Field Trials rigged?

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jhorak
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Field Trials rigged?

Post by jhorak » Fri Jun 25, 2010 9:10 am

Hello, I've got a question for those of you who have experience with field trials. Does the average joe have any chance of placing in them? I am considering getting into them at some point (although hunt tests will be my first step), but I have been told by my dog's breeder that it isn't worth my time because unless I am a professional trainer who is "in tight" with the right people, there isn't even a slight chance that my dog would ever place. I'm asking specifically about spaniel field trials. Any input?

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Re: Field Trials rigged?

Post by Brittguy » Fri Jun 25, 2010 9:23 am

Probably the biggest hurdle for a newcomer is lack of handling skills and knowing the difference between a winning performance and one that is just alright.
I have never seen a flushing trial , my observations are about pointing trials.

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Re: Field Trials rigged?

Post by ymepointer » Fri Jun 25, 2010 9:39 am

I believe that the AKC type weekend trials are pretty fair, I have only seen one instance in 20 years of trialing that I felt was suspicious but once you get to money stakes all bets are off :lol: . As the reward for winning changes from a blue ribbon to cold hard cash I would not be suprised if some things become more shakey. Still a good dog is the most important ingredient. With a real good one you will win your share, maybe not all of them you should but I would venture to say most you should.

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Re: Field Trials rigged?

Post by PntrRookie » Fri Jun 25, 2010 10:20 am

jhorak wrote:...I have been told by my dog's breeder that it isn't worth my time because unless I am a professional trainer who is "in tight" with the right people, there isn't even a slight chance that my dog would ever place...
Find a different breeder (maybe one that has pointers :) )

What does that say for his own breeding if he told you
jhorak wrote:...there isn't even a slight chance that my dog would ever place...
Seriously that quote above made my skin crawl. What type of breeder would say that knowing you are interested and it would help their "sport" grow by having newbies! Sure it is not easy, but if there are decent judges, they should pick the best DOG not handler. As others, I am coming from the pointing dog world, but it still should be about the dog, which the trials I have been to usually are. I say GO FOR IT and learn as you go. you may not win with this pup, but I bet you will get another one and keep trying!

Oh by the way to answer the topic of this post...no they are not rigged (AF that is)

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Re: Field Trials rigged?

Post by jhorak » Fri Jun 25, 2010 11:07 am

Thanks for the replies. The breeder was definitely not saying that his dogs do not have the ability to win FTs, he was simply stating that there is so much politics and nepotism going on in the trials that if you are an "outsider," you won't have success. His dogs are high quality and definitely physically capable of winning; the vast majority of the dogs in my dog's ped are FTCHs. I know this breeder used to do field trials, and I wonder if potentially he got burned a couple of times and it left a bad taste in his mouth for the sport.

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Re: Field Trials rigged?

Post by phermes1 » Fri Jun 25, 2010 12:12 pm

I can't comment on spaniel trials, but I doubt human nature changes much between events, so my experience regarding AKC trials - by and large, I consider them fair. Of course, sometimes the judges value things differently than I do, so they come up with a different set of placements than I do, but that's just part of the game, and by no means does it mean the fix was on or anything.
You're paying for two opinions, and for some people, when those opinions don't jive with what they feel Ought To Be, they cry conspiracy and insist they got screwed and the stake was rigged.

With that said - stuff happens. We'd be foolish to think that there aren't some shenanigans going on, but at least from my experience, I don't think it's a rampant problem and a reason not to get involved.
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Re: Field Trials rigged?

Post by gonehuntin' » Fri Jun 25, 2010 12:58 pm

Trials are 98% fair. Anyone that slams them is usually an inadequate trainer or has sub-standard dogs. If anything, pro's are more discriminated against in trials because Amateurs judge them and tend toward other amateurs.

In my view, the best dog an handler win most of the time.
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Re: Field Trials rigged?

Post by shags » Fri Jun 25, 2010 1:05 pm

I wonder if your breeder carried that sour attitude to the trials he ran in. Go in expecting to get beat, and you'll about be guaranteed to get beat. It defies logic to think that the 'in tight crowd' is at every single trial all over the country. In the pointing breed world where I have experience, there are clubs whose trials I sometimes prefer to avoid for whatever reasons, so I just go somewhere else on that date. No problem.
Sometimes hinky stuff happens. So what? Remember that sometimes you get robbed, but sometimes you get a gift, and it all balances out. If you trial because you like to compare your dog's work to others, and you enjoy watching good dogwork no matter who is the owner/handler, you won't often come home disappointed. If someone goes in believing they own a world-beater and should always win no matter what, he won't be a happy guy very often.
Train hard, condition harder, be prepared, and go in ready to kick it. No matter what, look to have some fun. If you don't have much success, honestly reevaluate your skills, and your dog, then do what you need to do.
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Re: Field Trials rigged?

Post by mudhunter » Fri Jun 25, 2010 2:07 pm

My experiences are in Af pointing dog trials. It is amazing how helpful most trialers are to new people. An influx of new blood is necessary to make these sports work, most people understand this and will bend over backwards to help a newbie and most judges love to be able to give a trialer their first ribbon (then your hooked)! Go out and see for your self!

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Re: Field Trials rigged?

Post by Neil » Fri Jun 25, 2010 8:26 pm

If you have the best dog you will win.

