I’m proud to report that Gumbo completed his junior hunter title on Saturday! Conditions were ideal – the sun was out and temperatures were in the 40s/50s. MUCH better than the 90 degree temperatures we had to deal with a few weeks ago.
Gumbo’s bracemate was a no show, so he got bumped to the bottom of the running order to run with a bye dog. While waiting, we watched a number of dogs go birdless. I was a little concerned by this, but the course seemed pretty straightforward. It was basically just a grassy field. However, it was lacking in objectives. I did learn a trick from the long grass though – follow the 4 wheeler tracks .
Gumbo had a pretty nice honor in the back field. I wasn’t expecting it and although I have been calling him away from other dogs on point (since it is not a requirement in juniors), I let him work in the area because he made it pretty clear he wasn’t going to bust in on the point. The other handler was nice enough to work around a little bit and Gumbo ended up sharing the point. I wasn’t sure this would be enough to qualify though.
We took the lead entering the bird field, and Gumbo found a bird within the first two minutes. The judges yelled “got it”, and I knew we were home free. He found a second bird shortly after his first, and I slowed him down to work the untouched part of the bird field until time was called. He came across a third bird and hit an absolutely stunning point. He held it beautifully and let me flush it without trying to bust in at all. The judges called time immediately afterwards and congratulated me (knowing this was Gumbo’s last leg). It was a really fun way to end our junior hunter adventures.
This will be our last hunt test of the spring as Ilsa and Gumbo need quite a bit of work before they are ready to compete at the senior level. We will continue to work until the fall season and of course keep you updated along the way .