So I struggled to sum up the 3 day KC Festival – How am I supposed to sum up Dashin’ Dogs?!
Dashin’s Dogs is one of my favourite shows of the year and once again my other half, Matt joined me, much happier this time as we were in a caravan, not a tent this time J
We set up in the pouring rain on Thursday and it was pretty darn windy too! “If the caravan’s a rockin’, don’t come a knockin”?.... Well everyone’s caravans were rockin’ and no-one dare go out of theirs to go a knockin’!
Competition started, we were eased in with a half day of competition and reduced runs.
Hex opened her week with... you’ve guessed it – 5 faults! Not cool! And then another 5 faults – surely not!! I said to myself before we left for DD that I couldn’t take a WHOLE week of just 5 faults and as pleased as I was with how she was handling, and she really was handling well, I couldn’t believe our luck – why couldn’t those poles just stay up?!
Kif on the other hand had a fantastic start to the week – 14th in the Combined 3-5 Jumping! The biggest class of the day and he was up there in the places.
I shouldn’t of b*tched about 5 faults – today was the day of 10 faults from Hex – grizzle grizzle.
A 6th in Veteran jumping from Sprite.
Sprite has slowed down a tad which was to be expected, running half blind. But he was still super speedy, his main time was lost when he lost me, this was either when he came out of a tunnel, if I did a reverse turn or on tight corners when I was on his blindside. Later on in the week he mistook the judge for me following a tunnel, but generally he would either get E’d by just doing what he could see or would lose time going wide or hesitating while he found me. But we’re adapting our partnership to cope and hoping for courses when Sprite’s on my right! We did get a couple more clears throughout the week, but only in the anysize classes where younger, faster dogs just kept pushing us out of the places.
Things started looking up!
Hex gained a 5th in the G3 Agility. Unfortunately I was handling like a numpty. I had stupidly started a count down of how many days I had left competing this year to go grade 4 and was also walking my agility courses thinking ‘this is the most important course of the day, I NEED this’. So my mind was in conflict – did I walk my courses ‘safe’ and concentrate on just keeping every pole up, or did I walk it to win it and take risks? When running courses – should I work my contacts assuming the fatal pole would fall or do quick releases to gain time, but lose consistency? I was totally over-thinking and when in the ring I was unable to breathe and my limbs were visibly shaking – what was wrong with me putting all this pressure on myself and a young dog?
Kif managed a Clear in the G5 Jumping but my timing was off with him all week, I cost him so many places, either miss timing manoeuvres or sending him wide and costing him time
The day off. A day of stinking weather to sit around wishing we were running. I got serious Cabin fever!
Another Clear with Kif and an entertaining run with him in which a small ‘hurricane’ hit whilst he was in the ring, everything we approached blew down and we were dodging wings left right and centre, if I hadn’t bodged his weave entry I think we might of got a nice place... mainly from the time we saved not having to actually jump 4 obstacles! Nothing with Hex though – Back to our 5 faulting ways – so frustrating! Also a rather surprising refusal. She nipped under a jump to get to some weaves, she just didn’t see the jump, whipped her round to try again, she did it again! She just wasn’t seeing the jump, so I set her in a wait and she did it... but all the poles stayed up – so this got me doing more dangerous thinking – when we made mistakes – were the poles staying up cause I was handling differently, or were they staying up cause she knew she’d gone wrong so therefore was running with less throttle? Or was it all just a happy coincidence? I never managed to answer this question because on
She got a 10th in G3 Jumping (really rubbish course walking from me!) and a 2nd in G3 Agility! – Yes another 2nd, her fifth one – so close but yet so far and she was leading the class for so long *sigh* and we were only off by something like 0.221 of a second.
