Saturday, July 17, 2010

Skimming Singles and Blinds

Edgewood, Maryland

This morning, Gaby with her Chessie Gus, and I with Laddie, explored an area between her place and mine, looking for places we could train today and also in the future. Gaby had heard of one location, which we were able to find after some driving around. In the course of driving around, we asked for directions at one point that took us to a completely different pond. We decided to continue looking until we found the planned destination, trained there, and then returned to the one that we had discovered by accident afterwards for some additional training.

At the first pond (Lakeside Boulevard), I ran Laddie on Series A, B, and C described below, while Gaby ran Gus on a completely different set-up, a water double and blind we set up to practice Gus for his Senior test next weekend.

At the second pond (Copenhaver Park), I ran Laddie on Series D described below, while Gaby ran Gus again on completely different set-ups, two water-double-plus-blind series again similar to what Gus might see in a Senior test.

While Gus's set-ups were intended as practice for Senior water series, all marks were thrown with visible falls to engender confidence in marking. I was pleased with Gus's performance, and I think Gaby was as well.

I haven't tried to describe Gus's series in detail in this post.

Lakeside Boulevard

This is the pond we originally looking for.

I've shown the three series Laddie ran today on this pond in the satellite views below. Gaby threw the marks. Note that I've attempted to show the arc of the throw for each mark with a small pink triangle.

SERIES A. Water single plus sight blind

For Series A, the mark was on the right, thrown right to left at 110 yards. On the mark, Laddie had to run thru cover at each water entry and exit, including a thick patch of high cattails on the final water exit. The sight blind was on a line 90° to the left of the line to the mark, an OB at 90 yards marked by an LP with a tape waving at the top. For the sight blind, I moved the start line to create the desired line to the LP and bumper. Laddie required handling on the mark, but no handling on the sight blind's shoreline swim.

SERIES B. Water single

For Series B, Gaby threw a 70-yard mark right to left down the embankment to water's edge. As with the Series A mark, Laddie required handling on this mark. Here's a satellite view:

View 20100717 Series B. Water single in a larger map

SERIES C. Water single

For Series C, Gaby threw a 100-yard mark left to right down the embankment to water's edge. Here's a satellite view, showing that Laddie needed to take a sharp angle entry into water, then a sharp angle exit, then a second sharp angle entry into water again, before getting to the fall at the final shoreline. Laddie required no handling on this mark.

View 20100717 Series C. Water single in a larger map

Copenhaver Park

This is the pond someone directed us to when we were trying to find the other one. The pond was nestled in woods and covered with large patches of lily pads, one of the most picturesque venues Gaby and I have trained or tested at. In addition, the microclimate here was significantly cooler than the high 80s temps we were experiencing at Lakeside Boulevard.

SERIES D. Water blind

I've shown the 90-yard water blind Laddie ran here in the satellite view below (running from top to bottom in the view). The line to the blind required two sharp angle entries into water thru shoreline foliage. Based on Laddie's performance, it was evident that Laddie was taking a line based on the direction he was sent from the SL, and could not see the bumper until he had gotten up on the final shoreline.

View 20100717 Series D. Water blind in a larger map

Notes on Laddie's performance

Laddie's set-ups were all intended to challenge his ability to take difficult angle entries into water, one of the obstacles we've been working on with the Skimming Drill. Today was a great opportunity to try his skill out in new locations, and with Gaby and her dog present for added excitement and distraction proofing, rather than in private practice as we usually work. I would have preferred that Laddie take each water entry without handling, and in fact he did not require handling for either the shoreline sight blind in Series A nor for the water mark in Series C. However, he did require handling for the marks in Series A and B. I felt that the fact that he didn't require handling for Series C showed good short-term learning, which hopefully will continue to develop Laddie's long-term learning.

With Series D, the first time I sent Laddie, he tried to run the bank at the mid-point and handled poorly when I tried to get him back on a good line. So I called him all the way back and ran him from the SL again. This time he took an excellent line and got past all the trouble without handling, requiring only a minor adjustment in the open water in the last third of the outrun.

Gaby told me several times how pleased she was with Laddie's work on today's retrieves. That was great to hear.

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