There are politics in all sports, but less in dogs than any that I know.

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Re: Field Trials rigged?

Post by zzweims » Fri Jun 25, 2010 8:45 pm

Speaking as an amateur. And a woman. Who runs Weimaraners (yuck! what's that!) against long tails.....I have to say that field trials are probably the most fair sport there is. How in the heck else would my dogs win as often as they do!? :D

Your breeder has a chip on his shoulder. Or he has lousy dogs. Go to a trial. Enjoy and have fun and may the best dog win.

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Re: Field Trials rigged?

Post by jhorak » Fri Jun 25, 2010 9:12 pm

Thanks for all of the replies; this has been what I was hoping to hear. i think chip on the shoulder is probably the most accurate statement for the breeder. He loves his dogs, hunts and trains all of them, but is extremely negative about the FTs. thanks again for the replies. I am going to continue to train anticipating FTs at some point.

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Re: Field Trials rigged?

Post by RayGubernat » Sat Jun 26, 2010 6:15 am

jhorak -

I have never been to a spaniel trial, but i have been to many AKC and AF pointing dog trials.

At any dog trial, there will only be ONE winner. If there are thirty dogs entered, that means there will be twenty - nine losers. One of the losers will take second, one a third and in AKC one will be fourth...but they will all be losers.

Some people have a real hard time with losing. Some cannot and will not accept the ultimate responsibility for losing. They will blame the dog, the judges, politics, the grounds, the bird planter, the weather, their bracemate and/or its handler...whatever.

Sometimes some of it is in fact true, but that does not remove or displace the ultimate responsibility. The ultimate responsibility for winning or losing at a trial rests with the trainer/handler. They must properly prepare the dog, they must assure that the dog is ready for all eventualities, including a less than sportsmanlike handler or a less than well trained bracemate. If you suspect that the judges may have certan biases or preferences, if you choose to entere, it is up to you to show them a dog that is so superior that they have no choice but to reward the performance.

If the handler/trainer puts blame on anywhere but themselves, they do not grow, they do not improve. If the handler/trainer assumes ALL the blame and does whatever they need do to overcome those situations, that trainer/handler has a work ethic that wil result in success. That trainer/handler will grow, will improve and thier dogs will show it...by winning.

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Re: Field Trials rigged?

Post by Sharon » Sat Jun 26, 2010 9:34 am

I only think they're rigged when I don't place. :wink: :lol: When I place I'm very sure it was well judged.
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Re: Field Trials rigged?

Post by Calisdad » Sat Jul 10, 2010 8:55 pm

You say he hunts his dogs and there could be the rub. Springers are required to be steady to flush and shot in trials. That is not a trait some hunters consider valuable. If its what you want get started by at least getting your dogs junior hunt test where steadiness isn't an issue. Then you can decide for yourself if that's what you want or perhaps check out BDC or NAGDA or some of the other competitive organizations. Keep it fun for the both of you.

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Re: Field Trials rigged?

Post by bwjohn » Sat Jul 10, 2010 9:51 pm

There are politics in all sports, but less in dogs than any that I know.
Don't agree with this in the slightest. I wonder what level of sport you are referring to. Most sports are so more objective than dog competitions and it is easy to find the winner. Judging dogs is a highly subjective event that can lead to a lot of different outcomes and therefore lends itself to questionable outcomes. Everyone is suppose to have the same rules to play by according to your given venue, but the rules are open to a lot of interpretation. I do not think that you would find two judges that would read and interpret the rules exactly the same way.

I attend quite a few trials and do not participate. But I love to see those dogs work. As a person on the outside looking in, I have seen enough stuff to really make me question the legitimacy of more than one outcome.

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Re: Field Trials rigged?

Post by birddogger » Sun Jul 11, 2010 8:38 am

bwjohn wrote:
There are politics in all sports, but less in dogs than any that I know.
Don't agree with this in the slightest. I wonder what level of sport you are referring to. Most sports are so more objective than dog competitions and it is easy to find the winner. Judging dogs is a highly subjective event that can lead to a lot of different outcomes and therefore lends itself to questionable outcomes. Everyone is suppose to have the same rules to play by according to your given venue, but the rules are open to a lot of interpretation. I do not think that you would find two judges that would read and interpret the rules exactly the same way.

I attend quite a few trials and do not participate. But I love to see those dogs work. As a person on the outside looking in, I have seen enough stuff to really make me question the legitimacy of more than one outcome.

brandon
I agree.

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Re: Field Trials rigged?

Post by Sharon » Sun Jul 11, 2010 10:14 am

gonehuntin' wrote:Trials are 98% fair. Anyone that slams them is usually an inadequate trainer or has sub-standard dogs. If anything, pro's are more discriminated against in trials because Amateurs judge them and tend toward other amateurs.

In my view, the best dog an handler win most of the time.

Only 15 years with American Field trials but I agree with gonehuntin' . 98 percent of the time everything is fair.

If one's mindset is to always look for a reason why the winner should not have won - "He's a friend of the judge ".
"He's a pro and they want him to bring more dogs next year . " then you shouldn't trial. It won't bring any pleasure.

That is not to say I have never had an annoying doubt. I think it's important for judges to make sure everything even appears fair.
One day, the judge went out for breakfast with 2 friends before the trial. The two friends won. Was there anything wrong with going out for breakfast together. Maybe.

