It was an absolute pleasure to catch up with three former Championship winners and talk about what sacrifices they’ve made to achieve their ambition, the challenges they faced whilst competing and their thoughts on what makes an IGL Champion.
One of my favourite days last season (pre-lockdown) entailed a young student photographer visiting our local shoot. Charlotte Percy is in her final year at AUB studying BA (Hons) Commercial Photography and one of her projects was based on rural life and country pursuits. Charlotte was intrigued to explore what factors make a small driven shoot a good one and how its ethos and values contribute to the physical and psychological well being of everyone involved. It was a pleasure to inform and share our passion for what we do and why we do it and I feel her beautiful photos reflect a truly vibrant working countryside ️
This week’s gundog article in The Countrymans Weekly includes several photos taken by Charlotte Percy Photography.
Equine vet and gundog handler Philip Kennedy Dyson offers a fascinating insight to working his team of gundogs on the grouse moor.
It was a pleasure to chat with Dorset-based gundog handler Ann Lyon about her gorgeous team of Welsh Springer Spaniels. She gave me an interesting and informative account about this wonderful dual-purpose gundog whose one aim in life is to please.
Whether it's introducing a young dog to water or pushing the experienced dog across the water for a retrieve, it's worth stocking up on a medley of water dummies. My article in this week's Countryman's Weekly explores the benefits of this useful training aid.
In this time of uncertainty I wanted to share a heart-warming story which is in this week’s The Countryman’s Weekly. Working dog Ralph is lucky to be alive and his rescue reflects the unrelenting dedication and devotion of our gamekeepers.
I'm sure you'll agree reading a good book or magazine can take you anywhere and during these unsettling times losing yourself in a story may be the perfect distraction. For me it feels good to relax and disappear into a world of fact and fiction and with our period of staying at home it’s the ideal excuse to try and relax with a good book or magazine. I hope my latest feature in April's issue of the Shooting Gazette gives you the opportunity to grab a cuppa and unwind with inspiring gundog trainer Sam Thatcher and her team of awesome cocker spaniels.
I never known anything like what we're experiencing right now. I know you'll be as worried as I am about the health of your family and friends and the livelihoods of those around you. We've all got a role to play in supporting our gundog community and clubs as well as local communities across the country. My latest article in this week's Countryman's Weekly reflects on the wonderful spirit of camaraderie. I can't think of a time when this feeling has been more needed. Supporting each other in these challenging times will help us get through the next few months.
I'm sending my thoughts to you all, hoping that you are finding the strength both physically and emotionally to weather these unsettling times.
Take care xx
I knew Matty Lambden was an inspiring gundog trainer, so when i was given the opportunity to interview him for the Countryman's Weekly i just knew he'd have something interesting to say. We talked about keeping things simple with training, his awesome 2019 IGL experience with Arthur and how he has made himself a leading competitor on the British and Irish gundog Field Trial circuit. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed talking to the quintessential Irishman.
Thoroughly delighted and very excited to see my feature in the March issue of the Clay Shooting magazine. Slightly different from my usual gundog focus and a pleasure to write - this is a fascinating story behind the very first Perazzi MT6.
What a joy to see the Shooting Gazette has devoted TEN pages to the IGL Retriever Championship. Fantastic coverage and I'm sure you agree, amazing photography!
This year I took a slightly different approach and interviewed three key people involved in the prestigious event - the IGL winner, judge and organiser. Hope you like it!
I’m sure you agree, it’s great when all goes right in the field but hard to know what to do when things go wrong. Some of us turn to social media to seek help and guidance from the gundog community and others train with friends or reputable experienced trainers to address the issue. Everyone has their own approach when it comes to achieving steadiness and there’s no doubt going back to basics and reinforcing specific commands is always a good starting point. So once the mid season mayhem has passed and the dogs are enjoying a well-earned rest I’ll reflect on the season and start planning lots of enjoyable training days in 2020.
Enjoy the last few weeks of the season with your dogs!
What a year it has been! I've enjoyed following so many of you via social media and loved seeing your gundog photos and hearing about your achievements and challenges with your training, working tests and trials. My journalistic journey has taken me to many wonderful events this year. Most overwhelming of all has been the enthusiasm you've shared with me on shoot days. Whether it's picking up, beating or working your peg dog you have given me a real insight into the essential role they play in the field and you are all keen to share your passion for gundogs. There's no doubt your willingness to work hard and enjoy the sport depicts a bright future for our working dogs in the field.
So with a few days to go before the big day can I wish all of my readers a wonderful Christmas and lots of enjoyable days in 2020 with your canine companion. And if you're scrambling around for last minute practical gifts I hope my latest article offers a a splash of inspiration...happy shopping!
Preparing for Christmas is a traditional practice and however you choose to celebrate it's always a very personal one. For me, it's a special time to be shared with my family, friends and the dogs and a time when our home becomes festive and fun.
So as we step into December can I wish all of my readers and friends a wonderful Christmas and hope you enjoy my latest feature in the Christmas issue of the Shooting Gazette.
Mark and Joe Taylor from Dorset are passionate about their working Korthals Griffon gundogs. Father and son have owned the breed since 2000 when Mark brought the first Korthals Griffon into the country. This versatile and intelligent breed stands out in the field and creates some interest among the shooting community who are not familiar with the breed. I'm thrilled to see The Countryman's Weekly have published my interview this week which offers an interesting account of the Korthals Griffon in the shooting field.
Hope you enjoy!
Many thanks to Mark and Joe for your time and support.