Laddie has now run eight triples in a row, over about two weeks, without a pop. Every one featured a retired gun, a 300+y mark, or both, and every one was run on rough, variable terrain with irregular crests, depressions, and embankments. Some of the marks were difficult enough to require a hunt, thus difficult enough to challenge Laddie's confidence. So I'm pleased that none resulted in a pop. That has been my greatest concern over the winter.
As an example of our current training sessions, today we ran two series. The first was an around-the-horn indent with the 110y center gun retired and a big memory-bird. The second was an xmas tree with the big center gun retired and the memory marks converging.
The money bird on the last one was the center memory mark: It was over 300y, angling into a head wind and the late afternoon sun, uphill, across a dirt road, a boulder-filled drainage ditch, and another dirt road, and over any number of ridges and depressions, some steep-banked. The fall was in a large, featureless patch of thick, long, dead, bent-over grass, while the gunner was retired behind a mound well to the right of where he'd thrown RTL from. When I sent Laddie, he looked at first like he might be headed too far right, but he was just navigating the terran and angled back left onto a good line once he's crossed the drainage ditch. He needed a hunt once he got to the area of the fall, and I was ready to call for help if he popped or got lost, but in a few seconds he picked up the bumper and headed back.
I always enjoy Laddie nailing a mark, as he had all the others today. But it was also good to see him needing a hunt and yet not popping.
Tonight I think I'll be entering Laddie in our first trial of the season. I haven't decided which one yet.