After a long term failed relationship I decided to buy a dog. I had a family friend who bred show dogs and she recommended I get something that suited my lifestyle, at the very least an active and athletic dog. I started looking into breeds and settled on a setter, brittany or gsp. Dumb luck would have it that someone in the area was selling a 2 year old brittany that was to much energy for them. I had no idea what a pointing dog was all about. I had gunned and worked springer spaniel trials for a long time but i'd never even seen a pointer work. Every day we would run and I did some retrieving work with her and eventually tried to find some people who new something about pointers. That fall I took her hunting and she pointed hundreds of grouse. She pointed, I killed them and she would break and retrieve every single bird. This went on for a few years. I still had no real idea in how to break or work a dog. She just found birds and pointed them and that was good enough for both of us.
One day I was invited to a field trial and I watched with intent, trying to understand why the dogs wouldn't move after the shot and why they weren't shooting the birds. As I began to understand it gave me new goals to work towards with my dog. At 4 years old I began to try to break my dog. A few years later I received my first placement in a broke stake with her. I was currently in university and had messed up my shoulder so bad that I couldn't pitch anymore. I had never ridden a horse before but luckily I was in much better shape than I am now and I literally jogged while handing my dog against horseback handlers. I would even jog to watch other handlers dogs that I wanted to see. Field trialing began to fill a hole that was left from not being able to play baseball. It was a way to compete doing something I loved. Hunting in the fall became me handing my dog and my friends shooting birds over her, I loved every minute of it.
As life went on I got married and got on my feet financially. I bought a horse (not a good one but I didn't know any better). I bought another brittany, and eventually showed up at my first continuous course horseback trial on wild birds. I was hooked. The young brittany died at 2 years old of epilepsy and I began to look for another dog. I had spent some time with Travis Gellhaus on his ranch in Saskatchewan and I decided to look into pointers. I bought a derby dog from one of Travis' clients and later a few much better horses. The dog I purchased was named Dinger and I decided that fit splendidly into my baseball past. His paper name went down as "Trotting Home." I've been running horseback trials for about 4 years now. Dinger is 6 years old and has won two championships with me handling and had an outstanding performance at the sd national last year. I've since purchased a few more horses and a few more pointers lol. My wife sits somewhere on the fence between excited and angry. Travis takes my dogs in the winter since I live in Alberta and there's no sense having them here.
I've met all sorts of amazing people in this game. I've learned to love horses almost as much as dogs. I spend 1000's of hours and many times more dollars playing a game that has filled a hole that age and injury had created. Every time I see Herb Anderson's name i'm excited by the idea that I could play this game for another 60 years.
Thankyou to everyone who contributes their time and energy to the game. Take a new person out and see if you can spawn some sort of love for the game we all enjoy.
: Its been a good year for doing just that.
: --Previous Message--
: --Previous Message--
: Most of us who field trial or hunt behind
: dogs were introduced to these fine animals
: during times of decent wild bird numbers. I
: went with my dad and his friends carrying a
: BB gun at first and spending time deep in
: the cover as an extra flusher of pheasants
: for the team.
: I was fascinated with the birds and the dogs
: and the camaraderie of the hunters.
: Watching a rooster burst and sparkle in the
: sun as he ejected from a snowy draw was a
: sight to behold. It was great fun and
: walking the farm fields of Iowa was the
: best. I was hooked bad (or was it good?).
: When I got my drivers license and a car, I
: was pretty much gone whether trout fishing
: or bird hunting. Try carrying your bird dog
: in a Triumph TR-4 sometime on icy country
: roads. Believe me I wanted to go!
: Right now, there is a glimmer of hope that a
: new generation of young folks out there will
: experience good bird numbers and get hooked
: on hunting birds. They NEED to KILL some
: and admire them in their hand. They need to
: see a good dog quiver on point and feel the
: moment right before the birds burst from
: cover and the gun coming up to their
: shoulder. They need to watch that dog bring
: back their first killed bird and lift it
: from his mouth. That is what makes a future
: dog guy and maybe, just maybe some day,
: he'll want to compete with the best dog he
: ever had and win a field trial.
: I do hope right now we are seeing a chance
: for the resurrection of our sport because I
: believe it takes birds to make a bird dog
: and it takes birds and dogs to make a bird
: hunting young person. How can we honestly
: expect someone to truly "get it"
: if they haven't seen good dogs in action and
: enough birds to feed their interest. It
: sure isn't some poor flying released quail
: that will do this. Are you kidding me?
: Don't you wish potential young hunters could
: see and feel the flush of a ruffed grouse as
: he helicopters thru the only opening in the
: overstory or a covey of quail make for a
: cedar thicket from under the toes of his
: boots? This is what hooked me and then it
: became clear later that I wanted the best
: dogs I could get. Now all I care about is
: the dogs and the work and the steadiness and
: the bird finding. But it came from hunting
: those wild birds. There is a chance we have
: an opening and I sure hope the kids are
: getting to walk some fields to hunt some
: My background is similar to yours. I hope
: you are right about inspiring a new
: generation of trailers!!