Wherever possible we try to get out of town judges.
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Re: Field Trials rigged?

Post by Chukar12 » Sun Jul 11, 2010 1:23 pm

Any sport where you don't keep a measurable score is subjective and even some of those have rules that are open to interpretation. I think we all become emotional about our dogs and as was said earlier out of thirty dogs there can be only one winner. A person who enters into the sport of trialing truly concerned about whether they will get a fair shake could attend trials and meet some folks and probably put their mind at ease. Many participants in trials are judges themselves and the fraternal order of things is largely self policeing. At a trial there will be a microcism of humanity, there will mostly be people of ample social skills to get along, but there is a person or two prone to temper tantrums, and frankly they end up with plenty of reason to throw them as their dogs usually perform like they are trained and handled by someone not quite in tune with thier emotions. In te law of large numbers the best perfomers will come out on top, we cannot live and die by a single trial, the very best dogs are only placed 30% of the time or so.

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Re: Field Trials rigged?

Post by Birddogz » Sun Jul 11, 2010 4:24 pm

I actually had a guy tell me that he had a judge tell him that his Brittany had too much hunt in him, and he needed a tail to win a trial. I think that is ridiculous. There is with out a doubt politics involved.
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Re: Field Trials rigged?

Post by ezzy333 » Sun Jul 11, 2010 4:27 pm

Birddogz wrote:I actually had a guy tell me that he had a judge tell him that his Brittany had too much hunt in him, and he needed a tail to win a trial. I think that is ridiculous. There is with out a doubt politics involved.
With out a doubt someone said this but it is pretty stupid when so many trials are run without a long tail even entered.

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Re: Field Trials rigged?

Post by RayGubernat » Mon Jul 12, 2010 8:05 am

Birddogz wrote:I actually had a guy tell me that he had a judge tell him that his Brittany had too much hunt in him, and he needed a tail to win a trial. I think that is ridiculous. There is with out a doubt politics involved.
That sounds like BS to me.

First and foremost I don't think anyone who is juding would be dumb enough to say that to a competitor. Even if, (and I might say ESPECIALLY IF) a judge were biased in that regard, they would not say it to a competitor. That would be an incredibly stupid thing to do.

What that sounds like is a fellow with a dog they were very proud of, that was entered in the wrong kind of trial for that dog. The dog did not place becasue it did not do what was expected of a dog, in that particular kind of trial, and they got all bent out of shape about it.


Soooo of course, since MY dog did not WIN, either the trial was fixed or the judge was biased.

I have seen it before. I call BS.

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Re: Field Trials rigged?

Post by Ricky Ticky Shorthairs » Mon Jul 12, 2010 8:35 am

RayGubernat wrote:
Birddogz wrote:I actually had a guy tell me that he had a judge tell him that his Brittany had too much hunt in him, and he needed a tail to win a trial. I think that is ridiculous. There is with out a doubt politics involved.
That sounds like BS to me.

First and foremost I don't think anyone who is juding would be dumb enough to say that to a competitor. Even if, (and I might say ESPECIALLY IF) a judge were biased in that regard, they would not say it to a competitor. That would be an incredibly stupid thing to do.

What that sounds like is a fellow with a dog they were very proud of, that was entered in the wrong kind of trial for that dog. The dog did not place becasue it did not do what was expected of a dog, in that particular kind of trial, and they got all bent out of shape about it.


Soooo of course, since MY dog did not WIN, either the trial was fixed or the judge was biased.

I have seen it before. I call BS.

RayG

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Re: Field Trials rigged?

Post by Birddogz » Mon Jul 12, 2010 8:41 am

This guy swears that is what happened. He claims that is why he started running with EPs. He said his Britt ran with Eps all the time and matched them all the time. He has owned EPs and Britts for years, and claims that EPs are generally better at trials, but this particular Britt was a dynamo, and was discriminated against. I have no reason to doubt him, as he has done well in trials. If he was lying he was a very good liar as he was very upset. He reported the judge. Anyway, there is no such thing as too much hunt in a dog.
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Re: Field Trials rigged?

Post by zzweims » Mon Jul 12, 2010 8:45 am

Birddogz wrote:I actually had a guy tell me that he had a judge tell him that his Brittany had too much hunt in him, and he needed a tail to win a trial. I think that is ridiculous. There is with out a doubt politics involved.
I had a judge tell me before my brace that he has never and will NEVER place a Weimaraner. After placements were announced, I thanked him for the blue ribbon. He just shrugged, said it was a 'fluke' and would never happen again. It did. Several times. Under the same judge. Every time he put up my dog, he seemed embarrased and told me not to tell anyone. So naturally, I told EVERYONE :mrgreen:

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Re: Field Trials rigged?

Post by Birddogz » Mon Jul 12, 2010 8:47 am

On another note, I have another friend who trials EPs. He has done very, very well in trials. He will be the first to tell you that politics are most definitely involved. He claims a good horse can be as important as a good dog in trials. Any time things are judged instead of keeping score, there is bias involved. He isn't crying about it, he just said that it is a fact of being a Field Trialer.
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Re: Field Trials rigged?

