will do this, get a title and then suggest they have a working dog......... Terrain used is like an obedience trial grounds, virtually no cover.

Retrieving: Has three levels Novice, restricted and All age. Novice is 3 x single marks out to 100m at least one must be either through or in water. dogs are shot over by the handler (blanks) and cold game is always used. terrain is hardly ever easy and they like to do it so you can see the bird in the air but you don't see it hit the ground. each dog is run individually but it is competitive, you must win three stakes to be awarded a title. Restricted is 3 runs and at least one run must contain a blind. Distance is now out to 150m and we have double marks, double blinds, two bird and double rise. up to 3 items of game can be picked up on any single run (yep often all out at max distance) All age (Garnet and Gundi are the only Tollers to ever get there and both did it last year) is again three runs and can contain anything the judge can think up but it will be three if not four items of game on each run. garnet has to run in AA now as she has her restricted title and with the drought some of the water entries and exits are pretty tough on a little dog, I mean the labs can step out and she has to climb, if she has to do that 12 plus times per stake, that's a big ask on her physically which I just am not prepared to ask of her. All retrieving trials are competitive and you have to win to get titles, they are also open to any breed of gundog, so yes garnet has beaten labs, goldens, GSP's, Vizla's etc to get her title.

Field: we have three types of field trials: pointer/setter, utility and spaniel/retriever. Obviously we compete in the spaniel/retriever. its on live game and you hunt with a brace mate, so two dogs on the field at the one time. game is to be located, flushed, shot and retrieved. Mostly its rabbits for these trials but they can be run on birds. Dog must be steady to flush and shot and must be steady whilst the other dog completes a flush or a retrieve. handlers must shoot the game, so if your a bad shot, your buggered. To be considered for titles the dog must find, be steady, be shot over and complete a retrieve, if not there will be no result. retriever people hate these trials as the spaniel is in its element on Rabbits, garnet is very spaniel like and will give them a run for their money provided I get out and shoot over her enough before the season starts (August), we hunted the other day with some spaniels with her and Baz, very different hunting styles between garnet and Baz but needed to get them into tussock terrain which i don't have locally. All things considered i was happy with the results and happy with my own shooting. garnets strength in this area will be her retrieving, many of the spaniels can't deal with a runner and to make it worse they use light loads in the shotguns for their own comfort, which leads to runners. personally I shoot heavy loads and what I shoot stays shot. Garnet had her first runner, when we went out with the spaniels, the rabbit had a broken leg and took off. The spaniels could not have done the retrieve so we were asked to do it, garnet was sent and I'd say it was a good 130m with only a single cast after the initial line, brought back the very much alive rabbit without a mark. One happy man I can tell you. Garnet having done so much retrieving is way out in front in this area and could potentially become the first Toller with a field title and even possibly the first duel champion. So we chase it.

that's a really basic overview but as you can see its very different to your hunt tests. BTW you can never touch your dog in one of our trials no matter what level, its instant disqualification if you do.
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