It’s that time again

Roadwork has begun here at Casa Rose Hill. Since I plan on spending the majority of my fall and winter in the hunting field, it’s time. Cuda, Van Geaux, Bebe, Sonnet, Bo. I trade them off, everybody works on alternating days. They have gotten soft over the summer. The dogs that have hunted, they know the game is afoot. Cuda stretches the bungee lead to the fullest extent. He is one of two dogs that I work that live to sprint. None of this slow stuff, at least not if they had their way. They run with wild abandon, I just try to keep up. Then when they have had their fill, they drop into that low, swinging ground eating trot. The one that will take them to their prey when the time comes. It’s not what you see in the show ring. The ring trot is inefficient, a field trot needs to be something they can maintain while working. It’s low, efficient, lighter than air. Not huge, forward, driving……..none of the bullshit descriptions of a “show dog trot”. You know it when you see it, unless, of course, your dogs don’t do it. And if your dogs don’t do it, you sure better start wondering why.

Thought for the day: Speed isn’t everything, it’s the ONLY thing. I don’t give a shit how agile your slow dog is. If you can’t get up to where the prey is, then agility don’t count for shit. At least a fast dog stands a chance of just flat running something down. A slow dog doesn’t even have that.

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4 Responses to It’s that time again

  1. Anonymous says:

    AMEN!! Can't wait to see you in the field!! And, in Florence. :)Kelly

  2. Anonymous says:

    I'm trying to make sense of this, so please bear with me….My first borzoi never finished in the conformation ring. He thought showing was fun, so pranced around the ring like a hackney pony. They never saw the movement I saw. When we went hiking in the forest in AZ he would run off around crazy for the first 1/2 mile (ish), then settle down to trotting along with me. He would drop his head, keep his top line level and move along at a decent clip. I considered him to have a "driving" trot at that point. He wasn't mincing or short striding, but "moving out". Are we talking about the same thing??? Sure wish you could post a video.Thanks!Karla

  3. Karla, the "show ring effect" is an unfortunate, but common side effect 🙂 I have known several very nice running dogs that just blew it all to hell in the ring. Either from excitement (like your boy), or dislike of showing (I have a bitch that DESPISES the ring, I gave up…..if she could have spit on the judge, she would have).I will do my best to clarify what I am talking about. It would be a bit difficult for me to put up a video, since I don't own a video camera. What I call the working trot, is totally different from the flash and dash, feet flying, hair everywhere trot seen in show rings. It is low, i.e. not a bunch of wasted up and down movement, swinging……smooth and moderate (again, none of the feet flying everywhere rushed trot of the ring), it appears effortless, and for the most part it is. Dogs who execute the working trot can maintain it for long distances if you are free hunting. In organized hunts it is normally only seen when the dog is returning after the chase, since we walk on the line. The working trot is the polar opposite of the show ring freak trot that is so common now. Even dogs that have a nice working trot rarely show it in the ring, simply because that is not what is expected in the show ring. Way too many show dogs look like hairy standardbred trotting horses in full trot. A working trot is not short stepping, halting, or "hitched", it is smooth, moderate, appears and is effortless. It eats up ground with a minimum of work. Your description sounds somewhat close, I think we have a semantics issue. I think my definition of "driving" is not the same as yours. None of my working field hunters drop their heads at the trot, but that's because they are looking for what they wish to chase. Your boy may have simply not had enough hunting experience to know that he had to keep "eyes forward".All that being said, the primary gait that one should be most concerned with is the double suspension gallop. I have, however, seen a direct correlation between crappy trotting dogs and crappy running dogs. And absolutely NONE of this will be determined in the show ring. It was asked on another blog "to show or not to show?". My answer is to hell with it. It's not an exhibition of great breeding stock, it's a beauty contest that in no way can determine the ability of a dog to actually perform the intended function. At this stage in my life, it's becoming more and more unlikely that I will set foot in the show ring again. I really have no interest at this time in having my proven hunting dogs judged by someone who has nothing but the written word to go by (with too much emphasis on cosmetic crap, and not nearly enough on function), and most likely has ZERO experience with any kind of hunting. And contrary to popular belief, I don't hate the show ring. I hate that people delude themselves into believing that the show ring can choose a functional dog.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Efficient comes to mind when reading your relpy to Karla and we know there are different degrees of efficiency (ratio of energy), nothing exaggerated-which seems the show ring wants and encourages. Those (show)dogs would waste so much energy walking the gallery, that they would be all done before a jack is even spotted-CT

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