Sunday, 28 February 2010

A Show, A Show!!

Okay, not really; it was an interclub match between LEADS and SWAT (at the new LEADS venue which I REALLY like) but there were still some results to be had.

Hex came 1st in the 3- 5 Agility and 3rd in the 3-5 Jumping and Jo with her SWAT dog, Fluke, won both the 3-5 Jumping and Steeplechase!

SWAT lost the overall match which was a shame, I felt that we had most of the best runs on the day and we dominated the majority of the rounds, it was only one bad jumping round really which left us behind and unable to catch up.

I was really looking forward to seeing 3 of the SWAT pre-comp dogs; Doug, Archie and Lucas and they did not disappoint! It’s going to be a really exciting season for all 3. Lucas even managed to scale the 5ft 7” gallery wall and topped it with a perfect ‘stop’ contact position at the top – Looney Tune!

Home match in on the 14th March – I reckon THIS time we WILL do it!

Other recent results from A-SITters:

14/02/10 UKA Valentines Show
Jane & Boot: 6th in Beginners Jumping

14/02/10 Agility Nuts Show
Sarah & Jemma: 4th in the Helter Skelter
Sarah & Elliot: 1st in the Helter Skelter!!!! Well done Mr.E!

21/02/10 UKA Show
Jane & Boot: 5th in Beginners Agility

Keep the results coming in guys : )

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

A-Sit - A year on

I have had some ‘subtle’ encouragement (thank you Sarah and Mum!) to make a blog entry on how training has been going on at the A-Sit field, because apparently birthday entries are not enough and my ‘but there are no shows on’ argument is not enough.

Mum has reminded me that I started A-Sit on 1 February last year so as well as giving me justification to purchase a novelty item for the field for you all to enjoy next week (teehee!), it also seemed like the right time for a progress report so that’s what I thought I do, although for simplicity I’ll only report on events following the new year to save my grey cells.

So where to start? Let’s go alphabetically!

Emily & Alfie
Emily is now (correct me if I’m wrong) 7 months pregnant and despite saying that she feels that she’s running in quick sand she still looks like she covers ground quicker than me! Alfie is being a true Gent and is very understanding that his Mummy can’t always get where she wants to on a course but they still strive for perfection and have produced some really good work over the past couple of weeks, and her baby-to-be has already participated in it’s first clear round at our field – awwww, our youngest member.

Gail & Stitch
O how the tables have turned! Teaching Mum is a surreal experience for me but a great opportunity for me to pay her back for all the help she’s given me and all jip too! It was an unspoken conclusion that both of us came to that I teach Mum as any other client, she books in her 30min slot and works on the same exercises as the other dogs at Stitch’s level and she gets the same amount of stick and sarcasm for her short comings. It is no secret that my Mum’s mind is willing but her body is not, complications following an operation have left her unable to handle dogs the way she would like to. She is also handling a medium dog for the first time – not easy having only run large dogs since 1995! Stitch’s directional control is his strong point at the moment, Mum is fast gaining her ‘remote control’ and what we’re working on now is his ‘go-ons’ – the pieces are all coming together, but please, if anyone hears her say ‘go’ when Stitch is taking a corner –slap her wrist!

Gill & Charlie
Charlie is young handsome, physically solid BOXER. He had some “issues” when he 1st came to us mainly because Charlie tends to remind you of the most playful teenager in the World he just doesn’t know when to stop. This bull in a china shop has no worries when it comes to agility he just throws himself at it at 100 miles an hour ...but getting him to “take a breath” and actually establish a thought process without spontaneously combusting has had us all alternatively in stitches and reaching for the valium!!! He is without a doubt an amazing example of his breed, fearless and full of fun. Watching him mature and begin to take agility in his stride(and following the numbers!!) is a continuing thrill. This is the dog that has given my mum the biggest shock of all as she has never really seen the fascination with them yet would happy snap him up in a heartbeat for agility as he could set the ABC (Anything but collies)world on fire.

Jane, Boot & Welly

Boot is a gentleman and Jane will be the first to admit that he is a very honest and forgiving dog when Jane mis-walks a course but we have been working hard on Jane’s handling and ensuring that she walks a course right first time because there’s no second chance in competition! Boot went up into Grade 2 last year, we’re aiming for Grade 3 this year along with a good result at the Final in June she’s qualified for.

Welly on the other hand can stitch Jane up a treat he is an explosion of energy. Welly has started competing this year and if we can keep Jane calm and in turn keep Welly focused, we’ll be well away! There’s nothing more to say because it really is all there!

Jeannette & Tess
There is one dog that my Dad asks after every week and that is Tess, it’s a terrier thing I think, but what’s great is that every week I can tell him good things about the work Jeannette and Tess have been doing. Tess has really got the hang of this agility thing and was my first newbie to come out and the end of last year, I can’t wait to hear about and see more of her competing this year.

Jennifer & Dora
What an exciting new edition we have! Jennifer has only just started with us and Dora is her first agility dog, Dora is keen and driven and already after only a couple of lessons she is working on nicely and Jennifer is doing her homework because we also have some nice directions developing. Watch this space!