Post by birddogger » Mon Jul 12, 2010 9:17 am

I believe there are certainly some politics and/or bias involved anytime one or two human beings are determining the outcome. However, the answer to the question [ Field Trials rigged? ], the answer is absolutely NO. Also, even with some politics or bias involved, a good dog and a good handler will overcome that and make it a moot issue. JMO.

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Re: Field Trials rigged?

Post by slistoe » Mon Jul 12, 2010 9:28 am

I trialed hard for many years. I won some and lost more. Sometimes I agreed with the type of performance that the judges picked to win and sometimes I didn't - but you pay attention and learn what type of performance any particular judge likes to see and if at all possible you show him that with your dog. So, yes there are politics in a field trial if you believe that each judge having personal nuances to the interpretation of what constitutes a class dog within the general parameters of the "Standard", but personally I don't see it that way. One judge is a little easier on manners around game if the groundwork is all there, another judge is absolutely hard line on the birdwork. If you want to really know what a particular judge thinks of various aspects of the dogwork and their relative importance, watch him/her run their own dog under an unfamiliar judge. They will show you what they think is the best show their dog can put forward. If they are a good handler with a good dog (an essential proviso), watch them run when they have a "buddy" judging and you will see what the buddy thinks is a good mix.

And a dog can most certainly have too much "hunt". In field trial parlay it is akin to "pottering" in the hunt test world. If the dog drops his nose frequently or spends too much time in every piece of cover he is simply not getting it done at the pace required to be a winner. Give any dog enough time and he will come up with the birds, but field trials are about separating bird finders, not giving every dog ample opportunity to "hunt them up". Find them the first time or move along - because the winners can.

In regards to the horse comment, it is essential that you have a good horse if you want to win in horseback stakes. You are the handler - you need to handle your dog to the best of his ability. A good horse allows you to do that. Having a poor horse would be like expecting to handle your dog in a walking stake on crutches.

I have heard the allegations of the "fix" at trials many times. Having seen almost every dog run in the stake I would invariably have seen the performance of the complainant and I used to try to explain to them how it was that their dog (or they as handler) simply did not have the right stuff to get it done on that day, but I soon learned that they really, really, really did not want to hear it.

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Re: Field Trials rigged?

Post by Birddogz » Mon Jul 12, 2010 9:54 am

Slistoe, I agree with you on most everything. The one thing that I take issue with is the time it takes to find birds. If a FT dog takes too much time finding a bird, he/she should be penalized. However, what about a dog that runs by birds because he is running too fast. I think a good gun dog is thorough and snappy. I would like to take some meat dogs behind a FT dog in a wild pheasant trial. I bet the dogs behind the FT dog would find a bunch of birds. I know that you don't make the rules up, and you are just living by them. I just think that "run" is sooooo overvalued in FTing. Bird finding should be the most valued, and sometimes I don't think it is. No system is perfect.
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Re: Field Trials rigged?

Post by Shadow » Mon Jul 12, 2010 11:22 am

Birddogz wrote:Slistoe, I agree with you on most everything. The one thing that I take issue with is the time it takes to find birds. If a FT dog takes too much time finding a bird, he/she should be penalized. However, what about a dog that runs by birds because he is running too fast. I think a good gun dog is thorough and snappy. I would like to take some meat dogs behind a FT dog in a wild pheasant trial. I bet the dogs behind the FT dog would find a bunch of birds. I know that you don't make the rules up, and you are just living by them. I just think that "run" is sooooo overvalued in FTing. Bird finding should be the most valued, and sometimes I don't think it is. No system is perfect.
sure- take your meat dog behind a high powered FT dog- say like one of Rick Meyers winners- I'd like to see yours find more birds

um- I consider my male a potential FT dog- you think your meat dogs would find more wild pheasants say here on the farm

fixed field trials- you sure seem to have a grudge
I met a guy who said the same up in Michigan- why- because he and his freinds couldn't win- he stated all field trials were fixed and wanted nothing to do with anyone who trialed- course when pinned down on the internet he denied saying that

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Re: Field Trials rigged?

Post by slistoe » Mon Jul 12, 2010 11:30 am

I'm not just living by the rules, I am understanding them. Bird finding is certainly not undervalued - in most formats you cannot be considered for placement without finding a bird. Blinking of birds is a disqualifying fault. Even at Ames bird count is a consideration. But it is most justifiably not the only consideration. Run is valued in field trials as every other aspect. No dog can win without enough of it. Just as no dog can win without finding birds and no dog can win without having the requisite manners around game. It is not an "overvalue", it is one component and when there are dogs that possess all the components there is no amount of compensation that can be made to a dog that is lacking in one of them. So, folks whose dogs find birds and have manners but are seriously lacking in the run department will make out that it is overvalued, while the other dogs win. Faster pace requires more endurance, more cooperation and a better nose if the dog is to hit birdy cover to the front, maintain forward contact with the handler and find birds. If no dogs were capable of performing at the pace set in field trial competition then the pace would slow down to where separation in the dogs was again shown. The better the physical, mental and olfactory capabilities of the dogs becomes the pace will move out to force a separation in the dogs. Field trials aren't about being good enough, they are about doing what few other dogs can do.

