Three weeks before trial Bullet injured a leg. I gave him a week off, but when he was still favoring it after 7 days I became worried. Off to the vet he went where the diagnosis was a pulled muscle. The vet knew I was trialing in two weeks but asked if I could manage to keep him quiet another 7 days, then use the last week to build him back up. What choice did I have? Those three weeks were supposed to be my fine-tuning time, but you have to do what you have to do.
He still wasn't 100% by Thursday, the night we were to draw for our position in the trial. I'd rather pull him than push him and injure him more seriously, but he was mostly better... what to do, what to do... I made the tough decision to push him.
June 3rd was a beautiful, sunny calm day. Our tracks were laid in a field of hay that was up to our knees/hips. I drew second.
The secretary asked that I have my dog ready to go once the first track was done. Not knowing where my track was laid or how long the dog before me would track and how long the critique would take, I took Bullet from my car too soon.
With Bullet, the less time he has to wait around, the less time he has to build himself up.
The start of our track wasn't stellar. He took off too quickly from the scent pad THEN thought maybe he should get to work and focus. First leg was merely ok. He stopped at the first article but was standing... I dropped my line quickly and moved towards him hoping for at least partial points, but he decided to continue tracking before I got to him. I had to scoop up my line and managed to snag the article on my way over it.
Meanwhile he thought he should be tracking faster which I wasn't expecting. Tearing the line from my grasp I had to scramble to catch up and grab the line from the ground. How embarrassing!
First corner was sloppy. Second corner was better. We came across the cross track of some deer (the tracklayer saw them go through) and Bullet took it. Realizing it wasn't the track he did backup and take the correct path, good decision boy!
Second article was nice, he could have been faster downing his indication.
The last two legs and corners were nice but I could see Bullet start to struggle in the long grass. His gait was lopsided and I was worried about his leg, and my decision to keep him in the trial.
When we got to the last article he decided to indicate with a sit and look around over the grass to see me coming. Damn dog!
Overall we lost points for the first missed article, sloppy corners, inconsistency in speed and inconsistency with the indication of the articles for a total of 79 points out of 100.
Bullet can track much better than what he showed that judge, but it wasn't a fail so I was happy.