2021 Fall Spaniel Hunting Tests

Saturday September 18 (AKC Event #2021441910) and
Sunday September 19 (AKC Event #2021441911)
at Rebel Ridge Farms in Elkton MD.
Much more info below!

Enter at HuntSecretary.com

Also happening this weekend at Rebel Ridge:
AKC Spaniel Hunt Test Seminar
for Judges and Handlers
with an associated
Spaniel Hunting Test on Friday 9/17
MSDA Members’ Open Day on
Saturday 9/18
Spaniel Working Dog (WD) Tests on
Sunday 9/19.

MSDA will hold two days — two separate events — of AKC Spaniel Hunting Tests at Rebel Ridge Farms in Elkton MD. Rebel Ridge provides spacious grounds, ample ponds, and excellent fall cover. (They let the grass grow extra tall just for our hunt test weekend!) Photos from two previous MSDA hunt tests at Rebel Ridge are here (Spring 2021) and here (Fall 2019).

Junior, Senior and Master stakes will be available each day and all eligible flushing breeds are welcome. Chukars will be used for all testing. The entry limit is 40 dogs (total) each day. The judges are:

  • Rick Abolt and Steve Surprenant (Juniors on Saturday, Seniors and Masters on Sunday), and
  • Mary Lou Dunn and Jean-Marie Tate (Seniors and Masters on Saturday, Juniors on Sunday).

Note that there judges have changed since the original premium was published.

Both Saturday and Sunday, judging begins promptly at 8 am and continues until completion, typically ending after 3 pm. A midday lunch break will be taken as decided by the judges, and ribbons will be awarded at the clubhouse after the end of the testing.

Lunch will be provided to all participants and volunteers each day. In addition, information about some area hotels and  restaurants is provided below.

Official Premium information and online entry is via HuntSecretary.com. The entry fee is $75 per dog per event. HuntSecretary fees are an additional $4 per entry.

For all hunt tests, entries close at 11:59 pm (Eastern) on Tuesday, September 7 or when entry limits are reached, whichever occurs earlier. Entries will be drawn, and running orders established, starting at 10 am on Wednesday, September 8, 2021.

Refunds (except for the HuntSecretary processing fee) will be given if you cancel for any reason by the entry deadline on September 7. After September 7, refunds will be given only for a bitch in season or if a dog is sick or injured or has died. Veterinary confirmation may be required.

Not just for spaniels, the hunting tests are open to all eligible flushing breeds. Currently, these are: Airedale Terrier, American Water Spaniel, Boykin Spaniel, Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Clumber Spaniel, Cocker Spaniel, Curly-Coated Retriever, English Cocker Spaniel, English Springer Spaniel, Field Spaniel, Flat-Coated Retriever, Golden Retriever, Irish Water Spaniel, Labrador Retriever, Nederlandse Kooikerhondje, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, Poodles (Miniature and Standard), Sussex Spaniel, Welsh Springer Spaniel. Dogs of these breeds recorded with the Purebred Alternative Listing Program/Indefinite Listing Privilege (PAL/ILP) or dogs with Conditional registration are eligible to participate. Spayed and neutered dogs are eligible to participate. Bitches in season are not eligible to participate, nor are they allowed on the grounds. Dogs with Limited Registration are eligible to participate.

Tests will be conducted according to the American Kennel Club’s Regulations for AKC Hunting Tests for Spaniels available at https://images.akc.org/pdf/rulebooks/RHTSPN.pdf.

Enter at HuntSecretary.com. If you have any questions about how the hunt tests are conducted or would like to volunteer to help, please contact the Event Chair, Steve Roth (huntingchair@mdsportingdog.org).

USE OF CALLBACKS: On Saturday ONLY, depending on the number of entries and the weather, we are hoping to provide all participants the opportunity to be judged in all the elements of their test, rather than using callbacks that reduce the number of dogs participating as the test proceeds each day. On Saturday, we will assume that all dogs will be available in running order for all portions of the testing. Of course, if you choose to withdraw your dog at any point, you may do so simply by informing the marshal. The Sunday hunt tests will be run using callbacks so that, if your dog does not qualify on one portion of the test, they will not be called back to continue that day.

