Barn Hunt Titles abounded in 2018 at our house. Bailie and Emma first tried Barn Hunt in June 2016, but it was not a real success. One year ago, we never thought we would earn Novice Titles, let alone even more Titles! We entered five trials this year, and are learning the recipe for success. Hounds are independent creatures, so Mom never knows what she will get with us at a trial, but she is starting to figure it out.
Back in June 2016, Mom had the bright idea to try Barn Hunt with Bailie and Emma. It sounded like a lot of fun. Emma hated it, but Bailie seemed to kind of like it. That weekend Bailie earned her Instinct Title, and a leg towards her Novice Title. Mom was happy and decided to enter another trial in the fall to get the Novice Title. Emma could stay home since she didn’t like the sport at all.
The end of September they entered another trial. It was a disaster! Bailie pooped in the ring one time, and there were snakes in the bales of straw. Mom officially quit the sport. Quitting is not something Mom is good at, so when the June Barn Hunt weekend came up in 2017, and I was a puppy, she had to let me give it a try. Bailie and I both enjoyed it, and Bailie got another leg towards her Novice Title, and I got my first leg. We were hooked, so Mom entered a trial indoors in the fall, but it was a disaster! Not one leg for either of us. At this point Mom officially quit again saying it is a pointless waste of money. Training is necessary to be successful, but how can you train with no rats or straw?
Thank dog for 2018! Finally, classes and practices for Barn Hunt were being offered. Mom said she knew we could do it if only we could practice, and understand what was expected of us. It was back out of retirement…sort of like pro sports athletes retiring and coming back. Three weeks in a row we drove an hour each way to practice, and then came the trial weekend. It was amazing! We totally cleaned up! Bailie earned her Novice Title with High in Trial, I also earned my Novice Title, and we each earned legs towards our next Title, Open.
The annual June trial was next for us. Unfortunately, our practice session was cancelled. This really hosed up our plans. Both of us did poorly, not having seen a rat in three months, but I did manage to earn my third leg and my Open Title. Bailie still needed one more leg.
In August, Bailie had a Nose Work Trial in Illinois, so on the way back we spent the night in Wisconsin, and a day at a Barn Hunt Trial in Sheboygan. It was a huge, fun event! Thankfully, Bailie earned her Open Title that day. I think they have the most pretty ribbons ever, and I’m a bit jealous of that! Since I was in heat, I had to run in panties, and things didn’t go well for me, but it happens.
Just a month later, we entered another trial here in the area. We took a class for three weeks leading up to the trial, and once again, it was helpful. I earned two legs towards my Senior Title, and Bailie earned one. She was so excited she tried to smile, LOL!
The place we train now offers ring rental. This works great for us as we can rent the ring with everything including rats for a half or whole hour when we want. We wanted to finish the year with the New Year’s Weekend Trial, so we practiced three weeks in a row leading up to now. Last weekend we went to the trial and I earned my Senior Title, RATS. I’m so excited and proud! Bailie earned a second leg, so she needs one more to get her RATS.
Now I’m competing in Masters. It is more fun, but also harder. The number of rats is unknown, but between one and five. Tunnels are longer, with more turns, and there is simply a lot more stuff to check out in the ring.
The first day I was on fire according to Mom. I got my RATS Title, and then I found all five rats in my first Master run, but I was having too much fun, and I would not tunnel. Sadly, you have to tunnel to qualify, but Mom said it was so much fun with me, it was not a big deal. The day was very long, and Saturday, both Bailie and I were tired. We had to wait so long to go hunting, we both lost our motivation, and it was just not a good day for us. Now Mom has decided to enter us for only one day to see if that works better. High drive dogs can do multiple days, but for us, it is too much down time, and even Mom was sick of it and demotivated the second day.
We are super excited to see what 2019 brings for us in this sport. There are already a couple trials on our hound radar! It took one year and nine months for Bailie to get her Novice Title, and it took me just nine months because we started practicing. Truly amazing what practice can do for us girls! We came a long way in in just nine months of one year, pretty much from top to bottom. Now I will be in Masters forever, but I need five legs for my Masters Title, and then ten more for my Champion Title, then another ten for Excellent. I will do it, maybe not all this year, but at least my Masters Title, I think.