I ran Pop for the last time before we head to a trial this weekend in the middle of the Allegheny National Forest. Essentially, I’ve just been letting him roll; a lot of hands-off, no handling. Our practice course at home has one hard turn and we hit it just right last night, he ended up popping out in front shortly after the turn and stretched back out farther up front. His tail looked good. If he puts an effort down like that this weekend, that’s all I can ask for. Our brace draw isn’t ideal, we’re next to last but thankfully I’ll get to walk and learn the course (and walk all the braces I feel the contenders will be in), Pop isn’t a dog-crap connoisseur- there’s sure to be plenty of it 14-16 dogs in, and the pup he’s braced with is a big goer- she ran herself out of judgement at the trial I was judging last weekend. She was lost on a turn about halfway through and did not finish. Pop should have plenty of time to empty himself out and water up before he’s ran.
As we hit the access road again, I called Pop in and walked him on a lead back towards the truck. About halfway there a truck rolled to a stop along side us. The driver had a familiar face and the co-pilot and orange white face with feathered ears. It was an older half-sister to Pop, Full Impact. They were also out getting in a tune-up in before the weekend trial. Pop will rest up tonight, while his owners (whether my wife embraces that title or not) head to the annual Woodcock Limited fundraising dinner banquet, as well as tomorrow but probably get a bath and a nail trim in. All three pups I placed in the West Branch Grouse Trial are entered in this one. It’ll be a quality win for one pup.