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The United Retriever Club (North Midland Area) held an Open Working Test for Any Variety Retriever on Sunday 7th May 2017 at Cubley, Derbyshire by kind permission of The Hon. David Legh. 32 dogs were entered and prizes were generously sponsored by Alpha – the food of Champions.

The weather was warm and sunny, pleasant for dog work and also lunchtime picnics. The judges were Derek Capel and Guy Radford. With Steve Crookes as chief Steward. The morning tests involved a walk-up through a young plantation of trees. The two judges had four dogs in line, for three retrieves each. These were a forward mark, a diagonal mark and a tricky diagonal blind behind the line. After lunch there were two double retrieves. Guy judged near a small pond, with the dogs sent first for a blind, followed by a memory mark across the pond. On rolling pasture Derek judged a double mark, the dog picking one in the middle distance first, then sent back over a brow and out of sight for the more distant one. During the day most all the tests had produced their share of failures, so the number of clean dogs was fewer than usual.
Mr & Mrs Legh and Headkeeper Kim Robinson had watched the afternoon proceedings and were there for the presentations.

1st Garry Ellison with FCR B Ollersett Sparkling Nymph
2nd Charlotte Jeffrey’s LR B Derrity Rose
3rd Jane Fairclough’s LR B Stauntonvale Sangiovese at Jobeshill (Midland Area)
4th Susan Corden’s LR B Dalesprings Black Orchid
Water Cup : Paul Birkbeck’s LR D Warrenbank Fen

Report by Phil Wagland (Hon.Sec)

Photo of Prize winners attached L-R P Birkbeck, G Radford, J Fairclough, D Capel, G Ellison, C Jeffrey, S Corden.


Mel Hannam

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Whoa, brakes on as our race season has come to an end for 2016/17. It’s been another fantastic season for Mystic Charoite Racing. In spite of amazing lead dog Rogue still on maternity leave at the start of the season and Brew suffering an injury that put him out of action for three months, our incredible dogs still got us on the podium at least once at just about every event we attended over the winter with (I think!) around 13 first places.

In terms of championships, the teams brought home a Silver Medal in the British Siberian Husky Racing 4 Dog Championship and a Silver in the Four Dog Nordic and Bronze in the Six Dog Nordic classes in the British Sled Dog Sports Federation Championship Series.

The races may have come to an end but the work doesn’t stop. Spring training is probably the best as we have lighter nights to enjoy and we also have Rogue’s puppies (all six of them!) to bring on so they can join the race teams next season.

We also have exciting plans to make as we are hoping to broaden our horizons and do at least one race overseas next season – the question is, will it be on dryland or will it be on snow?

Grateful thanks to Alpha Feeds for continuing to support us and keeping our dogs fuelled by Alpha High Performance Dog food.

Pics are by John and Angela Lord and Siberprint.



Blink and you miss it…!

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This season has just been a blur; time flies when you’re having fun.
We started off so well, a beautifully ‘almost’ chilly day, welcomed all the BSHRA competitors to the kick-off race near the Suffolk Heritage coast. A very technical trail with dips and hollows and tight corners, adverse cambers, leaves on the ground – all the good things to keep the dogs interested and keep the mushers on their toes!

*BANG* in comes Storm Angus from the East, the first ‘named’ storm of the season, 84mph winds battering the coast and throwing down rain like no-ones business which sadly saw us cancel the seconds days racing – a total pain but safety comes first.
Since then, we’ve recently had THE best bit of weather for running dogs in this country. At Warren Wood. The 8 dog and 6 dog teams went out in bright sunshine, uncluttered blue sky, a real hard hoar frost on the ground and a recorded -9C. Whilst everyone around is complaining at the cold, if you’re a husky racer, THIS is what running dogs is all about. A big team running like a steam locomotive with just the sound of the team puffing away, every breath hanging in the cold air for a second or so until it evaporates – just magical!

And so to the next weekend we have in store. The first time that BSHRA has ever scheduled a 3 day event – most are 2 days. Even more exciting is the prospect of 3 different trails, one per day. We usually run the same trail on both days but hey, in for a penny, in for a pound.
It will take a fairly large and enthusiastic team to pull it off successfully but I’m safe in the knowledge that if anyone can, BSHRA can. Wish us luck and cold weather; I’m sure we’ll be fine!

Photos courtesy of the very talented Angela Lord


Lincoln Bounds to Best of Breed at Crufts

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It was a dream come true for Christine Biddlecombe when her Siberian Husky, CH Lincoln White at Tsaritsa took the prestigious Best of Breed award at Crufts.

