On Sunday 7th May Ian took Tess to compete in the Chiltern Gundog Society Novice Test at Woodlands House near Marlow in Bucks. Around 30 novice dogs were entered to compete in a test that was set out on ground that comprised of ancient woodland.
I had worked to prepare Tess for this competition as the 2 previous tests we had entered recently had not resulted in any awards. This was due to minor issues that kept scores too low to be serious competitors to the eventual winners. However, I looked upon these two exercises as training days that became a great way to discover weaknesses. Those that read my last blog will recall that I set out my plan and aspirations for Tess in the item (dated 16th February) so I was content that our plan was on track.
When I arrived at Sunday’s test venue I was looking to try and achieve an award; whether that was a certificate of merit, 4th, 3rd or second, any of these would be success in my eyes. To win would be fantastic but mean of course that she would qualify out of Novice and become an Open standard dog and unable to continue to run at this level again.
There were 4 tests set out to complete;
- Blind and marked retrieve
- 4 dog walk up. Each dog completing 2 retrieves to shot whilst remaining at heel and steady whilst the 3 other dogs completed their work
- Double marked retrieve
- Double blind retrieve
At the completion of the tests I was content that Tess had run well and should be there or thereabouts to pick up an award. At the announcement of the awards I was overjoyed to learn that we had been placed first and a clear winner with a score of 77/80, and beating second place by a clear 3 points! Now that she has qualified to run as an Open dog my work starts again to raise her to a level to be able to compete with some very experienced dogs and handlers.
As I said in February I wanted her to be at this level by the time the shooting season starts, the reality is that we have arrived a bit sooner than expected and am now looking to find some Open competitions to give her a run in, watch this space!