Monday, 19 November 2012

The Last Show of 2012

I always have mixed feelings about Dartmoor. It is nearly always my last show of the year, so it is great to see everybody one last time, it's well organised and the venue if fab... but it is usually cold, wet and despite being an indoor show the dogs always get muddy so it serves as a reminder of why we save our agility for the Summer (what Summer? I hear you say).

I had attended the North Petherton Carnival the night prior to the show and so the drive to Okehampton was a long one and I found myself walking Hex's course over and over with not much sinking in and handling decisions not being made, just noted as options for when I get there. Needless to say that this meant that I actually only just about managed to bodge my way around the course, Hex doing a majority of the work and just having one pole down - whoops!

By the late morning/early afternoon I had, had something to eat, a can of Rio (my favorite!) and was ready to rock it with Stitch. I have spent the Summer building a bond with Stitch and have been trying to maintain a calm focus whilst queuing; often resulting in me sitting on the floor with Stitch to show him how calm and not bothered I am (yeah right!) but with Dartmoor being indoors, not only did we not have anywhere we could sit but the atmosphere was extremely intense and I was worried about how this would affect Stitch's waits and contacts. Nothing to worry about - lovely clear, straight into the lead.

Hex had just 5 faults in her jumping (another pole), but it felt messy and like I wasn't as confident on the course as I could have been, Stitch however aced the very similar medium course and won the class by over 2 seconds. I have watched the video back in slow motion and I am so pleased with how he is reading me and responding to me and the trust he has now put in me. In April when I started running him there was mixture of timing and trust issues along with a certain defiance but we have worked through this to form a great partnership and as a result, finished the season with 2 out of 2 wins. Video Below:


Part of Dartmoor Show is the 2 minute silence we hold each year as part of Remembrance Sunday. All rings come to a stop as our thoughts turn to those who have served and/or continue to serve for and defend our Country. This is always something to behold at Dartmoor because not only do all the humans stop to reflect but all the dogs silence too! Debbie informs me that there were 591 dogs entered at Dartmoor show and yet at 11am the soundtrack of excited noisy dogs which you come to expect at a show turns to utter silence, instantly. And as quickly as it stops, it starts again when the 2 minutes are up. Our dogs may not understand why we stop their show, but I think it is lovely that in their own way they put their lives and excitement on hold. Many animals serve and are lost at war, we must never forget how lucky we are to have such special creatures in our lives and that man is capable of building such a bond with these animals that both parts of the partnership would entrust their life to the other.

Results:
Stitch - 1st, 4-7 Agility
Stitch - 1st, 4-7 Jumping
Gill & Mollyanna - Clear, 4-7 Agility
Gill & Kassey - Clear, 4-7 Jumping

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

UKA - Still not for me

Every couple of years I go back to a UKA Show to see if I like them any better than the last time I went.

I must say that the SWWS UKA Show I went to a couple of weeks ago was the best one I have been to, but it still just can't compare to a KC Show. These are the pros and cons as I see them:

UKA Pros:
- Training in the ring. Whether it's taking a toy in the ring in a competition environment for specific-instant-reward,or re-working contacts and re-working waits
- Nursery Classes enabling 16mth old dogs to have a go in a competition on 'young dog friendly' courses and equipment.
- 4 runs a day
- Lovely rosettes
- Measuring at every show
- Normally at least one ring indoors
- Cash prizes when you get to the big Finals!

