Rig At The Line

| January 10, 2014 | 4 Comments
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Photo By Dianne Glassmeyer


We thank the author, Janet Wood, who granted us permission to reprint this article that was originally printed in the Golden Retriever News. Please read with the cadence of the famous baseball poem by Ernest Thayer “Casey at the Bat”.

Rig At The Line

The outlook wasn’t brilliant, our dogs under the gun –

The test was looking hairy, the first series up to run.
The marks were big and meaty, the blind required finesse
No one had aced so far, it was looking quite the mess!
The hidden cove was deep and the wind blew from the west
Dogs were getting lost as handlers did their best.

So quickly we all strategized to see what could be done –
Back in the hunt test gallery, not a soul was having fun!
The team huddled around our coach – Jim pointed out the route
He understood the hazards – of that we had no doubt.
Still, each of us was worried, so afraid to fail
This test was just so tough, would we all prevail?

Findley came up first, the ‘Steady-Eddie’ we all know
And Keeper followed shortly, showing lots of GO.
Roy then stepped up to the line, finding every mark –
Roxie followed Roy – for her it was a lark.
After Roxie then came Jade, giving it her best shot.
And judges scribbled in their books – who passed, or who did not.

Much was riding on this test – a 5th Master leg for Rig
It meant his title. If he passed, we’d dance a merry jig!
All our eyes were on them as Jim and Rig stepped to the line
And when they cried ‘Guns Up!’ we looked to see a sign.
Rig stared out with focus – he watched each bird go down
And took off with authority, no need for us to frown.

Three marks picked up clean! We all felt great relief,
For we knew that on that blind Jim would get no grief
As Rig just handled beautifully, happy as can be
Proudly racing back with bird, what a sight to see!

Gathering to hear callbacks and hoping all was well
We each clutched our catalogs and Cindy clutched her cell
To spread the word – 1 down, we’re good, 2 series left to go.
If teams could just keep up the work, few would leave in woe.
Cheerfully we lunched and joked, and replayed that first test
Happy to still be playing, thrilled Rig had shown his best.

Jim of course was cool and calm, nothing ruffled him
No predictions on results – he’d not go on a limb.
The second series, OH MY GOSH! It was no piece of cake –
Double/double with diversion – that bird a tempting mistake!
But Jim had prep’d his teams – only a few errors occurred.
Not all were carried, but Joy of joys – Rig would face the third!

Sunday morning found us early – pacing, filled with dread –
Finally called down to the line, we followed, our marshal led.
Looking out we pondered, what had the judges done?
Could be tricky – it looked complex, we’d not be having fun.
What to do, what to do – the 3rd it was A KILLER!
Honor, walk up, wipeout flyer, there really was no filler.

Up we came one by one, proving Dobbs dogs could do the work
Findley, Keeper, Roy and Roxie, little Jade showed not a quirk.
Then Rig and Jim took their turn to show what they could do
It was quiet in the gallery – not a soul was saying boo
We held our breath; we said a prayer as Rig commenced to work
Finding each and every bird – that test he did not shirk!

Cindy was on the phone post-haste giving Nancy the blow by blow –
And we were smiling ear-to-ear at Rig’s terrific show.
For on this day, this cool spring day, Rig gave Jim his best.
Our Rig, Big Rig, prevailed and passed the test!
All that training, done with care, we sing Jim’s praises loudly
For Rig’s a Master Hunter now – he wears his title proudly.

So handlers take a lesson here, when frustrated and done in
Just hang in there and stay the course, those ribbons you will win.
For over time they’ll average out, as we know Jim would say –
Proving once again to us, that EVERY dog will have his day.

Rig at the Line

Photos By Dianne Glassmeyer

A note from Janet about Rig’s owner, Nancy Corbin …

When I talk about attending that first ‘picnic trial’ years ago, it was Nancy Corbin who organized these trials for NORCAL Golden Retriever club for YEARS. It was Nancy Corbin who waded into the water to coax that reluctant pup for their first swim and water retrieve. I can’t tell you the number of people who became ‘field junkies’ because of Nancy Corbin. She has been generous with her time, and unfailing in her encouragement to those first starting out. She is a respected breeder producing dogs with brains, beauty, and longevity. Many of her pups have become Search and Rescue dogs. In the last few years Nancy has had some health challenges that have prevented her from handling her dogs at Hunt Tests – and because she was not able to be at the test where Rig earned his Master Hunter title I wrote the poem for her, as a way of including her in that important moment. A small way to say thank you to Nancy for all she has done for the breed, for the sport, and for me personally.

Category : Good Stories

Janet Wood

About the Author ()

Janet became interested in field work about 16 years ago. That happened when a friend invited her and her show-bred Golden Retriever to a local club’s ‘picnic trial’. For the first time Janet saw a retriever doing what it was bred to do – happily and stylishly. She was awestruck. And then, when that Golden handled…well, Janet was hooked! She knew that was what she wanted to be doing with her dogs. Janet breeds occasionally – mostly for her next dog. Right now Janet blessed with 3 generations of redheads under my roof: Roxie (will be 11 in March), her daughter Keeper (6), and Keeper’s daughter Etta (20 months). Can you tell she likes the girls? Having found her passion, Janet tries to support and give back to the sport where she can. Currently Janet is serving on the Board of the Master National Retriever Club. She has chaired several Hunt Tests and WC/WCX tests, and judges AKC Hunt Tests at all levels

Comments (4)

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  1. lauren cramer says:

    Inspiring!! What a great story and poem. I could picture in my mind..everything that was happening. Nothing like field work. It’s like heaven on earth. Retrievers … Friends and Family. Thank you for sharing 🙂

  2. Don Cavin says:

    I was introduced to Hunt Test 10 Years ago Fantastic Sport yes i am addicted, We now have 3 Labradors, the Love my Wife and I share for Our Dog family and Hunt Test Growes Greater Every Season..Thank you for this Fantastic Poem

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