Monday, 31 January 2011

Hex and Stitch pull off “double” at Blackdown Limit Show

As Lesley is always blogging about her shows I (Gail) thought it only right that I did the same for this show (especially as I ventured alone AND stole her dog) I have to admit that it was with the excitement of a giddy schoolgirl that I headed off to bed on Saturday know the feeling ..the realization that you won’t need an alarm clock as you are going to be fidgeting and fussing and generally packing your bag, your van and your (in my case) stash of pain medication in your head and that wobbly feeling in the pit of your stomach is going to have you heading along the landing in the wee (no pun intended) small hours ...well it’s something to do as you toss and turn through the night.

Anyway all packed and prepared I headed off down the motorway to Junction 26 with Hex and Stitch in tow...The seeds of doubt were appearing already in the mind of Hex as to where I had put her mummy but she seemed happy enough to join me in my car (we would surely meet up with her at the ringside) Stitch on the other hand was bouncing around and giving it his best wakey wakey whines and you really need that in your ear at the crack of dawn.

Once there I walked my first course..Stitch in the 4-7 Medium Jumping. I phoned Lesley before I ran him for a quick confidence boost. It was horrendous!! There were weird angles tight turns traps and you weaved twice. The sort of course I LOVED in my heydays but not with my little guy at his 3rd ever show. I can’t remember her words of wisdom but they must have worked as he careered around it like a mad thing and it was only when I didn’t hear the Judge clap that I realized something was up...He had missed the last pole of the weaves the 1st time through them and I hadn’t noticed...but I didn’t care he had done all the tough stuff.

Next run was “fire pants” herself.. the gobby redhead who answers to Hex...well she could answer to it if she wasn’t barking so darn LOUD!! I will never forget queuing with her...she was SO confident as we moved down the line that Lesley was going to turn up at the last moment. She fixed her eyes and her radar ears on the door and had that quizzical “Mummy??” look in her face right up until the moment I slipped her lead off and she just went “Ok you’ll do”. It was exactly the same course as Stitch’s but the angles and spacing for the larger dogs made things tighter and trappier but she fired around it beautifully and I knew if I am honest that she was unlikely to be beaten. It felt amazing. The score sheet provided conformation. She had indeed won. She had made my day already ..anything after that would just be icing on the cake.

Next run was the Large 4 & 5 Agility. For this I had my orders...hold her contacts and make her wait for the release word. It’s a toughie for me that one for, as a rule, I cannot keep my “competitive edge” in check. But it is to my credit (even though I do say so myself) that I not only managed to do it for Hex but also for my little Stitch too. Ok, so I mucked up the SAME snake of jumps with both of them TOO but on the whole I was still very proud of myself as it was very much a 1st for my competitive “inner demon”.

Lastly was the “Fun Jumping” which was the same for all sizes of the 4-7 dogs. It was a sheer BLAST. Both Stitch and Hex thoroughly enjoyed themselves. They both went clear...Stitch being lucky enough to win his Medium class and Hex coming 5th against some pretty fast Grade 6-7 dogs so I was thrilled. What a fabulous end to the day. Two firsts. Unbelievable.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

I went to Birmingham & all I got was this lousy vet bed

First show of the year! No Veterans for Sprite and no Kif because the show was indoors (he’s such a fraidy cat), so just Hex to play with. I must thank Mike for car sharing with me; I wouldn’t have travelled all that way for one dog if it hadn’t been for Mike sharing the petrol cost. So, the first show of the season and with a young dog and indoors; I wasn’t sure what to expect...

My first class was the G4-5 Jumping and guess what ending came up?! For anybody that was training the more complex ending of this week’s A-SIT course, it was indeed that ending. All week I have been telling you all to think about whether you play it safe as I did every time it cropped up last year or do you take the risk? So I was asking MYSELF that very question – the course was a complete blast up until that point so the round really was going to be won or lost with those last three jumps. I had practiced both ways with Hex Friday & Saturday and she had only managed to get the risky but quicker way right once or twice. But I decided after some persuasion from Mike & Abi that the risk was worth it – in it to win it and all that. Then Mike & I sat up in the balcony and watched dog after dog get it wrong, we both agreed I should abort the risk. Then when I joined the queue with Hex Abi asked me what I had decided to do and I was back to umm-ing and ahh-ing until I decided with about two dogs to go that I would play it safe only if I was clear to that point. Hex had pole 16 down so the risk was ON and she pulled it off beautifully, nice and tight, fast and accurate she completed the course in 24.061 seconds with just the 5 faults from the pole.