Jill & Jonah
Jonah has just this week started looking at medium jumps (he will eventually be jumping large) and we’ve gone ‘over the top’ (of the dog walk and a-frame) this week too. Jonah responds really well to Jill’s body language, he is a quick learner, quick on his feet too, he is also eager to please and he looks so handsome doing his agility : )

Jo & Charlie
Charlie is Jo’s first Collie, Charlie actually belongs to Jo’s friend Wendy but watching these two work together you wouldn’t know it! Charlie seems to get faster and more confident every week. We are currently concentrating on contacts and weaves because Jo and Charlie seem to have sequences down packed. Then it will be off to their first show! Jo also runs a spaniel, Fluke, who handles completely differently to Charlie, I can’t believe how well Jo copes switching between dogs, and handling styles – I find it difficult to remember my dogs name sometimes when I’ve just run a different one.

Karen & Molly
Karen and I go way back and Molly is the latest addition to her pack. Karen lives in Devon and came down for a special extended lesson to fine tune her handling in order to bring out the best in this cracking Collie. Karen is very good at doing her homework and came prepared with an idea of what she wanted to get out of the lesson and was open to suggestions and was quick to adapt to the changes made. I will continue to watch Molly develop and travel up the grades, it won’t be long until she’ll be up against me and Hex in grade 3! Although with the speed Molly is picking up she will need a wait start! Karen left the field that day in tune with her dog and making the most out of her course – take a look for yourself (and bear in mind that this was at the end of a long day for both of them):

(Other)Karen & Chester
Really glad to see Chester back after his Christmas break and to hear that he was a good boy over Christmas with one exception which Karen informs me was hubby’s fault. As my current client base is 100% female I can say – Men! *rolls eyes*.
Chester was really pleased to see his agility equipment again and to be tearing around and using his noggin’ and Karen has finally ditched the wellies. Over the coming months we’re going to continue to work on channelling Chester’ behaviour and helping his agility become more fluid and controlled.

Kelly & Spud
I have a real soft spot for Spud, he reminds me so much of my Kif. And he is very lucky to have a Mummy like Kelly because she is far more patient with him then I have been in the past with Kif. Spud is a fantastic, fast, responsive Collie... he just wants to keep it a secret! Spud is currently doing full courses with jumps on medium and with a lowered dog walk and he is almost competition ready but there is one thing holding him back and that is his confidence, as soon as anyone comes near the field, he falls apart so we are slowly going to work on adding an audience to his agility including other dogs and fingers crossed he will get off on the atmosphere we can create but it will take time and Kelly knows this. Kelly also has the most amazing running shoes ever!

Maggie & Saffy
All three of us have a lot of fun when Saffy comes to play! Saffy is a typical Spaniel in the springy mental kind of way and she loves her agility. Maggy has taken really well to handling and is just starting to walk sequences for herself. We’re working on our weaves at the moment and on getting Saffy to recover after she has received her reward, because whether it’s a toy or a treat Saffy gets a bit of a one track mind and loses focus on what she’s actually doing to get the reward – but that’s Spaniels for you ; )

Sarah, Jemma & Elliot
Last but not least guys! Sarah came to me with Jemma who I used to teach in groups at Clifton and Elliot her youngster.
Jemma is a beautiful Collie and we have worked on perfecting contacts, keeping poles up and ensuring Sarah walks courses to get the most efficient lines for her dog. I will also be watching Sarah closely this season to see what goes wrong at shows because at the field she is perfecting grade 5 courses but in competitions grade 1 classes are going amiss.
With Mr.E we are working on jumping style, contacts and weaves. Elliot has the makings of a winner, infact he won a class just the other day but he can let his enthusiasm get the better of him. Sarah is using a slightly different method on contacts to the one that I use as it is the method she has used thus far with him, we will continue to follow this route and add pressure and excitement at the field before we try contacts in the ring. This week we have built Elliot’s weaves up to 6 poles and I’m hoping we can start looking at entries from another piece of equipment when he becomes a little more consistent and of course work up to 12 weaves. Exciting times to follow!

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Happy Birthdayish Little Man!

We adopted Sprite in 1998, he was approximately 6 months old which made his Birthday sometime in February, we call the 14th February his Birthdayish.
He is now half my age, so I have known him nearly half my life. I love him very very much.
For his Birthdayish he has a new dog tag, he has received lots of cuddles, we will be taking a trip to the beach when it's abit quieter and I will of course be entering him in as many Veteran Classes as I can this year (so not much different from last year then!)

Monday, 8 February 2010

Happy 50th Birthday Mum!

This isn't really agility related, but with no shows on, what else am I supposed to write about?

Mum's Party has been and gone and she will hit the big 50 tomorrow. We had a really great night with a room packed full of friends and family and food. It was nice to see agility folks all scrubbed up, out of our fleeces and into shiny shoes instead of muddy runners - how on earth did we tell each other apart without our dogs by our sides and our club logos on?! Saying that, Angela's dogs did make the journey, they just weren't allowed in the venue ; )

Anyways I know a few of you were interested to see the cake(s), so above is a picture.
Each part of the paw was a different flavour; Fruit, Carrot, Victoria, Chocolate & Coffee. My Uncle Mark did a grand job, the cakes were delicious (I have to thank Elaine Snook & Bob & Igne for sorting us out with the miniature equipment). Mum's face was a treat when she saw it and there is still some left to enjoy tomorrow.... and the rest of the week for that matter!