UKA Cons:
- Unable to work out when your run is due to entries being taken on the day. 20 dogs somehow took over an hour to run in one ring! That ring ran on so late that they had to bring the last classes indoors as they lost the light outdoors!
- No formal presentations, just names read out - come and get it off this pile of rosettes on the table. No chance to shake anybody's hand or thank the judge in person. One of the best things about judging is giving out the prizes so I don't like this from a competitor or judges point of view.
- 4 Jump heights. Rather controversially, I don't believe a 4th jump height is required for UKA or KC. When I started Agility our dogs used to jump 2ft 6", we had a collie who would have measured Medium/Midi under the new regulations and she used to jump 2ft 6" - did this slow her down, yes, obviously because she was not built for the sport but she enjoyed what she did and did it to the best of her ability. My point is that if a  person wants to take up 100m hurdles and they have short legs, they are never going to make the Olympics; they can still train and set their personal goals and strive for their personal best, but nobody is going to lower the hurdles for them  and cater the sport so that they can do better and go further in it.
Stitch has been measured twice as under 430mm at KC and therefore is Medium by their standards, at the UKA show this week he measured 434mm and therefore out of Midi and into the Standard height (I'm not sure how that is, but I know a number of KC Medium dogs who have had the same problem), I will not jump him at standard height because he has hip dysplasia and I think the extra 4inches he'd have to jump for the sake of 4mm in height is an unnecessary strain for him. If he had measured Large at KC he would also not be competing, but I will not be demanding a 5th jump height to cater to him at UKA or would I agree with a 4th height at KC. Hex actually measures 'Standard' in UKA, but I jump her at the next height up 'Maxi' because that is what she jumps at KC. Yes, jumping her at Standard would give her a competitive edge (and would mean I wouldn't be trumped in each of my runs by Pat '4 wins' Conibere. teehee) but she can jump Maxi comfortably and regularly does, so why change that?
4 Jump heights also means more 'faffing' as they change the jump heights and some classes go with no dogs being placed because with the smaller class sizes there is more of a chance of everybody being eliminated - this happened in at least 2 classes at the SWWS Show.
- Smaller classes actually mean larger queues in some cases. If there are only 20 dogs in the class, everybody thinks it is okay to turn up at once regardless of their running order.
- With the amount of classes, rings and height variations and surprise entries there is an element of 'organised chaos' which puts me on edge. Maybe this is how people feel when they first start KC Shows, maybe it's because I have more than one dog to run (or did have until Stitch was measured), maybe it's just me?
- Confusing website and annoying entry process.

Looking at those lists, the pros do outweigh the cons, particularly if you have a young dog, but for me the madness and rush just isn't worth the hassle of having my name read out and my rosette chucked on the table  for me to pick up and I know Agility is about the dogs and the fun they have, but they're not having a good time when I'm rushing to get them warmed up and to a ring and they get stressed in the long queues. Hex actually ended up being knee'd in the head by somebody as they ran through our queue to get to the ring next door in a panic that they had missed their run, I was relatively near the front of our long queue and she was stupidly running through the queue and in front of it to get to her ring where there were no dogs.

I have entered Hex in the January SWWS Show as it is just 6miles from our house. But I won't be running her, Matt will. As I don't do UKA's my dogs are in Novice, which means Matt should be able to walk ad handle the easier courses which he can't do in G6-7 KC Classes.

UKA Shows just aren't for me... until maybe Voodoo needs some ring experience and then maybe, just maybe, I'll give them another chance.

Results:
Hex - 3rd, Novice Jumping
Hex - Clear, Steeplechase 1 (even with a huge loop which I would have marked as a 5r)
Stitch - 3 out of 4 Clears but 'NFC' (Not For Competition) as I ran him at Midi height.





Monday, 29 October 2012

A-SIT Fun Day

Well I am sitting at home now knowing that all is packed away (except the gazebo and windbreak which are still drying) and that the A-SIT Fun Day is officially over. All that is left are the soggy results sheets and a couple of spare clear round rosettes.

We usually hold a Fun Day at the start of the Agility season and one at the end, but having lost Sprite in March I was only just about able to function through my usual day to day tasks and was not myself at all, which meant that we only had room for the one this year and this was it! So it was more important to me than ever that the day was a success and I feel that In every way possible it was...apart from the weather which I just can't help! And of course it's just our luck that Saturday the day prior to the competition the weather was glorious and today was fine also!

Obviously I am extremely happy with and for the people who went home with rosettes but I am also feeling all glowy for the people who came for different reasons. A number of people were trying out a competition for the very first time (very brave in the weather we had!) and are now looking more seriously at trying the real deal, some were using the day as a 'training day' to apply things they have practiced in a new environment and of course Matt just wanted to play with Hex!

