October 30, 2012


Shorts on.
Air conditioning going.

We're in Texas!

It has been a busy couple of weeks, but we made it down and are all settled in.

However, I'm off on a big adventure tomorrow.

I'll blog all about it when I get home in a few days.

October 18, 2012

Hunting season is here!

And the Elmingo dogs are out in full force!

Darbi has been out a couple of times already with the Luckiest Man Alive in between trials last week.

Elmingo's Prime Suspect "Meg".

Elmingo's Shanghai Surprise "Asia"

Both looked they enjoyed an early season hunt in Ontario with their owners.

October 9, 2012

Blinded by color

I keep this "ribbon" on the visor of my truck.

It keeps me grounded and reminds me of what is important.

You see, this is a ribbon I received at a field trial earlier this year.  It's not a sob story, but I truly thought Darbi had finished in the top two at the trial, but most likely had won.  Everyone there thought she'd won...by a mile.  She didn't put a foot down wrong and hit the 4th series quad way harder than anyone...absolutely face planted all 4 birds and took all the water doing so.  It was amazing...SHE was amazing!

When the results were announced, I received a green ribbon.  Everyone was stunned.  Even the winner apologized to me.  Hey, not his fault.  The judge's saw something they didn't like and who knows to this day what it was.  (I think I was a hair wide on the water blind, maybe???)  But dogs placed above me that wouldn't get IN the water on the same blind, gut hunted a mark, etc.  I didn't understand.

So I took my green ribbon back to the truck and shed a couple tears.  Not tears of pity or disgust, but tears that the RIBBON was what mattered to me that day.  The RIBBON was what provided me the validation I thought I needed.  I was disappointed in myself.

I should have been thrilled with my dog no matter the ribbon.  I was pumped to run a near "perfect" field trial, and I was shocked that that feeling deflated when the awards were presented.

So I took my ribbon, removed any trace of color and placed it in my truck as a reminder.

A reminder that color doesn't matter.  I need to be thrilled with the effort, no matter what the results.  We've all been to trials where we got ribbons we didn't think we deserved, either higher or lower (and of course we keep the higher ones to ourselves, but tell the world when it's the other way around).  We all know how frustrating it is to pick up our dogs in the fourth series after running a great trial, we all know how difficult this game is and how failure happens much more often then success.  We all know what it's like to think we got "screwed".

Heck, only three years ago I wasn't "ready" to win a US Open according to the Luckiest Man Alive.  Look at how far I've come in such a short time.  I'm in the mix at the end often now and I have a right to feel "screwed"??  I don't think so.

I'm trying to keep it real and keep it about the dogs.  Ribbons don't matter.  Having a great week-end with a special dog and really clicking with one another matters most of all.  Having all the hard work pay off is what matters most of all.  This "ribbon" reminds me of that every day.