Hard work pays off at Yorkshire Game Fair
Happy dogs and their owner enjoy a great day out in the Yorkshire sunshine
Bank Holiday Sunday dawned to a dry, fresh day at Harewood House much to the joy of the organisers of the first Yorkshire Game Fair. It was the task of Louise Bailey, from the Working Irish Water Spaniel Club of the U.K. to bring together the gundogs for the Discover Dogs section of the Fair. Louise’s hard work had paid off, she was determined that the dogs there would be from working kennels, the majority were and belonged to owners who harboured not only a love for their breeds but also a passion for the job they fulfilled.
The gates opened at 9am on the first day but a decision was made to bring it forward to 8am the second as such was the volume of traffic. The Gundog tent was full of visitors for both days and it was a credit to the dogs that they accommodated all the stroking and patting, especially as the pens, the main organisers provided, were not over large.
Mrs Angela Haigh and myself manned the English Setter section. Our adjacent neighbours were Working Clumber Spaniel Society members, Gordon and Janet Cox with their Clumbers. During both days Gordon gave a demonstration, in the Gundog ring, on how his dogs work. On the other side of our pen was Mrs Maureen Thomas with her young black and white pointers, Sparkfield Lacewing and Sparkfield Wag. Bred by Cornwall breeder Terry Harris, Lacewing’s Dam, F.T.Ch. Sparkfield Reason won the 2007 Setter and Pointer Champion Stake. Next to the Pointers were the Daley family with their two Gordon Setter bitches. Out of a working bitch owned by Mr Dennis Longworth and sired by a dog bred by Bob and Jill Truman of the Assart and Gawcott working kennel.
It was interesting to see the Spanish Water Dogs owned by Faye Allen she has owned the breed since 1992. Faye had a variety of coloured dogs with her and explained that any solid colour is permissible as is white and another colour. Opposite Faye was the Large Munsterlanders of the Ghyllbeck kennel belonging to Geoff Hargreaves. His dogs were in beautiful condition and had super bone, Geoff believes a gundog should be worked and takes pleasure in shooting over his own dogs. Next to Geoff was the Sussex Spaniels with handler Ian Dean and the Wakefield’s Gundog Group winner
Sh Ch/Int. Sh Ch/N. Sh Ch Penigader Olympas by Norris. Joannes Hague had brought along her team of Brittanys, her dogs are worked with falcons. The Hungarian Vizslas were represented by Nichola Green; Nichola’s dogs compete in working tests and join the beating line during the shooting season. Another imported breed was the Weimaraner, used for picking up and the grouse counts with its owner Penny Pickston. I was so impressed by this dog’s relationship with the handler, the expression just showed they made a good team.
Jennifer Hay was there with a number of dogs from the Golden Retriever Club of Northumbria. All were of a deep golden colour and included FTW Burnthill Pathfinder, Clibberswick Walnut of Holywear and Painte Pete. On both days Jennifer gave an impressive demonstration of her dogs working. As well as picking up, Jennifer takes part in working test and field trials and had a dog qualify for last years Retriever Championship.
John Ingram and his dog Homstar Duccio, pet name Lucca, represented the Bracco Italiano. This dog earns his keep and has the most fantastic character. Another of Italian origin is the Italian Spinone owned by Jean Baldwin these dogs were in tip top condition, not surprising when you know that Jean spends the season beating, picking up and field trailing.
Whenever Irish Red and White are to be represented you will see Val Jarvis flying the flag for the breed. I can also say this about David Bellamy and his wife Ross. Having travelled from Nottingham, David wanted to make sure that the breed was represented by good looking dogs that are not only shown but can also pickup and are a pleasure for him to shoot with.
On both days there was a chance for handlers to attend a basic training class in the gundog ring. Handlers showed how to walk with their dogs off the lead and how to perform a sit stay. Then they progressed to a retrieve, the setter and pointer owners excused them from this, it not being part of their discipline.
There were three breeds that most people attending would probably not have seen before the first was the Korthals Griffon who was only there on the Sunday. This dog is from Holland and I had the pleasure of meeting some at the field trials in Belgium. They appear to have a very friendly temperament and are becoming more popular. There were 16 registered in 2006 but this had risen to 22 in 2007. The second dog not commonly known was the Kooikerhondje, owned by Petula Field and Mr R Humphrey. This agile little dog is an excellent swimmer and is used as a duck decoy; it teases the ducks with its tail so that they follow it. It is also an expert at killing mice and rats. Breed number three was the Slovakian longhaired pointer, two attended and looked very unusual with their long grey coats but their temperaments were superb.
The visit to the main ring on the first day was most entertaining. As we all waited outside, the dogs were able to watch Katie Cropper and her sheepdog herding a dozen ducks round the ring. The eyes of the dogs were on stalks. When the gundog parade started Louise gave the commentary for the whole group as they paraded round the main arena, unfortunately it was very difficult for handlers to get the dog’s heads off the floor, as there was such a smell of game. The second day was much better as the band took to the main ring before us and all ran smoothly, what a lovely sight it made at the end as all the dogs and handlers gathered for a photograph.
Overall an enjoyable two days among nice dogs and nice people, I believe the Game Fair is to be held again next year on the bank holiday weekend with even more attractions.