I was so worried about the weather effecting the day, sick with nerves when I arrived at the field to set up and a tension headache building throughout the day as I worried if people were enjoying themselves or wishing they had never bothered. I needn't have worried as I have had nothing but positive feedback and smiles and thank yous! And I in turn have to thank my Mum for all of her help, Judging and for donating the Trophies for the pre-comp classes, my Dad for catering, Matt for timing, the numerous people who stepped in to scribe and 'relieve' Matt (just for you Derek!), Gill for the use of her fencing for the exercise area, everybody who brought yummy scrummy food - o my goodness what a feast! But also thanks to every single person who attended and kept the mood fun and positive.

So here are the results (along with the times)!

Pre-Comp Agility:
1st - Jennine & Ruby (26.91)
2nd - Wendy & Molly (30.51)
3rd - Karen & Barney (30.69)
Clear Rounds: Sophie & Daisy (33.48) and Martin & Seamus (37.33)

Competition Agility:
1st - Rosie & Freddie (49.26 seconds)
2nd - Molly & Ben (53.95 seconds)

Trophy Dogs Agility:
1st - Sarah & Ru (28.13)
2nd - Gill & Mollyanna (31.20)
Clear Rounds: Gill & Kassey (32.80)

----------------------------------------------------------

Pre-Comp Jumping:
1st - Jennine & Ruby (23.83)
2nd - Sadie & Max (30.64)
3rd - Rosemary & Toonie (31.41)
Clear Rounds: Wendy & Molly (37.37) and Sam & Eric (39.88)

Competition Jumping:
1st - Molly & Ben (47.37 with 5F)
Everybody else got eliminated so well done Molly!

Trophy Dogs Jumping:
1st - Sarah & Ru (29.79)
2nd - Gill & Mollyanna (29.81)
Clear Rounds: Anthony & Amy (30.07) and Gill & Kassey (36.51)

-----------------------------------------------------------------

Pre-Comp Steeplechase:
1st - Sadie & Max (35.09)
2nd - Karen & Barney (36.65)
3rd - Sam & Eric (48.38)

Competition Steeplechase:
1st - Stu & Skye (24.70)
2nd - Malcolm & Molly (30.75)
Clear Rounds: Rosie & Freddie (59.74)

Trophy Dogs Steeplechase:
1st - Sarah & Narla (27.27)
2nd - Alex & Sonny (31.61)
Clear Rounds: Sarah & Ru (32.81) and Malcolm & Dylan (33.47)

----------------------------------------------------------------------

And finally there was a very special rosette for the Best A-SIT Member!

1st - Sarah & Ru (25pts)
2nd - Sadie & Max (21pts)
3rd - Jennine & Ruby (20pts)

Points were awarded as follows:
1st = 10pts, 2nd = 9pts, 3rd = 8pts, Clear = 5pts, 5f = 2pts, 10f = 1pt




Monday, 22 October 2012

Make a Wish

As an instructor you don't wish for your clients to go out winning everything in sight, what you wish for is happy clients and happy dogs. In the long run you want the dogs to meet their potential and individual personal goals set by their handlers, short term you just want both parts of the partnership to perform how they do in training.

This week a number of A-SIT members took their first steps outside of training and entered the Make A Wish Clear Round Day. A no-pressure event as the runs were only judged on whether you went clear or not, not on how fast you were or whether your clear was any better than anyone else's.

I am SO proud of the members who attended, for taking this big step, supporting a worthy cause (the money raised went towards the Make A Wish Charity) and doing themselves proud.

Well Done to:

Karen & Barney - 3x Clears at their first outing!!!
Sadie & Max - 2x Clears at their first outing
Claire & Sam - 1 Clear at their first outing
Molly & Ben - 1 Clear - their very well deserved first
Ant & Amy - 1 Clear

£378.00 was raised.   :o)

@ BHC Show the following day:

Stitch - 2nd, G5-7 Agility
Stitch - 2nd, 1-7 Steeple Chase
Stitch - 4th, 1-7 Jumping
Stu & Skye - 4th, G3 Agility - At their First Show!!
Anthony & Amy - 4th, G1-2 Agility
Sarah & Narla - 15th, G3 Jumping
Sarah & Ru - Clear, G3 Jumping
Gill & Mollyanna - Clear, 1-7 Jumping
Gill & Kassey - Clear


Thursday, 4 October 2012

September Results

No wonder September wizzed by, we had a show every weekend but the last! 2 Day shows were available each weekend, but I decided not to over do it and took some of them as one dayers especially after the busy August I had.

