Power Forward, our female sired by Blast Zone ex Straight Forward, turned two in August and she celebrated her second birthday by boldly entering the DuBois-Beaver Meadows Open Shooting Dog stake. Thor Kain, her amateur trainer/handler was at the controls. 36 of the top walking shooting dogs from our region, including several recently named National champions, were handled by the best pros in the region, vied for placements under near ideal late summer conditions. “Abby” brought little experience to the matchup. She hadn’t been to many trials and never pointed a bird in competition–other than one derby callback. Naturally, having just turned 2, she had never been entered in a shooting dog stake.
While the odds were stacked against her, this meant nothing to “Abby”. She broke away hard and fast and was soon on the edge of bell range. Little was seen of her in the opening minutes but her bell rang out ahead, in the pocket. When she was spotted, she was driving from one objective to another. As we entered the woods-covered part of the course, she came by a few times, obviously concentrated on her quest. While many of the competitors have been over these grounds multiple times, “Abby” was new to the scene. She made the 90-degree course turn at 15 and powered ahead. At 18, point was called ahead and she was in a thicket with her bracemate backing. Thor put the bird in the air promptly with “Abby” a statue. From here “Abby” continued with class, tail cracking, down the course, through the woods. At 24 her bell stopped and Thor sent out Bob Watts to scout for her. She was found near a stream with the same intense, straight up pointing style she exhibited on the first find. No bird could be flushed with Thor covering a wide area. Then the judge spotted a quail coming out of a hollow log right in front of “Abby”. It was put to flight with “Abby” motionless. From here “Abby” kicked up her heels finishing, still hunting, well ahead and going strong in the afternoon heat.
At the pickup we all knew we’d seen a special start on a shooting dog career by a very young dog. While it was thrilling to see “Abby” perform so well at the trial, it was no surprise. We’ve seen her handle literally more than a hundred wild birds with perfect manners starting when she was barely a year old. Over the decades we’ve had only three dogs who were this ultra-precocious. “Abby”, her sire Blast Zone, and “Abby’s” half brother and Pennstar offspring Super Storm each could, at barely a year of age, find wild birds consistently, get them pointed and keep pointing them until you find them,–no matter how long that takes- -and then be steady-to-wing and shot at the flush. Each of these dogs was trained by Thor.
One 2nd place win does not make a career, but it’s a promising start and we’re excited by her step forward. We know we have a special dog in “Abby” and we’re thankful for that.