Monday, April 13, 2009

horses + dogs + horses + dogs

Lions and tigers and bears... oh my!

It was a busy weekend. I had the weekend off to take another riding lesson at Beech Brook and then head up north to pick up the whirlwind known as Rogue to run her at the TarTan Gordon Setter field trial at Flaherty. Kim has (finally!) blogged about all of ForestKing's successes in the past two weekends.

As Kim mentioned, Saturday in most of New England was just plain wet. I was feeling very proud of my recent eBay purchase of a Barbour Burghley riding coat from the Yorkshire Countryman. With few exceptions, his is all either pre-owned or old stock stuff -- but his descriptions are accurate and even shipping from England, he's speedy and efficient. I had just re-proofed the jacket, too, so I was perfectly comfy despite the rain. We did cut the ride a little short because the trail was a little rocky and leaf-covered and while the horses were doing great, there was no need to push things for the sake of making up time.

I then zipped up to the Southern New England Brittany Club Hunt Test where Kim + Mike were running both Kyler and Rogue (to success, I might add) despite the weather -- and our friend, Stephanie, was judging. We had hoped to run the dogs on some birds, but weather and timing pretty much ruined that. So we settled with me getting Rogue used to my voice and hopefully remembering her recall. After a few tasty treats and some lovely modeling from Jozsi, she seemed all set.

After stopping off at a mind-boggling beer shop in Amherst where we found Orkney's finest beer, Skullsplitter (which I am slightly stunned to discover is available at 19 bars in New York City), we headed up to ForestKing for dinner and a night's sleep before heading down to Flaherty at the crack of dawn. We got there nice and early, early enough to reserve a horse for me to ride some braces and then run the pup-monster.

Rogue ended up braced with Kudrun, a GSP pup who I remembered from the fall, a pup who would go out equipped with a radio-tracker collar because the owners needed it -- and had to use it. Since then this puppy has grown 'a handle'-- and all credit goes to her owners, Bill & Kim, for putting in the time to train the dog in front of a horse. The great part about being braced with Kudrun was because, unlike all her other puppy bracemates, this dog was not interested in playing -- and so the brace immediately got off to business. I was very pleased with how Rogue ran -- and she ran hard. She had never been handled from a horse before and did well. She would head out on a track so hard she'd find herself looping back around us to get back in front -- and it's more trialing that will give her the experience to get in front, and pattern in front. The bad side about being braced with Kudrun, the ultimate winner of the stake, was that no matter how hard Rogue ran, we were in a different league. Braced with another dog, we might have made a placement, who knows, but we got smoked. And that was still great.

The picture is actually from the run that we gave both Rogue and Jozsi after the trial was over. And as hard as Jozsi does run, he has the benefit of longer legs and a bigger chest... but Rogue was still covering ground like she'd never been out. She definitely has the equipment to do well in this game -- and hopefully she'll get enough experience to really mature into a great trial dog. And she'll get more this coming weekend.

Thanks to everyone for their kind wishes to Momo -- he gets his drain tubes out tomorrow morning. He was supposed to run in the vizslas-only Amateur Walking Gun Dog stake but will actually stay with Meg this weekend, too, while I take Mr. Enthusiasm to the CVVC trial. Wish us luck!


dave said...

If I remember right, Skullsplitter is available at the Liquor Locker in Southwest Harbor.

Eric G said...

horses+dogs+horses+dogs... sounds like the perfect combination.

Good post!