Nine weeks after Laddie's tail injury, with permission from our holistic vet, I decided to give Laddie a little water work to prepare him for our next competition, a week from today.
With three assistants, and temps in the low 60s, we trained on the big pond at Cheltenham. First, we ran three singles with the guns out as if for a triple, then we ran an actual triple from a separate location at the other end of the pond.
Every retrieve tested Laddie's water honesty, four of them involved relatively long swims, and two of those had the gunner out of sight while Laddie was swimming (a combination of conditions in which he sometimes pops), three had offline points Laddie was to bypass, and one had an online point to be crossed, though I would have accepted Laddie swimming around it.
I felt good about Laddie's work: He took five of the six difficult water entries perfectly the first time sent. For the sixth, a hundred yard channel swim that he started to run the bank on the first time sent, he looped back as soon as I called him, then took the correct entry and swam the entire distance on the next send. He did not need to be handled all day.
He also did not pop all day, stayed clear of the three points he was supposed to, and ran over the one point he was supposed to.
In a couple of days, we'll return to Cheltenham to work on water honesty at greater distance, in case that comes up in the trial. We'll also run a few more land triples with plenty of retired guns during the next week. In addition, we'll run one or two land blinds one day when we're not running marks. And Friday, Laddie will have the day before the competition off as usual.
Then on Saturday, we'll see how Laddie does after all this time since our last event.