|Cap locked down on quail.|
I had a little time before the next hunt (Idaho in January) so I entered my pups in a few trials around the area. I've been running NSTRA trials since 1992 when I entered my first Brittany, Rocket, in a trial up in the hills of north Georgia. I've had some success over the years, and a few dogs that were less than successful. However, I did learn the game and I do enjoy spending the day with like-minded people, talking dogs and hunting and trialing. I decided to enter my two Brittany pups, Cap (B/M) and Ruby (B/F) and just see what they could do. The first trial was in Alabama and they both did OK, for first time dogs. At least, they weren't "placed upon" and they did find their fair share of birds. There was a lot of learning and laughs on the field, for me at least, as I watched them dart around and try their very best to do what the big boys were doing. (They run "amateur" dogs at these trials, too, but I figure my pups should be able to hold their own and take their lumps. So, I entered them in the Open class.) The next trial was down in Pavo, GA and, once again, they did OK. They did draw some notice from the gallery for their hunt and they way they worked with and for me. No placements, but for young, new dogs, they did very well.
Last weekend, I entered them in a trial up in north GA, Ball Ground, GA. On Saturday, they both took the fields like pros! I was very pleased with their handing and finds and backs. Their ground coverage was excellent and I sensed it was just a matter of time before the breakthrough came. Saturday afternoon, Cap (shown above) had a pretty decent run and took a third place- qualifying for the Region Championships in March. It was quite a coup for him- he's not even two yet and was running like a much more mature dog. Sunday was another story altogether. Cap was awesome! He ended up with a very strong first place and looked polished and strong doing it. Ruby, on another field, racked up another first place, also. Oddly, her score was matched exactly by another dog. So we chose to have a coin toss to determine the winner- I lost. It doesn't take anything away from Ruby, at all. She did her part and tied for first place.
Overall, we took a First, Second, and Third for the weekend- 3 out of the possible 12 placements went to my little pups! I guess they'll make bird dogs.
Off to Idaho on Sunday. More updates later.