I just looked back at the diary and was reminded how lucky I am with my girls, they both gave us so much when they have received so little input from us since before the run up to and during the shooting season.
We had rested Jay Jay for a while during the summer and with Mia's pups taking up a great amount of time we did not start training Jay Jay again until the very end of July, slowly building her up once again with retrieves etc.
30th of August I put how well Jay Jay was coming along and how Nick had said 'we should be really pleased with her, and that we just needed to carry on what we had been doing with her'.
Then on the 18th september it happened, the well documented fall down the stairs with Tinks in my arms. Five weeks later and I had only been able to get Jay Jay out 5 times, 3 of which was just standing in the field doing dummy retrieves. Then a relapse, the first of many with knee, it meant I was only getting her out at most every other day and of course with a handler who could only hobble, the training was certainly nothing exciting for her.
For Mia there was NO training bless her as I was only able to get out once on the days that I managed to so, otherwise the knee would swell back up again.
So for Mia life was even harder, bless her.
The 31st of October found us on shoot but only as a picker up and only then could I make half a day and every other weekend until the new year would find us on shoot but only for half and only picking up. Now we are fortunate to belong to a cracking shoot but it is a small shoot so sometimes she would only get to pick one or two birds, one morning we picked nothing.
On the 1st of January though, Mia and Jay Jay came on shoot with us beating, only for half a day as that was all I could manage but our girls were back in the line, doing what they love and boy did are sweet Mia have a grand old time.
Mia and Jay Jay gave us some very proud moments this season and they gave me a dream fulfilled.
From the day our Mia gave birth to Jay Jay I have had a dream to work the two girls as a brace, and this season we have done that. I never dreamed though that I would have two girls kind enough and talented enough to pattern out in front of me as our two girls did through the mixed crops, especially with so little training this summer. Gary was so proud of them and I was over the moon, especially seeing as Jay Jay was getting hotter and hotter as the season progressed.
Then there was the field trials
We honestly at one point thought we should not do any trials this season as it would be our first season to do so and with my knee we thought it unfair on Jay Jay to put her into them because of our lack of preparation with her . Gary thought it would be mad because he feared I would seriously damage my knee, Doctor only last week saying to me 'No rough ground walking' I replied to him 'I will try not too'!
Anyway we decided after discussions that because I had already sent the applications forms off for the trials before the fall, that we would go along to whichever ones we were lucky enough to get a run in and just go expecting nothing, because of the lack of preparation for Jay Jay, but to gain experience and hopefully learn to control my nerves, the nerves being a worry for us because I certainly did not control them at the working Tests.
She did us proud, she is a sweetheart to us just like her Mother Mia is to us, as that sweet girl could have been a nightmare on the trials and whilst we know she can perform a lot better than she has done, she still managed to gain the certificates and such praise from judges and other trialers.
That was the other joy to us, we meet some wonderful people at the trials, they were so kind to us, we have been given wonderful advise and had some great laughs in the gallery.
I cannot Thank Gary enough for this season, he has been a true saint
He has been our chauffeur, our supporter in more ways than just moral, often physically so over the gates and dykes, even pushing ones derrière up hills when the knee would not, he he he
This season would not have been, if it was not for him.
So we now look forward to next season and we hope that life is kind enough to allow us time to put the training into Jay Jay, to start getting all of the dogs out and to be able to start training the puppies up who are now 7 months old.
We pray it is not to late for the pups especially as Tinks seems to be another Jay Jay with lots of promise but Jay Jay had been taught so much by the time she was 7 months old, so we shall have to see as their training progress.
May all who we know/meet on shoot or at trial have a cracking break and we look forward to seeing you all in the new season