Christine from Tunbridge Wells in Kent, has owned Siberian Husky’s since she was nine-year’s-old and says she ‘still can’t believe’ her lifetime passion and support for the breed has led to such a special win at the world’s largest dog show.
Lincoln as he is known at home, is now 10 and as well as showing also competes in two dog-sled races, a sport that is fast and furious and which he thoroughly enjoys.

His condition is fit and athletic with his glossy coat catching the judge’s eye with the help of his diet of Alpha High Performance dog food.
Says Christine: “It has been a lifelong ambition to win Best of Breed at Cruft’s and to do it with Lincoln is just fantastic.
“He is such a showman and just loves competing and being in the ring. He is such an all-round dog able to compete in dog-sled races one week and go into the show ring the next.

“He is the ideal breed specimen, is very typical of the standard and just enjoys showing so much and always has a smile on his face, he was born to show.

“Thanks to Alpha High Performance I know he will always look his best, the food is just fantastic and has been specially developed to enhance stamina for dogs that require sustained energy.

“Siberian Husky’s first came into my life when I was nine-years-old and we now have 18 of them at home – winning at Crufts really is amazing and I still can’t believe it now.

“Lincoln was 10-weeks-old when we got him, he is just a star, everyone loves him and he really does deserve his success at Crufts.”

For further information please contact Tim Smith at TSM on (01724) 784600.

One day in my life…

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(Do I have you singing the Michael Jackson song already?)
I was actually trying to write an article on the ‘typical day of a racing Siberian at the Chezhiver kennel’ and failed miserably!
In short: eat – drink – sleep – get in van – run – get in van – eat… repeat.

You get the idea!

It’s rarely that simple though.

Every day is so different, so I’ve decided to try a ‘typical week’ instead!

Let’s get physical

(A little Olivia Newton John never hurt anyone!)

For anyone that’s done athletics or a power event, weightlifting, gym work, that type of thing, they’ll understand the deal. You exercise a group of muscles that will break down slightly which brings on soreness. Resting and eating the right food repairs the muscles. As the muscles repair, they grow back slightly bigger and slightly stronger each time.

Let’s fine tune this and apply it to the dog world; we can’t be having a dog that’s completely muscle bound, looks like Sylvester Stallone, that rips along a trail in record breaking time but falls in an exhausted heap after 100 metres because the heart and lungs can’t keep up with the big muscles we spent so long building.

So you see, we have this balancing act – we need muscle but we also need decent cardio-vascular work to feed the muscles with that lovely red oxygenated blood that keeps them going.
We work to a rough regime of runs like this:
• Hard work, short run
• Speed work, long run
• Hard work, long run
• Speed work, short run
• Interval training (I can hear all the athletes, football and rugby players etc groaning as this is a real energy sapper but has profound effects!)

Some of this takes care of itself in the natural terrain of the training ground but otherwise we mix these up where conditions allow and particularly in the early pre-season particularly, where temperatures permit.
And all this can get very scientific – I have training records going back years and years; mileage, humidity, temperature, which dog went where, average speed, total stopped time, distance, distance to date etc (yes I know… *yawn* but it’s all valuable data!).

Relax, DON’T do it
(are these music links getting tenuous yet?)
What’s equally important is rest; it’s imperative that those muscles that we just ‘roughed up’ a bit have plenty of time to regroup and get stronger.
In order to help with this process, you need food, good food, and plenty of it. A good protein source in food is critical in getting the muscles to repair quicker, better and stronger, (quite aside from the other good stuffs – oils, fats, fibre, vitamins, minerals etc).
Some racers supplement food here and there to put particular emphasis on certain parts of the diet but for a good number of us, the cornerstone of this nutrition comes in the shape of Alpha High Performance which is nutritionally formulated to support speed, endurance and strength in our working dogs; and a lot of the top teams are using it!

My final thoughts…
Get the balance right!
(Had enough of the musical references yet?)
A well exercised pack is a happy pack.
A well exercised AND well fed pack is a pack that’s living the Siberian Husky dream!
With that, I’ll leave you with my little song collection, happy humming…
I’ll get my coat (I’m off training!)
Steve Rooke



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The Open Cold Game Test at Edwinstowe, Nottinghamshire was held on 11th September 2016 by kind permission of Mr Robert Bealby. The judges were Mr Arthur Hewer and Ms Julia Sykes. The weather was sunny and dry. But the sugar beet was wet from rain the previous day. It was also tall and dense, quite difficult to walk through and work the dogs. In the morning the beet was walked up in line, with retrieves orchestrated by the signals of Chief Steward Phil Smithies. Guns saluted pigeons thrown at a distance for forward marks in the first round. In the second round dogs were sent down the line for blinds close to the far end of the line. After three retrieves in the morning walk-up, 10 dogs were called in for a two more blind retrieves in an area of tall, leafy beet. One of these blinds proved fairly straight forward, but he other involved the dog going over a brow and picking out of sight of the handler. One judge watched the dog work from a forward position and assessed its game finding ability. After the concluding refreshments the trophies, awards and prizes of Alpha dog food were presented to the four successful handlers, three of whom had two dogs each in the awards.

