Are We Endangering Retrieving Trials in Australia?

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Are We Endangering Retrieving Trials in Australia?

Postby Heather Ellis » Wed 06 Mar 2024 2:15 pm

This year we have a very important Rules Review taking place. We need to come up with an acceptable set of rules for running Artificial Game Trials. However I believe it doesn’t need to be such a big problem……. unless we create the problem! It does not need to divide the retrieving fraternity unless we do the dividing.

There are only a few rules and awards that need to be adjusted for the Artificial Game trial while still maintaining the essence of a Retrieving Trial. If we continue with our present rules, with adjustments included to allow for Artificial Game Trials, then ALL current competitors would be able to compete AND take part in National Trials. If we devise a whole new sport for Artificial Game Trials then we risk losing many competitors from the sport. Queensland is the state most threatened at present. If we completely change the ‘game’ then we would lose approximately 10 present top handlers from our Nationals. Who knows which state will next face the possible ban on use of game in trials? Could be NSW, Victoria……….? How would you feel if suddenly you were denied your much loved sport?

A number of years ago the Field Trial competitors were faced with the possibility that some states would lose the opportunity to run trials because of restrictive gun laws. Instead of making major changes they simply devised trials that were labelled “closed season” – a variant of the Field Trial. As a result competitors from every state can still compete within their own state and at the national level no matter which Field Trial they have qualified in. The awards gained reflect whether the title has been earned on open or closed season.The Awards in Retrieving Trials could also reflect the type of trials in which titles are gained eg RTCh for Retrieving Trial Champion and RTCH (AG/RG) for title earned in Artificial Game trial.

Those who are faced with the prospect of only competing through the year on artificial game because the Member Body has forbidden use of game could still compete in the Nationals on game if travelling to another state. It would certainly be harder for them as they’d have to train on game leading up to the Nationals but at least they could still be included in the sport!

Another argument is that breeders from other countries would avoid import of semen from Australian titled dogs because some titles are earned on Artificial Game. Well I’m a breeder who has imported semen from America and in doing so needed to understand the titles of dogs. I’m sure a breeder from another country would clearly understand that a dog with the addition of AG/RG has won the title on artificial game and would look instead for a dog without that addition. I certainly wouldn’t be avoiding ALL dogs.

We don’t need to make enormous changes to our current rules and awards. If we choose to make smaller changes as the Field Trial fraternity did we will not be excluding current and future competitors from our trials. However choosing a more drastic path could see the end of retrieving for so many…….and who knows it might be your state next!
Heather Ellis
 
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