Saturday Morning found Hank and I at Hastings Island Hunting Preserve for the German Wirehaired Pointer Walking Field trial. Hank has run these grounds several time before, and to say this place is his nemesis is somewhat of an understatement. The grounds are basically grass fields with no objectives, no edge, small and heavy cover this time of year. Hank has a history of blowing out of the one field that the comittee will run the stake in and cover two or three, putting him out of contention. He's much more suited to large grounds and horseback trials. So why were we there?
It's pretty much the last trial of the season and Hank has yet to blue in a puppy or derby stake. Getting a first in a derby opens up the possibility to run in the limited stakes as a broke dog. In the West, pretty much all the Open or Am Gun dog stakes are retreive, and the limited stakes are often non-retrieve. We agree that a fully trained dog should retrieve, but anyone who has handled "green broke" dogs will agree that it's awful nice to get some "seasoning" on a young dog in the broke stakes and then finish them out with the retrieving stakes. Plus, carrying derby points certainly doesn't hurt!
At any rate, they ran the Amateur walking Derby on Saturday and although we didn't see a lot of Hank because of high cover, it was in the right places and often enough. We found him standing a nice find so he got his bird and he finished to the front. Finally, of all the places he's run, he blued the AWD at his nemesis grounds!
He returned Sunday even more supercharged and tore through the course with two solid finds - the second locating him several hundred yards to the front standing his bird after missing for several minutes. This was a nice sized derby - 16 entries. As he was in the first brace, it was a long wait, but finally we got the word - He won the blue again!!
It's been a long road with my Buddy Hank to get to this point. I couldn't be happier with him. Now I look forward to working together with him to move on to the next level. Wish us luck!