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Judging and Competing at Sudbury;
Canadian Field Trials
by Gerald Babin

Our fall trial was held a bit later than usual this year - on Oct. 11th and 12th . As the trial date approached, I, the Field Trial Chairman, prayed for cool weather while checking the weather forecasts.

The grounds selected were at Burwash, just south of Sudbury, Ontario. This is the site of an old, abandon, prison farm that provides over 5,000 acres of open fields and lush terrain. It is public property and is ideal for Spaniel Field Trials - giving many choices of varied cover and terrain. If you attended the 1999 Canadian National Spaniel Field Trial Championship or spoke to others who have (117 of them), you know that we have lots of room and choices. A field trialers dream! I laid out the course on Friday afternoon, the day before our event.

For the first and second series, the field I selected was very large - 800 acres. I laid out two long courses with access at approximately the mid-way point so handlers could access either of the courses, readily. The cover was mostly brome grass, just above knee height. On the return course, there was a section of very heavy cover stretching about 4 flags in length. This section was thigh high in spots and I knew it would provide a challenge. There were also a few trees scattered about for good measure and a hedgerow that crossed one of the courses with shrubs standing about 10 ft. high.

Because our grounds are so immense, I laid out the third series course at another location. This field would present our Spaniels with hills, some trees, two large patches of raspberry bushes, a road to cross and some old, fallen trees for extra spice. Brome grass provided most of the cover but there was enough of the other obstacles scattered around to provide every Spaniel with a challenge.

"As a judge, you canít alter what you see, but you know when things are clicking for a dog and handler on a given day and wish the best for them."

Day One

Our big day had arrived. Jamie Armour, from Nova Scotia, and I were judging the Open All Age stake. I asked Pat McAvoy if he could take over as Field Trial Chairman and keep things moving. We had a large entry for being so far north with twenty-eight open dogs. Our usual number of entries is between nineteen and twenty-two.

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