Hunt Test Weekend~The Highs & The Lows

Friday morning around 4:30 John, Nellie, Gambler, Glory and I hit the road for a 3 day hunt test held in Mondovi, WI which is around 3 hours from us. With our loaded truck and positive attitudes not a care in the world until we were 3/4 of the way there and our check engine light came on in the truck.

The Low: Finding a service station to check out the truck.

It was down a quart of oil, we put oil in, it is due for a tune up so why not start now and put a new air filter in. We found a service station and the nice gentleman in the garage put his computer on the truck and said it was getting to much fuel on the right side (what ever that means). He cleared the check engine light and we were set hopefully to get back home at the end of our weekend.

We made it to the test grounds, watched the test dog, thought this test is doable for the Gman. Then the rain came. I went to the truck and I stayed in the truck. I thought this test I will stay in truck so Gman doesn’t have to smell me, see me or run to me.

The Low: Watching your boy head to the line knowing you can’t be there to cheer him on.

At this moment a tear was shed.

Even know I don’t like people looking at me handling and Gman blows me off, I think this was much harder to watch than running or watching and seeing him fail. Gambler was entered in the AKC Master level test.

The test was the land series first, a walk up triple with a double blind. He was steady to all the shots, he had nice line manners, he hunted a couple marks short but got them without any handles, one blind was not the best but the other blind he had many refusals as he didn’t take John’s cast and once again thought he could do the test himself. That is a thank you for your donation. We were done with the test by 9:30 am so we had all day to wait for our friend Mike and his dog Pearl to show up back at the motel.

The High: Spending the weekend with a best friend and his dog that we bred. What started out as a business deal has turned into the best 6.5 years of a friendship that I couldn’t of asked for.

Mango Daiquiris being made in the hotel parking lot.

Mike thanking Nellie for a beautiful pup that Mike has gotten to spend 6.5 years with so far.

Saturday was Glory’s and step sister Pearl’s day to shine. Both girls were entered in the AKC Senior level test. Glory has run two other Senior level tests this summer, Pearl’s last AKC test she ran was a Junior Hunter back in 2008. She has never ran a Senior test. Mike entered her so she could have something to do this weekend.

The High: Watching the puppy you bred run in a hunt test.

Mike and Pearl doing the walk up.

Sitting for the mark.

Retrieving the mark.

Retrieving the other mark.

Pearl did a good job on the first land series, she was called back to the water series. She picked up one mark on the water and then had to be handled on the second water mark. As Mike would say she had a 100 whistle handle and that was too many whistles so she was called in. She didn’t pass.

The High: Watching Glory during her Senior test.

Getting ready to run.

The walk up.

The retrieve.

Glory needed to be handled on one land mark, for some reason she over ran her marks which she generally never does and she had a couple cast refusals on her blind. She did get called back to run the water series and she was dog #1 on water. The test was a very meaty test for a senior dog. It was like a master level test with one bird mark taken out. She had a medium hunt on the first bird retrieved, second one was better then then water blind she had a couple of refusals, when the judges added up her score in the end she didn’t have a passing score.  Both girls failed, big low for the day.

The High: Gambler being a good adolescent boy and not falling for peer pressure and having a beer.

Just say NO to beer.

The High: Having a nice hotel to sleep in and being able to bring the dogs in too. Ok so we were rebels and only paid for one dog and smuggled the other two in.

Gambler and Nellie watching Mike and John.

The Low: Realizing it was the first stay away hunt test since Norman had passed.

Here’s to you, without you we wouldn’t be here with Nellie, G or G.

Sunday only Glory competed. Mike went with us and spend the day with us up until the end cheering Glory on, thank you Mike for being such a wonderful friend.

The High: Having a cheering squad at the test and many online friends with us in spirit.

Double trouble cheering squad.

The High: Having time to paracord.

Having time to paracord.

The High: Getting some sweet pictures of my glorious girl.

Seeing the bond between John and his girl.

Seeing Glory picking me out in the crowd.

