Well, Lucy and I have been working together, tuning up for trialing. We've been doing approximately equal parts chores/backup/at-hand work and trial/panel/line work. There has been the occasional issue but overall I am very happy with our ability to team up and with the effort Lucy puts forth in spite of my steep learning curve.
I am a sheepdogging neophyte. I'm at the stage where I don't know enough to realize what I'm missing, what I need to train, what I don't really know. But I'm learning. I'm learning to read my sheep better, to plan for some give-and-take on the trial course, learning to recognize quality work in my dog. Lucy can still take my breath away with a big outrun. Seeing her check her sheep, then bend off and accelerate fills me with the joy I imagine she takes in doing it.
My mission for my first real trial season (meaning Spring/Summer bigger trials with my OWN dog) is to get my feet wet, step to the post as a team, come off the field as a team, reflecting first on my successes, second on my mistakes: learning from both.
I'll be trialing on 2 familiar fields and several new ones, with familiar sheep and new sheep. My first experience with range ewes is coming! (though Lucy has seen some before)
This will be a busy summer. Between taking my AVBT exam, a 3/4 college load, 2 jobs, trialing Lucy and planning to go to the agility national championships with Zora, I'm wondering right about now what the HELL I am thinking.
At the same time, I'm loving every minute of it. I reckon life is short, I'd better use the time I have doing things I love. And let me tell you, I love being Lucy's partner.