Certainly there will be dogs that run by birds in a field trial - they are forced to. If they do not have the pace and endurance to make more time for themselves they will get one pass at a piece of cover and must move on. Some dogs will consistently find birds and others will struggle. Slow down some and both dogs will find many more birds, but you are seriously kidding yourself if you think that any dog will find all the birds. Take another competitive field trial dog and follow behind the competing brace and you will find birds. You don't need the "magical" meat dog to do that. I will also take a field trial dog and hunt behind anyone's dog and we will find birds. Just as you will find birds if you follow after the field trial dog with your meat dog in the hunting field.

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Re: Field Trials rigged?

Post by Birddogz » Mon Jul 12, 2010 11:52 am

The friends I am talking about DO win in FTs. They still say they are political. One of them compares it to figure skating. He was telling me that he was watching the Olympics with his wife, and that the same way that the judges seem to differ in rating a performance on the ice, they seem to in FTs.

I am telling you any dog that runs that fast and far in that amount of time is running by birds. Simple as that.

If you take a FT champ and let him loose in a 40 acre CRP field in late season, you are going to have some mighty upset hunters. Take that SAME DOG and never trial it. Simply hunt it 60 days a year, and run him 40 more off season from foot. That dog will be a bird finding machine that will not run too far in front. He will run laterally more and find more birds and be thorough. It is my opinion that Fts reward the speed that the dog travels to the front too much. I understand that FTing isn't hunting. I understand that FT dogs play "a silly game" as my buddies like to call it. Fters "PUSH" their dogs to run bigger and bigger. That is the name of the game. I just don't see why the rules of a FT require dogs to hunt at such distances?

Now if there is an AA champ and he is hunted and trialed, that dog may be able to do it all. I know there are dogs that can adjust to foot hunting and horseback. I will say this though, a dog ranging way out is a disaster in late season pheasant hunting. A DISASTER! I have seen it over and over again.

Bottom line is this, FTs create wonderful gene pools, that I like to take advantage of. I personally think NAVHDA is the best test for my hunting tastes. God bless them all. Without them we may not have as good of dogs as we do. That being said, I believe that FTs have strayed from what they originally started out to be. I also think that without a doubt there are politics involved. I lived too long to be naive enough to think a judge can't be swayed by relationships with people. They can, and do.
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Re: Field Trials rigged?

Post by dan v » Mon Jul 12, 2010 11:58 am

Birddogz wrote:Slistoe, I agree with you on most everything. The one thing that I take issue with is the time it takes to find birds. If a FT dog takes too much time finding a bird, he/she should be penalized. However, what about a dog that runs by birds because he is running too fast. I think a good gun dog is thorough and snappy. I would like to take some meat dogs behind a FT dog in a wild pheasant trial. I bet the dogs behind the FT dog would find a bunch of birds. I know that you don't make the rules up, and you are just living by them. I just think that "run" is sooooo overvalued in FTing. Bird finding should be the most valued, and sometimes I don't think it is. No system is perfect.
All around the doggy internet we will find the phrase, "I would like to take some meat dogs behind a FT dog in a wild pheasant trial. I bet the dogs behind the FT dog would find a bunch of birds."

Quite often it's followed up with, "Heck, my hunting dog will out bird any of them trial dogs." Reminds me of the "Duel in the Desert."

Anybody every think about the upbringing of the trial dog? His upbringing and training has been to excel as a trial dog. That very same dog COULD have been brought up as a foot hunting dog and been one of the, "....my hunting dog will out bird any of them trial dogs."

Is race over valued? I would say yes. Is a high tail over valued? Again I would say yes. But here's why I think those two attributes are over valued. They are easy to identify and describe to the judging partner. Those two attributes often overshadow the dog that has the "smart race"....logical forward, in contact, running objectives on the correct side according to the wind........the dog with the easy long flowing gait.

But we have what we have.
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Re: Field Trials rigged?

Post by Birddogz » Mon Jul 12, 2010 12:06 pm

slistoe wrote:I'm not just living by the rules, I am understanding them. Bird finding is certainly not undervalued - in most formats you cannot be considered for placement without finding a bird. Blinking of birds is a disqualifying fault. Even at Ames bird count is a consideration. But it is most justifiably not the only consideration. Run is valued in field trials as every other aspect. No dog can win without enough of it. Just as no dog can win without finding birds and no dog can win without having the requisite manners around game. It is not an "overvalue", it is one component and when there are dogs that possess all the components there is no amount of compensation that can be made to a dog that is lacking in one of them. So, folks whose dogs find birds and have manners but are seriously lacking in the run department will make out that it is overvalued, while the other dogs win. Faster pace requires more endurance, more cooperation and a better nose if the dog is to hit birdy cover to the front, maintain forward contact with the handler and find birds. If no dogs were capable of performing at the pace set in field trial competition then the pace would slow down to where separation in the dogs was again shown. The better the physical, mental and olfactory capabilities of the dogs becomes the pace will move out to force a separation in the dogs. Field trials aren't about being good enough, they are about doing what few other dogs can do.

Certainly there will be dogs that run by birds in a field trial - they are forced to. If they do not have the pace and endurance to make more time for themselves they will get one pass at a piece of cover and must move on. Some dogs will consistently find birds and others will struggle. Slow down some and both dogs will find many more birds, but you are seriously kidding yourself if you think that any dog will find all the birds. Take another competitive field trial dog and follow behind the competing brace and you will find birds. You don't need the "magical" meat dog to do that. I will also take a field trial dog and hunt behind anyone's dog and we will find birds. Just as you will find birds if you follow after the field trial dog with your meat dog in the hunting field.

