AN INDIAN CREEK MEMORY
by Sue Boggs
After helping cast-off a dog from one of the far parking lots at the 2007 MVVC fall trial, I walked back to the clubhouse and enjoyed a few minutes of solitude. That short walk brought back a flood of memories of Indian Creek, and a twinge of sorrow at the thought that this might be the last fall trial on these grounds.
My most vivid remembrance was of a similarly beautiful fall day in the mid-1990’s when we were competing with our dog Chief in Gun Dog stakes. Chief had run a beautiful back course behind the barn, up the hill from the creek and across Campbell Road, but we were running out of time and so far he was birdless. He disappeared not long after we crossed the road and as the scout I was dispatched to find him.
On my best day as a scout I could be considered as just adequate, and finding a dog standing on point at Indian Creek in the fall can be a real challenge. The cover was still thick and a yellow field trial collar was not going to be easy to spot amid the changing leaves. I searched and searched until I spied a small covey of quail walking along the dam at one of the ponds. A closer examination of the cover revealed my dog on point – down over the side of the dam and buried in a real thicket. He was staunch and every fiber of his body seemed electric. His head was about even with the top of the dam and the quail were parading back-and-forth at eye level just a few feet in front of his nose. Holy cow! My first thought was “how is Randy going to approach without pushing those birds right into Chief’s face?”
I quietly backed Soltura up until I could turn around and then raced back to the gallery. Out of breath from excitement, I tried to convey the urgency of the situation with hand gestures and short statements: “On point, over the side of the dam”, “birds in his face”, “don’t ride the horse up there.” Randy started to argue with me about riding along the narrow path to the dam and I must have morphed from scout-mode to wife-mode for just an instant because I blurted out “GET OFF YOUR HORSE!” Jim Busch was judging and he quickly jumped off his horse and said with a big smile, “if your scout says we need to walk, we need to walk!” I didn’t really mean to tell the judge to get off his horse, but I figured it was all the better if they both went on foot.
Randy and Jim left the gallery in the clearing and disappeared up the path to the pond. The gallery was quiet as we strained to hear some indication of what was transpiring on the dam. Eventually we heard the flutter of wings, the bang of the blank pistol and a few words of praise for the dog. In good time, Jim, Randy & Chief emerged from the path and off we went to finish the brace.
Chief won the stake and it remains one of my fondest memories of field trialing with him. It wasn’t a big stake or a particularly important win but it is a cherished memory for me because Randy, Chief and I were a team that day at Indian Creek.
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