Well done to the following (and do let me know if I've missed anybody out!):

@ Prestbury:
Stitch - 1st, G5-7 Jumping
Wendy & Ryley - 1st, G3 Jumping
Sarah & Ru - 2nd, G2 Agility
Sarah & Ru - 8th, 1-2 Agility
Gill & Mollyanna - 3rd, 1-4 Jumping
Ant & Amy - 7th, G1 Jumping

@ Gillingham:
Sarah & Ru - 3rd, G2
Gill & Mollyanna - 5th, 1-3 Agility
Stu & Ru - Clear 
Hex - Clear, G6 Jumping

@ Blackdown
Stitch - 1st, 5-7 Jumping
Stitch - 2nd, 5-7 Jumping
Stitch - 2nd, 6-7 Agility
Gill & Mollyanna - 1st, 1-3 Agility! Taking them to Grade 4!
Gill & Mollyanna - Clear, 3-4 Jumping
Sarah & Ru - 1st, G2 Agility! Taking them and the rest of the Lindsey Pack to Grade 3!
Sarah & Ru - 3rd, 1-2 Jumping 
Sarah & Narla - 1st, G2 Jumping
Ant & Amy - 4th, G1 Agility

@ Honiton/South Devon
Stitch - 1st, 4-7 Agility! Taking us to Grade 7 and Champ Classes!
Stitch - 1st, 4-7 Jumping
Stitch - 1st, 4-7 Jumping
Stitch - 2nd, 6-7 Agility
Wendy & Ryley - 1st, 1-3 Agility! Taking them to Grade 4!
Wendy & Ryley - 3rd, Grade 3 Agility
Julie & George - 1st, 1-3 Agility
Gill & Mollyanna - 2nd, 1-3 Jumping
Gill & Mollyanna - 4th, 1-3 Jumping
Ant & Amy - 2nd, 1-2 Agility (so, so close to that win!)
Ant & Amy - Clear, 1-2 Jumping
Hex - 5th, 6-7 Agility
Hex - 7th, 4-7 Agility
Gill & Kassey - Clear, 4-7 Jumping
Gill & Kassey - Clear, 4-7 Jumping

TAG

Oh my goodness I have fallen well and truly behind!

I wanted to make sure that I left plenty of time to blog the week long show TAG as it was quite eventful but now it's all a distant fuzzy memory! So i'm going to keep it short.

Highlight for me had to be Hex winning her first G6 Agility! She has come so close recently, it was really nice to get one under our belt. Stitch won a number 8 Jumping Classes so that was good and I got a trip to Alton Towers on the day off and a fat Chinese the night before. So smiles all round (except for during Nemesis Sub Terror!)  : )



Voodoo did go AWOL at 11pm at night on the 2nd night, that was really scary, but Jo caught him down by the rings thank goodness! I also hit a really bad patch mid week, Stitch was continuing to break his 'waits' and self release his contacts, unless we had been eliminating. Either he knew he'd been eliminated or I was acting differently... it appeared to be the later, in which case I was letting him down. I did get quite upset, not because I wasn't winning, but because I just wanted to reproduce what I could in training. It had been nearly a year since Stitch had last one an Agility round and that was all we needed to go G7 and I knew that he was more than capable of doing it. It's not a nice feeling to know that you've let your dog down, I wasn't looking forward to the runs and found myself back in a negative spiral  The pressure was getting to me and I was really tired. But I was at the show with SWAT and my friends picked me back up.

It was at this show that I decided that the G7 win would be worth nothing unless he was ready for Champ classes, which as he was, he most definitely was not! So I started putting Stitch back on every wait he broke, not releasing him unless he was in the position I left him in. I was also putting him back on his contacts  regardless of whether I was clear to the point and holding the contacts he did correctly. I was determined to fix what had been broken and put it behind us.

