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Judging Can Be A Risky Business Sometimes

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114 – July, 2020

By Chris Robinson

All dog judging poses risks. Especially judging field events, as I learned on numerous occasions during the 15 or so years that I judged all three types of hunt tests although even in such sedate and highly controlled worlds as the show ring or at performance events there are perils. Judges are always at the mercy of the elements at field events or outdoor shows and it is almost always too hot, too cold, too rainy, too windy or too snowy for comfort. It is frequently necessary to deal with irate handlers or owners in the field or at performance events who are incensed because you failed to give their dog a qualifying score even though the dog’s performance was light years away from the minimally accepted standards for that event or in the show ring, because their dog wasn’t the winner. It is always necessary, particularly at field events, to make the test run smoothly and fairly for all dogs which means being something of a diplomat because of the need to try to keep everyone, including your staff, happy and as comfortable as possible. If your staff is unhappy, they can sabotage the most beautifully designed test or test site and the success or failure of a test design is always ultimately the judge’s responsibility.

These aspects of judging, difficult and tricky as they sometimes can be, are just part of the job. What’s never mentioned in the “Dog Judging Handbook” however are things like nasty tempered horses, outhouses, porcupines and loose ring matting.

Long time conformation judge and personal friend Betty Sandberg–now, sadly, gone to that great show ring in the hereafter–failed to notice a loose section in the ring matting once while judging the Sporting group and paid, big time, for her inattention to that detail. As she later described it, in her last pass down the lineup of dogs, striding purposefully along preparing to signal her choices for the group placements, the very picture of dignified dog show judge, she tripped over the loose matting section and executed a near-perfect somersault onto the mat. The only thing that marred the perfection of her flip, she said, was that she failed to tuck her left arm and the resulting snap of a bone in her forearm echoed across the ring like a pistol shot.

Click here to read the complete article
114 – July, 2020

Short URL: http://caninechronicle.com/?p=186582

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