I’ve had a hard time processing Seeker’s second cold game trial. I wrote this on Facebook afterwards: ”Fall apart and get back up. That’s how I feel after today’s test. Why do things always have to happen for the first time at a trial? I really hope that this was both the first and last time he grabbed the game too hard… I was happy about the heeling, which we have been working hard on since the last time and that felt quite good this time – the judge commented that he followed me very well. The deliveries were good and so was his marking skills and hunting skills. The audience, the judge and the shooter commended us for working well as a team. And we looked good! It was a fun trial and very well organised, thanks to all the people involved!”
A great many things did work just fine and I was very happy with the heeling. We’ve been working really hard on that. But it was all over-shadowed by information that was truly surprising to me. After a couple of weeks of analysing and thinking, I think I know what was going on. If Seeker has to keep himself together as hard and for as long a time as a trial takes, then his handling of the game will suffer. That conclusion made me feel better again. That is something that can be trained, controlled and fixed. I will get back to how I’ve been working on this and on the heeling in separate blog posts. For the time being, I’d like to recommend Jenny Nyberg’s post on the price of self-control.
This trial was also set up with a long stretch of heeling and many times where we needed to move to another place, which suited us fine since we’d been working on the heeling a great deal since the last trial. The trial begun with a water mark, then heeling, then a mark on land in the opposite direction, heeling, a turn the other way and finally another mark on land. Then followed a longer stretch of heeling to the hunting area.
I’m ever so pleased with the heeling! Considering the state of it last time, and how much we’ve been working on it, he really did fantastically well. He was attentive and steady and did really well with the marks. All the deliveries to hand were great and he worked effectively. He hunted well from the aspect of really covering ground. He got four pieces of game out of six before we were called off. I asked to show passivity after that, in order to get some training in.
Here’s a video of what it looked like!