There were 4 TD and 2 TDX teams. We each set a track for someone else, and those of us who were TD teams also laid crosstracks for the two TDX teams.
My goal for the summer of seminars had been to get Gimme's tracking certification before seminars ended. I hadn't planned to wait until the last minute, but her false pregnancy created a wrinkle I hadn't expected. Happily Sil invited us to participate in the last tracking exercise on the prior seminar (which I only audited) and Gimme did well enough I was sure she'd be ready by Sunday of the clinic. If she wasn't, we'd turn it into a training track.
On Sunday we were the first run of the day. I was very nervous - nearly puke-worthy. Gimme just wanted to go play and couldn't understand the delay as we waited for the track to reach sufficient age. The cover was lush, deep and green and it was still cool. As I walked to the start, I could see the line of the track etched deep in silage. Between half a dozen people walking it the day before and the tracklayer 30 minutes before, the track was very obvious.
Huhn? Is this legal? I trust Sil implicitly, but seriously, can a person get certified on a track the 3 blind mice would be hard pressed to miss? I knew I'd have to be very careful to make it clear who was finding this track - you know, the short, bossy one. I had no doubt, having listened to Sil as he critiqued other students throughout all these seminars and clinics, there would be no way I could pull a fast one. This was going to be hard, since the tendency to "help" is often not under conscious control.
I need not have worried. Gimme didn't need no stinkin' deeply etched track. She had her nose down almost the whole time and was inclined to throw on the afterburners. All I had to do was be there to support her efforts and do my best to not get my feet tangled in the line (yes, it has happened before). Gimme made it very clear who was in charge - short, bossy one, indeed.
She was amazing and ran the track in just under 5 minutes. If I wasn't so slow - she gave me "the look" a couple of times - she would have shaved off at least two minutes. I do try to run with her part of the time, but I don't have enough stamina to run very far. Sadly, I'm all she's got and "fleet of foot" will never be used to describe me. Fortunately she is forgiving.
Our training partner Nadine certified Cricket the same day. Woohoo for both of us.
I was talking to Nadine this week about how obvious the track was and she reminded me, its entirely possible we could have an obvious track at a test. For instance, there could be footprints through the dew, or other reasons to be able to see where a track was laid. And the same rules exist, you can't guide the dog and judges are pretty clear on what guiding looks like. So its valuable practice in case I'm ever able to see our test track. Also, I learned it is possible for me to be mindful of not-helping and not-hinting for the legal length of a TD track. Who knew!
I'd hoped to have a video of our run, but it didn't turn out. Sil wears a chest camera and records a video. However, he was far back, so I'm only a tall dark spot and Gimme is a short white spot. You can hear what he said as we were running the track. Its at: Sil's commentary video
We started this tracking journey in January of 2015. I'm a complete novice at this and Gimme is a natural genius. Its not a new title, but its an important milestone which we have worked long and hard on. Now we'll be entering tests and hope to get selected for one soon.
BTW later in the day a good part of a TD track was unused. Sil didn't want to let it go to waste and besides someone had to get the glove, so it went by draw to those who wanted another run. Gimme and I got it, which I was very happy about, since I didn't want to prepare an article circle for her before we started home (though its entirely possible she'd still think she hadn't gotten to do enough).
Gimme was just sure I should be able to run all out for two-thirds of a track.
She was wrong...