1st: Paul Birkbeck’s LR D Warrenbank Fen, 2nd: Julie Campbell’s LR D Lowsommer Delta.3rd: Charlotte Smith’s LR D Derrity Thor, 4th: Peter Orwin’s LR D Rudby Rusty, CoMs: Paul Birkbeck’s LR D Stephens Brother at Warrenbank, Charlotte Smith’s LR B Derrity Rose, Peter Orwin’s LR D Norbeck Tosh.

Photo shows Judges and Award winners L-R : Phil Smithies, Charlotte Smith, Arthur Hewer, Paul Birkbeck, Julia Sykes, Julie Campbell, Peter Orwin.


top team


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The Inter-Breed Team competition for the Esmoro Trophy took place at a new venue in 2016. The test was held as part of the Green Hammerton Country Fayre, an event raising funds for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance and other local charities, The weather on 10th July was cloudy, with a hint of showers and a breeze making it pleasant for the working dogs. Organized by the United Retriever Club, eight teams took part, with 2 Novice dogs and 2 Open dogs in each team. Black, Yellow and Chocolate Labradors competed against the Golden Retrievers, Flatcoats and the lesser known breeds of Irish Water spaniels, Curly-coated Retrievers and Chesapeakes. These minor breeds were commended for getting their team members from far afield.
The Judges were Janet Allsop and Cherry Wood, with Phil Wagland as Chief Steward and Anne Crookes as commentator. The event was sponsored by “Alpha – The Food of Champions”. Each team came into the arena as a foursome, to tackle a variety retrieves on ground which was a mown grass field, with heaps of brashings, a jump over straw bales and a row of horse jumps. The dogs were well tested on a variety of marked and blind retrieves, with a team picking up test as the finale.
The awards were presented by Mr John Lightowler.

1st Yellow Labradors 293
2nd Golden Retrievers 286
3rd Black Labradors 277
4th Flatcoated Retrievers 267
5th Chocolate Labradors 253
6th Curly-coated Retrievers 241
7th Irish Water Spaniels 204
8th Chesapeake Bay Retrievers 171

Winning Team of Yellow Labradors
Daryl Boldy : Garronwell Capri (top Novice dog)
Paul Stogden : Churnsway Zeus (Top Open dog)
Geoff Dobb : Woodcockhill Steinbok
Margaret Pearce : Millsey Griff of Esmoro

Photo enclosed: The first three teams with trophies, rosettes and prizes of Alpha dog food.
Phil Wagland, Hon Sec. URC N.Midland Area.

Report of the NGRA Novice Field Trial for Golden Retrievers at Walesby, Nottinghamshire.

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Walesby-awards1st October 2016. 14 dog Novice stake for Golden Retrievers at Bevercotes Park Shoot, Walesby, Nottinghamshire by kind permission of Mr D Goodall & Mr N Metcalfe.
Judges: Mr Keith Helliwell, Mr Graham Bird, Miss Angie Cooper & Mrs Caroline Hewison.
1st & The Boltby Cup for the Winner : Mr G & Mrs J Hay’s Golden Retriever dog SOINNEANTA GORSE OF HOLYWEAR. (Handler Mr Gordon Hay).
. Also the Millennium Tankard to the youngest dog in the awards
2nd : Mr Daniel Higgs’Golden Retriever dog ABBOTSHALL PIONEER OF HIGGSCROFT.
3rd & The Castletown Rosebowl for the Guns’ Choice: Mr Jim Gale’s Golden Retriever dog SIUSIGOLD KITE.
CoMs : Mrs Nessa Thompson’s GR dog WATERFALL WILLOW OF HAVENTRENT, Mr S & Mrs AM Crookes’ GR bitch MISTYBROOK MAIVE OF MOSCARGRANGE (Handler=Anne Crookes), Mrs Mary Palk’s GR dog TALLYGOLD BLACKTHORN, Mr Andrew Wright’s GR dog WADESMILL SACOME (Also Millennium Tankard for the youngest dog in the awards).

