Back home today, I picked up two assistants and went to our closest training property to work on cheating water re-entries and retired water marks.
First I set up what turned out to be the day's most difficult double. Both marks included long swims, crossing points of land, and water re-entries with suction to run the bank rather than get back in the water. In addition, the long memory mark was retired.
Laddie nailed the difficult go-bird, and took a good line across the long water segment on the memory bird. But then he tried to run the bank around the second water segment. I called him all the way back and tried it again, and he did the same thing. Finally I had the thrower throw it again as a single and stay out, and this time he swam around the point and then looped behind the gun and around to the mark. Still not what I wanted but at least he didn't run the bank.
I decided I wanted him to have a chance to run that second water segment correctly because of its difficult shape configuration and swampy terrain. So I set up a second double on the peninsula that he had been crossing. This time the go-bird was a shoreline swim with difficult angle entry and exit and he took a good line all the way. He didn't cheat or square the bank on the entry and he didn't bail out on the exit. Just a good, straight line.
Then he also nailed the memory bird. I guess it was much easier run from the mid-point than as a re-entry, though I'm not exactly sure why.
Next we went to a different location and I again set up a water double with cheating re-entries on both marks. This time I wanted the second mark retired so I also threw a side-throw.
I could see that he was on a line to cheat the re-entry on the retired mark, and when he got on the point and started to run the bank instead of getting back in the water, I called a loud No and called him back. The second time he nailed it. He also ran the final long mark well, veering a little off line during the long swim when he could no longer see over the bank to his destination, but angling back in and into the water as soon as he was on shore, rather than continuing on land around the second inlet. The thrower said he took a straight line to the bumper even though it was thrown into cover.
So on reflection, I felt that Laddie wasn't perfect and needs more work on water marks with re-entries, but that it was a productive session for him, more of which should strengthen that skill, which is already somewhat developed.
And then it occurred to me that that was not the kind of work he has been getting up north, instead running things like tight flat land doubles and then re-running them, something which I never did with Lumi or Laddie because I didn't want to take a chance on reinforcing their natural instinct to return to old falls.
In other words, here at home we had just had a productive session, or so I believe, whereas earlier this week, training with the pro, we were possibly running counterproductive setups, or at the minimum, not practicing what I feel Laddie needs the most work on right now.
So I suddenly realized that, as deeply as I believe in training with experienced field trial trainers on professional-quality training grounds and setups, in this case, I feel we'd be better training on our own in this situation.
And that's what I'll plan on doing for the immediate future, until a different opportunity that's hopefully a better fit for our needs comes along.