Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Field Dog Trials

Enjoying the outdoors means different things to different people. We spent some time last week attending the Ionia German Shorthair Field Dog Trials. This involved watching enthusiastic men and women mount conditioned horses, let loose their dogs, and follow them as they worked the field in search of quail. The quail had been planted, and the dogs job was to find and stand on point. There are different "jobs" a dog may have, depending the Trial, and the vocabulary you need to know to understand all the aspects of this sport is monumental. But it was certainly a wonderful way to spend your time.

We didn't ride with the hunters. But we watched the work in progress and were led around by a friend who had dogs competing in the week-long competition. His competitions weren't running this particular day, so we walked the field with him and tried to pick up the language. But mostly we enjoyed the walking, wind whistling through the trees, sun shining on our faces. We also took a few photographs; having the handler of a winning shorthair with us gave us the perfect "excuse."

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