We made our way to the Kleemann viaAmsterdam, The Netherlands and then to theNormandy Region of France. If you havenot had the opportunity to visit theNormandy Region you need to do so for ahistory lesson and a reality check. The sitesand information provided by our tour guidewas truly moving. Other than the visit toNormandy I am convinced I never need tovisit France again. It is the only country wehave visited in Europe where the peoplewere rued and unfriendly. Enough said onto Germany and the business of the 2012 Dr.Kleemann Prüfung.
We arrived in Isernhagen, Germany near Hannoverin the early evening and found a very nice facilityand very friendly staff. The Hotel Hennies wasmore of a convention center with an excellent staffthan the usual Germany Inn we have visited. It wasnice to see people that you had not seen since thelast Kleemann but it was clear everyone wasanxious for the activities to start.
Thursday morning came soon enough and thebreakfast area at the hotel was full of participants all preparing for the events to getunderway. The registration provided the opportunity to renew old acquaintances andmake new ones. It is the first time most of the participants are in one place and you cansee and visit almost everybody. It was nice to see so manyAmericans in attendance. Jeff Martin from our Western Regionwas there along with a strong contingency from TeamRiverwoods including Rob Engelking, Julie Griswold, andDiana Calandra.
The Zuchtschau started at 1:00 PM and the crowd moved fromthe hall to the field behind the hotel. After the openingceremony concluded judging started in two rings for the malesand two for the females. There were a total of 135 dogs to beevaluated with 85 of them being females.
We had three females to be evaluated: Fender vom TrockenBach with Mr. Siegfried Hofstetter, Bessi vom Trocken Bachwith Mr. Klaus Bommers, and Dakota vom Trocken Bach also lead by Mr. Bommers. Although we have had five dogs participate successfully at theDr. Kleemann Prüfung since 2006 this would be the first time they were dogs that wehad raised. A fact that made things more interesting but also more nerve racking.
We knew going in that all three females werepositioned well to be evaluated as “V” dogs. Bessi hadbeen the V4 female at Club Rheinland, Dakota the V5dog at Club Rheinland, and Fender the V2 dog at ClubBaden-Süd. The ring that our dogs drew had a verytough group of judges so we knew it would be achallenging day. As the events unfolded “tough” wasthe word of the day. Dog after dog who entered thering as a “V” dog left with an “SG”. Our three wouldenter the ring one after another Bessi first, then Dakota,and then Fender the most elegant of the three. Bessiwas led by Rita Bommers, Mr.Bommers’ daughter. Bessishowed well and the judgeswere impressed awarding her a “V”. Next would be Dakota ledby Mr. Bommers. Dakota is very driven and she brought that tothe ring. The judges looked closely and when they hadconcluded their evaluation she was awarded a “V”. Next wouldbe Fender and we could relax a little. Fender is very elegant andMr. Hofstetter is considered by most to be the best leader inGermany in the field and water work and a very accomplishedleader in the ring. Fender looked great and the Germany leaderssitting by us said “V” but the judges said “SG” – what???? Wehad no way of knowing her bad week had just begun.
After all dogs had been evaluated each ring selects their top 10 from those whichreceived “V”. It was our good fortune to have both Bessi and Dakota selected in theTop 10 from ring #4. Now the top 20 females (10 from Ring #3 and 10 from Ring #4)are evaluated and the top 10 from that group will compete for position V1 – V5 at the2012 Dr. Kleemann Prüfung. Bessi was one of the first selected to move forward andwe were very pleased. In the final evaluation for the top five spots our girl had pressingbathroom business that took most of the ring time and was passed over, but we werevery pleased she was in the ring. When the day was over two of our three dogs hadreceived “V”. Two were in the top 20 and one made the top 10, in all we had a verygood day. Now on to the field and water work.
Friday morning we meet behind the hall across the street from the Hotel. Bessi andDakota would be in Group #29 with Mr. Bommers. Fender, who is Marianne’s dog,would be in Group #30 with Mr. Hofstetter. I would go with Bommers’ and Mariannewould go with Hofstetter’s. Marianne and I decided that we would call one anotherevery two hours for updates starting at 10:00 AM. Off to the fields we went.
