I got to have Lumi with me last night, and this morning, I left the house at 5am with Laddie and her to pick up four ducks in Cheltenham.
Since my friend Tony had done such a nice job of having the ducks in a crate ready to be picked up, we had plenty of time for the next leg of our journey. So I asked Tony to suggest a Master water blind, and he pointed out a line to a peninsula with points tight on both sides. Turned out to be too easy. Laddie lined it and didn't even vocalize. Good for confidence anyway.
At 9am we met Dave and two assistants. First Laddie ran an xmas-tree land triple with the flyer as the go-bird. The memory birds were both under the arc of the flyer go-bird (Dave calls that a wipe-out bird), and formed a reverse hip-pocket, with the memory guns hidden behind hay bails. On top of that, the duck calls for the two dead birds thrown first weren't audible, and the pistol shots weren't much louder, so Laddie didn't get too much of a look at them, of course also much more interested in the flyer than the bumpers being thrown for the memory birds.
Yet he was steady for the throws, then nailed the flyer and the left bird, with a short hunt for the center long mark.
One of the assistants then ran Lumi while I honored with Laddie. We had a double made up of the long mark and the flyer, which landed 30y in front of Laddie. To increase difficulty on the honor, I stood on Laddie's left rather than where I usually stand when honoring, on his right, and that meant he was between me and Lumi, potentially reducing my influence compared to having me between them. Perhaps even more challenging, Lumi had to run across Laddie's field of vision, just a few yards away, when released for the flyer. I had cautioned the assistant that Lumi's personality would change when that flyer was thrown, but Lumi still got away from her as soon as the bird was down. Laddie just sat and watched like a good boy.
The second land triple was also an xmas-tree, this time with an out-of-order flyer as the second mark. The #1 and #3 formed a hip- pocket in the opposite direction as the flyer, so Laddie had to look well away from the flyer to watch the first throw, then watch the nearby flyer, then swing nearly 180 degrees to watch the go-bird. However, the assistants did a better job sounding their duck calls, and each fired twice before throwing, plus we used dead birds for those marks. Laddie got a good look at all the marks, remained steady till sent, and nailed all three marks in the reverse order of the throws.
Laddie again remained sitting for the honor, as Lumi watched an out-of-order double and then went straight for the flyer, ignoring the go-bird.
Of course the level of excitement is higher at an event, but I think we've fine a reasonable job of preparing Laddie to be steady at our Master test next Friday. We'll see.