Hope you enjoy!
Many thanks to Ash for his time and support.
Gundog handler Ash Green is a Spanish Water Dog enthusiast. His dog, Chica is a wonderful working example of the breed - versatile, intelligent and brave she 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 Spanish Water Dog in the shooting field.
Hope you enjoy!
Many thanks to Ash for his time and support.
My article in the Shooting Gazette, April 2019 was a privilege to write as it gives the real unsung heroes a chance to shine. There's no doubt these four success stories highlight the rewards and challenges of a rescue gundog and shows how adaptable they can be in a new environment. Time, patience and understanding the dog's needs are key requirements in developing a solid working relationship and ultimately a contented gundog. Hope you enjoy reading this feature as much as I enjoyed writing it!
Many thanks to Nicola Kebbell from Spaniel Aid UK, Clare Skelton, Nick Browne, Chris Hinch and Nicola Rushmore - You are all shining stars!
The Bath & West Showgrounds are set to come alive for this year’s West of England Game Fair with a host of gundog events, competitions and demonstrations. Now in its 22nd year, the countryside show on the 16th and 17th March will offer something for everyone and the gundog events will aim to inspire, educate and entertain all the family. Exhibitors and visitors alike always say there’s no event like a game fair and this year the action packed programme will not only give you the chance to watch the top dogs and handlers in their field but also to enjoy the exciting range of have-a-go events. Here’s a taster of what you can expect…
Don’t miss out!
The gundog demonstrations are set to offer something for everyone. Professional gundog trainer Howard Kirby from Mullenscote Gundogs will be offering engaging demonstrations in the indoor and outdoor arenas. His team will provide top tips and training techniques to produce spaniels and retrievers from puppy hood to the shooting and competition field. Howard will also showcase his fantastic team of HPRs and English Setters and reveal unique techniques on how to train these highly specialised breeds.
Do you have an issue with your gundog in the field and want to resolve it? Howard is offering an exclusive ‘Q & A’ session in the indoor arena. The team will attempt to answer your questions and display how they problem solve when working a dog. There’s no doubt the popular demo will attract huge crowds over the two days so make sure you find a suitable viewing spot at the arena and enjoy the talented and captivating Mullenscote Gundogs.
Fun for all the family!
There are an exciting range of have-a-go events that provide enjoyment for all the family. Whether you are taking part or watching there is plenty of banter between all involved. The scurry events can be highly competitive and may not suit everyone in the gundog domain but it’s a joy to watch the experienced dogs and handlers give a stylish performance.
The main aim for the serious scurry competitor is to make the top fastest 20 dogs in the BASC Scurry League and receive an invite to compete in the grand final which will determine the overall winner. Throughout the spring and summer competitors can attend 9 game fairs across the country and have the opportunity to gain prizes and points for the league in each scurry they compete in.
Junior Handler Challenge...
Many youngsters take part in the have-a-go events, some simply want to have a fun challenge with their family pet, whilst others wish to experience the test environment and put their training into practice. These young handlers are dynamic and full of enthusiasm and the West of England Game Fair offers an exciting and unique challenge for the next generation of our gundog handlers.
Make sure the have-a-go events are one of the many highlights of your day. Grab some lunch and find a suitable viewing spot to watch a plethora of dogs in action. You’ll be suitably impressed by the experts and their biddable dogs and you’ll have a giggle at the unexpected antics of those dogs that happily ignore the whistle, jump the straw bales and aim for the nearest game-burger stand. It’s a delight to watch and fabulous entertainment for all the family.
Put your training to the test…
BASC have a variety of gundog activities for this year and BASC Gundog Officer Kate Dymock is delighted to confirm the return of the Training Clinic with experienced trainer Jim Penaliggon. Alongside the clinic is the ever popular BASC Gundog Test run by M & M Gundogs. This is an ideal way to see if your basics are solidly ingrained and to evaluate your training progress in a test environment.
If you’re looking to talk through any training issues or find out about gundog classes the Duchy and North Devon Gundog Club will be situated on the BASC balcony and available to discuss any training queries you may have. It’s the perfect opportunity to have a chat with like minded people and obtain some re-assurance with your training techniques.
There’s never been a better time to buy!
There are a vast amount of trade stands at the show with lots on offer so make sure you grab yourself a show guide so you can easily find your main interest. Most of us make our purchases on-line nowadays so use the show to take a step away from online shopping and treat yourself to buying items in person. Talk to likeminded people and share knowledge, tips and recommendations about products. This will give you an opportunity to see what’s on the market and enable you to make an informed decision. Give yourself a chance to identify what products appeal to you. But be warned - you’ll be spoilt for choice!
There’s no question this event will celebrate those who are passionate about their working dogs. The West of England Game Fair is the perfect opportunity to relax with family and friends and absorb the sights and sounds of a countryside extravaganza. With my writer’s tool kit in hand I will be there to capture a variety of gundog activities in action and yes, I will be stopping at the Foxdenton stand to test the variety of tipples that are a must-have for any countryside writer - Look forward to seeing you there!
Based in rural Dorset, my life is firmly in the countryside and that's one of the reasons I'm able to write about gundogs and all that rural Britain has to offer. Whether you have a picking-up, beating or peg dog it's a good time to start reflecting on your experience in the field and start thinking about your plans for the year ahead. I hope you enjoy my latest article in the Countryman's Weekly and wishing you many happy days with your gundog in 2019.