{This Moment} See Beautiful~Successful Hunt Test Season

“The true measure of a man is not what he dreams, but what he aspires to be; a dream is nothing without action. Whether one fails or succeeds is irrelevant; all that matters is that there was motion in his life. That alone affects the world.”
― Mike NortonWhite Mountain

Last Saturday the Sand Spring hunt test season came to a end. Our season began in May and went through the beginning of September. The season is made up of training our two Chesapeake Bay Retrievers Gambler and Glory to compete in AKC – American Kennel Club and UKC – United Kennel Club tests. They are similar but then again so different so you have to train for two different styles. This made for a full summer of many highs and lows as you all may know from following my posts on my blog and on facebook.

This last Saturday I had a major melt down. I went to the hunt test by myself and handled both dogs. It was the last test of the season and I really wanted to get that final Senior Hunter pass on Glory so she could earn her Senior Hunter Title before I breed her this winter. Needless to say Glory was dog one in the group and we failed. Being upset I had to go and handle Gambler now in his test. That didn’t go well either and we failed too. After I was done this is what I posted up on facebook on my Sand Spring Chesapeake page: If success was measured by how many tears were shed this hunt test season I would be a very successful woman. Till next year all it’s hunting time now!

I was feeling a bit sorry for myself and now that some time has passed I have realized that we indeed did have A Successful Hunt Test Season and with that comes See Beautiful!

What is success & failure?

The definition of ‘success’  & ‘failure’ from dictionary.com is:

1.the favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors.
2.the attainment of wealth, position, honors, or the like.
3.a successful performance or achievement: The play was an instant success.
4.a person or thing that is successful: She was a great success on the talk show. 

This summer I was chasing the wrong meaning of success. I was chasing the hunt test passes and in the end the hunt test title. I got caught up in wanting to pass a test to “show” that my dogs could do it, that they could pass a test without fails. For some reason I had it in my head that fails were toxic and if people knew my dogs and I failed that we would be marked as failures and people would think less of us. My standards were set so high that when the fails came I didn’t know how to handle them and forgot about the real reason and success I was gaining with my dogs.



1. an act or instance of failing or proving unsuccessful; lack of success:

His effort ended in failure. The campaign was a failure.

2. nonperformance of something due, required, or expected:

a failure to do what one has promised; a failure to appear.

3. a subnormal quantity or quality; an insufficiency:

the failure of crops.

4. deterioration or decay, especially of vigor, strength, etc.:

The failure of her health made retirement necessary.
5. a condition of being bankrupt by reason of insolvency.

6. a becoming insolvent or bankrupt:

the failure of a bank.

                                                                                         7. a person or thing that proves unsuccessful:

He is a failure in his career. The cake is a failure.

It seems for some reason society can’t measure one’s “success” by the deeds one does without gaining an award.

“What is a Title, Really?”

“Not just a brag, Not just a stepping stone to a higher title, “What is a Title, Really?”

“Not just a brag, Not just a stepping stone to a higher title,
Not just an adjunct to competitive scores.”

“A Title is a tribute to the dog that bears it, a way to honor that
dog, an ultimate memorial. It will remain in the record and in the memory for about as long as anything in this world can remain. Few humans will do as well or better in that regard. And though the dog himself doesn’t know or care that his achievements have been noted, a Title says many things in the world of humans, where such things count.”

“A title says your dog was intelligent, and adaptable, and good-
natured. It says that your dog loved you enough to do the things that
please you, however crazy they may have sometimes seemed.”

“And a Title says that you loved your dog, that you loved to spend
time with him because he was a good dog, and that you believed in him enough to give him yet another chance when he failed (or you did), and that in the end your faith was justified.”

“A Title proves that your dog inspired you to have the special
relationship enjoyed by so few; that in a world of disposable
creatures, this dog with a Title was greatly loved, and loved greatly in

“And when that dear short life is over, the Title remains as a memorial of the finest kind, the best you can give to a deserving friend, volumes of praise in one small set of initials before or after the name.”

