Sunday, August 18, 2013

Ft. Detroit Golden Retriever July 2013 Senior Tests

In February this year, I set a goal to run Sonic and Little in the Ft. Detroit Golden Retriever Club's July hunt test at Omega Farms. At the time the entries closed, I just didn't feel like Little was solid enough on her blinds to spend Helen's money, and only entered Sonic one day, as there was a lot of polishing I felt she needed.

The Saturday land series was a double with the memory bird landing on a mowed area in front of woods, and the flier, shot right to left, to the right of the memory bird. The blind angled into some heavier cover on the right. The honor was also on the land series. There wasn't a walk-up in either series.

The water series was on the Area 5 ponds. The memory bird landed near the end of the left pond, the go bird toward the end of the middle pond, and the blind was at the end of the right pond. We had run a blind to nearly the same spot earlier in the summer when we were working on channel blinds, but the last time had not been very successful.

 Sonic did a nice job and earned her 1st Senior leg. Our water blind wasn't brilliant, but far better than our previous blind on that pond. Little ran test dog on Saturday, and had she been entered, would have earned a leg. What a confidence booster for me! It was the best any of my dogs have ever done running test dog - Gryffin and Ty were both quite awful the times I did test dog with them at Senior tests. I was very relaxed with Little, which was a good reminder of how crucial MY mental game is. I was a bit more nervous with Sonic, but not horribly so.
The next day, Sonic ran test dog - I wanted to see how she would do two days in a row - and did a fine job again. The walk up on the land series required us to come out of the last holding blind, walk towards the judge's Easy-Up (where the crowd of handlers were watching), make a right turn at a stake and walk toward the mark. Talk about a great proofing opportunity! 

The water series, which included the honor, was quite a bit harder than the previous day's. We were at the M-52 pond/Area 2 at Omega, an 80 yd long oval pond. The memory bird landed 10-15 yds out on shore at about the midpoint of the pond, the go-bird with a small splash just on the back edge on the right end. The line was well up on shore. The blind was on the left end of the pond, with a sharp angle entry that was 25-30 yds of land before they hit the water. 

Sonic went right to the go bird, and didn't have too much trouble with the memory bird. The blind took quite a few whistles, but she was working with me pretty well.

Little ran bye dog. Normally, the bye-dog doesn't get to do the blind, but I asked the judges if we could try it. I really didn't think Little was ready for that long of an entry, nor that sharp of an entry, but darned if she didn't prove me wrong :-). She blasted away from me on a great initial line. She looked to be veering to the left just at the water's edge, so I blew my whistle - just as she turned to get in. Drat. But she did a very credible job on the rest of it, another great confidence booster.

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