A marvelous challenge : judging in Eksjö (3th of july 2005)

Louise Holm asked me to write a note for your setter-paper about my experiences in Sweden. First of all was I a little bit pleasant surprised to be asked to judge the show in Eksjö. For one moment I had a few doubts because of my pregnancy ( 7 months on the date of the show) abd it wasn’t predictable in march how i would feel in July. But sometimes you must just grab the opportunity to a combination of a marvelous challenge and a meaningful experience. I must confess that it was indeed a marvelous experience that i won’t forget soon. Together with my partner Leon I have enjoyed your nice country, your hospitality en last but not least the high quality of your Irish Setters.
In the afternoon of friday the 1th of July we arrived on Skavsta and Louise picked us upo and brought us to her home in Eksjö. The long trip by car wasn’t boring at all, we had a nice chat with Louise and we saw around us the nice Swedisch landscape and nature. We could stay in her house during the weekend and we had a warm welcome with a lot setters and puppies. Louise played it fair because her setters that were subscribed for the show where carefully hide for me.

On Saturday we went to check the showfield and we helped Lousie with the last preparations. Then I also understood that there were more than the usual 70 entries and that I could expect 106 Setters on Sunday. I would be quite a challenge to judge such an amount of dogs on your own, under the restriction that you would like to judge each dog in the same way and make an detailed report of each dog.

Sunday was the big day. We arrived at about 08.00h on the show-field and allready a lot of participants were busy prepare and walk there dogs and building up there tents in an nice row around the showring. This lead to complete different line-up to me as in Holland, beacuse allmost all shows are indoor. I think that a show in such a nice spot outside matches much more to our race.
The puppies. We started with the youngest ones. I saw a lot of very young representatives of our race, playful and pig headed but with a lot of potential. In the minor puppy class (4-6m) the bitch Applegrove Will to Please was the best. In de puppy class (6-9m) was the bitch Ashrim’s Elf the best.

The dogs In the Junior Class (9-15m) there was a viaration of types, personally I found the class rather difficult to judge. In the end a choose Hot Sensation’s Concorde. In the Youngster Class (15-24m) my eye was catched by Dubliner Tiger Woods, a young dog with a lot of power and a dynamic movement. In the Open Class (2-4y) I was impressed by Dubliner Wimbledon, a young and very promising dog with a typical aristocratic appearance, the dog who in the end was also Best of Breed. In the Open Class (4-7y) the first place was claimed by A soft Wind of the Golden Vale, an example that cooperation with foreign breeders can be still succesfull.
The Premium Class Dogs was indeed premium, de quality was enormous. My preference was Red Tail’s Absolute Irish Lad. This dog has a lovely head with a soft dreamy expression, something I like to see in our race.

In the Senior Class (7-10y) I choose Hot Sensation’s Quemazon, a dog with a lovely body in good condition and a very nice dark coat. At least was My Irish Montana first in the veteran Class (>10y). Overall I found the quality of the dogs high and impressive. I saw a lot of beautifull heads and toplines, nice angulation and racy movements.

The bitches. In the Junior Class (9-15m) was Kerrylaw’s After Ski At Starmix best in her Class and in the Youngster Class (15-24m) was the Finnish bitch Kanelin Hurrah Dubliner first. Later that day she would be also Best Bitch. A bitch with a very nice topline good angulations and nice movement.
In the Open Class (2-4y) was the first place for the elegant Bitch Ember Janis Joplin and In the Open Class (4-7y) I choose Hot Sensation’s Salsa Queen. The Premium Class Bitches was won by Classic Red Aniara, a nice and well balanced bitch. The Senior Class (7-10y) was won Gaerlic Blithe and Happy. At last the Breeders Class was won by Kennel the Red Tail’s.
Overall the quality of the bitches was almost as high as the dogs, a lot of good representatives of our race. Good angulations, well balanced and very nice expressions. Although some bitches could have some more breast (brisket). I found also the coat of most bitches in good condition, normaly a problem typical for bitches. Although the quality of the dog/bitch itself commonly spoken is deciding was I pleased with the attention of the handlers to there part of the “show”. Good handling is also important, I often see on shows that handlers forget this.
  During the break there was a nice lunch served on the veranda and anyone who was hungry could have some barbecue–meat and nice salads. The atmosphere was relaxed and pleasant. Because of the amount of entries last the judging until 18.30h. I was tired but satisfied, for me a impressive day that I allways wil remember. Later on the evening we finished the day with a nice meal and had a nice “evaluating“ chat about the whole day.

On Mondaymorning we had to leave our bed early to catch the airplane back to holland. Due to some car-problems it was for a moment tight but we arrived at Skavsta just on time. After a smooth flight and transfer we were welcomed at home by our small daughter Britt and or own Setters.

I hope that I have in the future the possibilty to visit Sweden again. Of cause for dogschows but hopefully also for holiday with leon and our children en maybe some setters. I would like to thank anyone who has made our trip so pleasant and of casue a special thank to Louise.

Bertina Cobbenhaegen