Walking Trials

What Are Walking Youth Trials?

Walking Youth Trials are where the handlers are on foot though the judges might be on horseback. Like youth horseback stakes, they are generally run to Gun Dog Standards. The brace of dogs, their junior handlers, the judges and the gallery follow a designated course either on wild birds or a course salted with birds. Most likely the latter to ensure each youth handler has the opportunity to handle their dogs on birds. Dogs can be any recognized breed of pointing dog and should be animals that have experience being field trialed or hunted over and accustomed to being braced with another dog. A retired field trial dog or older hunting dog will often be best suited for a young handler. Depending on age, the handler may require an adult accompany them, acting as a kind of scout and to help keep the dog within reasonable range. As much as possible, however, junior handlers should be encouraged to handle their dog, flush birds and shoot their blank pistol on their own. Much leeway must be given to the clubs as to how they see fit to conduct their trials to ensure the handlers enjoy and learn from the experience, whether they place their dog or not. Rosette ribbons and other prizes are generally awarded to the winners. Some clubs choose to award the other participants a small ribbon.

National Bird Hunters Association (NBHA) is an exclusively walking field trial organization. They offers a Youth Award and Youth Handled Dog Award based on points garnered by a handler sixteen and under in any of their stakes including their Amateur Shooting Dog (JC@F) stake which is run to Gundog Standards.