So, we spent the weekend in Bristol, CT at the Southern New England Brittany hunt test. It was much nicer weather-wise this past weekend then the weekend before. Much cooler...
Kyler and I were the only Senior hunter brace on Saturday. We actually needed a bye dog, which means another dog who is not actually competing with you, the judges choose who they want. For us they chose a nice Wirehair pointer named Jack. He was a tank of a dog who had just finished his Master hunter the brace before ours.
So the back course of this test was all through the woods, with lots of prickers, just what you need when you have a crazy bird dog! They are required to have some birds on the back course, so I was expecting to encounter some. Kyler went on point about 10 minutes into the run in the middle of some brambles. I spent several tense minutes trying to find the bird in amongst the prickers. I finally located it tucked under some roots, buried underneath a pile of leaves, nice find, Kyler! The darn bird was tucked in so tight that there was no way this bird was going to fly anywhere. So, I had to pick up the bird and throw it. That was our downfall right there...Kyler broke on the flush, throwing a bird is such an unnatural thing to do in a hunting situation. Miss Kyler decided then and there that she was going to be bird insane for the rest of the test. She seemed oblivious to the wirehair on point, I guess we have to work on honoring other dogs other than Momo!
After the failure to honor Kyler found 2 or 3 more birds that I had to flush out, luckily for us, it was just a training session at that point, since she broke, so I could handle her how I needed to. We finally made it into the bird field quite a while later, the wirehair had already entered the field and had his bird shot for him. He was being led away when we finally entered. The judges graciously let me try to finish out the brace. Kyler had one find about 30 seconds into the field that ended up being a stop to flush (the bird flushed wild and she had to hold her ground and not chase), which ended our session. At least we ended on a good note!
At the end of it all the judges said, "wow, you have a nice dog there, she is just a bit too hot today! She has what it takes!" At least they liked my crazy dog! I basically got the idea from them that she would be a great field trial dog, which we have thought about, but don't know enough to pursue quite yet, perhaps next year!
Sunday was a better day for Kyler, but still no "Q". She just wouldn't honor her bracemate, everything else was fabulous! In her favor, the poor bracemate dog was so old that he basically sat down when he went on point. I couldn't even tell that he was pointing. He was a 13 year old Brittany, a Field Champion and Amateur Field Champion. He basically walked the whole course because he was just too old to do much else. He almost didn't make it into the bird field. While it was kind of nice to see the old guy still enjoying working birds, it was almost to the point of cruelty because he just couldn't handle the distance he had to walk to run the course. They had to set up a bird for him to point so Kyler could try to honor and so he could retrieve it. He did a great job, but it made everything for us much harder.
The judges kept staying back with him on the back course, while I was desperately trying to get Kyler through the back course without finding any birds on which to screw up on. She found 3 and worked them all very well. I had to keep stopping and waiting for them to catch up, and in the end they said I needed to slow down and that then Kyler would slow down. (I didn't tell them that I was purposely trying to get out of the back course!)
Oh well, one for experience anyway, perhaps after a few more training sessions Kyler will honor a breed other than another Vizsla!
No pictures, as I was handling the dog and I couldn't deal with a camera at the same time!