Terry, I think I have a pretty good idea of what I have in Katy- and that is a very biddable young gyp who is showing tons of potential in the grit, desire & handle dept.
I had folks telling me to break her out this past summer, but she was only 14-15 months old this summer. I feel that a dog only has ONE chance to be a pup and once they're broke- they're not a pup anymore. So I decided to spend the summer continuing to foster her run and handle- which she is doing tremendously at this point.
I've been hunting her on wild birds (Woodcock, Grouse, Pheasant) this fall and she is steady to wing and will stand birds for upwards of 2-3 minutes (or until I get there). She holds steady to shot about 30-40% of the time- but certain scenarios (delayed second flush, multiple shots, covey flush) seems to be her undoing.
I looked back on all the stakes she ran in this fall and realized that she was in the ribbons every time she had a find. There were only two times when Katy went birdless (a 20 minute walking stake in 85 degree weather & another 20 minute walking stake in 80 degree weather where they failed to plant birds for two braces prior to her running), other than that- Katy was used by the judges in every other stake (horseback open or walking amateur) she ran in this fall. That tells me more than just about anything......... a bunch of different folks liked what they saw in her whether she was handled from horseback or off of foot.
Are you the Terry Chandler whose name I see all the time in the field trial results in AF? If so, do you ever get up to the New England area?