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Thread: National Bird Dog Championship

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    Default National Bird Dog Championship

    The 110th National All-age Bird Dog Championship is in its second week of braces at the Ames Plantation near Grand Junction Tennesee. Here is a link to the running order and brace synopsis. In the middle collumn are links to some slide shows of photos taken during the braces. Thought some of you might enjoy them.

    http://www.amesplantation.org/field-...l/synopsis.asp

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    Nice Horses!!!Didn't see any dogs? By Bird Dog Championship( National) I assume they are talking about pointing dogs? How many National( World) Championships are there?

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    Senior Member Kevin Eskam's Avatar
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    This is Pointing dogs, very challenging course, not for the foot hunter thats for sure.
    These dogs get so far ahead of them alot end up lost in there 3 hour run, if they make it that far,

    I would like to see a setter win it this year...

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    My dad quailfied a pointer for the national about 20 years ago. His dog didn't do well and neither did my dad. He got bucked off his horse on the second day.

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    Super Moderator Vicky Trainor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeniorCoot View Post
    Didn't see any dogs?
    Did you click on the "Action Photos" in the left hand column? There were many pictures of the dogs on point as well as running.
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    Senior Member Sharon Potter's Avatar
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    Having ridden a few braces at Ames a while back, it is pretty exciting, but the gallery following on horseback is so huge you rarely get to see any dog work. Depending on the weather and who's running, there may be anywhere from 50 to 100 horses in the gallery following a brace. And the course at Ames is not the typical wide open prairie many of these dogs are used to, which adds to the challenge.

    In the pointing dog world, winning the National at Ames is the retriever world equivalent of the National Open. They want to see a dog that gets out there (and I do mean out there) and covers ground, running hard and classy...and ends a three hour brace as energetically as it started. Not an easy task.

    The history is really cool, too. While the dogs are required to back/honor, and be steady to wing and shot, there is no retrieving involved and blank pistols are used. Clyde Morton (deceased) holds the record for winning the most Nationals...I think 11....and here's the interesting part: Every one of his dogs was FF'd. Even though they never had to make a retrieve in competition. His reasoning was that the dogs were "his" after that and handled better...and by handled, keep in mind that these dogs are to always stay out to the front and not be "checking in" by coming back to the handler. The handler "sings" every so often to give the dog a point of reference to work from, and the dog has to stay quartering out to the front at long distances from the handler. It's been said that Clyde Morton's FF'd pointers handled so well that he could, without a whistle or voice, and just using body language and changing his direction of travel, direct his dogs through a gate half a mile to the front.
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    Senior Member Aussie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sharon Potter View Post
    It's been said that Clyde Morton's FF'd pointers handled so well that he could, without a whistle or voice, and just using body language and changing his direction of travel, direct his dogs through a gate half a mile to the front.
    Sharon, how did the dogs know when to check with him?
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    Senior Member laker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sharon Potter View Post
    Having ridden a few braces at Ames a while back, it is pretty exciting, but the gallery following on horseback is so huge you rarely get to see any dog work. Depending on the weather and who's running, there may be anywhere from 50 to 100 horses in the gallery following a brace. And the course at Ames is not the typical wide open prairie many of these dogs are used to, which adds to the challenge.

    In the pointing dog world, winning the National at Ames is the retriever world equivalent of the National Open. They want to see a dog that gets out there (and I do mean out there) and covers ground, running hard and classy...and ends a three hour brace as energetically as it started. Not an easy task.

    The history is really cool, too. While the dogs are required to back/honor, and be steady to wing and shot, there is no retrieving involved and blank pistols are used. Clyde Morton (deceased) holds the record for winning the most Nationals...I think 11....and here's the interesting part: Every one of his dogs was FF'd. Even though they never had to make a retrieve in competition. His reasoning was that the dogs were "his" after that and handled better...and by handled, keep in mind that these dogs are to always stay out to the front and not be "checking in" by coming back to the handler. The handler "sings" every so often to give the dog a point of reference to work from, and the dog has to stay quartering out to the front at long distances from the handler. It's been said that Clyde Morton's FF'd pointers handled so well that he could, without a whistle or voice, and just using body language and changing his direction of travel, direct his dogs through a gate half a mile to the front.
    Interesting....Thanks Sharon
    Aren't those trials dominated by English Pointers?
    Last edited by laker; 02-21-2009 at 08:09 PM.

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    Senior Member Sharon Potter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aussie View Post
    Sharon, how did the dogs know when to check with him?
    Most of the trials are held on flat, wide open prairie...the kind where you can watch your dog run away for three days.
    Ames plantation is not one of those...it's actually more of a shooting dog style course, with tree lined edges.

    The dog's job is to run hard and quarter out in front. It's the dog's job to work with the handler at that distance and know where the handler is even when they can't see them....and the handler's job to not get left too far behind (which is why they're on horseback). Those dogs can cover some ground, and fast. It's not unlike our retrievers would do on an upland hunt, only with a LOT more distance and big running, faster dog. That can be quite a distance, and when the cover is more dense, the handler will sort of sing loudly...kind of a "ho-oh" (first syllable higher, second lower pitched) sound (hard to replicate in text) so the dog uses that sound as reference and will turn and run...still out in front at a distance...and change direction as the handler does. Each handler will also have a scout, whose job is to ride out and help locate the dog if it gets out of pocket too far.

    While it's totally impractical for real hunting, it is way cool to watch. And with the drive and run bred into those dogs, they are always riding on the very edge of control. If you read the descriptions of the braces at Ames, you'll see the time hunted, and stuff like "picked up at 1:45", meaning the handler quit an hour and forty five minutes into a three hour brace when he realized his dog wasn't doing well enough to be in contention...or "lost at 2:15", meaning just that. The dog outran his country and they have no idea where he is, and he's out of contention. The dogs do wear tracking collars, but they cannot be used during the competition.
    Last edited by Sharon Potter; 02-21-2009 at 09:28 PM.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member Sharon Potter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by laker View Post
    Interesting....Thanks Sharon
    Aren't those trials dominated by English Pointers?
    Yep. Pointers have been winning it for many years. It's only open to English Pointers and Setters...and there is what's called the Setter Fund...part of which is a big pot of money that keeps growing, set aside by the setter folks to be awarded to the next setter to win at Ames. Current value is $16,500.
    Sharon Potter

    www.redbranchkennels.net

    Chesapeake Bay Retrievers...too many to list.

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