Thursday, April 21, 2011
Back at it for another try...
or are we gluttons for punishment! At the GSWC Hunt Test, even though Jam did not qualify, the judges and our friends were very impressed with how Jam ran and encouraged us to enter the Vizsla Club of Greater New York's Hunt Test weekend at Assunpink Wildlife Management Area in New Jersey the next weekend. The consensus was that she's ready and so close to qualifying that we should keep trying. So, enter I did. The weekend came and the weather was confused, it was very cold and windy (very un-Springlike) and unfortunately, the grounds at Assunpink had been cut down and the birdfield was as bald as a bowling ball. The first day, Saturday, Jam and her bracemate made it through the backcourse without getting into trouble, as there were coveys of quail in the hedgerows and bushes. We entered the birdfield and that's when the trouble started...walking birds! Our bracemate, a nice Vizsla saw it first and Jam not to be outdone took a look at the bird and both dogs took off after the Chukkar! Automatic disqualification. As much training as we've done, walking birds are just too much of a temptation. Many of the Master level dogs and Senior dogs were taken out by the same difficult conditions.
Day two of the test, the weather turned warm and Jam was not herself, staying close and not hunting as well as usual. However, once we hit the birdfield, I had my dog back and her body language changed and the huntress was on fire. She immediately found a bird and went on a beautiful point. She held the point while her bracemate backed her.
I gave the gunners instruction as to where I was going to flush the bird. Jam, holding her point all this time and then I went to flush the Chukkar, who was sitting in plain sight. The darn bird would not fly, I chased it, threw my hat at it and then....Jam just couldn't stand it anymore and broke point and flushed it herself! The bird went up, Jam did an Olympic medal worthy leap into the air and caught the bird.
Jam repositioned the bird in her mouth for the retrieve and the bird got caught in a sticker branch on the ground. You can see her GSP bracemate honoring through the whole fiasco.
Oh well, we were done. I thanked the judges and moved off the birdfield. Our bracemate did not fare too well, pointing a bird and then going in on it before it was even shot. Tough conditions for all the dogs this weekend. Crazy thing, we still had fun. The Vizsla Club ran a terrific test, very well organized, had a nice raffle and thanks to Kellyann, Natural Balance dog biscuits were given to all the handlers. Many of our friends were there plus Kellyann joined us for her first ever hunt test. She took these pictures and got the Hunt Test 101 plus spent quality time with her PBP (Puppy By Proxy), Savi.
I decided that this would be our last hunt test of the season. Yes, Jam was very close to qualifying at times but with the weather getting warmer and cover conditions not ideal, I knew it wasn't in our best interest to continue. She could use more training, especially on walking birds and stop to flushes, and it seems, my very smart girl is going through the terrible twos! We have all Spring and Summer to train and will be back in style for the fall tests in another attempt to complete her Senior Hunter title.
Savi was along for the ride and had fun socializing with people and dogs alike but her favorite part was running in the fields after the test was over. She was rewarded for her patience and as soon as she hit the birdfield, she found a quail and retrieved it to me. Good girl!