American Field

“To brag little, to lose well, to crow gently if in luck, to pay up, to own up, to shut up if beaten, are the virtues of a sporting man.” — OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES

New Field Trial Season, No. 144, Commences with Northern Prairie Trials

Aug 06, 2018

The new field trial season has begun, and with the start of No. 144 it is timely to recall the sporting tradition we share and our obligation to promote and safeguard our time-honored sporting pastime.

Oliver Wendell Holmes’ advice above should be the “words to live by” for all field trial participants. Be humble when you win. Be gracious when you do not.

Last season’s wins are in the books; the victories, achievements and, perhaps the disappointments are a thing of the past.

Much of the game, as in most sport- ing pastimes, is luck — luck of the draw, luck of the weather, luck when birds are moving, luck when your dog is “click- ing just right.”

It’s been that way since 1874 when the first recognized trial was held in October near Memphis, Tenn.

Each new field trial season prompts optimism, enthusiasm. It is a new begin- ning, a fresh start.

The advent of the 2018-2019 season provides an opportunity to review some pertinent items related to the field trial sport, among them the “Minimum Requirements”, the basic regulations governing recognized field trials.

The list of these requirements appears on page 4. They are simple and straight- forward; there is no need to dwell on each in detail. However, a few will be stressed and other matters pertinent to the conduct of recognized field trials will be noted.

Club officers carry the responsibility of ensuring that trials are conducted fairly and in conformity with the Minimum Requirements — that is their first and foremost duty.

When the trial is completed the results — names of the winning dogs, their owners and handlers — are to be submitted to The AMERICAN FIELD as soon as possible. Results received well after the trial (60-90 days) cannot be as- sured that the trial will receive suitable coverage. Trial results (placements) received six months after the conclusion of a trial will not be recognized. This is a great disservice to the winning dogs, their owners and handlers.

• The No. 1 requirement is all-impor- tant for the recognition of a club’s trial. Each week the “Fixtures” columns in The AMERICAN FIELD carry the roster of upcoming recognized field trials. The name of the sponsoring club, date and place of the trial, and the name of the club official accepting entries must be shown in the Fixtures at least fourteen (14) days before the date of the trial. As a rule of thumb, this information should be submitted to The AMERICAN FIELD at least thirty (30) days before the trial to ensure that the listing appears within the time frame mandated by this require- ment. The same time frame (thirty days) is also a good guideline when submitting advertising copy to announce an upcom- ing trial.

All clubs hosting trials where place- ments may qualify a dog for champi- onship competition are to publicize that trial with a suitable advertisement show- ing: the date and place of the trial, loca- tion, time and date of the drawing, the stakes being sponsored and the contact person (name, city and state) who is accepting the entries.

• The second Minimum Requirement highlights the ages of dogs for compet- ing in specific stakes. For the present fall season (July 1-December 31, 2018), dogs to compete in Puppy Stakes must have been whelped on or after June 1, 2017; for the second half of the season (January 1-June 30, 2019), dogs com- peting in Puppy Stakes must have been whelped on or after January 1, 2018.

Dogs eligible to compete in Derby stakes this season (both for fall and spring) must have been whelped on or after January 1, 2017. Any placements awarded to over-age dogs will be voided.

• When owners and/or professional handlers enter dogs in a trial, they should provide full particulars (i.e.: registered name and number of the dog, breed and sex, color, name of sire and dam) for their entries on the entry form. Club of- ficials are charged with the responsibil- ity of forwarding complete particulars of the winners. Owners and handlers can assist them greatly by providing specific information on each of their entries.

• The number of dogs competing in a stake determines how many placements the judges may award. In stakes with three dogs entered and competing, one placement may be awarded; in stakes with four or five dogs entered and com- peting, the judges may award two place- ments, and in stakes with six or more dogs, three placements may be awarded. [In a few select events (the Futurities, for example), a fourth place dog is named.]

• For dogs to receive credit for their field trial placements, they must be reg- istered with the Field Dog Stud Book.

• When a club announces its trial in the advertising columns of The AMERICAN FIELD, the “order of running” is the prescribed schedule to be fol- lowed. Clubs are to adhere to the published “order of running”.

• Following the conclusion of the trial particulars on the winners (name, number, breed, sex, etc.) should be for- warded to The American Field Publish- ing Company as soon as possible within thirty days.

Any violation of the Minimum Requirements will result in the voiding of the trial and the placements awarded.

In July, 2003, an editorial announced two new requirements for the seasons ahead.

No. 1. All dogs (and all breeds) win- ning a championship placement (winner or runner-up) shall be required to have DNA on file with the FDSB. That re- quirement was subsequently extended to all dogs winning open stakes earning points toward the Top All-Age and Shooting Dog of the Year Awards. DNA kits (instruction sheet, swab to collect  cell samples, and an application form) are available and will be sent on request. No. 2 noted that dogs earning Derby placements shall only receive credit for that win when that dog is registered with the FDSB at the time the win is awarded. (An application in process in the Field Dog Stud Book shall be deemed meeting this requirement.)

Use of electronic devices (retrieval units) at recognized trials will be treated in a later issue.

One last item pertains to the use of colored collars to distinguish two similarly marked or similar appearing dogs. Custom dictates that the “top” dog shall wear the “red” collar, and the “bottom” dog, the “lime-colored” collar.

Field trial participants are advised to keep these pages for future reference.



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