The South German Flat Treffen 2009

Dit artikel hebben Willy Walbeek en ik hebben geschreven over The South German Flat Treffen 2009. Het is in het engels zodat ook alle keurmeesters, de mensen van de organisatie en alle deelnemers het artikel kunnen lezen.

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The South German Flat Treffen 2009

On August 22 and 23 The South German Flat Treffen took place in Engelthal, Germany. This two days Flatcoated Retriever event was organized by Anke Wolf and Miriam Hell.

Anke contacted us and told us she needed 5 judges for this event. She already invited two English judges, Richard and Jo Hewison (from the well-known Casblaidd kennel).

So we were very proud to be invited too!

Left Anke Wolf, in the middle Jo Hewison and on the right Richard Hewison

The Dutch judges Willy Walbeek, Cecil de Kat and Lenk Krispijn

The main purpose of The South German Flat Treffen was to have a training in a working test ambiance. So all judges got the assignment not only to judge the handlers and their dogs, but also give some good training advice. A great concept and we were enthusiastic immediately!!!

The first day the training was based upon a working test. The second day it was based upon a team test. There were three classes: Beginners, Intermediate and Advanced.

So, on Friday afternoon, the 21st of August, we were welcomed by Anke, who introduced us to Jo and Richard Hewison. After a drink we went to the area where the event took place. Together with the organisation the five judges invented their own tests for the next day. In about two hours we all were very pleased because we had 5 completely different tests.  We thought it would be a great challenge for all of the participants and we would be able to give good training advice.

On Saturday the 22nd of August Willy had chosen to put up a test on a large open meadow. Discussing the test with the other judges and the organisation lead to very interesting discussions about distances, angles for distractions and possibilities to separate the good ones from the best.

For the Beginners the test was focused on heelwork, distractions, steadiness and marking. In order to do so the handler was standing in a square area. While standing there, with the dog on the lead by choice, a bolting rabbit was released as a distractrion. After that the combination had to turn to the left and let the dog watch some pigeon decoys. After that they had to turn to the left again, put the lead off and get a mark.

Monika Sahm at work at Richard’s station

For the Intermediate class the focus was on marking, memory, steadiness and coping with the bolting rabbit as a distraction. Standing on the line, the first mark was thrown and after Willy gave a sign, a slap to the shoulder, the dog was sent for it. Just after picking up this mark, a second mark at the same fall was thrown. The dog wasn’t supposed to switch, but remember it, and had to go to the handler with the first mark. When the dog was near his handler, the bolting rabbit was released. This was purely for the poisoning effect. After delivering the first mark, the dog was sent for the second one. In the meantime, the pigeon decoys were standing on the field too…

The Advanced dogs got to withstand some distractions and had to show good handling on a blind and a memory mark. With the working area in a square, the handler-dog combination was first confronted with the memory mark. After hitting the ground the bolting rabbit was released in the same line of the mark, but at a shorter distance. Both the mark and the bolting rabbit hit the ground at the right edge of the meadow. Further to the left, in the open field at a distance of about 150 yards, a blind was placed. And somewhat further to the left the pigeon decoys were there again. Of course the blind had to be picked up first and after that the memory mark.

As you can imagine all classes had their difficulties, but overall the working ability of the dogs was very good and we all enjoyed it very much!

Some pictures of Jo's station by the water

The station of Cecil was at an open field in the forest. All the handlers had to get on the stairs of a highchair, with their dogs on the ground in front of them, and handle their dogs from there. It was very interesting and sometimes funny to see how everybody managed that. The purpose of this was to show that it is not necessary, and in most cases even damaging, to physically be beside or hanging over a dog to get him to pick up a retrieve. Trusting your dog and giving him clear commands is what brings success.

