Sunday, August 18, 2013

Michigan Flyways August 2013 Saturday Senior Test

After our successes at the July hunt tests, I decided that doing one day of the Michigan Flyways August hunt test weekend and both days at Marshbanks the following weekend was a good choice. I didn't dare do two days with Little, since she had 3 weeks of no training with me, due to her conformation shows (3 more points!) followed by my vacation at our family cabin in Ontario, where Sonic got to swim lots.

Little was first dog on land. It was a walk-up, with the memory bird on the right, flier on the left. She sat on my walk-up whistle. Turned for the flier. Flier flew, gunners shot, gunners missed, bird flew away. No bird. Went back behind two guys already in blinds. Second try, gunners got the flier, but it went waaaaay deep and well to the right of the ribbon. She had a very long hunt on it, giving me some moments of panic (remembering Ty's failure in a Senior test when I failed to stop her from returning to an old fall). Helen was hiding in the Burb, too nervous to really watch from anywhere close by. Little finally came up with the bird, delivered it, and had a much shorter hunt on the memory bird. The blind was 180 degrees from the marks, down a hill. There was a cover strip to cross and ponds on beyond. She took a *great* initial line, blasting down the hill through the cover strip, and got to it in 2-3 whistles. She honored just fine. So very happy with her!

Sonic's marks were super - very little hunt on either bird, and though she was sucked in by the blind station some on the blind, she also 2-3 whistled the blind. She honored just fine.

Little ran 2nd on water (Angie Becker snuck in ahead of me). Her marks didn't fall where the judges wanted them to, but were instead much more visible than they intended. She had no problems with them, other than coming back very slowly through the plant growth in the pond, slogging along at a walk. The beginning of the blind was shaky - she sucked in to the marks a bit, took several whistles to really stop and acknowledge me, but once she got rolling, she rolled. I debated trying to get her straightened out some in the last 3rd, but let her continue, and she drove out of the water beautifully and went right over to the blind stake (10-15 yds up on shore), and I was so pleased to get her first Senior pass. This time, Helen was able to watch.

Sonic's marks were again fine. During her bounding to the memory bird, one of the judges said, "She has such nice style!" and I turned around and said, "Thank you!" Then she said, "Oh, I'm not supposed to say that out loud!" . Sonic took a *great* initial line on the blind. I wish I had blown my whistle before she got out of the water, but I didn't. My attempts to handle at the end were crappy - she was hidden in the tall grass, she wasn't listening/watching very well, etc. But she got herself there with her nose. I asked the other judge if we were okay as I handed him the last bird, since it was that dreadful of an ending, and he said, "Oh, yes." Then I thought back to Gryffin's 2nd Senior pass, when he had similarly great work up to a *totally* dreadful water blind, and still passed. Sonic's blind was only dreadful at the end. :-)

Two tries, two passes. It was a very long day, but such nice results! Next up: Marshbanks tests next weekend.

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