THE AMATEUR FIELD TRIAL HANDLER
By Diana Boggs © 2007
Dawn lifts to foggy breath as dogs bark sharply and lean
eagerly towards horizon. Horses hurriedly grab their last
green bites of the day and that little brown bird peers
beneath wing at the day to come.
You are at a field trial.
Door opens and out strides a rumpled field trialer for the hundredth time that morning; for every field trial day begins long before official dawning. Dog bowls clatter loudly as those not competing that day are fed, with all being watered. The horses drain their own water buckets, with one splashing with nervous anticipation of the day to come. The handler efficiently takes care of tasks, paying attention to the horse saddlery and tack, never missing an errant motion of his dog, he will run; or horse, he will ride.
All heads come up with ears brightly perked. “Are they next” all ask ? The team is jelling together precisely, at the correct time.
You are an Amateur Team.
You are next on the line. Your brace sets the standard for that stake and those to come. The dog, the handler and horse move purposely toward the breakaway with a team with brace-mates approaching as well. One handler has a smile curling mouth corners, folding inwards his own flutterings that feel like pounding eagles in his gut. The other handler has a grim set to mouth with the glittering twinkle in his eye the only betrayal of his own butterflight thoughts.
Each handler is envisioning his dog’s performance….. complete with style, application and class. They both know the story they want told that day. They both know the other wants their story to be better than yours. They reach the starting line when they reach to each other simultaneously, shake hands and heartily wish each other luck.
You are a sporting Amateur handler.
The Judges ride up and both Handlers state top and bottom dog names. The gallery behind, bustles in anticipation as some draw a bead on the dog, others to the handler who interests them, as others discuss the previous trial’s becomings.
Electricity ignites, starting first with the dogs, the handlers, the judges to the gallery. All eyes point forward in common purpose. The dogs and handlers seem poised on the brink of fame. The judges patiently await, having “been there, done that”.
For there is one thing the truly great amateur handlers know for true. Without the solid beating heart of amateur handlers training, breeding, educating, mentoring, working, judging….
You would not be in a high class field trial today.
Whistles toot. Fog lifts to encase dogs blazing towards shadowed objectives. The wind lightly blows to the front illuminating the way.
Hearts leap as high as one’s dreams.
Dreams race to chase infinity…..
Then… that little brown bird surreptitiously melds into bright fall multiflora to begin his job of making…another Amateur Handler & their dog, great.
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