It was my pleasure to be invited to judge this TDX test with co-judge Meg Azevedo and the very capable and experienced test crew that came out to help with this 5 dog TDX test. The test filled and had an alternate list of 8 additional entries. .
Tracks were plotted at Folsom Prison forested grounds, and Mather Regional Park. An alternate was plotted, so we had 3 at each location. The sites presented vastly different topography, as well as cover and scent complexities. This was the second time Folsom was used by clubs in this area. For those that never saw Folsom grounds, and that included me, the site is wooded with varieties of mostly oak trees, widely spaced, and a mature stand homogeneously through out the entire area. The trees were mostly without leaf cover and trimmed up high enough that it presented a wide open canopy, with bright green, damp short forest grass dense with spring growth. The terrain is best described as very steep, briskly rolling, with abrupt uphill and down hill runs into deep draws through out. In contrast, Mather is wide open flat, some variety in ground cover, still maintaining the winter dried grass spikes and cover. Our first three tracks were at Folsom, and we sadly had no passes there. The last three, including the alternate, were at Mather, in rapidly warming, above average temperatures of mid-70’s and a light breeze. We were rewarded with two new TDX dog/handler teams on tracks 4 and 6 .
Passing dogs were:
Calliope Tigana Cream Tangerine, TD, Golden Retriever, dog, handled by owner Bob Rollins. This dog confidently worked his track out in the wide open areas , and around some old abandoned buildings, scrub trees and tall cypress included. He worked at a steady and deliberate pace, and then spent a bit of time sorting out the critter scents and trash scattered in the middle of one of the tree obstacles before moving past this and on to a road crossing and further into his track. On the second to last leg he gave us all concern when he showed he was tiring and paused mid leg, and seemed to ask the handler if he might be done. Bob thoughtfully watered him, twice, re-scented his dog, and was patient for him to restart. Indeed he did, and off he went for the final turn, another road crossing and on to the glove. Congratulations to Bob and Rigby and their new TDX title.
Elan Head First, VCD1, BN. Border Collie, dog, handled by owner Janet McClendon aced his TDX track at a brisk pace, hauling his handler across the terrain and through the obstacles like a heat seeking missile with little deviation fro the track. . He snaked his way through the thick cypress trees in exact pattern the track layer had worked her way through. The only noticeable circling and back tracking that he did was after he tracked across the pond we had used, he made a circle back and took a little splash once more before continuing on. I forget the call name of this boy, but he made his handler smile , and us, as well, as he carried his glove all the way back to the waiting gallery and cars . Lovely team to watch. Congratulations to them as well.
Not passing were another Border Collie, Bloodhound, Basset Hound and Kai Ken. It is never really known what the challenges were that thwarted those that did not make it to the glove. But it could be inferred that the steep terrain influenced two of the dogs, with one drifting off the track to the slope to the right, and the other to the left early in their tracks. Another was moving with such gusto and speed, that even though the dog circled widely where the first intermediate article was, it was not enough for the handle to recognize nor for the dog to slow enough for an article indication, thus missing that article.,, and continuing on without a blink. Another handler seemed to feel the unseasonable temperatures influenced her dog’s best abilities that day. Since this is just the start of a long and continuous tracking season on the west coast, we hope they all get into another test and have the success they trained for next time.
Several members of the test committee did double duty as track layers. And Test Secretary, Chairman, Royana Palmer also did hospitality and provided me with her home as host and chef for the weekend. The remainder of the crew covered all the bases and were fun to share the weekend with. Thank you to Royanna, and Jean Schafer, Colton Meyer, Sharon Prassa, Linda Kelly, Kate Marie, Bob Sleppy, Lindsey Cuff, Mary Roseberry, Kitti Jensen, Jenny Cuccinello, Pam Flanagan, Randi Knutson, and Sharon Losser. for doing all your jobs without a hitch. It was a very fun weekend!!