If a dog has a superior nose, he shouldn't be going by birds. Actually" if a dog has a good nose he shouldn't have to run so far!" :lol: He ought to find them faster. That line is straight out of a man who has run hunt tests, FTs, etc. for 40 years. I find it funny how some FT participants are so honest about the short comings of FTs, yet some are so defensive. I know 3 different guys who run Fts consistently, and 1 guy who died 7 years ago that did a lot of trialing. His name was Len Forbush. He used to trial GSPs. He owned Shameless. He would be the first to tell you that Shameless was his best FT dog, however he couldn't hold a candle to Annie his little setter in the field while hunting. He is the one that told me that a great meat dog is just as special as a great FT dog. Only difference is the game he used to say.
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Re: Field Trials rigged?

Post by Birddogz » Mon Jul 12, 2010 12:11 pm

Wyndancer wrote:
Birddogz wrote:Slistoe, I agree with you on most everything. The one thing that I take issue with is the time it takes to find birds. If a FT dog takes too much time finding a bird, he/she should be penalized. However, what about a dog that runs by birds because he is running too fast. I think a good gun dog is thorough and snappy. I would like to take some meat dogs behind a FT dog in a wild pheasant trial. I bet the dogs behind the FT dog would find a bunch of birds. I know that you don't make the rules up, and you are just living by them. I just think that "run" is sooooo overvalued in FTing. Bird finding should be the most valued, and sometimes I don't think it is. No system is perfect.
All around the doggy internet we will find the phrase, "I would like to take some meat dogs behind a FT dog in a wild pheasant trial. I bet the dogs behind the FT dog would find a bunch of birds."

Quite often it's followed up with, "Heck, my hunting dog will out bird any of them trial dogs." Reminds me of the "Duel in the Desert."

Anybody every think about the upbringing of the trial dog? His upbringing and training has been to excel as a trial dog. That very same dog COULD have been brought up as a foot hunting dog and been one of the, "....my hunting dog will out bird any of them trial dogs."

Is race over valued? I would say yes. Is a high tail over valued? Again I would say yes. But here's why I think those two attributes are over valued. They are easy to identify and describe to the judging partner. Those two attributes often overshadow the dog that has the "smart race"....logical forward, in contact, running objectives on the correct side according to the wind........the dog with the easy long flowing gait.

But we have what we have.

Wyndancer, if you read my above post I say the same thing that you are saying. I said identical dogs behave differently when trained differently. I agree completely with that. Will I own a pointer? You bet I will. How was that dog bred? FTs, almost certainly.
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Re: Field Trials rigged?

Post by slistoe » Mon Jul 12, 2010 12:12 pm

Birddogz wrote:

If a dog has a superior nose, he shouldn't be going by birds.
Like I said earlier, they really, really, really don't want to hear it.
Birddogz wrote: I find it funny how some FT participants are so honest about the short comings of FTs, yet some are so defensive.
I find it funny that when I have been totally honest with you that you characterize me as defensive because I don't want to blaspheme the trial system.

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Re: Field Trials rigged?

Post by slistoe » Mon Jul 12, 2010 12:18 pm

Wyndancer wrote: Is race over valued? I would say yes. Is a high tail over valued? Again I would say yes. But here's why I think those two attributes are over valued. They are easy to identify and describe to the judging partner. Those two attributes often overshadow the dog that has the "smart race"....logical forward, in contact, running objectives on the correct side according to the wind........the dog with the easy long flowing gait.

But we have what we have.
I think you are confusing a couple of issues here. Race is race and carries the weight of a superior bird dog. But I would agree that there are some judges who don't understand what a quality race really consists of. Hitting logical objectives, knowing the wind and keeping contact are all a part of "race" and are the biggest reasons why I would not agree with some judges on the top dogs in a stake. But human nature being the way it is, they are just as unlikely to take "education" as birddogz is and so when running under them you use your good horse and push the dog a little harder, and let him run a little wilder, knowing that the dog will still follow his nose and get you a bird.

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Re: Field Trials rigged?

Post by Birddogz » Mon Jul 12, 2010 12:28 pm

I haven't blasted FTs. I have said they have flaws, and they certainly do. I have also said that they produce great genetics, and that dogs out of FT lineage make great hunting dogs. You seem to find the negative things I say and concentrate on them.

Also, many FT guys that I have spoken with, and who have been far more successful at them than you have been, agree with me on most points. They understand the flaws and make fun of them on a regular basis. They aren't so uptight as you seem to be.
Last edited by Birddogz on Mon Jul 12, 2010 12:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Field Trials rigged?

Post by slistoe » Mon Jul 12, 2010 12:41 pm

The original premise was that field trials are rigged and if you weren't connected to the right people you would never be able to place. You posted affirmations to that effect which are completely erroneous. I tried to explain to you some of the reasons why things may appear to be that way even when they were not. But you didn't want to hear that. You also expounded some of the common misconceptions about the running and judging of a field trial which I tried to explain to you in context, but you didn't want to hear that either. So what are we left with? You believe that field trials are political and the placements are more about who the people are connected with than the quality of the dog. You believe that field trials are flawed and focus on aspects that are deleterious to the making of a good bird dog. But when you want a great hunting dog you will buy one from FT stock - Why??? Because the system works. There is a reason that like minded individuals will select the same type of dog for placements. There is a reason why experienced bird dog men value a quality race in a bird dog. There is a reason why the various aspects of field trials have evolved the way they have - to select breeding stock for making better bird dogs in the hands of hunting dog trainers.

