En reaktion på Bill Meldrums artikel – här kommer den!
I think Bill Meldrum is correct in that too much emphasis is put on distance which in turn means that to get your dog 300 yards out inevitably the handler uses the whistle and signals and in some cases the dog loses initiative and simply becomes a robot. As you saw at the novice FT at Firle Park the distances asked of the dogs were, in my opinion, excessive. As to the question of keeper/handlers I think that times have changed a lot for keepers and compared to the early days of Bill Meldrum all the keepers I know are much too busy to think of competing. All shoots are commercial these days and are run mostly with the minimum of staff with owners expectring the best returns possible. In the old days a lot of the big estates had their own dog trainers who would accompany the boss when he shot and if the dogs were any good he would be encouraged to compete in FTs with all expenses paid. Those were the days.