Sunday, 24 July 2011

There be Dragons!

YAY CAERPHILLY TIME! There's not a lot not to like about this show and I look forward to it every year. This year didn't disappoint even with a new venue.

I didn't have the best time, Hex had another collision, worse than her long jump incident and this time with a tyre, my 'stop-go' contacts have fast become running contacts - Hex's decision, not mine! So that needs to be fixed and I just couldn't handle to save my life! No excuses, just rubbish.

But I did get to see a lot of A-SIT runs and I was so proud of everybody, I had a number of compliments come my way from people who had seen the A-SITters at work and wanted to let me know how well they were handling and I received a lovely comment about what a great team we had... and we really did - Anthony (& Amy), Sarah (& Ru), Sadie (& Carmen) and Alex (& Sonny) all competed in their first team as the 'A-SIT Apples' and made quick change-overs and ran nice runs, only a spaniel sniff and a pole away from the 4 clears they needed to be in the places.

Michelle was at her first show with Whistler & Bel and both dogs ran really well. Helen also had her first competitive runs with Ben and he was focused and happy to be in the ring. And there were some of the much sort after Dragon Trophies brought back to Somerset....


Gail & Stitch - Dragon! 1st, G6 Jumping
Gill & Kassey - Dragon! 1st, G2 Agility (taking her up to Grade 3!)
Gill & Mollyanna - Dragon! 1st, G2 Jumping
Anthony & Amy - 6th, G1 Jumping
Hex - Clear, G5 Jumping
Kif - 3 x Clears
Anne & Chas- Clear, G2 Agility
Sarah & Ru - Clear
Alex & Sonny - 2x Clears
Sadie & Carmen - Clear, G1 Jumping

And @ South Devon:
Karen & Mollie - 6th, 1-3 Steeplechase
Karen & Mollie - 9th, G3 Jumping

Monday, 18 July 2011

Sherborne Vale

I had a special treat this weekend - my brother came to the show! Paul used to do agility, in fact he used to do it rather well but traded dogs in for motor sports in his teens. Paul has been involved with a couple of A-SIT events and is Pimpin' my Mower, but this is the first show he has been to in YEARS! It was great to have him there to support Sprite, Hex & Stitch (or as he calls them - Pirate Pete, Stink Weasel & Turd). Hex was particulary happy to have 'Unkie Paul' there - she was so full of herself in the queue and stood on his feet when she could which she usually saves for me. Stitch also enjoyed someone who could match up to his tugging needs and Sprite was just happy to have some of his pork roll! : )

The day well, didn't start off too well. Stitch clipped a long jump in the jumping and would have won the class otherwise and in the Agility we ran at the beginning and nobody was straightening the collapsable tunnel so it spat him out past a jump 2 from the end - wicked run otherwise, and someone was there straightening the tunnel from then on! I made a comment at the end of the day to the judge - couldn't help myself, I felt robbed.

Hex also had a bad start - I nearly pulled her from competition after her first 2 runs - in the agility she was much as she was last Sunday - really wide, not listening, missed a weave entrance, just not with it at all and in the Steeplechase she ran so flat and also under a jump. But we dogged on and I ran her in the Jumping and with only one wide turn she won the class! I then ran her in the lucky dip and she just had the one pole, but this was def her best run of the day - she attacked the course and wrapped wings and hung on my every direction, despite the pole and the fact she had won a different class, this was my favorite run of the day - nice to have her back! Toni saw her run flat in the steeplechase and also saw her Lucky Dip and gave me a huge thumbs up when I came out the Lucky dip as she knew how bummed i'd been earlier in the day. Paul said it was like watching two different dogs but I'm glad he got to see the real Hex- lets hope shes got whatever it was out of her system for good this time!


Stitch - 1st, C1-7 Steeplechase
Stitch - 1st, C1-7 Lucky Dip
Hex - 1st, C3-5 Jumping
Alex & Sonny - 4th, G1 Agility

Mum gets back late Wednesday/early Thursday; I look forward to having her back and life returning to normal... well it's never 'normal' in the Skinner house but you know what I mean!

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Diamond Performance

Saturday at Diamond Dogs was AMAZING!

6 Clear rounds out of 6 runs and 4 of those were wins, including Hex's win up to Grade 6! The whole day was unbelievable, just wow.