AKC JUNIOR HANDLER PROGRAM: Anyone up to the age of 18 is eligible to participate as a Junior Handler in hunting tests and other AKC performance events. MSDA welcomes Junior Handlers and offers a reduced entry fee of $35 for dogs handled by a Junior Handler. To participate as a Junior Handler, you must obtain a number from the AKC by having a parent or guardian submit this form. The regular $75 entry fee must be paid when entering the test but, on test day, a Junior Handler should notify the Hunt Test Chair (Steve Roth) and a rebate on the entry fee(s) will be provided.

WORKING DOG TESTS: Before there were AKC Hunt Tests, MSDA held the first Working Dog Test for English Cocker Spaniels in 1977. In keeping with that tradition, we are once again offering our annual Working Dog Tests (WD, WDX) on Sunday September 19th ONLY. You do not have to be entered in the AKC Hunting Tests to participate in Working Dog Tests, though we offer a discounted entry fee to dogs signed up for both WD and either Junior Hunter or Senior Hunter, since those can be judged simultaneously. The fee for entering a standalone WD test is $35 per dog. If the dog is also entered in either JH or SH on Sunday and WD can be judged simultaneously, the WD fee is only $15.

Approval to hold these tests must be obtained separately from each breed club. This year, so far we have approval for: Clumber Spaniels, Cocker Spaniels, English Cocker Spaniels, English Springer Spaniels, Field Spaniels and Welsh Springer Spaniels. Breeds without parent club approval are welcome to run in the separate WD test, but they will not receive parent club recognition. Please check with your breed’s parent club for WD/WDX upland hunting test requirements and judging guidelines. Such information is usually on the parent club’s website.

You may pre-register and pay for WD tests using the form below, or sign up and pay for WD testing at Rebel Ridge on Sunday, 9/19. If you want your dog to be judged for WD at the same time as Junior or Senior Hunter, you must sign up and provide payment (cash or check) by 8 am that day. If you want to do a standalone WD test, you must register and pay no later than 10 am on Sunday 9/19. Hunt Test Committee Member Pamela DeSmidt will be handling WD registration. Because capacity for standalone tests is limited, we recommend you pre-register.

If you have questions about registering for the WD tests or have problems with this form, please contact Pamela via FieldDays@mdsportingdog.org.

JUDGING SEMINAR: AKC requires Spaniel Hunting Test judges to attend a seminar at least every five years to retain their certification, and many handlers also find it valuable to learn more about the judging process. On Friday, September 17, MSDA will be sponsoring a judging seminar taught by AKC’s Tom Meyer. Usually, this is a full day of classroom instruction, but attendees at this seminar will instead spend the day entirely in the field at an actual hunt test. Entries for that Friday hunt test are limited to 20 dogs and, although everyone may enter, priority is being given to handlers who are attending the seminar. (You’re also welcome to take the seminar without entering a dog in Friday’s hunt test.) Please visit this page for much more information about Friday’s seminar and hunt test.

BLAZE ORANGE REQUIRED: The AKC, the State of Maryland, and MSDA require that all people in the field (where there is live fire) wear blaze/fluorescent orange clothing. This includes judges, gunners, handlers, marshals, bird planters, seminar attendees, and observers in the field. A cap by itself is not sufficient to meet this requirement. You need a “vest or jacket containing back and front panels of at least 250 square inches of solid fluorescent orange color (worn as outer garment at all times) or an outer garment of camouflage fluorescent orange worn above the waist which contains at least 50% fluorescent orange color.” If you are a spectator remaining outside the fields, blaze orange is not absolutely required. It is also not required during hunt dead and water portions of tests. However, blaze orange is strongly recommended for everyone and it is the favorite fashion statement color for these events! A very limited number of plain blaze orange t-shirts will be available for sale on site for $5.00 each.

SEVERE CORRECTION OR DISCIPLINE will not be allowed on any part of the grounds at any time. TRAINING by dogs and handlers entered in the hunt tests is not permitted. Dogs can be aired or exercised only in designated areas (areas that will not be used during the course of the tests). Please scoop poop from where people will be walking and deposit the poop bags in trash receptacles.

LOCATION: Once again our hunt tests will be at Rebel Ridge Farms located at 295 Woods Road, Elkton, Maryland 21921. Convenient to I-95, a variety of restaurants, hotels that welcome dogs, and an RV/camping site, this beautiful property provides more than 250 acres of fields, ponds, and woods as well as a heated and air-conditioned clubhouse. Most GPS will find Rebel Ridge easily using the address. After you turn in to the property, drive very slowly approaching the dip before the bridge! Follow the driveway in and stay right at the fork. The clubhouse is the last low building on the left. Pull in there to get field assignments for the day and ask questions.

