Monday, January 10, 2011

Getting ‘round in a field trial

Written from the back lounge of the Lazy Daze on Saturday night January 8th.  It's 4 p.m. and the light from the foggy day is starting to fade in the east.

 The temperature has hovered just above freezing all day, but at least the fog was not down in the valleys like it had been over the last couple of days.

Here, at the Sutter Buttes Pointing Club field trial, we have just finished running all the entrants in “open gun dog.”

This group was made up of 28 dogs. The event is run in braces of 2 dogs at a time from horseback and Bailey and I was brace number 14. Last of the day.

 Of the 28 dogs that ran, Bailey was the only dog handled by an amateur.

The rest of the handlers were professional dog men.  Most with an average training history with pointing dogs of 25 years. Some 40+ years.
I will not deal with the details of Bailey’s "run."  I was following him on horseback giving him directions from the saddle.

Field trials can only be explained poorly in writing. It is kind of like explaining rugby or baseball to someone who has never seen either sport.

 A friend call it; "trying to explain the taste of chocolate to someone who has never tasted it."

To sum the contest up.

The trial was 30-minutes long and Bailey did everything correctly. He had honored another dog’s point, had found and held through the flush and shot (blank gun) and had ran well through the oak studded foothills of the Sierras where we were  competing.

So did I win? No.

This is a judged event and you can get around “clean” and not make any actual mistakes, but still not place. There were 27 other dogs. They only give placements to the top four dogs. The rest of us, that made it around clean, just were not in that group of 4.

That is OK. Bailey and I held our own. He did some things very well and is becoming a respected newcomer to the sport.
Comments of “So this is Bailey. I ‘ve heard about him. Good looking dog.” After our run, several words of encouragement from the pros and others in the gallery.

Bailey, at 2 ½, is young. We are running with some of the best dogs in the West and not embarrassing ourselves.

I’m good with that.

After I wrote this, the next morning ,I was told Bailey had made it as the second alternate on the “call back” for the retrieve.  He was not used on the call back when it was all done.

 He had placed 5th out of 28 dogs. I’m very good with that.

The addiction is taking hold.  I was told it might. 

Those who find this boring, I understand.  I would not have cared not that very long ago. 

Now there are few things that I find more exciting than following a couple good pointing dogs as they do what God intended them to do.

Find birds and point them "steady with style."

No comments: