Saturday, September 17, 2011

Laddie at Rock Creek, Part 2

It turns out that the first dog finally ran a little after 11am. Laddie, running last at #14, came up a couple of hours later.

I didn't realize it earlier, but the judges had set up a blind on the same field. The dog would run the triple from the mat, then move to another start line 20y to the left, and run the blind.

The blind was 220y diagonally across a muddy road, thru a diagonal keyhole formed by two trees, over a crest past the fall from the second mark (which I thought would be a diversion to the right but it didn't seem to affect any dogs that way), and straight on to a thick, black, leaning, lining pole.

Though Laddie's marks weren't lasers, he did a fine job on all of them. I wasn't sure he had seen the flyer, which several dogs seemed to have missed. But I had spent a lot of time at the line making sure he saw the long gun before calling for the throws, and when he got back to the line after picking up #2, he lined up on the long mark perfectly. After launching, he veered right on a line that would have taken him behind the gun, as many dogs had, but unlike the others who did that, he swerved left and back onto the correct line 2/3 of the way out. Also, unlike the last several dogs who ran before him, he didn't hunt short, in the area where a loose flyer had been running around for a while toward the end of the test. While Laddie needed a short hunt in the flyer, he never got behind the gun.

On the blind, he took a perfect line across the road and thru the keyhole, and I thought we were home free.  But he veered left toward a large bean field on the left of the road, and refused several casts to the right.  The bean field, for some reason, was just too much of a magnet. He ended up going for an OOC romp there, then coming back under control and finishing the blind easily.

Final stats for our time at the trial: 14 dogs entered, 12 dogs ran, 7 dogs called back to water.

This probably couldn't have been a better situation for Laddie: Only one flyer, and that a long way away, making a break unlikely. No flyer planned for the water, where the honor would be. No dog behind us in the holding blind as we were running. A triple difficult enough that Laddie's typically fine marking probably put him near the top in scoring. And a land blind easier than most we practice on.

Yet we were defeated by a bean field.  Sigh.


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