When judges move dogs in the Conformation ring, they are looking for two things:
1. how well do they move in a straight line away from the judge and toward the judge -- how well do they track
2. and how well they move around the ring with how much "reach" and how much "drive".
Over the course of our show careers, we've had the great fortune to have some pretty good-moving dogs. What does that mean exactly? It means that the dogs were structurally sound and able to do the job for which the breed was originally created. Rowdy was a prime example of that with his effortless movement around the ring indicating that he could trot with the herd of sheep all day long if necessary.
Today, Rowdy's son Max (Beachwalker Rowdy To The Max) showed in Arcadia, FL and I had the pleasure of both trying to hide from letting him see me and also get some decent shots for future advertising. Why do I hide? Because Max loves me
. And because he loves me, he looks for me when he's in the ring. Not good. I should point out that Max is not our dog but has spent a lot of time with us over his 6 years on this planet so he's very comfortable in our home and loves the adventures we add to his life.
Today, Max went Winners Dog/Best Of Winners to move along in his quest for his AKC Championship. More than the ribbons he earned today, I was gratified with the feedback I received from people outside the ring who really didn't know he was with us. They loved his size, stature, soundness and, most of all, his movement. So, I wanted to share two flavors of Max's movement which I believe is very, very good. First up is his straight-line movement down and back to show how true his front and rear are.
And then how he looks going around the ring -- here in Best Of Breed competition -- where he's demonstrating his reach and drive.
The difference between these two images is the speed at which Max was moving: on the down & back, he's moved slowly, at a fast walk and on the go-around, he's moved as fast as possible without letting him over-stride or be out of control. In both cases, Max is in total balance. When he is fully-extended, he is also fully contracted. Everything is in balance.
To capture these "moments of movement" you have to be in the right place, at the right time and you have to understand what good movement is. Oh, and you have to have a dog that moves great. Because without that last element, you'll never get these types of images.
So here's Max. Soon to be Ch Beachwalker's Rowdy To The Max.