It was a fine, dry day for the trial at Bevecotes Park Shoot, near Walesby, Nottinghamshire. 14 Golden Retrievers were competing, with handlers from as far away as Dorset, Scotland and Switzerland. The two keepers Dave Goodall and Nigel Metcalfe had organised a day of mixed shooting, walking up set-aside cover and farmland with dykes and hedgerows for pheasants, together with an extended drive from a long duck pond in the middle part of the trial. With few failures it proved a long day to test all the dogs and the judges Keith Helliwell, Graham Bird, Angie Cooper and Caroline Hewison eventually made seven awards. Fortunatel the weather stayed fine all day until the awards and prizes of Alpha food were presented by Dave Goodall with lightning flickering as a storm approached.


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The United Retriever Club (North Midland Area) held a Cold Game Test on 7th August at Strines Moor, Yorkshire by kind permission of Mr & Mrs Hunt. The judges were Steve Crookes, Anne Crookes and Paul Birkbeck. The tests were based on natural shooting situations with retrieves on pigeons. The weather cloudy and cool initially with a strong breeze, warming up later in the day.

There were 5 Veterans running and 26 in the Intermediate/Novice section, with three breeds of Retriever competing.

In the morning Steve judged a long marked retrieve across sheep pasture, the bird falling well beyond a low wall which deceived some handlers and their dogs. Meanwhile Anne and Steve judged a walk-up across moorland, with swathes of tall rushes providing heavy cover. There were four dogs in line, changing sides to go under both judges. A mark in front was visible in the air before falling in the clumps of rushes. It was all too easy for dogs to overshoot the mark and get lost in the cover. A blind down the line was much shorter but still caused problems for some dogs. The afternoon tests were sited on different ground, adjacent to a grouse moor. Anne judged a long blind on a windswept moor, the bird representing a grouse dropped in a heathery gully to the rear of one of the butts. Paul judged a retrieve glimpsed by the handler and dropping over a brow into a deep valley. Although unseen by the dogs the shot drew them onto the line and most found very quickly. Meanwhile Judged next to a long pond, where a raft of duck decoys posed a diversion. However the shot saluted a blind in the heather and gorse alongside the path and the retrieve did not involve entering the water.

The awards were presented by Vice=President Elaine Welburn, with prizes of Alpha dog food greatly appreciated by the competitors, with three breeds sharing the honours.

Veteran. 1st Amana Minshall’s LRD Burlinton Bert of Belvedere (10 y o)
2nd Andrew Baker’s LRD Swaine Dentanum of Saffronlyn (9)
3rd Ray Reed’ LRD Saxaphone Rooney (9)
4th Billie-Jo Wagstaff with LRD Swaine Spire (9).
Intermediate/Novice :
1st Penny Marriner’s LRB Cherry B Lady
2nd and Best Novice Tankard : Daryl Boldy’s LRB Swiftbrook Alula of Garrenwell
3rd Phil Wagland’s GRD Pebbletoft Pepper
4th Caroline Hewison with FCRD Venus in Transit over Casblaidd
CoM : Anna Wagland with GRB Funnyline Fieldquest Kelbook
CoM Carol Probert with LRB Turpingreen Acunia of Corsemalzie

Photos show Judges and Award winners.

Test Dates 2016

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Area Secretary: Mr P.J.Wagland, Pebbletoft, 33 Almond Grove, Worksop, Notts S80 1AU Tel 01909-476024 Mobile 07929608310
email philwagland@pebbletoft.fsnet.co.uk

TEST DATES 2016 Meet 9.30 for 10am start.

May 8 Open Test Welbeck, Notts

June 19 Puppy, Novice & Novice Handler Tests
Haughton Warren, near Walesby, Notts

August 7 Intermediate, Veteran & Novice Cold Game Tests,
Strines Moor, South Yorkshire

Sep 11 Open Cold Game Test Edwinstowe, Notts

Sep 18 Training Class Test Manor Farm, Carburton, Notts


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10TH JULY 2016

Judges: To be confirmed
Organisers: The United Retriever Club (North Midland Area)

The United Retriever Club is one of the largest gundog clubs in the UK. It runs retriever training, working tests, field trials and shows. It operates through nine regions or areas. The North Midland Area was founded in the Hope Valley of Derbyshire 50 years ago, so this year is our Golden Jubilee. It now operates mainly in Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire.

The demonstration takes the form of a working test, in which different breeds of retriever compete. The judges will be respected and experienced people who have had success with their own dogs. A commentary will explain the work of the dogs and the scores given by the judges.

