This morning I dragged Jay out of bed bright and early, and we drove to Bob Pepper’s Training Farm a few minutes south of Duvall to watch an AKC Hunt Test. This was my first visit to Pepper’s, and I have to say, it’s a field trainer’s Nirvanah. Bob Pepper was an avid field trialer 50 years ago, who would travel to a trial, see a lake or other feature he really liked, and then come back to his farm and recreate it. Now it’s open to anyone for a per-dog daily fee. Look at this gorgeous technical lake!
Master and Senior level were running today. Junior is tomorrow. We first went to watch the Masters test. The series we watched was a water series. It started with triple water marks. Gun station just off the center line originated two birds. The first was thrown to the right of the center line, even with the gun station. The second was a live flyer on the other side of the gun station. The third bird (go bird) came from the far left. A diversion shot was fired on the way back from the second bird. After all marks had been picked up, there were two blinds. One was along the shore to the far right. Another was up the middle, on a line close past the blind. Dog had to go in and out of the water three times to get to that one. None of the distances were very long — but I’m not a great judge of distance, so I can’t give a good estimate.
One of the fun things about Hunt Tests is the variety of dogs. It’s not just black labs! There were chocolate and yellow labs, goldens, and even an Irish Water Spaniel!
I was thrilled to see that dog. I would guess, too, that not many of the dogs running were from field trial lines, because only a few seemed really high octane, if you know what I mean. That could, of course, be a mistaken impression on my part.
I asked a lady near me a couple of questions, but unfortunately, she was there only part of the time, and I wasn’t able to ask a lot of questions. I got the idea that straight lines to a mark aren’t terribly important in Hunt Tests — even when the dog cheated the water. Again, that could be a mistaken impression on my part. I didn’t get to ask a lot of clarifying questions.
After we watched the Master series for a while, we drove over to the Senior test. We got there between series during the lunch break. This turned out to be fortuitous, though, because we met Joan Fetty. Joan has a dog school 20-25 minutes from my house. (I took Pax there for a class long ago.) She offers an Intro to Field class, and she helps people get hooked up with training groups. She is the one who told me the history of Pepper’s and explained the usage rules.
We chose not to stay for the next series and left shortly after that. Plan is to groom and bathe Pflouff this afternoon, so I can take her to Marymoor tomorrow to see her breeder. Maybe Pflouff and I will stop by Pepper’s tomorrow and see the Junior test. I’m not sure if she’s up for that or not, since she wouldn’t be allowed to play in the water or retrieve the things being thrown.
Here are a few more pictures I took this morning.