Please note you must identify your dog as a Novice dog on your dog submission otherwise your dog will be drawn as Open.
“Novice” refers to the dog and not the handler. A novice dog becomes an open dog with 4 or more points, or a first place win. Novice dogs will be drawn against novice dogs and open dogs will be drawn against open dogs. The main difference in novice vs amateur, is that if a dog places in a open/novice trial, the points count toward the dogs open championship and the dog is also qualified for the Regional Elimination Trial. If you know someone who is interested in trialing, please let them know about this as well as our mentoring program. The draw system will draw an open/novice, you would like to enter your dog as novice, please indicate that with your entry to the trial chairman.
Below is an excerpt from the official NSTRA rule book detailing Open/Novice Trials
Section 18 OPEN/NOVICE TRIAL:
18.01 All Open/Novice trials shall be run under National Shoot-To-
Retrieve Field Trial Association all age rules. Each region may hold no more than
eight (8) Open/Novice trials per year (four during the spring schedule and four
during the fall schedule). Championship points shall be awarded as follows:
12-17 entries: One point for first place
18-23 entries: Two points for first place
One point for second place
24-32 entries: Three points for first place
Two points for second place
One point for third place
18.02 A Novice dog is one that has a total of three (3) Open points or
less and none of the points are first place points. An Open dog is one that has four
(4) or more points.
18.03 Entrants are responsible for assuring their Novice dog has three
(3) points or less.
18.04 An Open and Novice dog shall not be drawn against each other.
All Open dogs will be braced together and all Novice dogs will be braced together.
The draw will be done utilizing randomized braces. 4/14
18.05 In the event of an uneven number of entries in the Novice Class,
the last entry received will be returned with fee refunded.
18.06 In the event of an uneven number of entries in the Open Class, a
standby dog may be used. If unavailable, a Novice entry may compete in the Open
Class if he so chooses.
18.07 An Open/Novice dog is eligible to compete in the Regional
18.08 Established NSTRA sanction fees shall apply.
Mentor Program Rules
At the BOD meeting in October, the Mentor Program was decided upon. Following are
1. Mentor or mentors must be determined and trial chairman notified prior to the
start of the trial. More than one may need to be determined in case one of the
mentors falls into a back to back situation.
2. Mentor may not be used if the requested mentor has the following brace on the
3. Requesting member is allowed the use of a mentor a total of 8 times. This must be
tracked at the Region Level.
4. Mentor program is to be limited to weekend level trials only, no Region
Eliminations or National Trials allowed.
5. Mentor may also be the designated gunner.
6. In no case will there be more than 6 people in the field during any brace.
If you have any questions, please contact the National Officer in charge of your