MEET THE TEAMS
After weeks of serious training, both in group sessions and as individuals the teams for the National Gundog Competition have been chosen.
Kirkbourne Spaniels will again be fielding two teams ... "Cooper" and "Merlin". The teams named as a tribute to the late John Cooper.
The final countdown to the competition has begun, so it is time for you to "meet the teams". Posted in a series of blogs over the next few days, meet each member and find out what it's like to be chosen to represent Kirkbourne Spaniels.
For those that can make it, why not join us and offer your support at The Yorkshire Game Fair, as Kirkbourne compete to bring home the silverware.
PAUL DUNCAN & MAJOR
Labrador Retriever, Dog, 10/04/2012
After being picked I felt like I'd been given a second chance to improve on last year and not make school boy errors during the competition.
There's a lot of new dogs hand handlers coming through the club who are looking very good so this will probably be my last year.
The training has been demanding with some very challenging tests but mainly learning to deal with what we've got, for example when the retrieve is going wrong, how to get back on track and succeed. To think about the retrieve first and how best to complete the test, ie wind, distractions, cover etc.
With a little bit of luck, being able to do our best for each test on the day then I think we'll be able to give any team a run for their money.
Can we win? I wouldn't be here if I didn't think we could.
DAVID WHITEHEAD & ANGUS
Labrador Retriever,Dog, 19/03/11
Knowing the standard of the people who entered the selection for the team I was very pleased. When I got the confirmation I was really quite nervous as I had an understanding from last year what it would involve. I was also very proud to be selected. There were some really good people and dogs entered.
The training has been good. Hard and lots of it but good. You learn to build a bond with the dog and realise that it is as much about learning as a handler as teaching the dog. We have had most of the club trainers to help us so we have had input from numerous people over the last few months. Everyone would always like more time to cover everything just once again but in recent weeks we have made sure we have covered distance, obstacles and have also got together as groups to put in the extra sessions between ourselves.
The standard of the competition will be high so the dogs and handlers will have to be on top of their game to be in with a chance but I'm hopeful we will be up there in the mix.
What I am confident of is that the team members will give it everything they can, support each other and we'll have a GREAT weekend and do the Kirkbourne club proud.
The National Gundog Competition is a team based competition that was run for the first time at last years Yorkshire Game Fair .. this year the entries have more than doubled. For your chance to be part of next years team check our our training page for groups and sessions to help you and your dog "train to win"