Sunday, February 13, 2011

Quite a Difference

Resting Between Braces...

We are back in the Field Trial mode.  Ace, above, is between runs, or "braces", at a National Shoot to Retrieve Association (NSTRA- pronounced "nastra") field trial. (click here to go to NSTRA site)  There are several formats for field trials, horseback, walking, timed, speed trials. NSTRA format is simple.  Five birds are hidden in a large field, while you and your competitor are out of sight in a blind.  Then you both take your dogs and go find the birds. You have thirty minutes to do it and a judge will score your dog on his find/retrieve/ground handling/obedience and one back will be scored, too. (Yes, we kill the birds.)  Typically, you will be able to run more than one field during the day, which is actually another separate field trial.  Trophies are given and points awarded to first, second and third.  Eighteen points later, with at least three First Places, and you are a NSTRA Champion.   Piece of Cake! There are plenty of ins and outs about the sport.  Check the website for a location near you (this is nationwide) and stop by one Saturday and see what this is all about.  Call ahead and talk to the trial chairman, too.  This is a low key, family atmosphere kind of thing.  It's  a good way to get Old Jake back on the field after hunting season......
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