Matt dedicated today to agility (he had spent most of the week being sensible and hiding in the caravan with a book... and cooking me yummy meals), but Wednesday he made a vow to watch every run of mine and he was true to his word he became my lucky mascot and kept control of the ninjas (don’t ask!), as a thank you I gave him the last run of the day with Hex – The Flick-Flack challenge; Now as most of you know a flick-flack, or ‘snake’ is not the easiest of exercises for a ‘newbie’ to master and the course consisted of 4 snakes made up of 4 jumps each. Matt has probably only mucked around at the field with Hex twice, but he took his instructions and did SUCH a good job. All the SWATties gathered round to watch and he did himself and Hex very proud, he just sent her wide round number 2 so she missed it out, but he picked her straight up for number 3 and continued to do the rest of the course fast, tight, and clear – if he hadn’t made that initial mistake I’m sure he would of made top 5 but it was not to be which is a shame. I wish I’d recorded it, it was a thing of beauty... unlike Kif’s G5-7 Flick Flack challenge – Yvonne Goode set a wicked course, I arsed up infront of the tunnel, managed to save it after Kif span and barked at me a number of times and then bodged my way round the rest of the course, I wasn’t even sure when I’d finished if I’d completed the course correctly – but I had and he came 12th... no thanks to me!
FINALLY it all came together!
After my success with Matt watching the previous day I insisted that he come watch at least Hex’s runs on the Thursday (superstitious, me?!), armed with a clover (just a 3 leaf one – don’t ask, the weather made us all a little crazy).
Hex’s first run of the day was G3 Agility in ring 1, it really wasn’t a Hexy course, minimum distances, on a steep slope, and her first run of the day, which is usually the most mental. I was queuing up with Matt and voicing my thoughts, I told him I’d walked the start to play it safe and that I apologised if it looked a bit messy, he said ‘I thought you were in it to win it?’, to which I replied ‘I am! But I need to go clear’, but the seed of doubt was planted and now a decision had to be made with 4 dogs to go... and I’m VERY indecisive, out of the blue I say to Matt ‘pull her, or push her?’ referring to the safe (pull) or the risky (push) option – I expected him to just pick one, not really knowing what I wasn’t talking about, but he asked me what I meant so I explained so he answered ‘ it’s your last day, go for it, PUSH!’, I looked at what I was going to be asking Hex to do, the pole before the A-frame was a huge risk, I was worried she either wouldn’t see it (like so many others), or would smoosh it (like most of the others)..... ‘mmmm, okay’ I answered, but decided not to watch anymore dogs running incase my mind was changed back.
So I pushed, and was in total shock as she cleared all the jumps leading out AND the risky jump before the A-Frame, sh*t, now I’m on the wrong side, a quick rear cross fixed that and into the weaves, wow that was a speedy see-saw, now when I walked this course I didn’t think I could get there but.... hey yeah, I’ve got time, across the face of the tunnel I whip and on to the dog walk, wow she’s moving – O man, down hill minimum box work with an A-Frame trap, the familiar sound of a toenail on a pole – it’s still standing! Don’t rush her, a wide turn – 2 jumps to go – Clear! ‘O wow, wow, really nice’ said the scrimer to the scorer behind her. Poo, I thought, that means I’m in the lead which means poo, I’m going to come 2nd again. I didn’t tell Matt what was going through my head, just that I was pleased with all but the wide turn and thanks for his help.
Later on in the day we ran Marie Douglas’s Agility and went into 3rd (we ended up 4th), I waited till I was alone and went down to check Ring 1, my ticket wasn’t on top, O well, I thought, 2nd again, let’s see what that wide turn cost me, I flicked on to my ticket in 2nd place – HEY! Wait a second! My time was faster than the dog on the top of the pile by half a second! – I pointed this out to the scorer, she corrected her error – I was back in the lead and there I stayed!!! Winning the class by just under half a second. Matt and the SWATties came to my presentation as did Hex (I always take my dogs up to collect their prize if the win), although she wasn’t that impressed to be ringside in her ‘posh’ clothes, with no work to be done teehee.
Dashin’ Dogs have their announcements on tanoy and over the radio, lots of people heard and congratulated me, but it still didn’t sink in until I was home – We’d finally after so many near misses, achieved our first goal – to win up to G4. : )
Phew, now I might actually start running like a normal person again! I have some new bits and bobs I’d like to work on with Hex, so must find the time before our first run at G4 – Devon Dogs/Honiton – Bring it on!
Away from the rings I had a great show, with great company, Abi and I enjoyed some entertaining walks, Matt & I enjoyed some fun nights in and out with the SWATties, celebrating their many successes. Alot of you know Mike & Rio – he gained enough points to go Grade 5 and won a fair few trophies along the way – we drank to that!
The weather wasn’t great, but I don’t think I spoke to anyone who didn’t enjoy their time there.
I’m just sorry that there are no videos to view, but here's my Baby looking beautiful with her win out trophy.