Too many checks! The running was pretty good, with some drives, but there were just too many checks. The dogs had all seen each other before. They had run in the same terrain and the same conditions, and they didn't have so many checks. What was the problem?
One dog was running a lot of the front. She sounded good when she powered out of checks. She was easy to pick out and tell when she was scoring. She did as much work as 2/3 of the pack members combined. The running was choppy but it was a 23 degree March day with a little snow. Some checks are to be expected, right?
The old man, Chris Hopkins, and I were running and after about 2 hours, we decided to move down the road to another clearcut. When we cut loose, I left one dog in the box. Although she was helping the chase more than a lot of the dogs that were down, I wondered just how much she might be hurting it.
For the next three hours we hammered. If we hadn't seen the rabbit, I would have sworn we were running off game. The dogs ran circle after circle with very few checks. They covered the entire clearcut time after time. The dogs ran fast and tight, with a lot of dogs getting work done.
So here's the question--is it fair to blame the earlier problems on the one dog we picked up? And if you say yes, it was her fault, how often could races be improved by just getting one dog out of the pack? Do you try it? How often do you pick up a dog just to see how it effects the chase? Is that something we should do all the time?