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Re: Field Trials rigged?

Post by Birddogz » Mon Jul 12, 2010 1:06 pm

Wow. Defend FTs much? :lol: I have said they are flawed, and that I disagree with the importance they put on race. I never said they were worthless, I simply see them as flawed. Every single FT guy I have had a beer with will agree with me, with the exception it looks like, being you. I didn't start this thread by the way as you have insinuated. I merely have passed on what I have been told by EXPERIENCED FTers. I am thankful that FTs exist, and know they have contributed positively to bird dogs. Is that clear?
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Re: Field Trials rigged?

Post by dan v » Mon Jul 12, 2010 1:09 pm

Well that would be a nice place to put this thread out of it's misery! A perfect ending.
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Re: Field Trials rigged?

Post by Birddogz » Mon Jul 12, 2010 1:25 pm

For a guy who thinks they consider high tales too much, you sure have a beauty in your avatar. I think I'd be more discrete in my objection. :lol: :lol: Beautiful dog. Best looking Gordon I've seen, period.
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Re: Field Trials rigged?

Post by dan v » Mon Jul 12, 2010 1:54 pm

Birddogz wrote:For a guy who thinks they consider high tales too much, you sure have a beauty in your avatar. I think I'd be more discrete in my objection. :lol: :lol: Beautiful dog. Best looking Gordon I've seen, period.
I happen to think it's an "easy way out" for the inexperienced judge. Same as range. "He ran far from us and had a 12 o'clock when he pointed. I like him for first."

Did it matter that he ran on the wrong side of the cover for the wind? Did it matter he covered the ground like snuffling pig? Did it matter that he moved like see-saw? Nope. He ran far away from us and pointed high. Easy, and can remembered and told rather easily to the other judge. Etched in the mind like a photo. "Man, we can on him and he looked beautiful. I can still see it."

I consider the high tail somewhat like sprinkles on a doughnut. You go to the bakery, get yourself a nice cake doughnut...and it's good. But dipped in some chocolate....it's better. But wait, SPRINKLES!!!....now that makes fine doughnut......but if the base cake doughnut isn't very good, all the sprinkles in the world won't make a bad cake doughnut good.
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Re: Field Trials rigged?

Post by Birddogz » Mon Jul 12, 2010 2:13 pm

Wyndancer wrote:
Birddogz wrote:For a guy who thinks they consider high tales too much, you sure have a beauty in your avatar. I think I'd be more discrete in my objection. :lol: :lol: Beautiful dog. Best looking Gordon I've seen, period.
I happen to think it's an "easy way out" for the inexperienced judge. Same as range. "He ran far from us and had a 12 o'clock when he pointed. I like him for first."

Did it matter that he ran on the wrong side of the cover for the wind? Did it matter he covered the ground like snuffling pig? Did it matter that he moved like see-saw? Nope. He ran far away from us and pointed high. Easy, and can remembered and told rather easily to the other judge. Etched in the mind like a photo. "Man, we can on him and he looked beautiful. I can still see it."

I consider the high tail somewhat like sprinkles on a doughnut. You go to the bakery, get yourself a nice cake doughnut...and it's good. But dipped in some chocolate....it's better. But wait, SPRINKLES!!!....now that makes fine doughnut......but if the base cake doughnut isn't very good, all the sprinkles in the world won't make a bad cake doughnut good.
Wise words my friend. I couldn't agree more with the analogy.
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Re: Field Trials rigged?

Post by Rich Heaton » Mon Jul 12, 2010 2:57 pm

Just to throw my 2 cents into this spat,,,, I think every judge I have ever ran under has put up what He thinks is the best dog. Now I always don't agree but its never been a political and or financial decision. Just because someone doesn't see an AA dog or a SD like I do doesn't make it wrong. When I show up to an SD trial I hope my dog will appeal to the masses,,,, run at good range, find more birds than anybody else, good style (not great), and handles easily,,,,, you bring that to the line and you'll find yourself in the winners circle,,,, every now and then. An AA stake I hope to bring a dog that runs alot, makes one maybe two moves that are awsome and has one find to proof he is broke,,,,, its all I really ask. Its a good benchmark to put up,,, sure I'm gonna get beat more times than not but that's field trialing. In this sport ya have to have some pretty thick skin, your not going to win some of the trials you think you won but your going to win some of them that you should have lost. Gotta keep showing up and Fire'n Your Bullets and see how your attitude changes and the law of averages shake out 10 years from now.

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Re: Field Trials rigged?

Post by Chukar12 » Mon Jul 12, 2010 3:30 pm

I am confused about the argument that field trials are flawed, by what standard? There is nothing I can think of in competition or life for that matter that isn't flawed depending on the point of view. In days gone by, hunters saddled up their horses and followed their dogs for miles and miles. For the most part, that isn't realistic today, but it sure is fun and field trials mimic that. It is not easy to train a dog to meet the standards of AKC, AF, or AFTCA, many newcomers do quite well in puppy and derby stakes and never finish a dog. That isn't politics it is training.