It was my first time attending TAG Show and it was a very last minute decision to go, but despite the weather and the stress, it was a good show and I think you'll find me back there next year!

Results:

@ TAG
Stitch = 8 x 1st Places
Hex = 1 x 1st, 1 x 4th, 2 x 5ths, 3 x 6ths

@ Dartmoor
Ant & Amy - 3rd, G1 Jumping

Saturday, 1 September 2012

KC International Festival

So for a while there it looked like the weather was going to cost us another event! Kelmarsh Hall was a mud bath and an extremely last minute decision was made to relocate the show to Rockingham Castle. Tony Griffin tells me that before the Monday before the show (which was due to start on Friday), the Kennel Club weren't even aware that the venue existed!

I am so impressed with the KCs ability to relocate such a huge show at such short notice, I actually preferred the venue and the set up, but I think a lot of that was helped by the AMAZING camping spot which we were allocated on arrival - just a stones throw from the shower block, toilet block, water supply and Ring 15!

The weather was beautiful so it was easily enjoyable even though Stitch was giving me a lot of 'up yours' moments and Hex was having a lot of near misses (I will get around to uploading and publishing the videos eventually). I just couldn't believe what Hex was throwing my way, she was more than exceeding my expectations on some courses which were way above what we have been training at. Unfortunately, she clipped a pole here, a long jump there and couldn't quite hold it together for a whole run, but I was absolutely buzzing taking her down to the rings and enjoyed every second in the ring with her. There was one course set by a foreign judge which nobody could get round, Hex got around all of the difficult bits only for me to fluff a turn off a seesaw and leave her wondering where the next obstacle was - ARGH!!!! Idiot! But it did leave me with a 'we can do anything now' kind of feeling. Unlike Stitch who was giving me the opposite feeling as his waits and contacts got worse and he continued to ignore every 'here' command I threw him; much preferring to take his own line.

We were camping along side Jo who qualified for the British Open with Meddler, so it was nice to get involved in one of the big events even if it was grooming for Jo and not running myself. Unfortunately Jo narrowing missed out on spot at Crufts but I feel she did herself proud and Meddi certainly enjoyed herself! And we enjoyed the evening Disco even though it finished at 10.30pm - what's that about?!

Results:
Stitch - 2nd, 6-7 Jumping
Stitch - 6th, 6-7 Jumping
Hex - Clear, British Open Jumping

Monday, 27 August 2012

SWAT 'Summer' Show

Last year I couldn't go to the SWAT Summer show but I had heard great things about it and was looking forward to it this year. Especially after so many of our shows this year have been cancelled, I feel like we're nearing the end of the season and I have hardly just begun!

I was down to judge on the Tuesday and help the rest of the week and I've got to say that I was really proud to be a part of the show. There was a nice enclosed exercise area, nice size rings, lots of smiley faces,  rosettes and trophies which stand out and everything was well organised.

The decision was made to cancel Sunday afternoon to protect the ground for the rest of the week I thought this was a brave decision but definitely the right one. It was bucketing it down and with more rain forecast and the judges and helpers already soaked through, I think it was only the spaniels and other mud-larks enjoying themselves.


Monday came and went with a little rain and with some good results for the Club which are listed below and then came Tuesday; Judgment day... I mean my day to judge.

I had the following classes:
Large 1-2 Agility
Medium 1-4 Agility
Small 1-4 Agility
Large 1-3 Jumping

I had set my usual sort of courses; courses where the best partnership will win, not just the fastest dog. I like a course which can be successfully run 2-3 different ways so the handler has choices and therefore has to make the best one for them and their dog and then pull it off when it counts!

Above is my Agility course(s), the black No17 indicates changing it from an optional tunnel entrance for the 1-2's to a selected entrance for the 1-4s.

