The 2019 Farmer/Lardy Symposium REMATCH Video

Written by: Dennis Voigt - March 29, 2020

The 2019 FARMER/LARDY SYMPOSIUM REMATCH-A new YBSmedia Video Captures the Event!

DVD Review by Dennis R. Voigt

The REMATCH of the first Farmer/Lardy Symposium held in April 2017 occurred in mid-March in Georgia. Once again, Danny Farmer and Mike Lardy, widely recognized as the two most successful professional retriever trainers go head to head with their techniques, approaches and philosophy. Overseen by Pat Burns, and filmed by the YBSmedia crew, this workshop delved into many finer points and details while reviewing the fundamental principles of Danny and Mike. The 7 hour DVD focuses on key lessons and major concepts while high-lighting similarities and differences between of these two trainers. A great refresher for attendees and a must have for serious field trial retriever trainers. 


    This 4 day Retriever Training Symposium brought Danny Farmer and Mike Lardy back together to further explore, compare and contrast their approaches, procedures and philosophies. This was achieved with the help of 11 handlers, a few test dogs run by Pros Craig Crook and Ray Voigt and land and water set-ups designed by Danny and/or Mike. The handlers were a diverse group of "students of the game" with an equally diverse group of dogs - nine Labs, one Golden and one Chessie. As in the first Symposium, Pat Burns of Elite Retrievers orchestrated the event and with his extensive knowledge of both trainers, drew out great discussions between them. In addition to the discussions about each training set-up and how the dogs performed there were many questions from as well as a few special sit-down Q and A sessions. The entire Workshop was held at the Parramore Fish training grounds just south of Boston GA. These grounds owned by Judy Rasmuson and Andy and Kari Attar comprise about 500 acres of superb land and water designed for training and testing retrievers. It was the site of the 2017 National Retriever Championship and is used throughout the week all winter by various training groups. I train there once a week from January to April with Judy and others and it was particularly educational to compare the set-ups that were designed during the workshop which was attended by trainers from all over the country,

    In total, there were 5 land marking tests, 2 water marking, 3 land blinds, and 2 water blinds. In addition there was a water tune-up, a Chinese drill, a Double-T demo, a Blind Drill demo, an Ontario 10 step and an ABCD marking exercise. Most but not all of these are shown on the DVD for 1-3 dogs. Therein is one of best features of this DVD. YBS (Jerry Younglove editor), has carefully selected the most instructive examples of each set-up while showing the diversity of all the dogs in different set-ups. You don't have to sit and watch 11 dogs per set-up. Included are many of the best discussions and also little "sidebars" that occurred just like they do in everyday training. You'll also hear Mike and Danny discuss and agree or not or not on the design of various birds in their tests. And just like in real day-t0-day training, you'll hear them reflect on how they might change a test after a dog or two. It is a good example of how there is both art and science in designing tests and in how you handle a dog. Often, Danny and Mike go back and forth-"would you have handled there?" "would you have corrected?" " would you have re-thrown?". Another thing that was very noticeable in this workshop versus the first one, was how open and willing they both were to discuss similarities and differences. While there were a great many similarities in how they train, there were many examples where one or the other would say how they would do it differently.

    There is much advanced content in this DVD but to fully appreciate it you will have to study and re-watch certain segments even if you were there. Before each set-up, there is a clear photo/diagram of the test. However, as the dog(s) run, it can be easy to loose track of which bird and where in relation to others the dog is.  During the Workshop, I was the Test Coordinator which is a fancy title for chief recording secretary.  The notes came into play as the four days unfolded and I reviewed each dog's earlier performance. Danny and Mike custom addressed many of the issues and performances based on the their record. While only four days, nonetheless, some clear advances were made by most but you'll have to watch carefully to see this.

    Since I have detailed diagrams and notes on every set-up and dog as well as various comments made, I could refer to my test diagrams and really understand what happened, while watching the DVD. I think that if you are really going to maximize your education from the DVD you will have to flash back to the diagram on certain occasions, or perhaps, even make a sketch? I should note that I was impressed with the videography and audio on this DVD. YBS had quite a crew there with multiple cameras and sound guys. I really like how the edits showed the dog, the handler intervention-what cast and then the dog's response. You also have a front-row seat and can hear all the subtle cues. It's as close as you can get to watching a dog and handler work without being there in person.

I could describe more but this review is to help you decide to order or not. However, I can't help but drop some tidbits from my "notes". You'll find many more in the DVD. Examples:

DF: Dogs learn from mistakes-That's how we train!

DF: Teach dogs to go straight on Blinds; but ML: Teach dogs to go straight on Marks!

DF: Reluctant to put white flagging on birds-they have to learn; ML: Put tape on all the time.

ML: For a key mark concept-set the table first by making the earlier birds routine!

DF and ML both: Like to have long retired singles retire before sending 

When things go wrong discussion: Check for a physical cause; don't get mad at the dog; simplify; have a way to bale out;

ask is the dog capable of a correct response?

ML: I do Ontario 10 step for 1. teaching to hunt away from gun, 2. learn to hunt long and stay in area, 3. communication cues about the check down bird.

DF and ML both: Often if a dog handles on 2nd bird-will re-throw 3rd.


   There was so much more but you'll have to get the DVD and study it! It is available at for $149.95 with free shipping in US. There is currently a sale of $40 off if you buy both Farmer/Lardy Symposium sets together. You can read my review of the first Symposium at: 




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Written by: Dennis Voigt| March 29, 2020
Categories:  DVD / Book Review

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