I have been in field trials for a year and a half and for the most part I have gotten the placements i deserved. I strongly believe that field trial community embraces newcomers very well and in the law of large numbers you are judged fairly.

Comparing hunting dogs to trial dogs ( mine do both ) is a rather moot point. The biggest difference I see between the two is in the consistency of the dogs and it is trainer related. Most field trial folks by nature of the game, are focused on the performance of the dog. Most hunters (and I apologize for painting with a broad brush) are inclined to take shortcuts as their purpose is birds in the bag; not necesarily steadiness or style. One or the other isn't right or wrong, again I see this as point of view.

Competition is necessary as it stratifies the breeding stock. Dogs that are judged for characteristics that are interchangeable between hunting/trialing by a number of relatively impartial experts over a period of years and come out on top are obviously the best candidates to perpetuate the breed in form and function.

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Re: Field Trials rigged?

Post by dan v » Mon Jul 12, 2010 4:14 pm

Rich Heaton wrote:Just to throw my 2 cents into this spat,,,, I think every judge I have ever ran under has put up what He thinks is the best dog. Now I always don't agree but its never been a political and or financial decision. Just because someone doesn't see an AA dog or a SD like I do doesn't make it wrong. When I show up to an SD trial I hope my dog will appeal to the masses,,,, run at good range, find more birds than anybody else, good style (not great), and handles easily,,,,, you bring that to the line and you'll find yourself in the winners circle,,,, every now and then. An AA stake I hope to bring a dog that runs alot, makes one maybe two moves that are awsome and has one find to proof he is broke,,,,, its all I really ask. Its a good benchmark to put up,,, sure I'm gonna get beat more times than not but that's field trialing. In this sport ya have to have some pretty thick skin, your not going to win some of the trials you think you won but your going to win some of them that you should have lost. Gotta keep showing up and Fire'n Your Bullets and see how your attitude changes and the law of averages shake out 10 years from now.
Who's the first person that has to be pleased? Me. If I run my dog and I'm happy with the performance...that's what I need to take away...not some $3 ribbon.

I know I've run my male and although he placed, I was quite sure he had won. Was it political? I really don't believe it was....more that he was too much dog for the stake. But I was pleased.

What "we" need to realize about the sport of FT'ing...more so the judging, is this. It's one of the few sports in which the pros are judged by the amateurs. And if you don't think that plays into how or why a dog does, or doesn't, do something or how it's perceived...well, see, I have this bridge and....................
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Re: Field Trials rigged?

Post by Birddogz » Mon Jul 12, 2010 4:20 pm

I would say wrestling is the fairest of competition I can think of.

If you want to be fair, you need a scoring system that everyone can see. Lab competitions show the score on the screen. Timed hunts with hunters shooting birds are straight forward. Birds get shot in a certain amount of time, and everyone has the same amount of birds put out. What makes FTs different, is the interpretation of what a dog is supposed to do. There are no set scores. In basketball, when you dunk, it is always 2 points, regardless of style. In FTs you never know what the judge is thinking. The best dogs do rise to the top, as cream does, it is just the "opinion of the judge" that makes it difficult. FTs are a very positive entity in the evolution of bird dogs.
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Re: Field Trials rigged?

Post by Chukar12 » Mon Jul 12, 2010 7:11 pm

There is no doubt, a slam dunk that goes through the net is always two points, but the same slap on the wrist is not always a trip to the foul line. In baseball strike zones vary, in football a holding call can be different on every down. Subjectiveness permeates the borders of anything judged...or any score kept...and sometimes those who excel get the benefit of the doubt regardless of the subject matter its so engrained in humanity that it must be some type of natural law. Judging in a field trial for all intents and purposes is an act of volunteerism, by and for people that those engaging in this forum undoubtebly hold much in common with.

One could argue for days on how to improve the judging. Is a non-retrieving stake or a retrieving stake more fair? Well we all want a dog that retrieves, but what if you have a great run with a perfect back, birds are scarce and you get a pefect find and point with five minutes left and your gunner misses? A different dog takes a stake that all said you would have won. Is this fair? How could you fix it? Remove the retrieving of course, and then the argument becomes circular. BDC formats are certainly closer to the most common form of hunting, but the requirements for pointers are very loose by comparison, in fact the timed and rushed format penalizes a wing, shot and fall broke dog. On top of that, if you cannot shoot...better stay home...and subjective? What constitutes running which is against the rules?

Birdogs said it best, "FTs are a very positive entity in the evolution of bird dogs" and I believe this is all forms of trials...when people are involved enough to contribute their time and effort to an organized activity for the sport; ambassadors are born that help carry a tradition on, and we can use all the help we can get.

So can an average Joe get placed? I believe that was question one. I am an average Joe ... even named Joe and I have some $7.50 ribbons ( They aren't $3.00 :D ). Yes they can get placed and addicted, so go enter, and kinda hurry...

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Re: Field Trials rigged?

Post by Shadow » Mon Jul 12, 2010 9:36 pm

so you feel wrestling is the fairest- sure hope you don't mean that fake stuff

ah- you come from a wrestling family- how many matches have you had- perhaps you had a couple brother wrestlers- or one maybe a long time coach-

speaking of FT- you ever run your meat dogs in NSTRA- rigged as you didn't win- or rigged so you won't ever enter

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