Well, holy schneitkies! We just got done with the first day of the Mayflower GSP Club hunt test. Thankfully, the folks at Mayflower start their tests early... because it was dry with no cloud cover. (When Jozsi headed out for his run just before 8am, it was 50degsF; by the time Momo got to run at 9:30 or so, it was 65degsF.) And while the wind was largely consistent in direction (from the east), it was light and breezy. So scent wasn't exactly hanging around or flowing in nice steady currents.
I had to take Momo out for a fake hunt by himself first -- because he's gotten a little bent out of shape in the past two days if I take Jozsi out by himself first to train.
Basically both runs went as imagined. With the new rules requiring that dogs keep running for the entire duration of the test and the "50% rule" (requiring that the dog must point 50% or more of the birds it produces), Jozsi was either going to be brilliant or the wheels were going to come off. Thankfully, he pointed and held one, then bumped over one, pointed and held a second, bumped another, and then pointed and held a third. More importantly, for me, though, he was attentive to the whistle -- even when it meant abandoning a bird in flight -- and dropped on command the two birds he did manage to get in his mouth. Even though there is no doubt what Jozsi's purpose is when you put him in a bird-field, I think the judges were overly kind -- and I daren't tell Momo -- but he was awarded a perfect score (10 ex 10 in all four categories).
Momo was braced with Kyler for his run. It was great to see Kim + Mike + Jaida again -- and slightly reassuring that we were both trying out for our first Senior Hunter legs. It was also reassuring that we knew both judges, if only because we felt more comfortable asking questions. Both dogs were geeked to be out and running. We actually held up and watered the dogs twice before getting close to the bird-field because they were covering ground so hard. Kyler got the first two points and so Momo had to be ordered in to honor for her. I had hoped he might start doing it more reflexively -- but happily, for Senior, you can 'whoa' them on command and then collar them. Happily, too, after much charging around, he managed to locate a bird, held through the shot, and then charged off into the trees to retrieve. And while he was his usual delicate self in picking up the quail, he retrieved to hand.
So, here's a happy advertisement picture for why Widdershins and Upwind dogs are pretty darned good. (As you can see Kyler did everything she had to, too.) We'll see if both boys can hold it together for another day. Sadly, Mike + Kim + Jaida were only here for today.