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Our second day started out with rain pelting down. The forecast called for 60-kilometre winds (Youíre still in Canada, you know eh!) throughout the day. Our judges for the day were, Jamie Armour and Patrick McAvoy.

The early rains subsided and the first dogs were called to the line. I had decided to give the two puppies some good experience and entered them into the Open All Age - as well as the Limit Stakes. I also elected to enter their mother, newly acclaimed C.F.C. Springville Trixie of Hanmer, into this event - just for the love of the game.

Being the first dog up, I arrive with dog 2, Mac. As I listen to Pat tell me what he expected out of my dog and the usual judges instructions, Iím thinking in the back of my mind, "How is this non-scented field going to affect this young 19-month dog who has only seen a total of five pheasants in his lifeÖ one of which was a runner?"

"Any time youíre ready!" he says, snapping me back to reality.

I move slowly to the down wind side of Mac and cast him off. We are enjoying a nice breeze and the weather has cooled substantially. As Mac approaches the centre gun, I turn him and he immediately responds with a nice looping turn. After a few passes, he starts to open up a bit more and gets a snout full of bird scent, moving in on it quickly. The bird hadnít moved from itís nest, but provided a colourful (thatís the way we Canucks spell it) flush. I feel comfortable with Mac on the flush, so just a simple peep was required to remind him to stay. The retrieve was not an issue. Iím thinking, "Hum, so far so good." But that was the first bird of the day and a lot could happen throughout the day. All the eyes were upon Mac and his brace mate as other competitors were trying to figure out the scenting conditions for the day. Itís nice to be the first dog up because you know that there are no stray birds roaming around. But the bad part is that you have no idea what the scenting condition will be like.

Mac was presented with an honour while his brace mate collected his bird, after which we were off and running again. With a brisk wind, Mac turned and moved in on his second bird. This one had moved off itís nest and Mac trailed in pursuit. I moved forward a half a flag to keep up as Mac forced the bird into the air. A nice long retrieve placed a huge smile on my face as we walked off the course.

My next dog was dog 13, Trixie, under Judge Armour. Itís almost impossible to watch other dogs at a trial if you are running three dogs, so you donít know how the others are doing. As I approached Jamie, he looked at me with a big smile from ear to ear and said, "Itís a different day today, Gerry! The birds are flying, the scenting is great, and the dogs are staying cool! I love it!!!" So as Jamie gives me his instructions, Iím feeling pretty good about my newly acclaimed Field Trial Champion and expect to do well with her.

Trixieís first couple of casts were nice, big loops. She soon came into a bird. Picking it up, she retuned to deliver it to hand. A couple more casts brought us to the end of the course. I was instructed to pick up Trixie and told we would continue our search at the start of the next course. After given the go-ahead, we continued on. Passing though the hedgerow we emerged into a clearing almost like a putting green surrounded by nice thick cover. I took three steps and dead centre of the clearing I stepped up a hen that almost knocked off my hat and definitely tore out my stomach. I pulled out my leash, called in Trixie, turned toward Jamie and said, "Where the heck did that bird come from?"

He looked at me with compassion and said, "It must have come in from thick stuff and crouched down as you

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