Unfortunately there was one dampener on the day; following many recent discussions on the forum and facebook about toys in the ring I had a feeling that something would come up and so had re-read the rule book, not once like I usually do before judging, but THREE times. Sure enough I was approached before one of my classes to see if a boy could run with his dog with a toy in the ring, I was told I could eliminate him but that he would like to run as part of the class. I explained that I knew there was not a rule in the rule book to say that he couldn't do this, however it did put me in a difficult situation as I didn't believe it was right and I could NOT eliminate him because then I would be the one breaking the rules and  making my class a 'special' class. I went to the Secretaries tent for clarification on where I stood and was told that what ever my decision I would be backed up and that they agreed that it is Custom and Practice not to take a training aid in the ring, I was also informed that the 'toy' was actually a velcro treat bag and had therefore at some point had food in it and that the person in question had been putting judges in this difficult situation the whole show and being quite rude and confrontational when she didn't get her own way! - Great!
So I made my decision - as I couldn't eliminate him for running with it, but neither did I agree that he should be allowed to, I decided he could run at the end of the class when it had closed. I would stay in the ring to 'judge' him, but it would not be for competition. I thought this was more than fair - as promised I got a lip full from his mother, but I stayed calm, stood my ground and had my Ring Manager at hand to put me back in the ring where I belonged to start my class.
This lady whoever she is should be ashamed of herself, she claims the toy is to help the dog and boys confidence, but really she is just making a spectacle of them and by ranting and raving by the rings she is knocking their confidence and not doing her 'cause' any favours by alienating judges and fellow competitors.

Anyways that was a blip on an otherwise enjoyable day. I was pleased with how my courses ran and had lots of nice feedback. The Farrmhouse Cider I'd brought my ring party went down well... in fact a little too well! The Somerset Cider talk came out 'when yer ready, in yer own time (my lover)' and at one point I was waiting for the next dog on the line and my entire ring party were under the Gazebo with the Giggles. All in good fun - just glad I didn't touch the stuff until after I'd finished!

The following day I was back in the ring competing, had my dog's pictures taken for their photo-frame trophies and then headed home for a sleep before the KC Festival!

Results:
Wendy & Ryley - 1st, 1-3 Jumping
Wendy & Ryley - 3rd, 3-5 Jumping
Sarah & Elliot - 1st, G1-2 Jumping
Ant & Amy  - 3rd, G1-2 Agility
Ant & Amy - 7th, C1-2 Jumpng
Alex & Sonny - 3rd, 1-2 Agility
Alex & Sonny - 3rd, 1-2 Jumping
Gill & Mollyanna - 3rd, 1-4 Agility
Gill & Kassey - Clear, 1-4 Agility
Sarah & Jemma - Clear, Anysize Jumping
Gail & Stitch - 1st, 1-7 Jumping
Gail & Stitch - Clear, 4-7 Jumping
Stitch - 2nd, 4-7 Agility
Stitch - 2nd, 1-7 Jumping
Hex - 2nd, 6-7 Agility
Hex - 3rd, 6-7 Agility
Hex - 3rd, 6-7 Agility
Hex - 6th, 1-7 Jumping
Hex - 10th, 1-7 Jumping

WOW! Well done everyone!

Friday, 3 August 2012

Just a quick one

I 'd love to write loads about the Agility Club Show but it has dawned on me that I have left it too late as I leave the house early tomorrow not to return until after SWAT and will then be straight out the house again for the KC Festival.

So in short - we stayed at my Uncle Marks and enjoyed many a good meal there and I got to sleep in my favourite bed...although I had to share it with Hex & Voodoo.

I am still having tuning issues with Stitch at shows which I don't get in training, usually after a contact; I can only put this down to me over working them or him being worried about being put back on them if he gets them wrong so gives me a wide birth on the following jump which this weekend cost me a place at the Olympia Semis just 5 jumps from the end! Hex is working at full speed and I'm loving it, she's a little bit wide in places and also taking a pop at me when she can catch my hand up (thank goodness Dani had some Arnica Cream on board! - I now have my own.), but she is also doing very nice work on some very tricky courses and picking her tootsies up! The only thing which seemed to be off this weekend were her contacts which she has slowed down on and with no time to fix them, I'm hoping it was just a blip.



