Spirit retrieving a pheasant

Spirit Retrieving a Pheasant

Blues Rock! Misty’s Little Spirit, NA Prize 1, SH

Back in February, we posted an article written by Tresha Moorberg where she shared her experiences learning to train for field and get her first hunt test titles. She had 1 out of 4 “legs” towards her AKC Senior Hunter title. Tresha brings us up to date on their achievement this spring. Quick review of vocabulary: Dogs run the hunt tests in pairs or a “Brace.” The other dog is called the “Brace Mate”. “Backing” or also called “Honoring” is where a dog sees that the other dog is on point, so goes on point behind that dog. The dog “backing” honors the the other dog’s right to work the bird. “Blanking” refers to shooting a blank pistol in the air to simulate gun shot.

What a spring! The snow seemed to hang on forever. We thought it would never melt, so we didn’t have more than a few weeks to freshen up our field skills.

First test of the season, we are READY. Spirit didn’t miss a step from where we left off last summer. After just a few short reminders Spirit is almost at Master level work.

So day of the test, she runs a fabulous back course. We are approaching the bird field, and she gets only a few yards into the field and she performs flawlessly, doing a picture perfect stop to flush. As I am reaching for my blank pistol, her brace mate takes chase on the bird. The brace mate passes her by. That’s when she decides, “Hey wait for me!” I could hear the judge before he opened his mouth, “Thank-you handler.” When the two finally come back, Spirit and I take the LONG walk back to the parking area. Oh well, there’s always the next day.

Sunday comes and everything runs smooth. She finds her first bird, and she’s rock solid through the flush, with only a small hop on the shot. I send her and it’s a perfect retrieve to hand! YAHOO! All we have to do now is stay clean and all we’ll need is a call back for an honor. We find another bird. I have trouble finding it. But finally get it flushed. She breaks at the shot. But the gunner missed, whew, still we’re clean. Judge calls time. Tells me she needs a call back! Yea! It’s a pass so far. Spirit is a natural backer, so a call back is cake. She and her brace mate are the only two seniors to get call back for an honor, and sure enough they both pass. So she gets pass number two.

The next test a couple weeks later, we can only run Saturday. No pass that day; blow up in the back course, oh well. That was Easter weekend. Now as I am training all spring, my fiancé, Scott has been taking more and more interest in handling. He starts going to the trainer I use. He goes three sometimes four times a week! The two of them are learning to work together and Jim (the trainer) is mentoring Scott on all aspects.

The big weekend is upon us, June 5 & 6, 2010. Scott takes Spirit to the starting line and casts her off. She goes out and makes some nice moves and hunts well. Because our winter was so wet, and we had a lot of rain, so the grass and brush is very tall and wet, so it is difficult to flush birds and for the dogs to see their brace mates for backing, but everyone makes the best of it. Spirit has a great nose, scenting a bird from a good distance away. Scott finds the bird, throws it, the gunner hits. YEA! Perfect retrieve! Now she just needs to stay clean. She gets a second bird, and again a perfect retrieve! She continues to hunt. (While working, we had the most incredible sight—a Bald Eagle flew low, about 40 feet above the ground, through the bird field!) Spirit gets a call back for an honor, and nails it! YEA! Pass number three!!

Sunday, it’s a repeat of Saturday. Scott casts her out, and she runs even bigger than Saturday. It’s hot, so before getting to the bird field she hits the pond for a dip. She is working exceptionally hard. Scott is handling her perfectly. She and her brace mate both encounter the same bird. Both stand steady and the other handler blanks it. Scott moves her on. She gets her bird, Scott throws it up, but the gunner can’t make the shot, so he blanks it. The judge tells Scott to send her for the retrieve. TADA! A retrieve to hand! Just need to stay clean. Scott works her back towards the pond, she has another find. It flushes, he blanks it, tells her, “No bird” and they go on to the pond. She takes a quick drink, and is ready to hunt. She just gets back in the groove, then judge calls time.

Now she just needs the honor. She does her honor, giving a three legged back, at about 40 yards from the pointing dog! YES! YES! She passes! TWO DAYS IN A ROW!!! She’s a SH now!

We are now working on her Master runs. Scott is hoping to make her pass 5 in 5 runs.
But now we both can train and handle her. I guess you can say it’s a family activity!

Written by Tresha Moorberg

Editor’s note: To my knowledge, Spirit is the 3rd Blue Weimaraner to achieve a Senior Hunter title. We offer our hearty congratulations!

Like to learn more about training your pointing dog in a gentle way? Visit the Steady with Style blog for your free download.


  1. Great story, I felt like I was there! Congratulations on the SH title – MH here you come!

  2. Tresha and Scott have been incredibly dedicated to training, traveling and testing their two Wiemakins. I have had the pleasure to see some of the great and not so great moments of Spirit afield. Congratulations to Spirit, and happy training in the days to come! Master hunter and NAVHDA UT here they come!

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