On Saturday 2nd June 2012
Considering that it was a long Bank Holiday weekend, there was still a huge entry for SEGS to organise. The weather held, so it was cool enough for the dogs to work in, but still pleasant for the handlers to sit around and socialise. Always a bonus point that, especially as it was dry underfoot which meant there were no problems with parking so many vehicles. The only problem of the day was caused by the swans with their newly hatched cygnets. Father swan took great exception to hordes of people and dogs invading his territory, so one of the water Tests had to be revamped into a Test on dry land. Just another occasion when the Working Test Secretary had to rise to the occasion and make Executive Decisions on the spot. Despite this causing a little bit of a backlog, the Judges all remained calm and very patient and resolutely saw the competitors through their books without complaint.
Five Tests, five judges. Again, I can only comment on the Novice but I believe the Open Tests were substantially more challenging, so if anybody out there would like to describe the Open Tests it would be appreciated.
The Tests for the Novice.
Test 1. A marked retrieve in long grass. The dummy was thrown directly in front of the dummy thrower who then moved twenty yards away. The scores reveal that your dog either marked well and achieved or didn’t mark and had to be handled..
Test 2. A mark landing on the opposite bank of the small lake. A renowned spot at Pope’s Oak where it is very easy for the dogs to take the option of returning either to the left or the right on dry land. The emphasis of the Test was to get your dog to return over the water. 3 x 20’s, 8 x 19’s and 8 x 18’s. The other factors in the marking with this Test were how straight a line the dog took across the water and how well it remembered it’s mark after getting to the other side. Interestingly, the winner dropped one mark here and the dog that came second lost 2 marks. Nothing is a forgone conclusion at these Tests !!
Test 3. A mark thrown on the track alongside the lake. As the dog returned with the dummy another mark was thrown over their heads and into the water. The dummy in the water was then retrieved. So a test on ‘distraction’ and the splash in the water is always a bigger distraction than a dummy thrown on land. Pleased to note that nearly all the dogs were obedient as the overall score average was very high.
Test 4. A four dog walk-up with the dummy thrown ahead but in very long grass. Apart from being judged as usual, on heelwork and steadiness, the dogs were in trouble unless they marked the dummy well as it was hard to find in the grass. Only 2 x 20’s given by this judge and they went to the winner and second placed dogs. 1 x 19 and 3 x 18’s so this Test really spread the marks around a made a difference to the final scoresheet.
Test 5. Two marks thrown out, one after the other, onto the grass track alongside a hedge. The reason for the Test was to see if your dog was tempted to swap dummies (or try and pick both !). I’m not sure how far apart the dummies landed. Somewhere between 10 and 15 feet I imagine, but from where you stood with the judge it looked as though they only fell five feet apart. So, do you panic and lose marks by handling your dog on a ‘seen retrieve’, or do you trust your dog and lose more marks when it all goes ‘pear shaped’ ? Well the scoresheet showed that the majority of dogs were well trained and needed neither help nor interference. 11 x 20’s, 3 x 19’s and 5 x 18’s.
So an outright winner in Katie Bainbridge who only dropped one mark. Well done Katie. Very well deserved with a polished performance. All very close together though with Jo Hartland dropping 3 marks, Tracey Chesser dropping 5 marks and Julie Jones dropping 6 marks with a total of 94. Only one mark behind with a total of 93 were two COM’s. Mark Russell and Louie Adshead.
In the Open, Kim Jinks was also a clear winner ending up on 96. Four points behind were four entries who had to perform in a run off for the remaining places. Di Stevens took second place beating Rob Smallman into third with Sophie Mills fourth and Jacqui Crew COM.
It was a long day so a huge thank you to the organisers, helpers and judges. It was a very nice touch when Kim Jinks, winner of the Open, produced a ‘’Thank You’’ gift for Sue Brothers, the Working Test Secretary for SEGS. I’m not sure how many years Sue has held this office but she has given many hours of her time to organising SEGS Tests. We do all appreciate you Sue !