Saturday-Sunday September 1-2, 2018

The early worm gets the bird

I woke up at 4:30am Saturday and Sunday to drive 2 hours to train in the field before the heat of the day. I am amazed. Both dogs just got better and better each day. Holding points, waiting for the flush, retrieving to hand...what the heck?

It's especially puzzling because yesterday I brought home a couple dead quail to practice retrieving. I realized that the ratings test at the end of the month will have retrieving with birds, not a bumper, so I should practice with that. Well...neither of my dogs would retrieve the bird. Oh, they went out just fine to get it, but no way were they bringing it back to me. What the heck??? So frustrating! Yet in the field, they were retrieving pretty well. Go figure. My dogs are always a mystery to me.

I am cautiously optimistic about the hunt test next weekend. I hesitate feeling too confident, because that is usually when things go to pot. It will be Noodle's first hunt test, since she missed the ones in the spring due to an injury. I am hoping she behaves with a brace mate. I guess we shall see! Pretzel isn't ready to test for Senior hunter yet, so we will try to get some high scores for his junior Hunter Advanced title. Gotta have a goal, ya know?

More field pictures of Pretzel

More field pictures of Noodle

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What the heck is this all about?

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Cadence update

Cadence is looking really good - nice weight, shiny coat, and completely shed out of her baby fuzz. Time for some better photos! I am worried about Corky's feet as I have not been able to get a farrier out to do them in the past few weeks. This is something I miss about Lima - I had plenty of horse connections to get things done. She is now a week overdue, and this is NOT good for her.

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Saturday-Sunday, September 8-9, 2018

Hunt Test

This weekend, we headed to Harrisville, Pennsylvania for a double-double hunt test. Noodle is trying to get her Junior Hunter title, and Pretzel is working towards his Junior Hunter Advanced title.

First of all, let me describe the weather. It rained. Rained. Rained. Poured. It started raining Friday night, and it never stopped the entire weekend. Not for a single moment. I stayed soaked to the skin pretty much all weekend. The birds did not fly. It was crazy!

This weekend, Pretzel was the rock star. He was incredible. He found lots of birds, was rock solid on all of his points, held them for me to flush (or reach down and grab the bird and toss since they weren't flying). I was completely thrilled with how he did. He had all 4 runs qualified, and 3 of them qualified high enough for an advanced rating. Our most awesome moment was on Sunday when he slammed to a point on 4 birds one after the other, and held perfectly to earn perfect 10's across the board!. That was an epic moment. It is amazing how far he's come in less than a year.

Noodle, on the other hand, was a different story. She was a crazed lunatic once she figured out there were birds out there. She decided that since the birds weren't flying, pointing them was unnecessary. She also figured out that the backfield was a waste of time, and before I ever got to the bird field she had run all the way over there, grabbed a bird, and brought it back to me...twice. Needless to say our scores weren't very good. we did have one passing score of all 7's. the rest...well, let's just say they let a LOT of room for improvement.

One cannot deny her enthusiasm. She was literally going out of her mind at the start line. I love her enthusiasm, but hate her total lack of control. Back to training...we will get it together eventually!

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Thursday, September 13, 2018

Conformation show - McDonald, Tennessee (day 1)

I was only home a couple days from the hunt test, and then off we went to McDonald, Tennessee to a conformation show. I was looking forward to this show because Taleatha had entered Marshall - Marshall is the Pretzel mini-me puppy (black collar) from his first litter that ended up at my house. I was absolutely blown away with how wonderful he looked...and it kinda freaked me out how much he looked like Pretzel (especially in the eyes). Both Mark and I accidentally called him Pretzel several times throughout the day.

This show started off with a bang - Pretzel won best of breed and then went on to win an Owner-Handled Sporting Group One! Today's magic was the chicken sausage that I stayed up late Tuesday night frying on my George Foreman grill. Yep, Pretzel is a sausage fan. Hard to believe he is 6 1/2 and still pulling off some nice wins. I don't think I will ever have a dog as amazing as him ever again, that's for sure.

Mark showed Noodle and got Select Bitch, but her hives are looking pretty bad. Oh, I forgot to mention that she broke out in hives after the hunt test last weekend. She has the world's most sensitive skin. They are really looking bad today. Luckily they do not itch, and they don't seem to bother her at all.

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Friday, September 14, 2018

Conformation show - McDonald, Tennessee (day 2)

Another good day at the show, though not as good as yesterday! Pretzel earned select dog, and an Owner-Handled Sporting Group 4. I decided to pull Noodle from the rest of the show. Her hives just look awful, and I don't really want her being shown like that. So, she gets to have fun and play with Marshall in the ex pens all day. I think she likes that!

After we showed, we did a little photo shoot with Marshall. Doesn't he look magnificent? I am so proud of what Pretzel is producing!

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Saturday, September 15, 2018

Conformation show - McDonald, Tennessee (day 3)

Today was a banner day. Marshall took winners dog for a point, and it was the first time father and son showed together in best of breed. It was amazing to see the two together. Pretzel earned another select dog today. We are creeping slowly towards our ultimate goal of earning 3,000 owner-handled points.

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Sunday, September 16, 2018

Conformation show - McDonald, Tennessee (day 4)

Today was a banner day. We started off the day with Marshall taking winners dog, and Pretzel gets best of breed! Father and Son take the prizes! So cool! The day was yucky - rainy and ugly. I was SO tempted to bail on the regular sporting group. Pretzel was tired and really flat, and I thought I should save him for the owner-handled group since I had no chance in the regular sporting group anyways.

Well, you know me...just can't NOT take a chance. I didn't think Pretzel showed all that well, though several people around me said he looked really good. Apparently their judgment is much better than I, because we were awarded with a regular Sporting group THREE! That was pretty awesome! We went immediately in to the owner-handled sporting group after that, and Pretzel was exhausted...but he still managed to earn an owner-handled group 3. This makes our grand total of NOHS (owner-handled) points at 2,920 . Only 80 more to go!

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Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Say what?

Ok, something weird is going on. My dogs are behaving! Tonight we went to water retrieve training. This is our last chance to practice retrieving in the water before our ratings test this weekend. Tonight we used chukkar, and not only did both my dogs retrieve, but they brought it to me! Noodle did it with just a little asking, Pretzel finally brought it within arms reach after a lot of begging and sacrifices to the retrieving god. So, Saturday's retrieving rating test sits at about 50/50 - it might happen, or it might not. But tonight, it did happen!

After that, I went to my usual Tuesday late-night agility training session with my friend Deb and her dog. Amazingly, Noodle stayed completely focused on me the entire time (and we trained for over an hour). She never once left me or did anything other than follow my direction or wait patiently to be told what to do. CRAZY!!! This can't be my dog! Either our focus class on Monday nights is really helping, or she is just too tired from retrieve training to misbehave. Who knows? But it made my agility training so much fun tonight!

I entered Noodle in just 2 runs at the end of the day of a CPE trial on Oct. 7th. I would like to see where we are at in our focus training. However, she is really due to come in to season at any time now, so we may have to end up bailing on that trial. I wish she would just come in season and get that darn miserable 3 weeks over with!

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