The first weekend of December was our CVVC Walking Trial and, in addition to fulfilling my usual bird-planting obligations, I ran both our dogs -- even though one isn't quite ready for the big leagues and the other more an energetic hunting dog than a trial dog. I won't give the long detailed story of why neither of my dogs got anywhere at our field trial, other than to say that sometimes you just have to make peace with the fact that sometimes they just do stuff you don't expect. If you'd have told me Momo would blow an honor (which was only seen by one judge who 'picked him up' after the heat was done) but have perfect footwork on 3 stops-to-flush and six finds, and that Jozsi would get picked up for footwork -- after laying down a beautiful ground race that also included one stop-to-flush and a five-bird covey find that flushed wild as I approached, I wouldn't have believed you. If I did learn one thing over again, it's make the judge tell you to do more on your next bird. I frigged around with a bird running around a tree for too long and should have fired my gun after the first two attempts and, in doing so, not given Jozsi the opportunity to take a step or two. Still had fun though. For better and worse, Momo still surprises me with how good he can be (even if he'll probably never make a trial contender) and Jozsi is so close to being a genuinely great dog.
If it was easy, we'd call it golf or brain surgery, right? We did have a professional photographer on the grounds for the whole weekend -- and George Ross did an amazing job lugging his gear around for 8hrs each day capturing some great pictures along the way. He was also kind enough to put together a slideshow video on Facebook and you can see it here. There is one nice picture of Momo on there, scrunching up his face as he busts through cover.
On a high note: I got my wife to come out to her first field trial and even got her on a horse. I should point out that while she enjoyed it, she still felt like riding a walking horse was a little too passive. This is the wife who runs roughly 8 miles a day and is looking for her first 50-miler to run come fall time. Here is my roadrunner with Jen + Dennis: and yes, it was not at all warm.
On another high note: I got called in for last-minute gunning duty for the call-back retrieves and the only gun I had was my Grant. Happily no-one complained about the guy with the musket.
We did also, finally, manage to get together again with Her Majesty, Broad Run's Ottilie of Red Oak, aka. Ottla. Wowzer! was she excited to see us! Again, I will spare the details -- but suffice to say that Momo is both a smart dog, a one-man dog, and a devious wee s*@$. So that I could work Ottla behind for the first time, I gave Momo to Annabella to handle. And did he quickly figure out that she was pretty inexperienced. And did we discover that Ottla is a wee hard-head like her mother? Yes, we did. But to her credit, she seemed to have settled into the novelty of the pinch-collar and checkcord by the final three-bird flush -- and when turned loose on her own birds hunted like a fiend.
2011 has all kinds of possible adventures ahead of us in dogdom. I will not divulge them yet, but I am excited by the possibilities.