Friday, September 03, 2010

Doin' the Fair: Day Two, Part Two

I have never gotten to watch dock dogs at work (play?) in person before, nor did I know much about the sport. I learned yesterday that there are actually three events: Big Air (long jump), Extreme Vertical (high jump) and Speed Retrieve (self explanatory). I got to watch handlers and their dogs practicing for all three, and it was very interesting to see the different breeds and personalities of the dogs, and the various ways their owners worked with them.

This dog was practicing for "Big Air." His owner always threw the toy high and short (the yellow thing at the top), while some threw the toy beyond their dog, and others threw it so the dog had a chance to catch it in mid-air.

This dog and his owner were practicing the Speed Retrieve. The bumper is suspended low over the water from a timer some distance from the dock, and this owner is pointing it out to his lab. The timer starts when the dog grabs the bumper; the dog that returns with the bumper the fastest wins.

I think this handsome Weimaraner was practicing for "Extreme Vertical," although his owner wasn't using the bumper suspended from the boom arm.

This pair was using the boom arm for "Extreme Vertical" practice. I loved everything about this pair - the owner's personal sense of style, her way of working with her dog, the dog's obvious love of both the sport and its owner. One more view of this great dog (Labradoodle?):

That's it for Thursday at the Fair, from . . .

13 comments:

~~Sittin.n.Spinnin said...

That is so much fun to watch! I am ready to get a dog, or train the ones I have, to do that! Too much fun :)

Karen said...

I think that might be a golden doodle, judging by the plumey tail:)
My son is at that same fair as a groom for the stable he works for. I hope he got to see the dogs too:)
All our dogs love water and retrieving, but don't go in for the 'big air'.

Michelle said...

Maybe we saw your son without knowing it, Karen! We walked through the show horse barn once (spent more time with the draft horse people, since several are clients). Which stable does he groom for?

Karen said...

Court Farms. They have a Friesian and some Saddlebreds at the fair.
David...tell him 'hi' from his mother:)
Ha ha, that would be too funny, the small world of bloggers:)

Michelle said...

And in fact, that's where we went last night! Some friends who came for the evening performance have a Friesian-lusting daughter who had to follow them to the barn, where we talked to the Friesian's owner for quite awhile. Yes, it IS a small world!

Leigh said...

Fantastic action shots Michelle! I would have loved watching this event.

Theresa said...

Oh great shots and yes, dock dog competitions are great fun. Many of the boat shows in Maine have them and the dogs have a grand time .
I've seen a lot of Border Collies excel.....;-)
BTW, the card was BRILLIANT! Too cute. Thank you.

Wrensong Farm said...

Kylie's father, Gator, was there competing in the Dock Diving competition. He was there from the E. Coast and he finished 3rd! :) Not bad for just getting into the sport this year!! Wish I could have been there cheering him and Brydon on....

Tina T-P said...

Looks like you've had a great time at the fair - and how fun for Brian to ride with the wagon team! That is the one thing I miss going to the fair here - I haven't had time to watch the draft horse hitches - we have 8 six horse hitches here in the county and they all get in the ring at once! It is pretty exciting.

Very nice pictures from all your days there. T.

Shannon said...

Great pictures Michelle!

To Tammy - I watched Gator on Friday! Wish I had known that he was Kylie's dad. Theron and I liked his name :) There is a picture of him on the blog post I just did about the dock diving.

Karen said...

Michelle - are you saying that was the Friesian from Court Farms? If so, that really is a coincidence:)

Michelle said...

Tammy, I MAY have seen him; there were a LOT of Belgians there on Thursday. Now I'll have to go to Shannon's blog to see if he looks familiar!

Yes, Karen; we visited with the owner of the Friesian at Court Farms' stables. She rode him (sole entry) in the Fantasy Costume class, and did a beautiful job; said the trainer of Court Farms (can't remember his name) trains her horse.

Michelle said...

Woops, I just learned from Shannon's blog that I had the timing stretch on Speed Retrieve wrong. Dogs are timed from when they leave the dock to when they grab the bumper, not bumper to dock!