Both dogs had amazing contacts, solid waits and speeded their way around their courses. The only course I didn't feel confident on was the Olympia Qualifier and it was just that word 'Qualifier'! 327 dogs ran that course and I was one of only 28 to go clear. The start was fantastic, but I didn't handle my contacts naturally and there was a part before the second tunnel where we had a detour, I was just trying to go clear but now that I'm in Grade 6 I need to handle more ambitiously, 'just going clear' is not going to cut it... although the courses are obviously going to be getting much harder and I'm going to need those clears for mine and Hex's confidence - catch 22.

I know Hex isn't quite ready for what Grade 6 has to hold - I haven't quite put enough work in and we have a lot to tidy up, tighten up and speed up but I just had it in my heart that this is what I wanted to achieve before her pups later this year and whilst I feel daunted for us, I also feel a huge weight has been lifted.

It was so nice to focus on my own dogs, not only did I get to focus on my own dogs and courses but I had the support of Rosie all day and she really took alot of the pressure and stress off. Little things like having someone to take your bag and jacket for you on the startline (especially when you're juggling Stitch and his many accessories!) makes a huge difference. I am sad that Mum missed this weekend, but grateful for the opportunity to work the Stitchy Bug, he really is an amazing dog.

Sunday I was lacking sleep - it wasn't a great day, stupid mistakes were made like Hex missing the last jump in one run?! - When has that ever happened - weird. I knew I should have stayed at home, nothing was ever going to top Saturday but it was great to see the A-SITters doing well and see proud smiling faces on handlers and wagging tails on the woofs.

RESULTS... and lots of them!:

@ Diamond:
- 1st x 4! (2 Agility & 2 Jumping wins)
Hex - 1st, G5 Agility - Taking her up to G6!
Hex - 7th, G5 Jumping
Hex - 8th, C3-5 Olympia Qualifier Agility
Alex & Sonny - 7th, G1 Jumping
Alex & Sonny - 1st, G1 Jumping
Alex & Sonny - 4th, G1 Agility
Alex & Sonny - Clear, G1 Jumping
Sarah & Ru - 5th, G1 Agility
Sarah & Ru - 6th, G1 Jumping
Sarah & Ru - 6th, G1 Agility
Sarah & Ru - 8th, G1 Agility
Anthony & Amy - Clear, G1 Jumping
Anne & Chas - Clear, G2 Jumping
Rosie & Freddie - 3 x Clears

Karen & Mollie
- 9th, G3 Steeplechase

Monday, 4 July 2011

So here at last is the details of Hex's treatment at the SMART Clinic thus far

Angela has put me to shame with her regular Mindy updates so I have finally put the time aside for an update but I'm afraid limited for time, it's not very detailed. As everybody now knows Hex took 'a bit of a tumble' at Thames Show in June and here it is for those of you that haven't seen it:

I knew it was bad when I turned around to see her flipping, but when I got to her she seemed fine, barking and bouncing and telling me to get on with it! So I pieced the long jump back together and jumped her over it to make sure she wasn't mentally scarred too. When I got out of the ring I kept her out and about to let her muscles warm down, keeping a careful eye on her, when we got back to the caravan she had cuddles and then I watched the play back of the video and saw just what she had done to her neck -eep! I was worried, sad and in shock, I knew despite having what seemed like a perfectly fine dog laying next to me that all was not going to be okay.

Our vets confirmed stiffness in her neck and were happy to refer her to the SMART Clinic, who have worked wonders with Kif and many other dogs we know.

Hex had her first SMART appointment on June 22nd, Lowri gave her a thorough look over and her neck wasn't the only problem because as she had twisted after the neck impact she had wrenched and pulled her belly, armpit, legs and back so it would seem that the only part of her that wasn't ouchy was her tail which she kept wagging. She got twisted, stretched and pulled and didn't resist at all, she then had acupuncture, which again she just stood and took and last but not least she had her first go on the water treadmill - this was the bit I had been dreading, Hex HATES water and this was a strange box which would fill up once she was in it and she wouldn't be able to escape, but once again, she just got on with it. The water started filling up around her, she just held up her front right leg for as long as possible and then gave up and let it join her others under water. Then we started the treadmill and she immediately got the hang of it.

