Shot Over Day
January 09 saw the first Leiborschy Shot Over Day in North Norfolk hosted by David & Jane Barker of Tarndair and by kind permission of William Topham
In North Norfolk, on Tuesday 20th January, a group of enthusiastic and cheerful Leibsters (for some of whom the day involved an eight hour round trip) met in the lovely "farmhouse" kitchen of 'keeper David and his wife, Jane, of Tarndair for a "shoot over" training day. In a week of very mixed weather, with everything from sub zero temperatures, gales and heavy rain, we were blessed with a chilly but calm and largely sunny day - well organised - like everything else!
There was a vast degree of difference between the dogs in terms of age and ability, from seven month olds who had not yet begun any gundog training, to an "Open standard" Gundog Working Test dog, to a dog with two full season's picking up on a variety of shoots under it's belt. It would have been a head scratching exercise to sit down with pen and paper and try to plan a day which would be beneficial to such a wide range of age, experience and ability - but due to Diane's organisation and David's experience, knowledge of the breed (he and Jane are HWV owners and breeders - Tarndair) and thoughtful, patient input, and his generously accommodating attitude, the day ran smoothly and naturally.
After leaving the house, several lessons were immediately learnt, about being quiet and observant, about wind direction and about bird recognition and flight, since on the walk up the lane to the first field which was going to be hunted, a large covey of partridge were put up. The first field was stubble and was quartered by the two more experienced dogs running together, one ranging much further than the other, there was a good point with one dog backing the other. There was a demonstration of what to do when a dog is not steady! Following the first of several short question and answer sessions, the group moved on to a low lying, marshy area with a stream running through it and dense, reedy cover, which was worked by the same two dogs and a third. There were several points and birds flushed here, while the young dogs were watching, on the lead, learning to mark and sit to flush. Following that there was a short retrieving session for the young dogs, combined, at the same time, with an introduction to gunshot, which was sympathetically carried out at some distance and downwind. The next area, a copse, was hunted by the three older dogs, with the young ones following at some distance behind, and birds were shot and retrieved.
We were thoroughly spoilt by a good lunch back at the house. The afternoon started with a chat about the use of the wind and an introduction to quartering for the younger dogs. Following that each dog retrieved a dummy with wings on it and some even retrieved a cold pheasant. During the day we saw pheasant, partridge, woodcock, snipe, hare and duck.
The day ended, in the setting sun, with a splendid demonstration of steadiness, and control by Diane, who was running her own Lajka with another dog the other side of her (on a diagonal cheek wind, with the gun behind), and who had both dogs rock steady to a bumped hare and then continuing hunting on command.
Huge thanks are due to Diane for organising the day and David and Jane Barker of Tarndair for all that they put into running it and looking after us.