Thursday, January 20, 2011


Muncaster Mill Farm

For the fourth session in a row, Laddie and I again worked alone, and again worked on poorman land quintuples. That is, with Laddie waiting at the SL, I go out and throw five marks from different locations, then return to the SL and run Laddie on all five of them.

Today I again wore a white jacket, and fired a starter pistol when throwing. I used black bumpers for all throws, and the distances ranged from 80 to 320 yards. Temps were in the low 40s, so the ground was damp and a bit slick from melting snow.

Though I think Laddie would clearly benefit more from training with a group, simulating event conditions as much as possible, I do feel that given the fact that I don't have anyone else to train with right now, running poorman quintuples isn't a bad way to practice:
  • The drill is a challenge to his memory, with every mark featuring a "retired gunner". By comparison, remembering all the marks of a triple, more typical in competition, will hopefully seem pretty easy, especially if some or all of the marks feature visible throwers while Laddie is running them.
  • At distances like today's, a session of ten marks help keep up his conditioning over the winter, especially at the all-out sprint speeds he brings to every retrieve.
  • Laddie generally takes a good line when sent, but occasionally on these drills he veers off line once out in the field, apparently not remembering where the fall is and switching to hunt mode. This gives me an opportunity to blow WS, and switch him into handling mode. I'd rather he run every mark without handling in an event, but if handling does become necessary — for example, to avoid a switch or picking up a hot blind — it's important that he be able to make the transition out of hunt mode and begin to respond to handling instead.
  • It's fun for both of us.

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