The Yorkshire Retriever Field Trial Society

Judge’s Weekend


On 28 – 29 April The Yorkshire Retriever Field Trial Society held a very successful and well-attended Judge’s Weekend. The first day Kennel Club Accredited Instructor Heather Bradley presented a Retriever ‘J’ Regulations seminar followed by an examination at Carleton Village Hall, North Yorkshire.


Mrs Bradley comments: “I was delighted to be involved with the Judge’s Weekend. The J Regulations seminar was well supported, with 24 people attending.  As part of the criteria to progress from Non-panel to B panel and B panel to A, judges need to pass the exam before they can be considered. Some had travelled a long distance, some from Sweden! It was very well organised with Nina Halsted and Lynda Carr helping with registration and providing coffee throughout the day. A number of the participants were also taking part in the Sunday event! A very worthwhile weekend. It would be great to see other Clubs putting on similar events."


On Sunday, at the kind invitation of John and Nina Halsted, a Judge’s Practical Field Day was held at Brocklebank Labradors training ground. Throughout the day participating judges received ‘hands on’ experience in interpreting and applying The Kennel Club’s ‘J’ Regs during a simulation of a walked-up trial. A, B and non-Panel judges were divided into four groups led by some of the UK’s most experienced A panel mentors: Sandra Halstead, Heather Bradley, Sara Gadd and Mike Tallamy. The aim of the day was to challenge and build on participants’ knowledge as well as increase their confidence in making decisions under pressure in real time.


There were a few other ways to take part in the day as well. A number of UK and international competitors ran in the walk-up, while a handful of stewards-in -training learned the ins, outs and nuances of running a trial under the able guidance of YRFTS Field Trial Secretary Samantha Whyte. Also present were several spectators who were allowed to follow the trial closely and listen to a running commentary by Lynn Mitchell.


The morning started with a compelling and graphic demonstration of the impact of shot using either 28 or 32 gram cartridge at close range. John Halsted advised judges to bear this in the mind, especially in early stages of a field trial and when deciding whether or not to eliminate a dog for damaged game. Judging mentors then gave a ‘hands on’ demonstration of how to assess damaged and undamaged game using cold game.


From the start of the walk-up, several challenging scenarios were presented to judges and competitors alike; surprisingly, a number of unplanned scenarios also cropped up, stretching participants’ ability to think on their feet and make quick decisions. Early on, a ‘coot’ landed on a small pond ahead of the left flank of line and was offered by Steward of the Beat John Halsted to both ends of the line, testing the judges’ knowledge of acceptable quarry. Later, three runners were shot simultaneously ahead or behind the line at both ends, and the judges had to decide which and how many dogs to send.


As the walk-up advanced over rolling grass fields bordered by a variety of fences and walls, ditches, dykes, ponds and cover, twenty-four competitors were called into line. Due to the challenging terrain and scenarios many dogs put themselves out in the first two rounds, but a few dogs worked consistently and maintained a high standard of work throughout. At the end of three rounds and five retrieves, two competitors remained and the trial was declared over.


Following the walk-up there was a short demonstration and explanation of variations in sending order during a run off involving a handler with two dogs.


In addition to its hosts and judging mentors the Society thanks all of the helpers who worked so tirelessly to plan and run the day, including ‘Guns’ Jim Christon, Brendan Kelly, Thomas Bushby, Peter Arnold and dummy throwers Geoff Saint and Rob Houghton. Special thanks to Field Trial Secretary Samantha Whyte, General Secretary Linda Carr and Lynn Mitchell, and to John Halsted and Wayne Mitchell for developing the scenarios used throughout the day.  


In his closing remarks John Halsted expressed his hope that people had gained added insight into the complex procedures and practice of running a successful field trial, including dealing with the steward of the beat, Guns, competitors and stewards. It had been a good day with many scenarios under the guidance of some of Britain’s best mentors, and he encouraged attendees to take home their new knowledge and pass it on to others.




1st Place          Tony Rogers with Highwalk Galway

2nd Place         Charlottes Jeffries with Derrity Thor.


Author & Officially Invited Press Officer, Patrice Fellowes of Pernice Press.

Official Photographer Claudia Atkinson.

The judging seminar organised by the Yorkshire Field Trial Society was a brilliant concept .....I cannot imagine that anyone who attended did not go away with a huge amount of information , I certainly did !
The amount of work put in by the committee was immense and I know that it was appreciated ...I have had two phone calls and a letter from  people thanking me for my input and how much they enjoyed it and most importantly learnt from it .
Thankyou to the YRFTS for asking me to attend and a massive well done to the people who put in all the work

Sara Gadd

Well done on a very well organised day, I’m sure everyone who was there went away with lots more information than they could have imagined at the start of the day.
The team who set the Judges day worked so hard to make it the success it was. This event is so good for our sport , and I admire the judges that took time out to improve there knowledge of Field Trials and the many scenarios that can happen on a days Trialing. As a judges mentor on the day I found at times my brain was tested to its limits, ( some may say not difficult ) but carefully working through the scenarios came up with the right answers, with my group of Judges. The sport we love will be better for the attendance of all the people who came to the event.
So many people to thank ( you know who you are ) but four people who put in so much work 
John and Nina Halsted
Wayne Mitchell
Samantha White
Very well done a fantastic day