Thursday September 13, 2018

Update: 7:300 pm
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Test 6 - Land Blind

This is what we woke up to. Snowing, -3C and white.

The judges called in the heavy equipment to chain harrow the field so that the paths wouldn’t be so obvious. The test is being run on the land at the end of the pond used for Test 4 and is through the marks from Test 5, with the go bird to the right of the line to the blind. With the snow I don’t think there is any scent left from Test 4 or 5. The test is being run straight South with a slight breeze 8 km/h NW, down wind, left to right.

The line to the blind is through a cut hay field with rolling hills and 2 patches of heavy cover that the dogs must go through. There are numerous instances where the dog disappears out of sight and the handler must re-establish the line once the dog comes in sight. Distance to the blind is 355 yards. An orange stake marks the end of the blind, but is hard to see through the snow.


With the snow coming down hard at times, the handlers are opting to wear Black so they can be seen in sea of White. First up was male test dog Max with his owner/handler Ron Bischke. Max had a few whistles up front and then carried his line about half way into the first cover and came out left of the line. He was handled right and overcast so that he had to be cast left and then right again. Next up was female test dog Ziggy with Sharon van der Lee handling. Ziggy wanted water from the get go and had to be handled away from the pond on the right. She carried her line wide left and disappeared into the high cover. She was out of sight for quite some time before reappearing even wider to the left. She could be seen intermittently bounding through the cover amongst the clouds of snow.
Handlers bundled up

With this miserable weather, the Avery Sporting Dog tent over the gallery isn’t seeing much action. Most of the competitors are trying to keep warm in their trucks. Avery is one of our major sponsors that donates their product to the Silent Auction to help the Host Club raise funds to cover the expenses of putting on a quality National event. Thank you Avery. Zinger Winger is another one of our major sponsors that provides items for the Silent Auction table. Without our major sponsors we would be hard pressed to afford the costs of incurred when putting on the National.
Avery tent lonely in the snow

Zinger White on White

Nestle-Purina is our Official Sponsor of the Canadian National Open and Canadian National Amateur Retriever Championships, Official Dog Food Sponsor and the Official Dog Food Supplier to the National Retriever Club of Canada. The generous donation Purina makes to the National goes towards offsetting the high costs incurred in bringing in judges from across Canada, paying for their accommodations and providing dog food for the Winner and Finalists.

We finally completed the land blind. Field trialers must be a special breed, running in blizzard conditions which shut down the test for about a half hour to wait until visibility improved enough to run the last dogs.
Callbacks: 21 dogs were called back to the 7th series. Dogs not called back were; 6, 9, 14, 23, 38. Test 7 will be a Water Triple.

Test 7 - Water Triple With 2 Retired Guns

We are currently in a holding pattern as the snow just gets heavier and heavier. The gunners at the long station couldn’t even see the paddle when the judges signalled. The test dogs haven’t even been called to line. Thankfully Diane Murphy took pity on us and cooked up a big pot of hot soup to raise spirits and warm everybody up. Thank you Diane.
Soup Kitchen

Hurry Up and Wait


The snow has stopped and the first running dog was called to line at 2:20 pm. The test takes from 15-20 minutes. With 21 dogs to run, it will take about 6 hours. Overheard in the gallery, The test would go a lot faster in the morning when the ponds are frozen. There probably won’t be time to run all the dogs today. Visibility may have improved but it is very challenging to pick out the gunners. They have one gunner in White and one in Black at the left and centre marks. The 2 gunners in the right hand boat bird are both in White. Test 7 has 2 retired guns, 3 if you count the gunners in White in the boat. The wind is 10 km/h N, making it slightly in and across from left to right. The judges call this their garden test because the line to the right hand mark is through Stu and Diana’s vegetable garden. The order of the guns is long middle retired thrown first, then the right hand boat bird, and finally the left hand go bird. For the go bird, a drake mallard is thrown left to right down the shore, landing on a road with no cover. The line to the bird crosses the back lawn, then angles across a small pond, exiting through some tall weeds to the road. The gunners are hidden behind a holding blind on the road. The right hand mark is thrown from a boat, left to right out of the test, The boat is on the left shore, throwing a hen mallard to land in front of an island with no splash. The line to the right hand bird is through the garden, across the corner of a small pond with very steep banks, across a road, into a small channel and another re-entry into the pond where the bird is thrown. The middle retired mark is a huge throw from right to left across a gap in the treeline. It appears to land very near the area where the long retired mark from Test 5 was thrown, but from a totally different perspective. The gun station is brushed in, about 75 yards short of the treeline. A drake mallard is thrown for the middle retired mark. The line to the middle bird, angles across the first pond, angles across the road, angle through the 2nd pond and up hill into the field. Distances to the marks are: 92 yards to the left mark, 385 yards to the middle, and 175 to the right hand boat bird.




Just to give you an idea of what the dogs can see, here is a photo of the 2 gunners in White throwing the right hand boat bird.

 The first test dog to run this setup was Max. I’d say the water doesn’t look all that inviting. Max had an extensive hunt on the go bird because it landed in heavy cover and not on the road, so he had to be handled to the bird. Ron chose to send Max for the right hand mark second. Max cheated to the right around the first pond and then to the left around the second pond which put him on land behind the boat. He hunted deep out of sight in heavy cover and then reappeared further left. He had to be handled into the water to the bird. For the middle bird, Max squared across the first pond, then squared across the road into the field between the middle and right hand ponds. He was handled left, into the pond, squared across and was again handled from right of the gun station to the area. Ron let him hunt the area so the handlers got an idea where the dog winds or sees the bird. From line, it looked like he got into the area of the old fall from the long retired mark in Test 5. Next up was Emmy Lou’s LA Express, owned and handled by Marlene Benn. For the left hand mark, Emmy took a good line across the pond and then hung a right to hunt the shore before coming up onto the road and to the bird. For the right hand mark, Emmy also cheated to the right around the first pond and then carried that line across the channel and along the right hand shore of the 2nd pond before cutting across the pond, under the arc and then correcting to the bird. For the middle retired, Emmy squared across the first pond, squared across the road which put her right going across the middle pond. She exited and hunted a brush pile half way up the field before driving up to the brushed in holding blind and to the bird. Since neither test dog went through the corner of the first pond, it is difficult to know if a dog could actually get up the steep bank on the far side. Guess we’ll find out if any of the running dogs take the corner.
After the test dogs ran, a few hardy contestants sought refuge under the porch to watch the dog work. And with us always is Garmin, official e-collar suppler. Thank you Garmin for all of your support.

Heavy snow moved back in so the judges called the test at 5:00 pm. 8 dogs have run and 7 handled. We will see what tomorrow brings.