The station of Lenk was in the forest. The handler was standing in front of a ditch. Out of a hunting tent came a marking. This marking fell into the ditch. After this the dogs had to show some good heelwork, they had to walk to an area were they had to do a free search. Lenk really loves to see a free search. Especially the independent work of the dog is what she enjoys most. She told the handlers that she wanted to see the dogs work on their own, so she did not appreciate directions. For some handlers this was quite hard, but she saw good work at this free search. Dogs that immediately went into the right direction, to catch wind and showing a lovely search pattern. Really great!!!

Of course each class had its own difficulty. The Beginners had a marking close by, the heelwork was on the lead and there was a sound in the forest before the free search. For the Intermediate the distance of the marking was bigger. The heelwork was off lead and the free search was without a sound. The Advanced dogs saw the marking, but had to do the heelwork first (of course without the lead). Then they had to do the free search (on a bigger distance than the Intermediate) and after the dummy of the free search came in, the handler had to send the dog from the area of the free search to the marking.

On Sunday Willy and Jo decided to judge The Team Test together. They put up a little walk-up, with markings for the Beginners and the Intermediates and a blind for the Advanced. The mark for the Beginners fell in sight of the dogs and for the Intermediates the thrower was in sight, but the retrieve disappeared out of sight. So lots of attention of the dog was required, as well as initiative. Above that the Intermediate dog had to go over the fall area of the Beginner. For the Advanced there was a blind. Both the Intermediates and the Advanced had to work in front of and passing the other dogs. All in all not a simple test. Sadly Willy could only judge half of the teams because of a suddenly upcoming migraine.

Cecil had a test of her own. She put a funny element in it by throwing a little loaf as a mark. Some dogs ate it, others ignored it and searched for the real deal and there were even dogs who delivered it perfectly to their handlers.

She also introduced a blindfold to the team members. The team member, which turn it was, got it on and was going to pick up a mark or a blind with the help and directions of the other team members. Again, trust and giving clear commands were the key points. And above that the best team work was selected here. Of course this test let to a lot of hilarious moments too.

Introducing a blindfold and checking points

Lenk had the honour to judge the Team Test with Richard Hewison. They invented some kind of drive. During this drive there were two markings, one of them out of a highchair. For the third dog there was a blind. The team had to decide which dog was going to get which dummy. Lenk thinks this test was close to hunting reality and the team had to show some really good teamwork. There was one little dog from the Beginners Class who got the blind. To be honest….. it was by accident, but she really enjoyed it and what a good nose this little dog has. And then the dog of Alex’s girlfriend who recognized Alex, our helper, in the highchair, barking and saying hallo to him, so funny.

The drive, Alex in the highchair and tired after two days of hard work

We, Willy and Lenk, thank you Jo and Richard, for the lovely time we had judging the teams. We agreed about points almost every time and we think we also were good teams.

We all were impressed by the good working quality of the Flatcoats we saw in Engelthal. Nice dogs with good drive and eager to work. We really love this kind of Flats.

Thank you so much Anke, Dine, Rainer (who made all the beautiful pictures), Marcus, Gilly, Marlene, Miriam, Alex, Jo, Richard and all the others. And of course we want to thank all handlers and their lovely flats!!!

We certainly had a wonderful time, which we will never forget. We met a lot of kind, warm people and hope that we stay in contact and meet again in the future!

Finally we want to thank Anke for her invitation. It was a wonderful experience!!! We also want to make a big compliment to the whole organisation team, it is a very big job to organise an event like this. You all did a superb job!!!

With very warm regards,

Willy Walbeek, Cecil de Kat-Keijzer and Lenk Krispijn

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Nog een paar slotregeltjes in het Nederlands. Na afloop hebben Willy en ik samen nog een paar dagen vakantie gehouden in Engelthal. Dat was ook wel nodig want het waren een paar geweldige maar wel zware dagen. Tijdens deze vakantiedagen hebben wij genoten van elkaars gezelschap en heeft onze vriendschap een nog hechtere band gekregen.

De pootjes van Saszu en Harley

Ook de vriendschap tussen ons zes honden wordt steeds hechter zoals je op bovenstaande foto kunt zien. Willy, Fidesz, Piusz en Saszu bedankt voor de geweldige week!!!