The G1-4 Agility was another blast and she missed the up of the seesaw, she just didn't see it so shot past it, but her contacts were the fastest they have been and she was so accurate – I wish we’d gotten the run on film, firstly to find out what happened at the seesaw and secondly to admire her contacts over and over. My last class was the G4 Agility; I took a risk which didn't pay off - my timing was a bit off throughout the whole run. But O-Well, Hex had fun and the parts we did right were breath taking so I was very proud of her. So I thought I’d treat her to some new fancy vet bed for her crate, she wasn’t that impressed, we’d walked past the shop a couple of times and she’d had a good sniff of some treats and toys but I got her bedding – she looked at me as if to say ‘is that it?, but I wanted yummies!’ – ‘Yes, Hex but I wanted a rosette’. Hopefully next time I’ll get my rosettes and she’ll get her yummies!

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Back in Business

Well lessons are back in full swing at A-SIT and boy are we busy, luckily the field is draining well and I have seen some very fancy footwear on your feet over the past couple of weeks – very nice!

Special mentions this week go Jeannette & Tess for coming back with a vengeance after a long break, Mum reports that they are better than ever, Helen & Lily are also on top form, pushing themselves to perfect new moves. Both Gill & Mollyanna and Alex & Sonny managed a complex layering sequence and I don’t know what’s got into Karen’s Barney – he was on fire this week, working independently but also in tune with Karen. Good work guys.

The Skinners have also being doing some work with our dogs, ticking off some winter training plan aims. Stitch has mastered a rear cross on the weaves and I have been trying to encourage Hex to think about where she can bounce and to do so where possible. She was fantastic , she clipped a couple of poles so there’s still more work to be done there, but I didn’t want to push her too hard. You might find it rather funny that she can’t bark and bounce at the same time! I thought I could hear myself commanding more than I usual and then pointed at why, she just didn’t have time to open her mouth. She has her first show of the year this Sunday, lets hope she’s a good girl and not quite as mental as she was at training on Wednesday night – Crazy Baby.

Monday, 3 January 2011

Christmas Time

Last blog 28th November.... whoops!

So what happened in December? Well as you all know Sarah broke her ankle, but she is behaving herself and resting-up and taking care of her injury so fingers crossed she will be running again by the end of 2011.

17 of us tucked into a yummy Christmas Meal at the Fox & Goose Pub. The food was really good, the company great and the plan is to go there again next year. I also had a lovely surprise in the form of a huge bouquet of purple & yellow flowers, very pretty- Thank you! : )

Many a lesson was called off due to snow and ice, leaving me feeling frustrated at letting people down... but also keeping me in the warm.

Christmas came and went. Thank you everyone for my cards and giftys. The cards decorated my room and I had a lovely day with my family and poorly boyfriend. I genuinely love Christmas, it’s my favourite time of year and could only be bettered with more Agility. This year the Christmas UKA show was cancelled due to snow BUT I was lucky enough to get a text to say that two spots had come up on an Anthony Clarke Course Analysis afternoon so Mum and I whisked those up. Hex worked like a dream out of the8 dogs there she was the only one not to get eliminated on the first course – she just had the last but one jump down (a spread). I got a lot out of the afternoon – I’d had things in my winter training plan which I wanted to cover, which apparently Hex can already do! and Anthony had me handle a section of the course a way that I NEVER would have walked it and it knocked a second off my time as Hex sped round Clear at our 2nd go at the course, it’s given me something to think about anyway. I left feeling very proud of both Hex and Mum and Stitch.

Now to burn off the calories! I joined the SWAT lot for a walk and cakes and the Little Orchard lot for a walk and Pub visit over the holidays, although maybe the cakes and drink undid the good work of the walks. Maybe next year we’ll have an A-SIT walk?

So 2011 is now upon us. I have a lot to look forward to this year – A crackin’ young dog in Hex, an evolving Kif and more runs with my old man. A-SIT have a number of dogs coming out in 2011 and I’m looking forward to helping them develop and take their first steps in the competitive ring. O and if all goes to plan Hex babies late in the year and potentially a house move! Busy, busy, busy.... no change there then!

Happy New Year everyone! Wishing you all the best for the year ahead, a happy, healthy, successful 2011.

Lesley x

I’ll leave you with some pictures from the Christmas Meal, thanks Jeannette for taking them.