We put Jam away and trained all summer and early fall with the plan not to enter her until we were confident she was ready. I entered her in the Delaware Valley German Wirehaired Pointer Hunt Test to be held in Weatherly, PA, Halloween weekend, on grounds that we really liked and a judging panel of fair and encouraging judges. The first day, Saturday, was disappointing as she pointed a bird within minutes of the breakaway and when I had difficulty flushing the bird, Jam broke her point and flushed the bird for me - she just couldn't take it and control herself. Thank you handler, please pick up your dog...done for the day before we even got started. After that day's event ended, we were fortunate to be able to work Jam and another dog together and steady them on birds and practicing backing. A good training session to remind Jam what was expected of her and I got some excellent pointers too.
Halloween morning was a beautiful, crisp fall day and the dogs were fresh and excited to run. The club had Jam and Savi as the first dogs to run in both Senior and Junior, an impossible feat to run two dogs at once. They asked me if I would mind running Jam first and as soon as she was done, immediately get Savi and run her; not a problem for me, hey, I'm used to running dogs in different agility rings back to back. We were in the first Senior brace and braced with a nice, young male German Shorthair Pointer. My goal was to keep Jam out of trouble in the back course and make it to the bird field. With three weekends in a row of hunt tests on these grounds, the place was teaming with coveys of quail, that had knocked out even the most seasoned Master dogs. Remembering to warm Jam up and put her in "work mode," I heeled her to the start line and made her "whoa" before the breakaway. We let the dogs go and they were off, two amazing fast dogs, tearing through down the path and through the brush. Both of them immediately got to business and started looking for birds. I was relieved to get past the point where just the day before, had been knocked out. Well things quickly got busy as we entered the next field, both the GSP and Jam found separate birds, some they had to perform a stop to flush and others, they pointed.
I shot my blank gun on Jam's stop to flush and called her away to prevent a delayed chase. Then bam, she was on point and there was a bird walking under a tree, I looked to see where it was going to try and flush it and there was a covey of about five birds all gathering on the road we were headed for. I couldn't flush the bird in the heavy cover, so the judge told me to shoot my blank gun and then heel her away and we would detour around the covey. Phew...we were halfway to the birdfield. We entered a more open field and Jam was quartering the area and I just kept her in sight and worked her towards the bird field. We were ahead of the GSP and when he went on point, the judges called us around to bring Jam in for a back. She acknowledged the other dog and I collared her. The bird was in thick cover and couldn't be flushed so they shot the blank and sent both dogs on. We were almost out of the back course when I saw the GSP run down the treeline. I immediately called Jam around to me so she would not follow him and to give her some water, as I knew from the earlier Master braces that there was trouble in that area. Seconds later, it was like an Alfred Hitchcock movie, the GSP bumped up about twenty quail and the sky darkened for an instant as they flew overhead. The GSP chased the birds, instead of stopping to point, and our bracemate was done for the day.
Luckily, we had gotten the honor out of the way, so now all Jam had to do was find a chukkar, hold steady to shot and complete the retrieve to pass. Jam entered the birdfield with excitement as she saw the gunners and knew what that meant. Within a minute, she went on point and I whoa'd her while I looked for the bird. In the tall grass, I just couldn't locate the bird and Jam was doing great, holding steady. I always trust her and knew the bird was there but couldn't find it. The judges asked me if I wanted to relocate her or send her on. I decided to send her on, thinking that if I relocated her, she'd take out the bird. I sent her on but she immediately came around and went on an intense point. I followed her gaze and saw the bird. I set up my gunners and flushed the chukkar. Up it went and made a u-turn and flew towards the clubhouse and the judges said "NO shot!" I then shot my blank gun while Jam held steady and sent her on to find another bird.
|Jam pointing Bird #1|
We were getting ready to take pictures and the judges approached me and asked if I wanted to run Jam as the bye dog in the last Senior brace, I was honored and agreed. We used it as a training session and it was a great opportunity for our friend, Tom Davis, who owns two GraytSky dogs, including Trixie's littermate, Ellie, to get close and take pictures. He got some terrific shots that I've included.
|Jam on point in the back course|
|On another intense point|
|Look closely and you can see Jam pointing the quail walking down the road. There were two and one has made a left turn and was directly in front of her, the other on the road!|
Friends congratulated us and nicknamed her four-bird Jam...an experience I will never forget.