I was obviously gutted that she had more damage than we had at first thought, but I was relieved that I had caught it early enough that SMART were happy they could fix it and that Hex could still compete providing I didn't train her imbetween time and did her homework physio exercises (or as we call the Hexercises) religiously.

So we have kept up our Hexcercises and SMART visits and Hex has turned everything to a real routine. She loves it at SMART just look at her little face.

Hex is back on form and since visiting SMART she has won up to Grade 6 and won another Jumping class as well as collecting other top 10 places, her jumping action is cleaner than it has ever been. She has also had to accidents since the long jump - a collision with a tyre and a fall off a dog walk and thanks to her new flexibility walked/bounced away from both with no damage done. I am however now ALWAYS carrying arnica on me just in case!

What I love about SMART is that they know agility. They asked me what her weave action was, what grade she was, what speed she travelled at and what sort of courses she was running on - they knew my dogs body and movement better than me! I would recommend them to anybody who has any doubt about their dog's fitness and/or performance.


Usually I love Tuffley - the venue is beautiful, the show well run, nothing is too far from anything and the exercise area is HUGE - it seemed even bigger after the postage stamp of grass Lansdown offered us last week. But I was tired, fed up and run down and not being able to train Hex in the week when we are trying to fine tune things is denting my confidence and ability to walk courses for her, I also have her injury playing on my mind so alot buzzing around my head.

Saturday started as I thought it would - utter shite. But then if you have that negative frame of mind what else can you expect? The first jump was a spread and Hex crashed it (as did most dogs as there was a dip before it) but it made we worry - I had a power nap in the afternoon and tried to wake up with a new frame of mind, my rounds improved and I came 13th in the Olympia qualifier with only one expensive mistake - whoops!

Sunday was a new day and watching the Champ classes was inspiring - I decided to just attack everything, which landed me flat on my @rse in my first run - I still managed to get up and go clear but was fractions of a second out of the places and I think that was the time I spent on the floor! Hex got her own back though because she fell on her face later in the day and we came 3rd... without her nose dive we would have won the class taking us to G6! O Well, I was just happy to get a trophy especially at a Champ show, the trophies at Tuffley were so beautiful, giant diamonds! - Here's Hex with hers : )

Mum's weekend was the other way round, she had a fantastic start to the week and finished on a low, her mushy brain came from thoughts of going away and packing for France. As I type this she is currently on a ferry to France surrounded by Glasto hippies on their way back to Jersey singing songs of love, Jesus and Sandy lol.


Stitch & Gail - 1st, G5 Agility
Stitch & Gail - 4th, C1-7 Agility
Kif & Gail - 2 x Clears
Hex - 13th, C3-5 Agility
Hex - 3rd, G5 Agility
Hex - 2x Clears
Anthony & Amy - 2 x Clears (In the combined 1-4 Jumping they were 1 of only 2 Grade1s to go clear!)

Diamond Dogs to look forward to now... well we will see...I have more dogs to manage, less help and more to cope with in the week - it's going to be a tough one!

Friday, 1 July 2011


So no surprise - I have left blogging to the last minute before my next show and still haven't done a post detailing Hex's SMART treatment (which will follow...eventually).

The A-SITters were out in force at Lansdown and I think it's fair to say that the British weather was at it's most British with wind and drizzle all day Saturday and glorious sun all day Sunday (once the fog had cleared).

I must say, I did over-do it at this show and must remind myself that there is only so much I can do in a day and that my dogs must come first; I ended up in agony Saturday night with my back and I am so SO grateful that Tamzin Grimes was there to save the day and fix me up in time for Sunday and another day of team morale - it was lovely to sit down that day and enjoy Anne's bakery goods as a Club.


Hex - 5th, G5 Agility
Kif - 2 x Clears
Gail & Stitch - 1st, G5 Agility (winning into Grade 6!)
Gail & Stitch - 1st, G5 Jumping
Rosie & Freddie - Clear, G1 Agility (the first of many to come we hope!)
Rosie & Freddie - 3rd, G1 Jumping
Gill & Kassey - 2nd, G2 Agility
Anthony & Amy - Clear, G1 Jumping
Anne & Chas - Clear, G1-7 ABC Olympia Course. There were 101 dogs in this class and only 12 went Clear so we are so proud of Chas for being one of them.

A special congrats to Molly & Ben for surviving their first show and showing a lot of promise and a Good Luck message to Helen & Lily at their first show tomorrow.