02 13 05 794 W, 3 I - + 147 - 90


The 2003 National Amateur. My pro, Cherylon Loveland, training partners John Goetll and Marvin Frye, and their wonderful dogs, FC/AFC Cache La Poudre Slyvester, and FC/AFC Calyspo's Devil in the Dust. And, of course, me, and AFC Freeridin Wowie Zowie.

What a thrill for the LOVELAND POWER COMPANY!


If you are thinking to yourself, I would like to try running field trials, but I’m a little bit (okay, maybe more than just a little bit) apprehensive (okay, maybe scared is a better word for it) - I understand. All of us who compete in field trials have been there.

So where should you start?

I recommend that you begin by going to a field trial where you can witness first hand the power and grace of competitive dogs and the precision with which they perform.


You can find field trials in your area by going to the American Kennel Club Event Search Site Leave the blank for event name empty. For the time range box, select “Current Calendar Year.” For the competition type box, select “Field Trials.” Then select the state in which you live - or a nearby state - then push the button “Select Events.” You will be given a listing of field trials in that area. The listing includes beagle trials, pointing dog trial, as well as retriever trials, but there will probably be one or more listings for retriever trials. If you click on the site for those retriever trials in which you are interested, you can obtain the address and phone number of the Field Trial Secretary, who can give you more information on dates, times, and locations for field trials in your area.

Two other options:

1) Entry Express Field Trial Listing
2) Working Retriever Central Field Trial Calendar

Both sites are chronologically, not geographically ordered. Entry Express is a nifty online entry service, but does not include all events - so some events in your area may not be listed. Working Retriever Central is published by the Retriever Field Trial News and unfortunately, I have found the listed dates are frequently in error. With either site, as with the AKC Event Site, you can get the name of the Field Trial Secretary and call him or her for more information.

A word of warning. Field trials are notoriously poorly signed. When I first began running trials in 1999, I would often drive around in circles trying to find out where I was to go to compete. This only added to the stress I felt as a new competitor. Even now, after having competed in scores of field trials all across the country, I still get butterflies as I am trying to find trial grounds for the first time.

I have found that two things help.

One, I always give myself plenty of time to find the trial grounds.

Two, I look for large chassis mount dog trucks, and ask their drivers where the field trial grounds are located.

This is your target. These dog trucks always congregate at one of two places: Field Trials or Restaurants

If you are not fortunate enough to see a dog truck, then while you are driving look for orange or pink surveyor’s tape wrapped on telephone poles or fence posts - these typically are indications of a turn in for a field trial - and small, typically very small, signs which say “Field Trial.”


If you are like me, at first, you will just be absorbed by the sight of these magnificent animals working in the field. But, if the bug bites you, you will want to know more.

For those whom the bug has bitten, I suggest you take a look at the AKC Rules and Regulations governing Retriever Field Trials. In particular, I would focus upon the Recommendations of the Retriever Advisory Committee, Supplement to the Standing Procedure.

However, I think you will learn the most if you find a competitor in the wings - not one with a dog getting ready to compete - and ask him or her what is happening in the field. Most old hands will be delighted to tell you a little bit about the sport to which they are passionately dedicated.


If you decide that this is something that you want to try and not just watch, then I recommend you contact your local retriever field trial club and find more.

I hope you find the sport as rewarding and compelling as I have.

“Field trials are notoriously poorly signed”

Boy, you sure got that right! That’s one reason why we usually stay at a hotel listed on the premium (esp. one designated FTHQ), so we can follow the pro rigs. (h)
Tina (Email) - 15 02 05 - 09:38

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