I think we basically left off, soaked but happy, standing at Knowle Game Farm, and hugely grateful to Neil Franklin who arranged the training day and invited us along.  Its fantastic *if* you have such regular picking up that you can bang your dogs out on only the retrieves that they need to pull them into trialing shape, but if you don’t, bona fide FT training days are essential. Priceless and hugely appreciated, although couldn’t afford to do them every week!  😉

So Saturday 13th saw Bondy and I with a spot on the UGS FT training day at a shoot at Box Hill in Surrey. Now the thing being, down this way, Walked up training days are reasonably easy to obtain, but DRIVEN training days are harder. Of course your own shoot is a Driven ‘training day’ UNLESS you have a shoot where they want almost everything picked during the drive and as much activity, fast picks and general excitement as possible  😉 Not quite what your average Driven trialing dog needs at 18 months of age (or so!)  😉 He needs to learn about Game. He needs to learn to stay completely steady….. that great conundrum 😉

So was grateful for a place on this training day, on a shoot frequented by the organiser, and on a beautiful ground it has to be said. Bondy pleased me with his attitude to the 6 drives we sat through. A heavy one had him slightly shifting his arse for a better look, but hell, I can deal with that, and being a training day, it was all good. Thanks Sue for the opportunity, it was priceless in its own way.

So amid lots of training, including working hard on little 6 month old Mia to a certain extent, as well as the trial wannabes, we fast forward to the weekend just gone. A day picking up on saturday, which saw me with Shiney and Mallie as Allan was shooting, and a day judging Labradors at an Open show on Sunday by kind invitation of Camberley and District Canine Society.

OK, truely, I was pleased. It matters not a jot what I think on the whole, BUT, there is a distinct possibility that the dogs entering under me, know that I work my dogs, and so, ultra heavy dogs need not apply, but quite frankly, almost everything entered was in basically good condition. You are NEVER going to make a showbred, showring dog look like a Bondy Meercat, and rightly so. Its not going to happen, and if they were his weight they would be DEAD. Even a ‘Fish’ would have them looking like they needed a few seriously good dinners, but the dogs that gave me a flatteringly good entry, were all pretty much in proportion to their own body shape and my class winners were excellent. My Best of Breed owned and bred by Dave Wilmshurst, Mandamay Fedde Le Grande, quite frankly, I could have brought home and paid almost any ransom for 😉 At 13 months, I only beg, don’t change him! Don’t feel the need to make him heavy as he is an absolutely smashing young guy! Dave is an old hand and has worked dogs on and off for many years so I can’t imagine he will pander to ring stereotypes and I will watch this lovely young dog with interest…. I really enjoyed my day!

Ok this week is filled with good things like going to see a Tomshoes litter who are at the cute stage 😉 Thats tomorrow and I hope to arm myself with a camera. Then training with Bondy Thursday before we kick into weekend ‘Ground Zero’. With Fish running in the Southern Golden walked up novice trial on saturday (and Bondy is still first reserve and has been for a couple of weeks now….) and then Bondy with a run in the Arun and Downland Driven Novice on Tues 30th. So its trial-tastic, but in a small way as we are moderate in how many trials we can put in a nomination for.

Nerves, excitement, ‘do you think we are readys?’, and ‘What have we got to lose?’ a plenty a we go onwards and upwards here in the next few days….. watch this space!   😉

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