Monday, May 23, 2011

Laddie's Fifth Master Test

[At present, this is nothing more than the stream of my tweets on @LindsayRidgeway for the two days of the test, with a couple of minor spelling corrections. It requires a great deal of editing to be a satisfactory blog post, but I simply don't have time. I'm posting it in this form just as a starting point, and will attempt to edit it when I have more time. If I had known in advance that we wouldn't pass, I wouldn't have bothered with so much detail on the test description. I just tweeted it because I wanted the information for a detailed post if Laddie passed.]

MAY 21
Seaford, DE. Susquehanna Hunt Test,Master B. 125 dogs in Master. Laddie is #13. A) Land triple with flyer as go-bird, plus land blind. Walk-up. First mark on the right, throw with a winger on an angle back in tree grove. Second mark 180 deg to the left, thrown with a winger LTR onto front of a mound. Third mark 150 deg back to the right, a flyer thrown RTL to base of tree, in high cover, with to the fall past a mound on the left. No direct line from SL to the first fall, by the way, because of fallen tree. If dog goes around on the left (that's what most dogs did) dog is on line toward flyer station at same distance as the fall for #1. If dog goes around on right (Laddie only dog I saw do that), dog goes behind #1 station and also can see pond on right. This was relevant because Laddie had had his tongue lolling out for 20 mins, but had not been willing to drink water before his series. He has a history of detouring to ponds on returns when he's hot. First time to the line, the first bird was thrown into a tree, so judges called a no-bird. Second time, we got clean throws. Laddie nailed the flyer and#2. As mentioned, he took an unusual route to #1, but as one of the spectators commented, he knew where the bird was the whole time. He came back that same way, but it was a poor return because he was clearly tempted to take that last mark for a swim. However, he did finally bring me the bird without too much of a detour, though it was slow. The blind involved threading the needle thru a stand of trees, with the bird planted behind a dead shrub on the front of a mound. I did not attempt Tony's suggested new line mechanics, but I did try to minimize our time lining up. Laddie was only dog I saw who took such a good line from the SL (which was between the original SL and the first gun station) that he did not to be handled thru the stand of trees. He came even with the blind just a yard or two to the right, so I blew whistle sit and gave easy cast to the left. "You're all right. He marked the bird, he knew where it was." Laddie's heeling was pretty out of control, and he had that poor return so I'm not completely confident we'll be called back, but we'll see. Oh, one more thing: the diversion shot for the blind was made from the #1 gun station. For most dogs, this was heard behind the dog on the dog's return from the last memory bird. But for Laddie, Later, I saw other dogs go around the obstacle to #1 on the right, and other dogs get thru trees on blind without handling. So Laddie he was past the gun station and behind it, still thinking about going swimming, when the judge called for the diversion shot. I don't know whether that affected Laddie's performance differently than the shot affected other dogs, but to me it does suggest that the issues could prevent a call back. This is a long, slow series. I don't know whether they'll run Series B today. judge was impatient with Laddie's return route and reluctance to give up his intent to go swimming. I could imagine that some of those wasn't alone for either of those. I just heard from someone that the flyer's entrails were hanging out on Laddie's flyer. I'm sure that was from the shotguns. I was wondering why Laddie was standing over that bird until I blew a come-in whistle. I hope the judges don't blame Laddie for it. Laddie got called back to the second series...yay! Had a lot of company: 60 dogs ran, 55 were called back. They've started Series B, but they're rotating the running order, starting with #20 this afternoon, so Laddie at #13 won't run till midday tomorrow. I can describe Series B now: Water double with two water blinds. No flyers. The memory bird is winning water, the other three retrieves are swimming depth. Not much opportunity to cheat, one fairly wide keyhole for the shorter blind. The honor is fairly difficult, since the running dog runs in front of the honoring dog, but not that bad since no flyer. If Laddie has a problem on anything besides his returns, I'll be surprised. If course, I'm hoping his returns will be good, too.

MAY 22
I had a scary thought around 8:00 pm last night, and saw it was still fairly light out: What if the test organizers figured out a way to finish Series B last night, and already had callbacks?

We are headed home. Laddie dropped the bird several times on his returns from marks, had several cast refusals, and barked in seeming protest on every cast in water The judge did not let him run the second blind. I now feel he is not ready to run a Master water series. This was an easy one. Oh, I think the judges also said that Laddie had a pop. I didn't notice that with everything else he was doing.


TheRandomRanger said...

Hi Lindsay,

I just love this blog. You've really put a lot of work into your dogs and this site. I love it when you write from the dog's perspective as well.

My dog Luna is going to do her WCI next week and has 1 ribbon done of her NAHRA Intermediate title. She still needs lots of work on the water. We have such a short training season.
Check out our club Calgary Hunting Dog training with WRHRC

Hope your hunt test season is going well.


Lindsay, with Lumi & Laddie said...

Hi, Ross. Thanks for your kind words at the link, as well as in this comment. I'm sorry I haven't been able to keep this blog up-to-date for awhile. Laddie and I still train most days, but between training time and work, I just don't have time to write blog entries.

I do tweet fairly often, in case anyone is interested in what Laddie's working on. I'm hoping that in the future, others will also tweet their training sessions so that I'll be able to get ideas from them.

I've decided not to run Laddie in any more Hunt Tests for awhile, and focus entirely on Field Trials, specifically, Qualifying stakes. In fact, Laddie will be running one in upstate NY on Friday. We'll probably resume running Master tests in the future.

Best of luck with Luna!

If you or other readers wish to contact me, my gmail address is LDRidgeway.

Thanks again.


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