The test on Sunday went pretty much like the test on Saturday. Got to run both the land and water series to find out at the end you didn’t make the cut. Glory also had a potential puppy buyer come and watch her run and cheer her on so that was another high for the day.

The High: Driving back home to get mail and see that Glory indeed went 4 out of 4 UKC HRC Seasoned tests in which on #3 test day she got her Seasoned title.

4 – 4, pretty happy group.

The Low & High: Self explanatory.

Thank you to my online friends that were there to cheer me up, this is what I learned from them:

Nothing ventured, nothing gained. You’ll get there….Thank you Pam

John asked me on the way home what we should do now. Option #1 train and run no tests at the moment, option #2 keep training and run tests. My thought is exactly like Pam’s, I will pick option #2 because you don’t know until you try and the test you don’t enter might just have been the one. I also told John option #1 wasn’t a option since I had Glory signed up for another test in 2 weeks. 😉

I’m not going to lie and say it isn’t very depressing, it is very depressing and I do cry on test days. I have such high hopes for my dogs and such high goals that when it doesn’t happen I do get sad. I wonder what I have done wrong, why my dogs are great in training and can’t pull off a couple of AKC passes. It is when I am at my low point when my friends come through for me again.

Thank you Amy for this beautiful song to keep my goals straight.

It’s not about the wins and loses, it’s about the time spent with your loved ones and realizing that Life Is Sweet no matter what. It is what you make of it.

Last but not least thank you Mel for this quote that is now my motto for the Gman and I.

Because of you gals I am going to train harder, keep my head held up high and I am going to handle Gman at his next AKC test. I’m not promising any tears but at least I can say “I tried”.

12 thoughts on “Hunt Test Weekend~The Highs & The Lows

  1. Great post! Gotta love a friend that brings the blender drinks!

    I totally know what you feel when your day isn’t successful. I would get the same blues after an unsuccessful day of agility. I will confess to spilling a few tears on some of the more frustrating days. Even with reminding myself about being there just for the fun, and that none of it really matters, etc., etc., I’d still sulk sometimes. It truly is about time spent with your dog. And you are so very lucky to share your passion with a husband who loves it too!


  2. Gosh you were so close with Glory both days. I think sometimes it helps for them to get in a hunt test groove. Maybe the next tests she will pass. If she didn’t come back in on her water blind, I would say she is going in the right direction and that is what is important. The senior tests Freighter has run were way harder than any Storm and Thunder ran (with the exception of one).

    We have Freighter entered this weekend. I am not sure how it will go. He is doing fine in training. He can do the work, but when he sees ducks, he losses his mind…lol. But right now tests are the only time he will get ducks so we entered him anyway.

    Masters is hard. We know that. Sometimes it just takes time for it all to come together. Watching videos of Gman, he is almost there. He will get it. He is still young.

    Hooray for good friends!


  3. We’ve never competed in anything with our dogs, so I don’t know how it feels personally, but this post really explains that well. You have such a great attitude, you admit your disappointment and frustration, but you are going to keep trying. I think that is so great, and it makes me want to try new things with our dogs too.


  4. I hear ya, Charlie Brown… I sometimes have to fight with my tears too for things like that . the song is great, let’s hope for “Fortune gonna come some day” , I’m sure #2 is the way. (it reven rhymes lol)


  5. I really enjoyed this post JoAnn, I haven’t competed at the level you are in Hunt Tests, but have in Agility and Obedience. So keep believing that the work you see in training will come through in tests. It isn’t so much about getting there (the ribbons, the titles) but how you get there. Friends made time spent with your dogs…. I have no doubt you will get there with both Glory and Gambler. You go girl!


  6. What Gambler and Glory do is so amazing to me that whether they pass or place, they are winners in my eyes. I love how Glory looks at you and your husband. She adores you both and that is a blue ribbon feeling! ♥♥


  7. When we fail, Mom is down and thinks about quitting, but then after a day or two, she gets fired up and ready to tackle the task harder than ever. She is determined to succeed and will work with us until we do. A break can also be a good thing, but stay with it and in time it will work.


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