by Senior Field Rep Tom Meyer
January 1st, 2012 marked the entry of the Flat-Coat Retriever into the Spaniel Hunting Test program. The Spaniel Hunting test program is a demonstration of a breed’s usefulness in finding, flushing and retrieving upland game. This is one of the functions for which the Flat-Coats were bred.
This is an enthusiastic posting of the owners of the first two Flat-Coats to participate, which in my mind is an excellent testimonial to the Spaniel Hunting Test program.
We are proud to announce that Chelsea and Megan are the first Flat coats (we believe) to run in the AKC Spaniel Upland Hunt Test!! Chelsea, CH Chattaflats Two If By Sea JH, and Megan, Wyndhams Nutmeg Brown, both had junior passes this weekend. Chelsea was trained and run by Tim Pullian. Thank you Tim! Megan was trained and run by Dad Gary.
What a wonderful experience! Such a congenial group with great working dogs. The Flat coats were welcomed. And, we were happy to be there!
The Spaniel test is different from the Retriever test right from getting out of the car. I began the trek to the field and immediately stopped! It looked like the field was on fire. Yes! Blaze Orange is the fashion – and, required before entering the field even for the spectators. The reason soon became apparent as the flushed birds flew every which way including right over the gallery. Thank you to the Chattahoochee Springer Club of Atlanta for providing the unprepared with orange vests. The Spaniel handlers eagerly answered all my questions on the ins and outs of the test. It was fun watching all the spaniels.
The test was like real upland hunting with quartering and flushing across a field with cover. It is very exciting to watch! The dogs and handlers do not know where the birds are planted. At the junior level the dogs must flush 2 birds and retrieve at least one. This progresses up through senior to master where the dogs must be steady to flush and gun. It is very impressive to see the dogs at the master level. The senior dogs have a land blind and master dogs have a land and a water blind. And, all levels have a water retrieve.
We are so happy for our two girls! Way to go Chelsea and Megan!!
Maggie and Gary Minkiewicz
Since this post Chelsea has had two more passes at the Boykin Spaniel Parent Club Hunting test held in South Carolina. That would be three passes out of four attempts, not a bad record.
Congratulations to a job well done.