Field Trials are considered by many to be the “shop window” of the working gundog. Field Trials are held during the shooting season and are designed to assess the dog’s working ability as if on a rough shooting day. The shooting season begins on 12th August through to 1st February. The game species that may be shot varies within this period.
The Hunt, Point and Retrieve dogs of which the HWV belongs to competes amongst its own sub- group only. Field Trials are only held by eligible Club’s and Societies that are registered with the Kennel Club and are run under their rules and regulations. There are 3 levels of competition; Novice, All- Aged and Open. The Trials are held on shooting grounds with a variety of ground and cover, and enough fresh land for up to 12 dogs to run on each time.
The Field trial tests the Hunt Point and Retrieve. The hunting/game finding skills of the dog are tested by running the dog across open ground and by using its scenting ability it must locate game. Once located, the dog must point it until commanded by the handler to flush it, and it must be steady, ideally sitting, as the game is shot. The dog must then retrieve on command and deliver tenderly to hand. A retrieve from water is also required if the dog has worked proficiently in the judge’s opinion. At Field Trials 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th & Certificate of Merit may be awarded if the judges feel the standard of work is of sufficient merit.
Spring Pointing Tests
Spring Pointing Tests were originally created on the continent to assess the hunting and pointing instincts of young dogs. Here in the UK dogs under the age of 2 years old are assessed on their hunting, pace, style and pointing skills on open fields of Spring crops. Dogs are graded on their own ability and do not compete against each other. The younger dogs under 2 years old are graded on both partridge and pheasant whereas older dogs over 2 years old are graded on partridge alone. The grades possible are Excellent, Very Good and Good. These tests are not held under KC rules but do have guidelines generally accepted by most breed clubs and societies. Grouse pointing tests take place in the Spring, in July and the beginning of August just prior to the start of the shooting season.
Working Tests simulate a shooting days requirements but without game being shot. Canvas dummies and cold game are used for retrieving from land and water. Hunting ability is assessed too. These tests are normally run by breed clubs and gundog societies and are held under KC rules and regulations. The levels of competition are usually Puppy, Novice and Open with some others classes purely designed to encourage handlers to have a go but not classified by the KC e.g. Special beginners. Gundog Working Tests are usually held between early Spring to late Summer.
To find out more about KC Field Trials and Gundog Working Test, click on the link http://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/media/49566/bgfieldtrials.pdf