t was an amazing week! The January weather was much kinder than expected. Plenty of sunshine kept us warm even though the wind tried it’s best to keep us bundled up tight.
Ray Cacchio and Martin Deeley presented a three-day seminar that was opened to all spaniel breeds. The second annual Boykin Spaniel Upland Field Trial followed the seminar. The seminar was opened to all spaniels while the field trial was open to only Boykin spaniels. Both of these events took place at the H. Cooper Black Recreational Area in Patrick, South Carolina.
For the seminar, there were fourteen Boykins, one American Water spaniel and four Springers. In addition, there was one blonde American Cocker - a wonderful little dog named Dasher who blended with the broom straw in perfect camouflage.
Blake Wagoneer and his Boykin, Grace, receiving instructions from Ray
Most of the participants were pure novices who hung on every word uttered by Martin and Ray. Others, like Mike Chapman with Dasher, wanted guidance to move on to the Master level. Deborah Brueggman, a newbie to the game, was there with a finished level field Springer that she had purchased.
The dog knew what to do and Deborah was there to learn how to steer her. It was obvious who was the boss at the start of the seminar and by the completion, Deborah was starting to get the upper hand.
Some dogs had issues with hard mouth. Others didn’t have a clue how to hunt upland game. There were two ladies with their Boykins that kept handi-wipes available to wipe the blood off of their hands if a bird was shot. One even came to the field one day in clogs and managed not to fall on her fanny! By trial day, both women were suitably clad and worked with their dogs like seasoned teams.
All benefited from the expert advice doled out by Ray and Martin. By the end of the seminar, the Boykins who attended
the seminar and competed in the Upland trial showed so much improvement that almost all earned ribbons.
Each day, each dog and handler worked with Ray on quartering, flushing and fetching game. After lunch, those that had done the field work in the morning went with Martin to learn drills for steady, working with distractions and coming when called (with distractions). The entire seminar experience was relaxed and fun-filled with a lot of joking around and enjoying the days and our dogs.
The first day of the field trial started off with the Open dogs. The starting times were staggered so all could watch the "big dogs" work before going over to the Novice field. Curlee Gurlee lead off the hunt, the nine-year old girl showing how much fun an old dog can have. The chukars wouldn’t fly so Curlee trapped three birds in a row. Not a good way to start off the day since we definitely wanted to see the flush. As the other Open dogs worked the field, some were getting the chukars to fly - so we had hopes of improving conditions.
The Intermediate class worked the same field as the Open dogs. By the time these dogs hunted, the birds were flushing well.
Novice Dawn Crites with|
Pocotaligo’s No Pink Promise
When I worked Lucky, he was picture perfect. He worked the wind and conditions like clockwork. He passed over a bird, caught the scent, did an about face so fast I thought he’d get whiplash, charged in and flushed the bird. He then sat and watched as the gunners fired and the bird went down. Lucky made the retrieve and gently placed the bird in my hand. No one could ask for a better job. I was so proud of him and at the same time, amazed that he was steady!
The next flush called for a fly-away to show steadiness and control. I sent Lucky off again. He worked the field with precision. Again, Lucky caught the smell of his prey, went flying in with the textbook bold flush, sat and watched as the gunners intentionally missed. I called him in to heel, slipped his lead on and walked back to the gallery.
Intermediate Pam Kadlec with|
Just Ducky’s Justmyluck
Once the Intermediate class was under way, the Novice class contestants left and started their field of 22 dogs. This year’s class was not only almost double the size of last year’s entry, but some of the dogs had obviously been doing their homework. The quartering was generally better and the dogs were looking to their handlers for more direction (rather than racing off down the field without purpose). The handlers were more relaxed which allowed the dogs to do their jobs efficiently.
The Open class found a totally different field for their second run. The field was on top of a hill where sparsely planted young pines, a few hardwoods and thin broom straw made up the cover. It may have been a combination of being later in the day and the light cover that made the birds fly much better than in the morning. Curlee was much better in this field, perhaps because she could see the birds. The ability to see the birds was two-sided, though. Curlee spent the first seven years of her life working on non-slip retriever work,
earning her HRCH by the time she was three and earning three Boykin Spaniel Society National Open Championships. The result of all that control in a spaniel is that she looks to me for approval rather than charging in for a bold flush. The first bird that she found, she stood and looked at me, tail wagging, as if to say, "I found it Ma, what now?" I encouraged her to "get it" - and she did. She charged in and the bird flushed, she sat, it was shot, she fetched. On the next bird, she was more confident and didn’t wait for me to tell
her to go in and flush it. She was steady while also showing her absolute joy in being there with her tail wagging ninety miles an hour.
American Cocker Spaniel, Dasher
The other Open dogs had equal success in getting the birds to fly and the judges were pleased with the overall work.
