Times have fallen to where you have to travel near ridiculous distances to make sure your dogs have wild bird contacts at critical moments in their development. Glad your horses fell back into a groove too. Wet blankets make good horses!
I have some young pups that will be taken bird hunting this fall as we seem to have a enough birds to expose them and not just run them around in the cover. My best dogs over a lifetime of breeding and starting many have occurred when we had great bird numbers when they were puppies.
I call it becoming a true believer - they BELIEVE there are birds out there somewhere as they saw so many as a young pup. I think that if I turned those pups loose as older dogs in the Wal-Mart parking lot, they would look under every vehicle out there because their dad wouldn't turn them loose where there weren't birds!
Thanks for taking the time to describe your success with the dogs!