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pretty good idea what a top American trial dog performed like and had enough practical experience to have a good general idea how one went about training a trial dog.
John DeMott
John DeMott with Saighton Spaniels

In the spring of 1975 Talbot was visiting Jack Riepenhoff. I had heard he was looking for someone who knew something about American trials to train the Saighton dogs. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, and was footloose and fancy-free. I met Talbot at a couple of training sessions and then was invited to Jack's house where I discussed the possibility of going to Wales to train the Saighton dogs for the shooting season and see how it went from there. I had never been to Europe, but when the offer came it was too intriguing to turn down, even though I did consider the idea for a number of weeks before finally agreeing. If I was going I wasn't planning on going just for a shooting season.

My first glimpse of Manchester, England was as the plane descended through the clouds early in the morning. It was raining and the scene was very dark and gloomy. I have flown in and out of Manchester too many times to remember since then. Nine times out of ten it seems it is a rainy gloomy day and it always reminds me of that first time arriving in Manchester. Richard, Talbot's son, met me at the airport and drove me back to Presaddfed Estate in North Wales. It all seemed fairly strange, driving along the wrong side of the road, going past castles several hundreds of years old, etc... I had some idea what the kennels and the estate were like as Andy Shoaff had written an article in the "Springer Bark" about a visit he had made the previous shooting season. The article included various pictures. There were four outdoor runs for the adult dogs. Each run had a large wooden barrel with one end open for the dogs to sleep in. There were four much smaller indoor runs in a makeshift stone building with corrugated tin roof and large plate glass windows. Coalbunkers served as shelters at the back of each run. There were also a few large pens on open ground with shelters of bales of straw and corrugated tin.

Saighton's Spitfire
Saighton's Spitfire

After lunch Talbot took me to the kennels. He had 3 dogs he wanted me to get ready for the shooting season that was to begin in a month's time. Jack Riepenhoff was due for another Saighton dog and one of the three dogs was going to be for him. Its littermate was to fill another trial order. The third dog was a darkly marked long bodied short-legged dog called Stylo. This dog was a littermate to Saighton's Spitfire (Saighton's Scout's mother). There was also a litter about 10 weeks old bred by Bill Llewellyn out of one of his Dinas Dewi bitches and sired by Saighton's Sting a son of the great Saighton's Stinger. There was another younger litter out of a litter sister to Slattery of Saighton. Slattery was winning a lot of trials in American under the professional handling of Dan Langhans.

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