“A Title is nothing less than love and respect, given and received permanently.”

Author Unknown

I think everyone competing in an event should read this article: The Art of Losing

JoAnn’s definition of a Successful Hunt Test Season:

– Time spent with your dog(s)

– Time spent with your family and friend(s)

– Lessons learned

– All the See Beautiful moments that come your way

Things JoAnn has to remember:

– Rome wasn’t built in a day

– If someone thinks less of me and my dog for failing they can pound sand and are no friends of mine

– I am a novice trainer and handler

– Gambler is my first dog that *I* trained & handled by *myself*

– The end of last year was the first time I ran a Senior test

– This year was the first time I ran a Master test

– These kinds of tests are by no means a walk in the park and when I win the more accomplished I will feel that I did it alone just me and my dog

– Chesapeakes are not machines and need more than one day of training to run tests

– Gambler and I succeeded in passing one UKC Finished test this year

– Gambler, Glory and I received our CGC (Canine Good Citizen) & TT (Temperment Test) certificates

– Glory received her UKC HRC Hunting Retriever Title

– Glory received three out of four AKC Senior Hunter passes

– Gambler was the #1 Chesapeake in the UKC Top Ten Dog and Breed Standings for two years in a row

– My dogs don’t think any less of me when we fail, they think more of me for getting out there and training, running tests and doing what they were bred to do

– Win or loss their emotions are always the same, they lick my face, wag their tail and let me know they still love me

“Your passion is measured by the difference between your willingness to take actions and your desire to quit. When your desire to quit outweighs your willingness to persist, you are ripe for failure!”
― Israelmore AyivorThe Great Hand Book of Quotes

this moment

{This Moment} See Beautiful is a once a month Blog Hop, every 2nd Friday of the month. simply create a blog post that made your day, week, and/or month … inspiring you in Seeing Beauty. Blog Hop inspired by See Beautiful.

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The Results

So you all know from my Black And White Sunday post yesterday that Glory passed her second AKC Senior test. Here is the official photo of us with her ribbon.

From Sunday’s post you read that Gambler got to advance to the third series. In AKC Master level tests there are three series you have to finish. You need to pass the first one to move onto the second one and then pass the second one to move onto the third one. Gambler did well his first two series and was called back to the third. Here are the only pictures I have for the weekend. They were taken by my friend during the first series.

Getting ready to run, next in line. We are both happy and confident.

Almost up and the nerves strike and I think I am going to puke.

The walk up and the test begins.

Watching the marks go down.

Retrieving the first mark.

Retrieving the second mark.

Retrieving the third mark.

Taking a moment while they plant the blind.

Lining up for the blind.

Casting to the blind.

Sunday we went back to run the third series. It was a water double with a land and a water blind. The first mark went down then the second one. He cheated the bank on the way to the go bird jumped in the water and retrieved the duck from behind a point, swam back to me. Set him up and sent him on the second mark, he got to the shore and then was going to cheat the shore around to that mark, I stopped him and gave him a cast into the water and then casted him to the bird which was through the water over the land through water and on the next shore. He came back and I lined him up for his land blind which wasn’t too far away and he lined it needing no handles to get there. Now the dreaded water blind. I lined him up and he took a poopy off to the left of the blind line I tried to straighten him out and then he got to the shore and I cast him into the water and he wouldn’t go in, I had to cast him twice then the got in and went after the blind and got it and brought it back. I knew the water blind wasn’t the best but I really thought overall he did well and that we were going to get a ribbon. Now the waiting game.

Went back to the club house listened to them call the numbers that passed 1-58 and there was no #48! WTH really why not? The hunt test emotional roller coaster is upon me. I went up to the judges and asked them why we failed and they explained the water blind was the reason and they couldn’t add up the numbers enough to give us a passing score. What a disappointment. So close but yet so far away. John was upset to, he thought as our friend thought too that we pulled it off this time. Nope, back to the drawing board and more water blinds. John and I didn’t talk the whole way home and every time I thought of the test I cried.