The Novice class completed their land work and decided to go ahead and set up the water test that afternoon. The water at H. Cooper offers several technical ponds and opportunities to set up tests for all levels of retrievers. The Novice water was a basic single. The dogs were sent from close to the shore at least fifty yards from the end so there was no enticement to run the bank. The bird was launched from a winger into open water about 30 yards from the line. Most of the dogs completed the water series without incident.
The Intermediate and Open dogs ran their water test the next morning. There was a front moving in and the day dawned overcast and gloomy, but no rain. The Intermediate dogs used the same pond as the Novice. The difference is that they ran from the point. One bird was launched from the opposite shore. The other bird was launched so that it came out from the left of the line. Both birds were about 30 yards in open water.
Open Harriet Clark with HR UH Daisy
The Open test was a bit tougher, though only a double. The pond was flooded timber and about 80 yards wide. The line was at the center of the pond dam and the birds came out from each side of the pond. The memory bird came from the left-hand winger and landed with a splash in the trees. The go bird was sent from a winger on the right side and landed in the grasses with a splash. Though the birds were only about 40 yards none of the dogs did the work clean. Curlee picked up the first bird okay and came back by land. I had to handle her on
the second bird and it took several casts to keep her in the water until she caught a whiff of the bird and swam to it. Part of the problem was the obviously cold water. All of the Open dogs still in contention completed the water test.
By the time the Intermediate and Open water tests were completed, it was lunchtime. We enjoyed good hot meals every day provided by Hard Times Cafe in Cassett, SC. A few speeches were made thanking all of the judges, gunners and committee members and the awards were presented. There was good participation that warrants continuing the upland program. The Boykin Spaniel Society plans on continuing this annual hunt and improving on it for five years until the titles of National Upland Champions are bestowed. For now, please join in
congratulating not only the winners of each class but all of the participants and their little brown dogs. These Boykins are great natural flushing dogs!
Novice Judges: Deb Schoene and Cathy Lewis - 22 Entries
- 1st Place: Pocotaligo No Pink Promise - "Promise" Owned by Dawn & Bill Crites, handled by Dawn Crites
- 2nd Place: Hap Man Do - "Hap" Owned by Dock and Amelia Skipper, handled by Dock Skipper
- 3rd Place: Rock'n Creek Izabelle Many Feathers - "Izzy" Owned by James & Millie Latimer, handled by Millie Latimer
- 4th Place: Amy's Pocotaligo Ellie - "Ellie" - owned by Amy Braswell & Kim Parkman, handled by James Braswell
JAM'S (Judges Award of Merit):
- Just Ducky's Justaluckybet - "Wager" - Owned by Pam Kadlec, handled by Mark Lee
- Holland Ridge's Jeb Stuart - "Jeb" - Owned and handled by Mark Lee
- Oyster Creek's Pisol Peat - "Peat" - Owned and handled by Scott Culbreath
- Pocotaligo's Tasmanian Jake - "Jake" - Owned and handled by Mack Smith
- Just Ducky's Coolhandluke - "Luke" - Owned and handled by Dave Abernathy
- Unsinkable Molly Brown - "Molly" Owned by Richard & Mary Ann Mathias, handled by Mary Ann Mathias
- Pocotaligo's Finest Brandy - "Brandy" Owned by Jessica Braswell & Kim Parkman, handled by James Braswell
- Meskan's Brownie Treat - "Brownie" Owned by Gene & Cheryl Meskan, handled by Gene Meskan
- Moss Point's Elijah - "Lijah" Owned and handled by Jack Shannon
Intermediate Judges: Ray Cacchio and Tom Schoene - 9 Entries
- 1st Place: Just Ducky's Justmyluck - "Lucky" - owned and handled by Pam Kadlec
- 2nd Place: HR UH Kipper Ray - owned by Lee & Harriet Clark, handled by Harriet Clark
- 3rd Place: Oyster Creek's Pistol Peat - "Peat" - owned and handled by Scott Culbreath
- 4th Place: HR UH Darby's Teal Boy - owned by Chris & Susan Darby, handled by Chris Darby
Open - Judges: Ray Cacchio and Tom Schoene - 7 Entries
- 1st Place: HR UH Daisy - "Daisy" - owned and handled by Harriet Clark
- 2nd Place: HRCH UH Fancy's Mighty Sampson - "Sam" - owned and handled by Gene Putnam
- 3rd Place: HRCH UH Curlee Gurlee - "Curlee" - owned and handled by Pam Kadlec
- 4th Place: HR UH Kipper Ray - "Kipper" - owned by Lee & Harriet Clark, handled by Harriet Clark
Millie Latimer and her Boykin, Izzy, with Ray instructing
"The seminar was well run and organized. When Ray was working one
on one with someone in the field , Martin was telling the gallery what
was going on. That was very good as you could learn not only from your
own time but from others as well. Both Ray and Martin made you feel at
ease in working the dogs and are good to listen and answer questions." - Robin Spriggs