You sound like about where we are as well. Chessie knows all the equipment but has a mind of her own. She gets very frustrated with me when I'm not fast enough or I make her go back and redo something that SHE thinks she did just fine on.
Frankly, I'm finding the equipment was the easy part... learning how to direct them is a lot harder! I've been taking an Intermediate/Advanced class where everyone else has been in it for a while. I've learned Soooooo much in the last 6 weeks from taking this class! It's really hard and the courses are a stretch for us but we are holding our own. After this class, when we are ready, (confident enough) I think the novice courses are going to be easy.
Chessie is really fast too.. I've been working on her holding her contacts. I really admire Michelle's contacts! We are not there yet but we are getting better!
I'm sure Gromit loves it more than the hot dog LOL... but food never hurts in the eye of a Cocker.
Good luck to you and Gromit! I look forward to hearing about your success's at trials soon!