Agility Club Results:

Hex - 10th, G6 Agility
Hex - 15th, G6 Jumping with 5R!
Hex - Clear, C6-7 Crufts Singles Agility
Stitch - 2nd, C6-7 Jumping (Reserve for the 'If Only' Final)

South Devon Results:

Gill & Mollyanna - 4th, 1-3 Jumping
Gill & Mollyanna - Clear, Agility
Gill & Mollyanna - Clear, 1-7 Steeplechase
Anne & Stanley - Clear, Agility
Anne & Stanley - Clear, Jumping

UKA Results:


Jennine & Ruby - Clear on Saturday, Nursery Agility
Jennine & Ruby - 1st on Tuesday!!!, Beginners Steeplechase. Her first 1st just days after her first Clear

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Caerphilly: By Postman Chas

I arrived at Agility Training on Friday....or so I thought! I got out of Mummy's car and she handed Gail and Lesley a box with my favorite things in it (Food, treats, bowl, toy, the best doughnut bed in the world EVER). I barked at them to tell them to hurry up and stop faffing so we could play agility but they kept chin-wagging. The Skinner dogs started joining in with my barking, I think they wanted to get out and play agility too, they wouldn't be barking at me, of course.
My Mummy gave me a hug and a squeeze and left me with Gail, 'that's fine, Auntie Gail can play agility with me, she did earlier in the week' I thought. But Gail did not play with me, she put me in a crate next to Stitch and underneath Baby Elephant feet; Voodoo and we hit the road at about 3.30pm to go and see some Whales, which I know live in the sea, so I remained excited, because I like the beach.

There was no beach or Whales when we got to where we were going (after a small detour thanks to TomTom... not my Daddy Tom, he doesn't make mistakes.) but the Skinner Pack were excited to be where ever we were and the Skinner People made us a Garden to play in. Here we are waiting for further instructions on where to find the Whales:

Voodoo kept annoying me to play with him, he has big feet and I'm not sure what he thinks he is doing with them, but he kept bopping me on the head with them, I did tell him that I didn't like it, but he kept it up any way. Gail and Lesley told Voo he needed to stop hassling me but his Mummy Hex stayed out of it (too busy sunning herself), so I turned to my crate neighbour Stitch; he's actually alright you know. I wasn't sure I'd like him at first, he has an annoying voice and looks funny, but he knows how to deal with Voo and let me tag along on his walks and hang out in his part of the garden with him. 

I had a lovely Dinner that night, Gail knows just how my Mummy does it - she must be a mind reader!

The next morning we were up early and it turns out we were not going to see Whales, we were actually at a show to catch DRAGONS!!! I did not sign up for this! And where was my Mummy?! I'd hoped the Dragons hadn't got her. Stitch went out and got the first Dragon of the day, Dragon's aren't as scary as they are made out to be- they are quite small and stay relatively still. Here's me and Stitch making sure his stays put now that we've captured it!:


The Skinner's seemed very happy with their Dragon and as much as I was enjoying my walks and time in the caravan, I was starting to wonder if I'd get a go and catching a Dragon myself. Especially as Lesley seemed to have lost the knack of it with both Hex and Stitch. Apparently she kept coming really really close but little things kept going wrong. I went to bed Saturday night after a nice long walk with Stitch but still no more Dragons.

When Gail woke me up on Sunday morning she said it was MY turn to try and catch a Dragon, but that I'd have to wait until the afternoon. I waited patiently at the Caravan:
After Lunch Gail and Lesley took me in my cool coat to the next field and much to my delight I saw AGILITY! I wasn't sure what this had to do with the Dragons but I sure was excited to join a queue, 'maybe my Mum will turn up now so that we can have our go' I thought. As Gail took my lead off on the start line I started to realise my Mummy was not going to come and play with me, so I thought I'd give it my best shot with Gail (although I couldn't help thinking about where my Mummy could be on my way around the course). I did a clear round and that made lots of people smile and give me cuddles.

Not long after that run, I had an Agility run, I tried to be good for Gail and do my contacts, I did a lovely A-Frame but decided that I would then have some fun and played Diving Board on the Dog Walk - Gail didn't see the funny side and told me to do it again properly... for FREE, no treats! The cheek of it!

