The Field Trial season runs from 1st September to 1st February , although Trials can be run on Grouse after the 12th August. The standard of training is accepted to be higher than for working test and experience on game a necessary requirement.
Trials are also divided between Novice and open dogs and to obtain the title of Field Trial champion a dog must complete and win in either a 2 day Trial or a 1 day and a 2 day Trial. This is an achievement all trialist dream of and only a limited number achieve.
These days the standard of dog work is extremely high and considerable time and effort is therefore given to training. (source South Western Golden Retriever Club)
Field trials can consist of one or more stakes, which can be considered as separate competitions within a field trial. Such stakes can be run for any of the four sub-groups of gundogs recognised by the Kennel Club. The four sub-groups are;
1. Retrievers and Irish Water Spaniels
2. Sporting Spaniels other than Irish Water Spaniels
3. Pointers and Setters
4. Breeds that Hunt, Point and Retrieve
This is a stake in which the dogs have the opportunity of gaining a qualification towards the title of Field Trial Champion (FTCh) and towards entry in the Championships or Champion Stake for its breed.
All Age Stake
This is open to all dogs of a specified breed or breeds without restriction as to the age of the dog, but which may be restricted by other conditions that are deemed necessary by the organising club or society. Four placements plus a Reserve JAM and JAMs (Judges Award of Merit).
This stake is confined to dogs that not have gained the following awards:
- Retrievers; First, second, third or fourth award in a 24 dog Open Stake; or first, second or third award in a 12 dog Open Stake; or first award in an All Aged or Novice Stake
- Spaniels; First, second or third in Open Stakes; or first in an All Age or Novice Stake
- Mixed Breed; First
Confined to dogs whelped not earlier than 1 January in the year preceding the date of the field trial. If a Puppy Stake is run in January then a dog that was a puppy in the previous year is deemed to still be a puppy. (source Wikipedia)