Ethics and good sportsmanship require the hunter dispatch game as quickly and humanely as possible. Sportsmanship also demands the retrieval of all shot game. To that end these dogs are trained. A Field Trial is a competition, and a collection, of the best trained and best bred dogs in the area. Three ‘Series’ are run with the dog. The first two are run in a ‘Brace’, which are two dogs running at the same time, one on each side of the ‘Center Line’ flags. The third series is one dog at a time. Some of the requirements to complete the ‘Stake’, and have a possibility of placing are; Finding game by covering the course in an orderly manner, and using the wind to an advantage in the pattern of covering the course. The dog is not allowed to ‘Poach’ which is putting up game on the other side of the course. The dog must be ‘Steady To Flush’, so when the dog forces the quarry to fly, the dog waits for the command to retrieve, or continue on. The dog must be ‘Steady to Shot’, so when a bracemate flushes a bird, and it is shot, that dog waits, allowing his bracemate to retrieve the bird. Most importantly, the dog must retrieve to hand, all shot game. Each time a dog fails to accomplish one of these tasks, it is dropped, and only the dogs that have completed the above tasks, move on to the next series. The third series are the best dogs of the day, and the top four will place. As you can see, this is all deeply rooted in hunting, and you will see the important role, well trained, and well bred, dogs play in a quality and ethical hunting experience.
The group of spectators following the dogs in the field is called the ‘Gallery’, and in the gallery the ‘Field Marshall’ who announces the dogs as they come up to the ‘Line’, will also keep you in line. As live ammunition is used in a Spaniel Field Trial, it is imperative, you listen to the Field Marshall’s instructions! Do not applaud, or make unnecessary noise while in the Gallery, especially while the dogs are working the course. All dogs entered must be on a leash when not running. Absolutely no dogs allowed on the grounds which are not entered in the competition.
Taken from essft.com