Our first field trial experience

24 Feb

This past weekend, we had the opportunity to see the best of the best bird dogs. We attended our vizsla club’s horseback field trial to help out. Most of the dogs there were vizslas, and we were immediately met by an extremely friendly community. Despite being competitors with each other, everyone (including the dogs) just seemed to be enjoying what they love on a beautiful Sunday.

Field trials are broken down into separate stakes depending on a dog’s level of training and age. First up was Open Gun Dog. These dogs are the cream of the crop – steady to win and shot, honor other dogs on point, etc. Just like a hunt test, two dogs run in a brace.

We ended up helping to run the dog wagon in the morning which meant we had to find the next dogs to run and put them in crates in the back of a truck to take them to the start. After letting those dogs out, we picked up the dogs that just finished running and took them back to their respective trailer. To me, this was perhaps the best reflection of a tight knit community. People trust each other to make sure their dogs are where they are supposed to be, and everyone makes sure things are running smoothly.

We didn’t get to actually see many of the dogs in action. The was mainly because we don’t have horses. The gun dogs move so fast and cover so much ground that is almost impossible to appreciate all that they do from the ground. Within seconds of being released, these dogs were easily 100 yards away. I should have known that all these dogs meant serious business because they were all wearing GPS collars. No need for that with Gumbo or Ilsa yet ;-).

Susan and I did follow one brace on foot. One of Gumbo’s younger relatives was running in the Derby stakes (a stake for younger dogs that aren’t steady to wing and shot yet). It was awesome to watch (and quite the workout :-)).

Currently our focus remains on hunt tests, but we have considered running our Vs in walking field trials one day – I guess we’ll just have to see where the dogs take us…


2 Responses to “Our first field trial experience”

  1. 2browndawgs February 24, 2012 at 2:25 PM #

    Sounds like a wonderful day.

  2. Anna February 24, 2012 at 2:49 PM #

    Kudos to you for helping out! I have not ever joined an actual club, or helped at a HT outside of simple things. I really should plant some birds for the juniors next HT I am at, I keep trying to talk my husband into being a gunner for the HT as he is an awesome shot but he does not want all the pressure.

    HT and Field Trials are so different in what they require of the dog. Usually it is easier to start a dog in Field trials then go to HT rather than the other way around as it can be hard for dogs to learn to range out and follow the edges when you basically curb all of that in Hunt Tests. I personally like the Hunt Tests better, I feel they are more true to real hunting. But that is just my opinion, I still can appreciate what it takes to be a field trial dog. Good point about how people trust strangers with their dogs, it really does show a community that is out there, especially in the Vizsla world.


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