Friday was the day, the culmination of a lot of hard work, however despite all the training, you never really know how it will all pan out on the day. The weather was kind, a cool, misty autumnal day. Perfect for our first day out. The day didn't start off too well, much to SWMBO amusement I had not only lost my whistle but lost my voice! Normally I chatter away constantly, nope today all I could muster was the quietest of whispers. We all met in the training hut to discuss the day, bacon butties all round and coffee. I was feeling rather rough so shared my buttie with Bramble. Then after being kitted out with radios (although wasn't much point in giving me a radio..) split into teams, we headed off down the fields. Bramble responded surprisingly well to my whispered cues, so I bravely let her off her lead. She walked beautifully next to me. When the pheasants started to fly, I popped her back on, reinforcing her for calmness. The last thing I wanted was her to run in. She was actually quite good, and I got the feeling she was soaking up the experience, her keen brown eyes unwavering honed on the guns, ignoring the other dogs completely. It was soon time for her first retrieve. It wasn't our bird, but Bramble was sent in. With style, she nipped in, picked up the bird and brought it straight back, no hesitation. Good girl! It was fairly easy though, however, I was pleased she was happy to bring back warm game. By this time there had been a few shots, and she was starting to get excited, her body wound tight as a drum. Another retrieve, this time it was alive. Bramble shot out, and again, showed no hesitation with a flapping bird. Lovely delivery to hand and bird number 2 in the bag. The other dogs were also doing well, all credit to SWMBO. These were young dogs too, most under 2 years old and their first shooting experience. We only had one spaniel in the team, but boy was she impressive! She worked her little socks off and by the end of the day was practically asleep on her paws! The day ended with 6 lovely retrieves for Bramble, including one retrieve to our side and over some cover, I had no idea where it went, but Bramble just instinctively seemed to know where it had landed. So very pleased with her. The areas I need to work on are on lead, she got very "pully" towards the end of the day. I think she would have been better if she had hunted a bit. This is something we will probably get more involved in next time. It was interesting watching her figure things out, she loved the shooty men, and flirted terribly, that was nice to see, all nervousness of strangers replaced by joy at being out doing what she was meant to do.