The Association's KCFTLC representative is WA FT Secretary Nigel Wroe who also represents the HVC where he was formerly their FT Secretary in parallel with the WA for 6 years. He writes as follows:
As the WA official representative to the KC Field Trials Liaison Council (KCFTLC), I intend to canvass WA members from time to time on matters pertaining to the FT rules and regulations and other matters related to the conduct of field trials. Members views will be surveyed using the very helpful survey feature of the Mailchimp application. The views of members are important to establishing true and effective representation of their concerns to the Liaison Council. The field trial interest of WA with its mixture of Weimaraner handlers and handlers of other HPR breeds makes for an ideal and authoritative representative sample. Such members were canvassed in 2021 at the request of the lead HPR KCFT Committee representative for views on whether they wished to retain or were happy to forgo the traditional end of trial water retrieve as the KC Board had directed its abolition.
Restoration of Universal Testing at the Water for HPRs?
At the recent HPRFTA FT Secretaries Conference (05/02/2022) I raised the matter of universal testing at the water as per the traditional format of water retrieves, envisaging that these tests could be taken multiple times in the summer period, under FT judges, with a pass confirmed by a "Water Proficiency Certificate", and to ensure these tests remained as part of trialling, but away from trials, i.e. a WPC would be necessary to pre-qualify a dog for entry to field trials. It was not intended to be a one-off test, but would be available at various venues during the summer for retake, or progression from Level 1 to Level 2. These levels would not be a competition among dogs.
The concept was well received by FT Secretaries at the meeting, and it was minuted that water proficiency testing as a pre-qualification for entry to trials was thought to be a good thing. This was a concept that I had first introduced to the HPRFTA in February 2015.
I also presented to the HPRFTA the possibility of much more challenging tests along continental lines, at a higher level as a distinct competition in itself. It was readily appreciated by attendees that these so-called Level 1, 2, 3 water proficiency tests could secure universal testing of all trialling HPRs, and meet the welfare considerations which led to the abolition of the end of trial water retrieve as directed by the KC Board. In the general hub-hub of the meeting, when it was suggested that an HPRFTA survey of the entire HPR trialling community, including judges and non-HPRFTA subscribed clubs, it seemed to me that was to establish what was wanted in the design of such progressive tests, and especially the higher level 3 "Continental" test mentioned below.
In my model, only Level 1 (Novice) and Level 2 (Open/All Aged) were intended to pre-qualify dogs for FT entry. The Level 3 test was a suggestion to make good use of facilities of a Water Day, and to further incentivise in competition HPR handlers to further improve their dogs. I envisaged inter-breed challenges, prize money etc. All of which would maintain, improve and enhance the versatility of the HPR in water. Retrieves would be on dead-game and be judged by panel judges. Level 1 and 2 were to remain as per the traditional format. In my enthusiasm I have expressed these light-heartedly to some members as "Bronze, Silver, Gold" medallions.
Proposal for re-instatement of rule J(E)10 I presented a detailed rule change template in summer 2021 to the lead HPR KCFT Committee representative for presentation to the committee for restoration of rule J(E)10 to reinstate the water retrieve, away from trials, but part of trialling, format unchanged, to pre-qualify dogs for entry to field trials (on the same basis that was later warmly received by the February 2022 HPRFTA Secretaries conference. This template was not presented to the committee unfortunately, and the argument for retention of the water retrieve on a simpler 10m swim basis was rejected by the committee. This led to the abolition of the water retrieve from HPR trials from 02/02/2022.
Survey of WA Members - 25th February 2022 A short, 2-minute survey of WA members having an interest in field matters was undertaken which had a good level of interaction from respondents. Support for the J(E)10 rule change template was expressed at about 86%, which if accepted by the FTC would reverse the recent adverse changes and water retrieves on dead game would be reinstated and remain part of trialling, the welfare issue being addressed by moving the retrieves to the summer/autumn. The retrieves would be judged by trial judges. All dogs would be tested annually not just FT Champion dogs, and earn a certificate to qualify them for trials. It remains to be seen whether the process of implementing these changes will be successful.