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Performance Trial Rules – from the Guide for Hound Shows, Puppy Shows & Performance Trials

The Masters of Foxhounds Association (MFHA) adopted these rules in order to sanction open and invitational regional performance trials and a national championship. A select number of the best hounds from each of the sanctioned trials will then be eligible to compete in a national performance trial championship. In addition, any hound competing in a sanctioned performance trial and placed in the top 10 in HGA will be eligible to compete in a special performance trial division at MFHA sanctioned hound shows. The MFHA is publishing these rules in order to encourage the development of performance trials as an important and enjoyable means of measuring hound performance and enhancing hunts’ foxhound breeding programs.

Attention Performance Trials organizers — consider signing up to use our Online Performance Trial Manager (PTM). Once you have created an account, you'll be able to login and create a customized page to share details, entry forms, and results from your event. The PTM program also includes easy-to-use menus linking back to Performance Trials rules, the Hound Database, past events, and other relevant links. Visitors to your event's page will be able to quickly get all the information they need, plus access to MFHA information in one place and will be able to quickly view each day's and cumulative results. To see a sample using the PTM, check out the Scoring results from the 2016 Carolinas Foxhound Performance Trials.

Photo by Heather Kuenzi

Click here for a complete copy of the Performance Trial Rules and Regulations

1. The Judges shall rank from one (1) to ten (10) the best hounds competing in the performance trial on a daily basis in four separate categories. The ranking shall be based on the scoring system described below.

2. No entries can be made except by a master of a Recognized or Registered hunt in good standing with the MFHA which master is a member in good standing of the MFHA. Contact the MFHA office to verify hunt standings. Each Master must certify that: (i) the hounds he enters in the performance trial are currently regularly hunting as part of his hunt’s pack; and (ii) that the hounds entered comply with all health and safety rules applicable to entering hounds at an MFHA sanctioned hound show. Participating Hunts may compete hounds from their packs which were entered in the MFHA Stud Book by another hunt. Each competing hound must be registered in the Stud Book maintained by the MFHA. Hounds listed in the MFHA Stud Book, but not registered, are ineligible to compete in the trial.

3. The Organizer shall determine the entry fee and the fee must be paid in full at time of entering hound(s).

4. There shall be no substitutions once the trial has commenced.

5. Each entry must have a collar with a nameplate attached. The Host hunt’s name and phone number must appear on the collar of every entry. Tracking collars are strongly recommended.

6. All hounds must have plainly painted or dyed numbers on both sides and the number must correspond with that drawn at the entry office.

7. As soon as entries close for the performance trial, the Organizer shall make up a numerical list of the entries. Any list of hounds provided to the Judges shall contain the number and physical description of the competing hounds, but not their names, breeding or the name of the hunt that entered them.

8. Objections to or protests of any hound entered must be in writing by a master of a hunt participating in the trial to the Organizer. If an objection is made that cannot be substantiated, the hound under protest may continue to compete. Should the hound be disqualified, other hounds shall be placed the same as if the hound had not been in the trial.

9. The Organizer of an invitational trial may limit entries in any manner the Organizer deems appropriate. In addition no person or hunt which is guilty of misconduct in any manner in connection with the MFHA, shall be allowed to compete in any performance trial held under the auspices of the MFHA until such time as the MFHA reinstate such person or hunt.

10. Approaching a Judge or Judges to discuss or comment on the performance of any particular hound entered in a field trial prior to the time scores are posted each day of the trial is considered misconduct and any person engaging in such conduct can be reprimanded. Comments at a social gathering regarding the day’s hunt or the pack in general are not inappropriate so long as such comments are not contrived to influence any Judge’s opinion about individual hounds.

11. Any hound can be withdrawn without the express permission of the Trial President. Any hound withdrawn forfeits his score in the performance trial and is ineligible to compete in performance trial classes at hound shows – based on his performance at that particular event. If that hound earns a top ten slot at another sanctioned performance trial, he may compete in the performance trial classes at the hound shows.

12. It is the responsibility of each hunt participating in the performance trial to have its hounds available to the Huntsman at the Meet at the time appointed by the Trial President. Any hound failing to report on the first day shall be permanently eliminated.

13. Subject to the provisions of item 14 immediately below, on the subsequent day’s hunting all hounds must answer Roll Call by the Trial President or be eliminated. No person other than the Huntsman and the Whippers-in shall be permitted to attempt to get lost or separated hounds back into the pack being hunted by the Huntsman unless the safety of the hound is at stake in which case anyone’s help is welcome.

14. A hound will be eliminated if it fails to complete any trial day’s hunting. Notwithstanding the foregoing, if a hound is withdrawn from a day’s hunting as a result of an injury after it has reported for Roll Call, it shall retain any score received prior to the injury. Any such hound is entitled to compete on subsequent days if the injury will permit. In any such cases of injury, the Trial President or his designee must inspect the injured hound to confirm the injury on the day that it occurs and re-inspect the hound for soundness if it is submitted for competition on a subsequent day.

15. A hunt may not make any substitutions of hounds after the commencement of the first trial day of hunting.

Performance trials are eligible for up to a $500 allotment per trial. In order to receive funding from the MFHA, the trial secretary must provide a copy of the trial results to the MFHA office within two (2) weeks following the close of the trial.

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