A note about blue-green algae: There has been much attention paid to toxic algae blooms, especially in waters that collect a lot of fertilizer run-off. This has not been a problem at Rebel Ridge Farms. Experts from Aquatic Engineering complete periodic examinations of Rebel Ridge’s man-made ponds and, to date, have not seen any evidence of algae blooms. The owners swim their own dogs (including their puppies) regularly, and there are events scheduled at Rebel Ridge throughout the summer.

WHERE TO STAY and WHERE TO EAT: Please do not call Rebel Ridge to ask for hotel and restaurant recommendations! An updated list of hotels and restaurants is provided below. Rebel Ridge does not permit overnight RV parking or camping. Instead, check the Lums Pond RV/camping site, about 10 minutes away.

Here is information on some local accommodations. This is not a complete list. Please read the notes below the list about nightly rates, pet policies, etc.

  • Self-Described as “Pet Friendly”:
    • Days Inn by Wyndham: 311 Belle Hill Rd Elkton, MD Ph: 410-392-5010. This hotel showed no availability for these dates.
    • Motel 6: 223 Belle Hill Rd Elkton, MD Ph: 410-392-5020. $66 per night
    • Sutton Inn: 405 E. Pulaski Hwy Elkton MD Ph: 410-398-3830 $110 per night
  • “Pet Friendly”, but policy says only small dogs allowed in rooms:
    • Hampton Inn: 117 Sandhill Dr Middletown, DE Ph: 302-378-5656. $153 per night.
  • Policy says no pets in rooms or service animals only:
    • Hampton Inn: 2 Warner Rd Elkton, MD Ph: 410-398-7777. $153 per night

Important notes:
In June 2021, we checked rates for a room for one person, assuming a 2-night stay 9/17-19. Rates do not include any special discounts, taxes or pet fees. Rates also change frequently, so we suggest you check into several options before booking a room.
“Pet friendly” hotels usually have restrictions such as a limited number of rooms, weight limits on dogs, limits on number of dogs and, of course, extra charges. Be sure to check pet policy carefully when booking, especially since we have observed that stated policies may differ from reality and may change over time.
These are not complete lists and specifically there are many more hotels and restaurants in Newark DE, near the Univ of Delaware.

For dinner while you’re in the area, local restaurants include the following.

  • Baker’s Restaurant: 1075 Augustine Herman Hwy Elkton, MD 21921. 410-398-2435 Known locally for: American/comfort food. Just five minutes from Rebel Ridge, if you’re looking to join a group of fellow hunt-testers, you’re most likely to find some at Bakers on Saturday evening.
  • The Blue Crab Grill: 322 Suburban Plaza Newark, DE 19711. 302-737-1100 Known locally for: Seafood
  • Chesapeake Inn Restaurant: 605 Second St Chesapeake City, MD 21915. 410-885-2040 Known locally for: Upscale (!) seafood & American
  • Grain Craft Bar + Kitchen: 270 E Main Street Newark, DE 19711. 302-444-8646 Known locally for: Burgers & more, specialty beers
  • Jo Jo’s Super Dogs: 214 E Pulaski Hwy Elkton, MD 21921. 410-392-9830 Known locally for: Diner style, breakfast favorites
  • Olive Garden Restaurant 304 E. Pulaski Hwy Elkton, MD 21921. 410-392-8701 Italian franchise
  • Schaefer’s Canal House: 208 Bank Street Chesapeake City, MD 21915. 410-885-7200 Known locally for: Upscale (!) seafood & American
  • Tender Bones Rib Shack: 2504 A Red Lion Rd, Bear, DE 19701. 302-832-7427 Known locally for: Ribs, cheesesteak & more
  • Woody’s Crab House: 29 S Main St North East, MD 21901. 410-287-3541 Known locally for: Seafood, especially crabs.
  • Just looking for fast food? There are a LOT of options on Rte 40 near the intersection with Rte 213, Augustine Herman Hwy.

Enter the hunt tests at HuntSecretary.com.
Pre-register for WD Tests here.
If you have any questions about how the hunt tests are conducted or would like to volunteer to help, please contact the Event Chair, Steve Roth (huntingchair@mdsportingdog.org).