I thought I would take the time to explain a field trial to you.
Preparation: (this week, without MLH).
1) Load collapsible cage into Yukon.
2) Load guns, shooting bag, vest, collars, leashes, dog bowls, water, shells into Yukon.
3) Corral dogs, who by now are visiting every house in the neighborhood.
4) Load them into said cage. Zack self loads. Zoie acts like a girl and needs a little help...she is almost as big as Zack. (She's plenty able to self load.)
Then, I drive to the field trial site, which is about 30 miles away, in the country. Way in the country. And. It. Is. Still. Very. Cold. The wind is blowing about 30 mph. Gonna be fun.
I get lost. Have to call my partner. Then I get lost, again. Have to call back one more time for clarification. Ten minutes later, I find the field. I get there, and find the field is filled with stickers. I have no dog boots. So, I have to borrow duct tape, and make boots for Zack. Zack is so excited, I have to get help to control him while I put the boots on. (Zoie is howling loudly, “Please, let me out of this cage. I can too hunt! I’m big enough now!”)
It’s time to go. We have to get into the “blind” so we can’t see where the birds are being planted. Birds are ready, they release us. I have to loop the leash around Zack’s belly to control him, he is so excited and ready to go. We go to the edge of the field, and I take Zack’s leash off. I load my gun, and signal my partner. We’re running doubles, double dogs, and both shooting. And, we’re off.
Zack and I go left, my partner and his dog, Ram, who happens to be Zack’s litter mate, go right. The hunt is on. It's a timed, judges walking with you observing your every move, twenty-five minutes of hard hunting in major tough terrain, complete with mega-stickers, making sure your dog doesn’t get overheated, trying to find 6 birds, shoot them, and bag them, and go again. In huge wind, and very dry conditions. It was a hard day. The terrain was very rough, very sandy, and hard to traverse, especially in a fast walk. I was exhausted, and Zack was, as well.
Zack worked like a dream…he is such an amazing dog. We didn’t place, but Zack and I both got a good workout and he is a happy, tired dog. It was fun hunting with Zack and Ram. And we’ll get better at this. I’m improving at simultaneously handling my gun, my dog, my whistle, and my commands, all the while staying within the field boundaries. If I did it every day, I’d be a skinny minnie! It’s hard, hard work.
And now, you know a little more about field trials! I’m heading over to the Ugly Dog Hunting website and order the ZZ crew some boots. We’ll be better tricked out for the next round!