The competition is special in the gundog world because of the number of different breeds taking part, plus some teams of different colour variations. Each team is made up of dogs of one breed, or colour variation of a breed. This will give everyone an opportunity to watch various styles of work from the different breeds. There are four dogs and four handlers in each team, two Novice dogs and two Open dogs. All these retriever breeds work on shoots, retrieving pheasants, partridges, ducks and rabbits. In a working test like today the dogs will retrieve canvas dummies. The dummies may be thrown for marked retrieves, or hidden for blind retrieves. The best dogs will work quickly using their natural instincts, but also take instructions from their handlers when necessary. The Open dogs will be set longer or harder retrieves than the Novice dogs, which will be tested on more basic work.

The judges will award marks for each retrieve, and a commentary will explain what is happening.

The winning team is awarded the Esmoro Trophy, plus mementoes for the team members. The top Open dog wins a Trophy and the best Novice dog is awarded the Hope Tankard.

The Retriever Breeds.

Labradors: The most popular and numerous of the retriever breeds. They have short coats and there are three teams representing the three possible colours, Black, Yellow or Chocolate. Labradors are noted for their strong hunting, good noses and swimming ability. They are the most numerous and successful in trials and the shooting field.

Golden Retrievers: These are second in numbers to the Labradors. They have longer coats of various shades of gold, light or dark. Working Goldens tend to be darker in colour and fitter in conformation than show type Goldens.

Flatcoated Retrievers: This is a traditional old breed of retriever, but nowadays is less numerous than the Labrador. Like Golden Retrievers, the Flatcoats have long coats and hunt with a higher head carriage to catch the scent. Flatcoats can be black or liver in colour.

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers originated in Eastern USA, where they were used to retrieve ducks and geese from the big estuaries. They are strong and powerful and are brown or sage in colour.

Irish Water Spaniels. These brown dogs have curly coats. In the show ring they are classed as spaniels, but they work as retrievers rather than spaniels.

Curly coated Retrievers. This is an old breed dating from Victorian times, but is less common in the modern shooting field. The breed sports a black or liver coat of tight, crisp curls, which repels water, burrs, or thorns. They are strong muscular dogs.

Phil Wagland, (Hon.Secretary)

PRIZES KINDLY DONATED BY Alpha The food of champions


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The United Retriever Club (North Midland Area) held an Open Working Test for Any Variety Retriever on Sunday 8th May 2016 at Welbeck, Nottinghamshire by kind permission of Mr W Parente and the Estate. Our guests included Margaret Rowson, the dog handler on the estate, and URC Chair Iris Wright.26 dogs were entered. Prizes were generously sponsored by Alpha – the food of Champions.

The weather was very warm and sunny as it seemed summer had truly arrived.

The three lady judges were Sue Lowe, Julie Campbell, and Elaine Whittaker. The ground included rolling pasture, woodland and two large lakes. The retrieves were planned to reflect working dogs on the shoots on the estate.

In the morning good use of made of the water. Julie judged two retrieves on the woodland fringed lower lake, one near the shore to the right and the other a long swim diagonally to the far left. Meanwhile Elaine judge a mark and a blind, sending from a dry valley uphill and over a post and rail fence into light woodland. A mature oak woodland, floored with bluebells was the setting for a pick-up assessed by Sue Lowe. All three tests proved discriminating with a wide range of scores and a sprinkling of failures. After lakeside lunch picnics just 12 dogs were called in for three more tests. Sue Lowe judged a walk-up in the grassland with a forward mark and a back blind for each dog. Under Julie the dogs were sent for a long mark across a recently drilled arable field. At the upper lake Elaine sent the dogs for a long mark, involvi8ng an outrun along the bank and an entry to the water at a distance. The scors were close and some dogs in the run-off faced a further long swim for a blind across the broad waters of the upper lake.

To celebrate the North Midland Area’s Golden Jubilee a decorated cake was displayed at the concluding tea, and special Rosettes were presented with the awards, trophies and Alpha dog food.

1st Frank Wright’s LR B Levenghyl Dancing Teasel (BCC area)
2nd S&AM Crookes’ GR B Millgreen Opal of Moscargrange (H=Steve Crookes)
3rd Russell Hodgen’s LR B F.T.Ch.Partridge Flush of Russjancoe
4th Janette Sayer’s LR D Laurinco Red Flame of Hollowgate (Lincs)
Certificates of Merit: John Cardno’s LR B Busskets Lawn Astrid
Nessa Thompson’s GR D Arkholme Skylark of Haventrent (Also Water Cup)