When we finally talked it was about how even know people say their isn’t politics in hunt tests games since you are going against yourself in a pass fail manner there really IMO politics. How come a pro trainer that has a truck full of dogs passes each dog after it has bad line manners and they are hollering at it to sit, sit, sit, heel, heel, heel which to me is intimidation and then the dogs have long hunts and have to be handled and they still pass. They pass IMO because the club needs the pros with all their dogs so they have to pass them and not piss them off so they keep coming back and spending more money. But then you got little ole Jo Smoo me with my one dog that they fail because they have to fill their quota on their pass/fail ratio. I also think they play the race card on Chesapeakes and don’t turn their head so to speak and are quick to fail them. I could be all wrong but this is my theory and I’m sticking to it. I know your dog has to be at Master level to enter these tests and they have to be almost perfect but I tell you I wasn’t seeing perfection on the dogs that passed. I believe Gambler has what it takes to pass a Master level test and I hope like hell he can pull it off with the next three tests coming up or I might have to check my self into the insane asylum. It’s tough to be on this high and low roller coaster. My eyes don’t like it and my heart doesn’t like it.


Black & White Sunday~A Pass And An Advancement

This weekend we are at yet again another hunt test. Glory ran a AKC Senior level test yesterday and passed her second test with me handling her.

A better picture to follow, had to do a quick shot for today’s post. Gambler ran a AKC Master level test with me handling him. In Masters there are three series you need to pass. The first two series are held on Saturday and if you are lucky enough to get called back you run the last one on Sunday. We were lucky enough to get called back and are headed to the hunt test right now.


We are joining Dachshund Nola & Sugar The Golden Retriever for the Black and White Sunday Blog Hop.

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Black And White Sunday~First Senior Ribbon

Glory had a terrific day yesterday, FINALLY she passed her first AKC Senior Hunter test. 3 more to go! She kept her little false pregnancy ducky home for the event and she pulled it off.

And to our pals Jack and Maggie at SlimDoggy Happy Gotcha Day. Hope you have many more Gotcha Days ahead!



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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”.

Black And White Sunday~Pass & SHR Title


Glory’s first UKC HRC Seasoned pass. This gives her enough points for her HRC Started Title. 

Her new name is:

SHR UCH Sand Spring No Gut’s No Glory JH



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Black And White Sunday~A Girl And Her Dad


This weekend is being spent at a hunt test. Glory made it though two series of her Senior Hunter test then failed on the very last water blind on Saturday. We are trying again today. Hopefully she can pull it off for a really nice Father’s Day win!


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G&G Accomplishments For The Year So Far

Miss Glory’s Accomplishments


This has been quite a year for Miss Glory and I. I should say our year started last August 2012 when I finished Glory to her UKC conformation title adding UCH to the beginning of her name. In January Glory and I did something we have never done before. We entered a AKC conformation event, we or more so I had a blast. Glory took Winners Bitch and Best Of Opposite. She continued to do well in March where she took Winners Bitch and Best of Opposite 2 days in a row. We attended a 3 day show in May where Glory took Reserve Winners with 4 other dogs in the ring. This was a big deal to me as this was only the seventh time in a AKC ring. She also took third on the last day. Not to bad for a couple of newbies.  She has a total of 3 points out of the 15 she needs for her conformation title. Then in 2013 we were invited to the UKC Premier where she had a special invite to participate in the Top Ten as she was the #6 Chesapeake in t he Top Ten Breed And Dog Standings for 2012. Glory recieved the Award Of Excellence for the Top Ten Show. She went on to receive 2 reserve champion ribbons. She learned how to Dock Jump, starting out at 6.8 feet and ending with her best jump at 12.2 feet. This summer we worked on her UKC SHR Started title, she received 3 out of 4 passes. We ran out of HRC events so we are unable to finish her title this year. She continued to do well with passing 3 more AKC Junior Hunter tests recieving her JH title on August 25th at Manitowoc Kennel Club adding JH to the end of her name. John handled her to her first JH pass and I handled her to her last 3 passes along with the title pass. She has been trained by John and I. She is now getting ready to start the fall hunting season. Early goose is first, then a trip to Sasketchewan for some snow goose hunting then coming home to the WI waterfowl and upland season. Along with starting the hunting season she is entered in the upcoming AKC conformation shows, so her event’s for the year still arn’t finished. Glory you have been such a joy to train, you really have your own personality that makes me smile. I am so happy with your success and hope you have more success in the near future.

