Milo gets a chance to represent England

On the 28th April 2012, David and Milo were invited to the England selection qualifier, at the Drakeshead Kennels. There were 30 of the top handlers in the country invited to the selection, judged by Jeremy Organ and Steve Bolton, two A-panel judges. John Halstead with the judges set out a very good but difficult challenging test.

First we were asked to hunt up in pairs in some rushy grass with some nettles and fallen brash, a shot was fired to judge steadiness on whether they would stop to shot without the whistle. After forty yards we were individually selected for a long scene retrieve over a fence which in previous years has caused many problems. The retrieve had been thrown very close to John’s lake, making it quite difficult to mark. The object was to go directly over the fence find the retrieve, jump back and show a good delivery. Repeated by brace mate. We were then both asked to hunt again, another forty yards alongside the lake and then selected individually to appoint where we had a long scene as a distraction, and then asked to pick a blind to the right hand side over a fence, into a wood with the wind swirling around and the dummy in thick cover. After you had handled the dog over the fence and retrieved the blind, you were asked to pick the scene retrieve then your brace mate does the same. Asked to hunt on again, and then we were taken to the water, we were individually selected to go forward, sat forty yards from the lake where a shot was fired and the seen retrieve was thrown twenty-five to thirty yards into the lake. You were then sent to retrieve. Obviously all of the dogs were being judged on the amount of whistle, handling and good delivery.

Some very, very good dogs made a few mistakes but I am pleased to say that Milo takes most things in his stride, likes to be handled and will get you out of most situations. It became a very long day and very cold, but was worthwhile as Milo and myself were picked as part of the England International team to represent at the CLA Game Fair. This is a great honour for me and my dog, as like all of us, we have sat for many years in the stand watching friends and elders and aspired to be there. My other team members are Steve Wansall, Alice Wise, David Rayner, Albury Ladyman, with reserve Andy Whitehouse. I would like to take this opportunity to thank John and Sandra Halstead for all of the work on the day, and Skinners dog food for their sponsorship. Now we have lots of training to do!

Hope to see you at the game fair!