The Draft Test is broken down into 3 parts and is a pass/fail test. All 3 judges must give you a passing score on each section of every part of the test in order to earn a draft title.
The first part of the test is Basic Control which involves an off-leash heeling pattern, a 1 minute stand-stay and a 3 minute group down-stay. With all the snow on the ground, I had visions of Bosley taking off on his heeling to go roll in the snow. I was able to keep his attention and he did some nice heel work. His stand-stay and down-stay were perfect! So, we passed the first part of the test.
Part 2 - basic cart control. Harnessing and hitching - your dog must stand still while you get the harness, put the harness on then bring the cart and hitch the cart and then wait for the judges' command to continue. We have been struggling with this part as Bosley gets excited when he sees the harness and cart and will move towards me or he will start to go as soon as he is hitched, without waiting for a command from me. Today - he was perfect! Next is a carting pattern with left and right turns, halt and slow commands. The turns were around trees and over tree roots but Bosley did great. His halt was very good, but his slow wasn't as nice as I would have liked, but it was good enough to pass. Next is a figure 8 pattern which Bosley did no problem. The last part of cart control is the backup. Your dog must backup 4 feet, and should be fairly straight. Bosley's backup was perfect - no hesitation and very straight. We passed the second part of the test.
Part 3 - Freight Haul. This section of the test was done over rougher terrain, up and down hills and through heavily treed areas. We followed a course through the varying terrain until we got to our "freight"(which in today's test was a large water cooler filled with 40 pounds of water. Your dog must stop and not move until you load and secure the freight. Bosley did great with this part. We continued on the course with our load and had to go down a slight incline that was very narrow and curved sharply. It had a post on one side and a dip on the other that lead into some trees and heavy shrubs. I tried hard to get Bosley lined up properly, but his wheel hit the post. Running into a solid object with your cart is a fail. Since we were the first team to go, we didn't have the advantage of seeing the other teams negotiate this tough area. The next two teams after us failed at this spot as well. The last two teams managed to make it past this area but it wasn't easy for either of them. You needed to have very good control of your dog in this freight haul section. We finished the course and Bosley stood nice to be unloaded and unhitched.
I am so happy with how Bosley did today. All of the things that we have been working hard at he passed easily. I was very proud of how he did. The Bragg Creek test seems to be known for it's higher level of difficulty (at least everyone tells me it is a tough test) so I am very happy we did so well, especially considering this was my first draft test. Although we didn't pass this time, I am not disappointed at all.
One dog passed the test today - a very nice Bouvier who did a wonderful job.