Her new name is:


(CH Port Side’s Great Xpectations MH    x     HRCH Sand Spring Hurricane Nellie SH)





Gambler’s Accomplishments


WOW, what a year so far we have had with “Gambler”. We have had a year of first’s. I should say our year started last August 2012 when I finished Gambler to his UKC conformation title adding UCH to the beginning of his name. Then in September I ran my first AKC Senior Hunter test ever and we ended up with a pass and his first leg out of four towards his title. Then in 2013 we were invited to the UKC Premier where he had a special invite to participate in the Top Ten as he was the #1 Chesapeake in the Top Ten Breed And Dog Standings for 2012. We went to the UKC Premier where he learned how to Lure Course where he passed two runs, one shy for his LC title. He learned how to Dock Jump where he started out jumping 3 feet then ended at 18.3 feet and received his United Senior Jumper title, adding USJ to the beginning of his name. He went 3 out of 5 BOB in the conformation ring where he received 3 legs out of 5 towards his Grand Champion title.  While at the Premier Gambler also participated in the Total Dog program. It is for dogs that have gotten a show champion and a performance title. As well as participating he qualified for Total dog proving that he is a versatile dog. The United Retriever Specialty also offered a Total Retriever where again he needed to have a show title and a performance title. He got a ribbon for his accomplishment in both venues. This  summer we worked on his UKC HRC Seasoned title, he received his HR title on August 4th at Muddy Waters Club adding HR to the beginning of his name. He continued to do well with passing 2 more AKC Senior Hunter tests receiving his SH title on August 25th at Manitowoc Kennel Club adding SH to the end of his name. I unfortuantly didn’t handle him to his UKC or AKC titles. John handled him while I continued to do all his hunt test training. He is now getting ready to start the fall hunting season. Early goose is first, then a trip to Sasketchewan for some snow goose hunting then coming home to the WI waterfowl and upland season. This should be a great year as he has really come along. Thanks Gambler for being who you are. To say I am very proud is a understatement.

His new name is:


(HRCH Sand Spring Norm Of Caroway MH   x     HRCH Hope Springs Dowry MH**)

Hips: Good

Elbows: Normal




Glory’s first UKC HRC hunt test

Glory is 6.5 months old now and we were running Gambler in a UKC HRC Started test this past weekend so on Sat we decided to enter Glory to get her some exposure at the hunt test. We thought what the hay, we have a 50/50 chance that she will pull it off. If she did we would enter her on Sunday if not then we wouldn’t. John ran Glory and she did good in the holding blind, did good at the line then the decoys were just too tempting. When we saw the set up we figured that she would be ok since the decoys were off to the side and there was a nice big opening for her to go in and swim right out to get the duck well nope Glory had other ideas. Saw the bird come down, jumped in and went for the decoy, brought it back and delivered it to hand. Re sent her on the duck, jumped in went the other way and tried to get another decoy but that one the weight was too heavy so she came back without. No birds but that little girl had the time of her life and was happy to have brought back the decoy. I was all smiles as she was out there having fun! She is now called “The Decoy Bandit”