Thursday, April 18, 2013

Team 81 is a Judge!

Team 81 - Murphy and the Spots is a judge for Dog Trials and I asked her what she does when she judges and here is her story of her last judging.  This is soooo cool :-)

Getting Ready to Judge 

RD Competitor

Hock Exercise

Sit / Stay

I made it to St. Louis to judge the Dalmatian Club of America's (DCA) Specialty Road Trial ! Friday was horse familiarization and judge's briefing and Saturday was the Road Trial competition. This Road Trial competition took place at Purina Farms in Gray Summitt, MO , a truly beautiful venue for this type of event. The Dalmatian Club of America offers this competition once a year in conjunction with it's Conformation, Agility, Obedience, and Rally classes and at 2 or 3 other sites across America.

A Road Trial as defined by the DCA rules states: " A Dalmatian Road Trial is a performance event designed to evaluate the Dalmatian’s ability to "coach”, or follow the horses. Exhibitors compete as handlers on horseback or in a horse-drawn cart or carriage, with their dog(s) off leash. The Dalmatian Standard of the American Kennel Club states that the Dalmatian “should be capable of great endurance, combined with a fair amount of speed”, qualities essential to his successful use as a horse/rider and horse/coach escort. The purpose of a Road Trial is to demonstrate the use of purebred Dalmatians as a companion of man in the role that they have been bred to perform.

There are three levels of Road Trial Competition. The “Coaching Certificate” test evaluates the Dalmatian’s ability to coach. The “Road Dog” class evaluates coaching ability and moderate endurance (completing a 12 1/2 mile course in less than 3 hours)and the “Road Dog Excellent” class evaluates coaching ability and extended endurance (completing a 25 mile course in less than 6 hours). Road Trials demonstrate the Dalmatians’ ability to behave in public places, such as riding trails, in the presence of other dogs, in a manner that will reflect positively on the sport and on purebred dogs. I had 13 entries (7 dogs in the RD class and 6 in the CC class, no RDX entries) and all the entries qualified in the RD class and 4 of the 6 qualified in the CC class."

We did have two problem. As I rode the 4 mile loop I found that the route winded through the middle of the shutzhund competition! So my team and I spent several hours reworking the course. Then another hour planning out the "obedience" area. Unfortunately, the field was a smorgasbord board of animal poop. There was sheep, goat, cattle, ducks (and their blood), pigeons (and their blood), horse, dog - from border collies, deer, geese and rat (from a "go to ground" competition) droppings! It was definitely a challenge for the Dalmatians as they experienced a smell sensory overload! The horses were a bit jittery too as parts of this field had large blue tarps flapping in the wind. But we all had a great time!

The weather was as picture perfect as one could hope for, with partly cloudy sky's, a slight wind, temperatures in the low sixties and no humidity. The horses at the event were either brought in and owned by the competitors, or rented from a local wrangler. This wrangler gave us Tennessee Walkers which he used for hunting with his pointers and setters, so the horses had no problems completing the 12 1/2 miles, were used to dogs under foot, and often carried inexperienced riders. One competitor brought her Friesian mare (reportedly worth over $50,000!), another brought her Morgan and the third gal her Pinto Quarter Horse. The carting entry was a draft/warmblood with the best temperament I have ever seen. Nothing frazzled this big guy including one Dals' close encounter with it's nose!

I met some really fantastic people, admired some excellent working Dalmatians and beautiful horses, and rode great a Morgan gelding who happened to be the same color as my horse Murphy. It was just a fun weekend and I really look forward to my next Road Trial!


  1. Very cool! I can't get my dog to sit and stay when I'm on the ground with her! Kudos!

  2. How neat! I loved all the pics, especially the one of the dog stretched out and standing beside the horse. Good job!!!

  3. What a fun & educational activity! Sounds like a lot of preparation is required?


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