There were four dogs in our group and Bessi would worksecond and Dakota fourth. When it was Bessi’s turn Mr.Bommers told me to come with him. She worked greatproducing three pheasants, two hairs, two roe deer, and acovey of partridge. Dakota’s turn came and she wasequally impressive. She produced both feathered and furgame and managed each perfectly. Both dogs are veryproficient and very different. Bessi is very smooth andefficient with a great nose that leads her through thefield. She is exactly like her mother, Atlanta, in her every move – just better looking.Bessi performed each of her searches without a mistake and looked great doing it. Dakota is a more powerful female with a very impressive nose that takes her to thegame and directs her movements in the field. She has a beautiful point and is flawlessin her management of the game. Dakota is equally impressive to watch just different.In all each dog worked four times and produced game. They were steady on both furand feathered game and perfect on the shot. We would move to the water in greatshape.
Unfortunately, during the field work for Bessi andDakota, Fender had been at the water. I receiveda text from Marianne around 9:00 but it made nosense and I demised it as nothing. When wetalked at 10:00 I learned the bad news. Fenderhad failed at the water and I was shocked. Mr.Hofstetter’s dogs are always great in the waterwork. Marianne said I would not believe thewater they had and hoped we were not comingthere. She said Mr. Hofstetter was very upset with the water and the judges – more onthat later. Obviously Fender was not having a good week. Our best looking dogreceived a SG at the Zuchtschau and now, with the best leader in Germany, she is out ofthe Kleemann – wow – what next. I told Bommers that Fender was out and they couldnot believe it. They said Mr. Hofstetter’s dogs never fail and are always the best at thewater – what happened??? We were off to the water and could not be concerned withthe disappointment of Marianne’s dog failing. Wecould only hope we would have different water.
Just as we arrived at the water Marianne called again.She asked me to describe the drive into the water.When I did she said you are at the same water wewere at. GREAT, how bad is it. When we clearedthe trees I could see – so much for the German ponds– this is a very large lake – I mean very large. Wegot out of the cars and the leaders and judges just stood there. I was near the judges and one who spoke very good English looked at me and said “this is stupid”! After huddling for a period of time and looking the situation over I was summoned by the judges and told to go with one of them around the edge of the water part way down the right side, next to the auto-bond, with one of the shooters. To put this in prospective the young man that was shooting said the lake was 2.2 KM from end to end and 1.2 KM across. I don’t know if that is correct but it was really big – stupid big. There was no way to set up a hunting scenario from the position we were assigned. Anyway let the water work begin.
The other leader’s dogs were both five years of age and handled the water as well as could be expected. For their efforts they deservingly received a score of 4h, one for search without the duck and the other for search behind the duck. Bessi, who is three, was our first dog in the water. I was positioned approximately two hundred yards from where the dogs would enter the water through a narrow channel and they swim into the lake out of sight of the leader and two of the judges (we had four judges in our group for some reason). Bessi came out into the lake and searched to the left and then to the right (towards us) around the corner and up almost to where we were standing. She was then called back and would be sent for the live duck. Bessi made fast work of the live duck and all was good. Now Dakota must go. Dakota is a year younger then Bessi and the younger dogs had not been doing well at this water. At one point 7 of 9 dogs at this water had failed.
Dakota enter the water and searched to the left. She went up into the reeds and searched where a duck had been found earlier. Back to the water and she searched to the right towards us along the reeds. We could not see her and she needed to make the turn and come towards us to make the search sufficient. Finally, her dark head appeared along the reeds coming directly at us. Pëter Eppel, the judge with me, signaled the others and she was called back. The live duck was sent for and that search began. Dakota immediately located where the duck had entered the reeds and began the search. Shortly out came the duck and was immediately shot by the shooter from the far bank. Dakota was still in the reeds and when she cleared the reeds the duck was dead approximately fifty yards out in the lake and she had no idea where it was. This was not good! Dakota searched around in front of the reeds and found nothing. She expanded her search and still found nothing. She expanded it more and finally located the duck and returned with it immediately.
All four dogs in our group had passed and would receive their KS. I can say without hesitation the water part of the test was over the top. The 2012 Kleemann was very well organized and the Hannover Club should be complimented for their efforts. However, this water was ridiculous.
For Trocken Bach the week has to be considered successful by any measure. We had three dogs in the Prüfung. At the conformation show two received “V”, one was in the top ten, and two were in the top twenty. In the field and water work two of the three received their “KS”. In all we have had eight dogs at the Kleemann since 2006 and seven have received their “KS”.
Fender returned to Walla Walla with us and will be sold. Bessi and Dakota remained in German to be bred and then will come to Walla Walla for whelping.
We had a meaningful trip to Normandy, a wonderful time seeing old friends and making new ones at the Kleemann. Additionally, we enjoyed our time at Hofstetter’s and Bommers’ following the Kleemann. By any measure this was a very successful Prüfung for Zwinger vom Trocken Bach and we are very proud for our dogs and their leaders.