With Elio Colasimone
GSP – YORIFELD QUARTZ – (Messi, 11mths.) points stubble quail in beef grazing country west of Bundaberg. One of the upcoming young generation.
This little bit of information about GSPs around Bundaberg may be of interest to those who are a bit keen to gain a little insight in what has gone on and continues around Australia with working GSPs.
Relative to other breeds the Wide Bay Working Gundog Club seems to have always had a disproportionately large number of GSPs being handled by members within the club in comparison to most other working gundog clubs with which I’ve been associated.
For me personally, living and growing up on farms just near Bundaberg meant constant exposure to the outdoors which fitted in well with my two great interests outside the usual range of sports and hobbies many people get involved in – namely fishing and hunting.
In fact, my earliest hunting experience with dogs as a 12-13year old was hunting quail with a fox terrier. Following that I used a Labrador and an English Springer Spaniel with mixed success.
My first real contact with a working GSP was when I ran across Don Nicol – a great stalwart of the breed – and a friend from way back – duck hunting, using one of his early dogs Dunfriu Christy (Brie) on one of the same properties I had hunted in the late 70s early 80s.
The fact that these dogs have short hair suitable for our sub-tropics, the fact that they exhibit high order skills in handling both fur and feather, the fact they could retrieve in large bodies of water and the fact the breed truly exudes gaminess, intensity and drive made an immediate impression on me. It also became evident, quite early, that they have this incredible knack of relocating wounded game.
In other words, the breed can be used to hunt anything and retrieve anything on land or from water. It was just the sort of breed to capture the imagination of hunters in this part of the world.
Shortly afterwards, I became involved in helping to establish the Wide Bay Working Gundog Club as an independent club. Prior to that, it had been a subsidiary of the Bundaberg Canine Club.
As it has turned out almost all the GSP handlers attached to this club were or are hunters who decided to dabble in both Field Trials and Retrieving Trials. People like Don Nicol, Dom Colasimone, Jim Hook, John Palu, Wendy Michalk, Matt Fulton, Mal Tyrie , Evan Mangin and Trevor Davies,
In the early days, the club ran a double header Retrieving Trial, one Utility Field Trial and one Spaniel / Retriever Field Trial each calendar year.
Restrictive game laws have forced changes to what the club can offer with regards to Field Trials but it does run Retrieving Trials on 4 separate weekends of the year. Our feature event in Retrieving is the Queen’s Birthday June long weekend Retrieving Trial.
At this event, it is not uncommon to have All Age entries of between the low 20s to the mid 30s. Since the early 80s local GSPs have shone in Field Events and also made a mark in Retrieving Trials.
Leaving aside the other breeds being handled within the club for a moment, the GSP breed within the Club has produced 4 Field Trial Champions:
F.T. Ch. Reiver Ptarmigan CM (Nicol) F.T. Ch Bulkuru Ruby CM (Colasimone) F. T.Ch. Saetta Chloe (Colasimone) Nat. F.T. Ch. Saetta del Piero RRD CM (Colasimone)
Another 4 Field Trial Champions that also became Retrieving Trial Champions
Nat. F.T. Ch. & R.T. Ch. Saetta Alto CD CM (Colasimone) F.T. Ch. & R.T. Ch Saetta Abraham (Colasimone) F.T. Ch & R.T. Ch. Saetta Dean (Colasimone) F.T.Ch & R.T. Ch Applecreek Break n Heart (Fulton)
and 4 other GSPs that have gained their RT Championship titles. R.T. Ch. Riverfield Endeavour (Hook) R.T. Ch. Macropus Monty CD (Michalk) R.T. Ch. Macropus Donny (Colasimone) Dual Ch.(R) Jaghund Ozeans Vier (Imp. NZ) (Michalk)
Several of the younger generation while still not quite two years old have already started to make their mark by placing and winning in Novice and Restricted in Retrieving Trials. The standard of work is certainly being maintained and is a credit to the breeders and handlers. No doubt several of these dogs will be truly competitive for years to come.
A great example of this – at time of writing – is Dom Colasimone’s Jagacey Bianco Nero who has completed 5 of the 6 All Age events he has been entered at Retrieving Trials including actually winning an All Age before reaching the ripe old age of two.
- Hall of Fame inductee National Field Trial CH and RT CH Saetta Alto CD CM (Fergus) with litter brother F.T.CH & R.T. CH Saetta Abraham(Abe) -2 time winner of the Wide Bay Cup (seen here pointing brown quail).
In that period of time, with quite large fields entered, the Wide Bay Cup (All Age – Retrieving) has been won on five separate occasions by GSPs. (3 wins Dom Colasimone, 2 wins Jim Hook, 1 win Matt Fulton)
The first Utility Field Trial State Championship held in Queensland was held in the Bundaberg area and the Wide Bay Club assisted in the running of the event with one of the local dogs F.T. CH. BULKURU Ruby CM (Sophie) (Colasimone)winning. She backed that up with 2 more State Championship wins.
National F.T. CH Saetta Del Piero ( 2 Firsts & 1 Second at Aust. National FT Championships.)
Sophie’s first litter produced 3 F.T. Champions, two of which also became R.T. Champions. Her son FT. CH. Saetta Alto CM won the first National Utility Field Trial held in Queensland and was later honoured by being inducted into the Gundog Field and Retrieving Hall of Fame.
Since then GSPs from the club have had two more National wins in the Field (Nat. F.T. CH. Saetta Del Piero CM) and a string of State Championship wins. As we have had the pleasure to discover, well bred and well prepared GSPs are truly wonderful animals over which to hunt or with which to compete. They are very capable of adapting to whatever demands are placed on them.
A big day out in country west of Bundaberg: The way things were: Merv, Dom and Elio with GSPs ‘Ace’ ‘Donny’ , ‘Dean and ‘Indy’ and a full game limit of ducks, quail, rabbits and hares.
Apart from all of us learning more and more about training techniques – interestingly our expectations haven’t changed that much over all these years.
We would expect our GSPs to work hard and produce quality work while being hunted over. We would expect them to be able to turn around the following weekend and put in creditable performance in whatever stake they were entered in a Retrieving Trial, and if circumstances permitted the weekend after that to be genuinely competitive in any Field Trial they were entered. Of course they are ready to hunt anytime you pick up a gun !!
They’re not called the ‘All Purpose’ gundog for no reason !!!
Current dogs being campaigned with a few retirees keeping them company during a club training session
Nat. FT Ch. Saetta Del PieroCM RRD, RT CH Macropus Monty CD, Dual CH (R) Jagdhunde Ozeans Vier(Imp. NZ) , RT CH Macropus Don, Yorifeld Quartz, Yorifeld Topaz, Jagacey Black Lace, Jagacey Nugget Moon, Jagacey Game Seeker, Jagacey Nero Bianco – ABSENT – Feldhund Perazzi (Tyrie) Warwiba Otto (Palu) Ch. Jaghunde Prodigal Son (Imp. NZ) (Mangin)