The Guildford Working Gundog Club run several novice trials for all varieties of retriever each season and one 2 day Open Trial, the winner of which will qualify to run in the IGL Retriever Championships in December. Entrants for the 2 day Open should have the necessary qualification. Field Trial entry is available to all members who are fully paid up on the 1st July preceding the shooting season. The standard of training required is made clear in the schedules which are sent out to members in August. Before considering entering Field Trials it is strongly recommended that you, and your dog, have experience in Working Test competition.
Field Trials have developed to test the working ability of Gundogs in competitive conditions. Trials resemble, as closely as possible, a day’s shooting in the field and dogs are expected to work with all manner of game, from rabbits and hares, to partridges and pheasants. Many of our best loved breeds were traditionally developed to help man in hunting. Labrador Retrievers gathered game in the field; Cocker Spaniels flushed and retrieved game; Pointers and Setters ranged over the fields helping us seek out birds and rabbits for the table. A great many still help us in shooting and hunting today.
Field Trials are very popular, attract hundreds of competitors and are still very much part of our countryside sports. If you have a love and understanding of the countryside and like to see dogs working as they were intended to, this friendly and relaxed sport may be just what you are looking for. Field Trials attract a large number of entries and the entrants are therefore subject to a ballot. Those members who are lucky enough to get a run in one of our trials will go to the bottom of the draw for any other trials of the same standard that season. Do not despair if your name comes quite low down in the draw, it is quite usual for numbers above 30 to get a run as people qualify for open trials, their bitches come into season or, occasionally, people or their dogs are unwell.
Working Tests take place in the Spring and Summer. They are designed to test the ability of Gundogs in the same way as Field Trials but, as they do not take place during the shooting season, canvas dummies and blank shot are used in place of game and live shot.
If you are thinking of entering a Working Test come along to our Working Test training day in August and our trainers will be able to show you the sort of tests that you can expect and how to get your dog ready. Finally, all the competitions that we run require helpers, from dummy throwers to people marking the fall of game. Coming to help is a great way to learn about the sport and you will be supporting your Club.