Monday, June 7, 2010

Cheating singles at Rebel Ridge

Rebel Ridge Farm

Today the dogs and I needed to travel to New York for my biweekly on-site work schedule. As we did a couple of weeks ago, I planned to stop at Rebel Ridge Farm, about halfway between home and my place in Brooklyn, to train with Patty's FT group, including Gaby.

However, when I arrived at Rebel Ridge, no other trainers were there, so I took the opportunity to work with Laddie on some of the retrieves we'd had the last time we trained with Patty, which was at this same location. Lumi, who's been with me instead of my daughter the last week, was "pick-up dog" for a couple of retrieves I didn't want Laddie to do, but mostly I was concerned with continued preparation of Laddie to run in Qualifying Stakes some day.

SERIES A. Swim-by pond

For Series A, Laddie ran four retrieves, two to an LP with a WB placed at the base, then two more thrown by a BB left to right from the corner of the last pond, angling back to the same position where the LP had been.

Series A was run at a pair of small rectangular ponds referred to as the swim-by ponds by some of the other trainers. The first retrieve to the LP was run from a point between the two ponds. The second retrieve to the LP was run over both ponds. The first retrieve with the BB was run from the same point between the two ponds. And the last retrieve, also with the BB, was run across a road and then over both ponds.

Here's a satellite view of Series A (the marks were run right to left in this view):

View 20100607 Series A in a larger map

SERIES B. Cheater with bridge concept

Series B was based on a set-up Patty had used for one of the marks in a triple the last time we trained together. The throw was a "bridge" mark, left to right across a neck in a technical pond, with the thrower on the left point and the fall on the right point. The position of the SL required the dog to take a sharp angle entering a pond, assuming the dog didn't run the bank. If the dog squared the entry, she would be swimming toward the thrower. Bridges are a difficult concept for many dogs anyway, and this entry made it even more likely that the dog would swim to the left point instead of the right one. To make it even worse, two decoys were floating near the left point.

For the version that Laddie ran today, I tried a BB with a stickman on the left bank, but the BB was not able to launch either of the bumpers all the way across to the right bank. After launching both of the BB bumpers, I let Laddie pick up one of them and sent Lumi for the other.

I then put Laddie in a stay at the same SL, walked to the left point, fired a pistol, threw a WB across to the right point, and walked back to the SL to run Laddie.

Laddie did so well on the earlier water entries that I decided to have him run it again, but raising criteria on the skimming picture. We walked to a new SL across the road and past a hay bale, left him at the new SL so I could throw for him again, and returned to run him. Again he took the water entry well. This time, although he did not square the bank on his water entry, he swam to one of the decoys near the left point. He then began a hunt which took in the left point and the water near that point, but he never crossed to the right point on his own. After letting him hunt unsuccessfully for some time, I blew a WS and cast him toward the right point, and he went almost directly to the WB without the need for further handling.

Here's a satellite view of Series B (the marks were run right to left in this view):

View 20100607 Series B in a larger map

SERIES C. Past a point, cheater on second pond

Series C was a 240-yard mark based on one Patty had used for one of the triples during our previous session training with her group. Today I used a BB with a stickman as our thrower. The BB was set near the top of a rise, and as with Patty's version, was aimed to throw left to right on a diagonal to the slope of the hill so that it landed at a low point in the terrain. The line to the fall was across one section of a technical pond that included swimming past a point on the left, then onto land, then across a second section of the pond, and finally back onto land to the fall.

I had Laddie ran this single twice. The first time, he started to run around the second section of the pond on the left. I stopped him with a WS, cast him right so that he was back on his original line, and then cast him "back", which took him across the water. He needed a hunt but soon found the bumper and brought it back. He ran around the far section of the pond on his return and I decided not to stop him, since most of Patty's dogs, even if they took the far section of water on their outrun — some did, some ran around it — they nearly all ran around it on their returns.

The second time Laddie ran this single, he took the second section of the pond on his own and also ran straight to the bumper. I was pleased to see that he had learned from the first time and didn't need to be handled to stay on his line and get into the second section of water.

Laddie made no attempt to swim to the point in the first section of pond either time.

Here's a satellite view of Series C (the marks were run top to bottom in this view):

View 20100607 Series C in a larger map

SERIES D. Two blinds

I decided not to run Laddie on the blind that Patty had set up for a few of her dogs last time, because I felt the blind would be less interesting this time because it wouldn't have the influence of flyers from a previous series that the dog had run earlier the same day last time. I decided instead to set up two of my own blinds intended to exercise skills Laddie has been working on lately.

The line for the first blind, 120 yards, was at a slight diagonal thru both of the swim-by ponds. Laddie didn't swim them on a diagonal but squared up when swimming inside each of them. The only time he needed to be handled was on the small strip of land between the two ponds, where he started to run around to the right before I blew WS, cast him over to the left, then quickly stopped him again and cast him into the second pond. He lined the blind from there.

The line for the second blind, 170 yards, was into the technical pond, past a point on the right, then on and off a second point to the blind on the far bank. Laddie needed a little handling to get past the first point, but lined the blind from there, taking the on-and-off without handling. He also needed handling past the closer point on the return, because I wanted him to return on the same line he'd taken out.

Here's a satellite view of Series D (the blinds were run right to left in this view):

View 20100607 Series D in a larger map

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