I'm huge fan of spaghetti westerns. Of all westerns really. But my favorite has to be The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. If its on TV there should be no doubt that's what I'm watching. I don't know why I love it so much. It could be that iconic music they play, the fact that Clint Eastwood was a total piece of ass back in the day or maybe it's because it has a little bit of everything in it....just like the title says.
Today we ran Cleo for her first brace of the AKC Senior Hunt Test. Today's experience had it all just like my old favorite western. I'll start off with The Ugly part which was no one other than myself. You see, I'm deathly allergic to grass and trees. Lucky for me there's not a whole lot of that stuff around. Anyway, I had an awful allergy attack last night, the worst I have had in 8 years and spent the wee hours of the night suffering terribly. With about an hours worth of awful sleep, swollen eyes and face and not to mention me covered in hives Jim and I set off to spend a day in field with my arch nemesis, evil pollinating grass. We pulled in this morning and I instantly looked like I had the chicken pox (hives) and was so cracked out on allergy medicine I'm pretty sure I was incapable of holding any kind of cognisant conversation. I was not fit for human exposure. Great start to the day. But I toughed it out....below are some pics of the dogs we saw today:
A wirehair and some GSP's staked out
A bunch of Brittanys
Jim and I always call this area Viszla Alley
A nice Setter
Another Wirehair....they always remind me of shaggy GSP's with goatees
So for The Bad: Cleo did not pass her first brace. We were disappointed to say the least. In the AKC Hunt Tests two dogs test together. Cleo ran with a Weimeraner named Maya who is owned by Lance Fargo out of southern Delaware. Maya had already passed two braces of her Senior her AKC test before today.
Maya the Weim!
The beginning of the test
When Jim cut Cleo loose from the start she and her brace mate Maya took off. Both dogs went to the right and disappeared from sight. Eventually Maya popped back onto the trail and continued down to the next field but Cleo was a no show. She was also not responding to Jim's calls. That was because she was locked on point on a distant hedgerow. Jim and an AKC judge went over to Cleo and Jim said when he came around the corner she was locked on point. Before Jim could make his way over the bird jumped. Cleo did not move and flush the bird but when it jumped he said she caught it in the air and brought it back to him and delivered it to hand. That's how she failed. She was not allowed to move until Jim fired his starters pistol and he never got the chance. He said in hindsight the second he turned the corner and saw her on point he should have whoaed her. In reality it may have not made a difference but its all a learning experience. The judges were kind enough to let us continue on eventhough we knew she had failed.
It was pretty hot out so we stopped a few times to water the dogs before continuing
Cleo's second point which went very well
Cleo on point with Maya backing while Jim flushes the bird
Maya did a great job today and below are some pics of her in action. She had a very nice retrieve that I know it made her owner Lance very proud.
So for The Good....the little negative devil on my shoulder wants to say nothing about today was good. But I'm pretty sure that's just the allergy drugs that I'm cracked out on making me feel that way. The reality is, today minus the hives and burning eyes it was an all around good experience. Jim as a handler learned alot, we got see some amazing dogs run in both the Master and Senior divisions, Cleo got more time in the field on birds in situations we train her for, and in the end we get to go and try again tomorrow. It was also great that when Cleo caught the bird she brought it right back to Jim. A few months ago she wouldn't have done that. It's also just more practice for her NAVHDA UT Test this fall.
In the end the bitter taste of failure always sucks but those are the times you learn the most. It would be so easy to just quit or walk away or find an excuse for why she should have gotten it. But we will learn from it and will stick with it and we will get it. It's not a matter of IF but WHEN. Hopefully tomorrow is the big day and if its not we will just keep working for it.
And just for fun below is a video of Cleo waiting for her turn to run in her brace today. She's such a wackjob.