Well That Didn’t Go As Planned

 So the last time we talked about testing and the little journey that I was taking with my setter Cash I mentioned that the next attempt at a qualifying score would be at the Dick Cross WIldlife Management Area in Virginia.

 Well we made the three and a half hour trip from our home to the WMA in Virginia. The drive was uneventful and the trip took us through some back country roads that made the drive quite nice. It is rare that when you pass another car head on that people still make the effort to be courteous and give a welcoming wave through the windshield. There is something to be said about people that live in a rural community.

 So we arrive at the site and pull up to the gate and let ourselves in. This is about mid morning. We head to the club house and check in.

The test is being hosted by the Wilderness Pointer Club of Virginia. They are hosting a fairly large event. They are running two tests on Saturday and then again on Sunday.So if you run both events over both days then you have the possibility to title your dog in one weekend. This to me is a pretty big undertaking and I am impressed that there weren’t any major delays or issues with the running of the tests on Saturday.

 Cash and I are registered to run one test in the afternoon on Saturday. This is the only one that we entered because of squeezing it in between obligations.

 After we check in and are told where field two is we head over there and park the truck. The only brace of MH had just finished as I arrive to at the viewing area. So I exchange pleasantries and start listening to everyone talk about the course and the dogs. The course seems pretty straight forward. The MH and SH dogs have a break away that takes them down a long field with a wooded area on the left. At the end of the wood line the dogs break to the left and enter the bird field and do their thing.The JH dogs have a break away that takes you through the trees and then a left turn a right turn and then left into the bird field.

So after the watching a few runs and getting know a few people the time comes for us to take our turn. We head to the breakaway and the judges tell us to turn the loose.

We take off down through the tree line. We get to to the first turn and Cash is handling a little off from where he normally is. He usually stays to the front but for some reason he keeps trying to back cast as we head down the trail. We make the turns and enter the bird field.

Cash breaks to the left and up into the field. He heads towards the tall grass and the little bit of cover that is in the field. Quickly we get a point. I indicate point to the judge not realizing that the is right behind me. I move in to flush the bird and I am pretty excited because I am feeling like we got our bird early and this should make it pretty good for the rest of our time. I get to the dog and attempt to get the bird to flush. I move past the dog and start kicking the tall grass. Well after a few minutes of this I ask to relocate the judge says go ahead and the dog doesn’t move. So I think the dog knows better than I do. I continue to kick around and upon closer inspection there is nice little bowl in the grass and it is full of feathers. The proverbial hot spot. This discovery definitely takes some of the wind out of my sails. I get the dog to move on and we attempt to find a bird.

 I mentioned earlier that Cash was not handling all that well and this is where that point comes in. I attempt to move him up the field to hopefully get into a bird. The dog has a mind to keep circling back to where the feathers were and going down the field the opposite way of where I want to go. After a few minutes of this I finally get him to go in the right direction and the judge says to pick him up. I call him in and put the leash on him and we head out of the field.

 At the top of the field in the direction that you use to exit is where the gallery sits and observes action on the field. As I am walking towards the exit I am told by one of the people that I had been talking to that as the dogs exited the trees the bird right where Cash pointed had taken off and went into the trees on the edge of the field and landed under a large white pine. That information may have helped but I am not sure that the birds would have been there and it may have been a fruitless exercise.

 We head back to the truck and get some water and cool down after our walk. We watch a couple of more braces and then I go to the clubhouse to get some lunch and see how he did other than not producing a bird. He had all eights from what I saw and then that blazing zero in the bird finding.

 So sometimes the wheels fall off the cart and things don’t go as planned and all we can do is learn from the experience and try again to do it better the next time. I know that he can find birds better than he showed and we will work this summer on the handling and then some steps towards training for SH. Come the fall when the tests are being run again we will get after it again and hopefully the reports will be better next time.

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