My third and final run was a jumping run again and as it was my last run I thought I'd give it my all, everybody was pleased with me when I did another clear round. Apparently this run had won me the opportunity to go and hunt a Dragon! Where was my sister when I needed her?! She loves chasing birds so the idea of Dragon hunting would no doubt delight her....or so I thought. It turns out the Dragons were hiding, yes HIDING from me in the Marquee - Not much of a hunt after all, the Judge from earlier in the day handed one to Gail and that was it. Gail told me my Mummy would be very happy with the Dragon (she needn't know that I only had to do some agility to capture it).


Here I am with my Dragon and the round I did to get it:







And here are some of my friends with their Dragons:



















We left later that day and I was reunited with my sister Zara to await my Mummy's return....I wonder if she saw any Whales?

Results:

Gail & Chas - 1st, 1-3 Jumping
Gail & Chas - 6th, 1-4 Jumping
Lesley & Stitch - 1st, 1-7 Circular Jumping
Lesley & Hex - 8th, 1-7 Collie Sprint
Mike & Bonnie - 2nd, 1-3 Jumping
Mike & Bonnie - Clear 1-3 Jumping
Ant & Amy - 3rd, 1-2 Agility
Ant & Amy - 10th, 1-2 Jumping
Gill & Mollyanna - 3rd, 1-3 Jumping
Gill & Kassey - Clear, 1-7 Circular Jumping
Gill & Kassey - Clear, 4-7 Jumping
Helen & Lily - Clear, 1-2 Jumping: Their first Clear and what an achievement with such a difficult dog!

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Mud Slinging

Tuffley!

One of my favourite shows of the year; great trophies and pretty rosettes, great company, a Cider Tent, lots of stalls, the beautiful backdrop of Berkeley Castle with a large exercise area but this year was different... I was ill and the show ground was threatened by a rising river and MUD!

Now, lots of shows have been disappointingly cancelled by rain and flooding this year but last weekend Lansdown went ahead (and I hear incurred costs of over £1,500 having everyone towed offsite in doing so). Tuffley also bravely opted to go ahead.

The entrance to the camping was trashed before Friday evening and people were being towed to their pitches from day one, by Saturday the path ways between rings resembled that of a festival and by Sunday the rings were holding some surface water (particularly Ring 7).

Spirits AT the show were reasonable high, Tuffley had a number of 4x4s assisting with moving people around and everybody seemed well prepared with waterproofs and a 'once you're wet, you're wet' attitude. I scribed for Dairin on Ring 7 on Saturday (it was all I was good for) and saw 2 handlers end up on their bottoms but not a single dog nose-dived (whilst I remember - Thank you to the A-SITters who lent a hand on this ring when the people who were down to help were nowhere to be seen).

What seemed to put a downer on what was otherwise a salvageable event were the comments made on Facebook about the 'risk' factors of the mud. People hiding behind their computer screens, 'trolling' as Matt puts it. I would say that pretty much everybody having a 'dig' at the organisers and competitors had not actually been to the show ground and seen the rings for themselves. There were a couple of pictures posted on Facebook but most were of the festival-type walk ways BETWEEN the rings, not actually of the rings. And people were therefore opting to stay at home based on that and other things they had read on the internet posted by people who weren't actually at the venue. Here is what I would say is an accurate picture of Tuffley at the END of the show (so at it's worst) taken by Debbie Fuller. You will see that the walk-way is trashed but that the rings still contain grass.
Judges carefully constructed their courses around the worst part of the rings which had been used the day before, if they are anything like me, they would have thrown away course plans which they had planned weeks in advance in favour of a course they designed on the spot using what they had in the way of ground and reducing any tight, twisting manoeuvres. Handlers ran through the muddier bits (and the odd puddle by Sunday) and dogs were left running on the green stuff.

For not the first time this year, we walked each course and made our decision on whether to run our dogs based on each individual course and how the ground was used in that ring. Anybody who knows me, knows that my dogs are the most precious thing in the world to me, I would do anything for them and love them with all my heart. So it is understandably upsetting to read comments on Facebook insinuating that people running their dogs at Tuffley didn't care for their dogs safety or love their dogs enough. Based on the fact that these people were not at the show to view the ground or courses for themselves I can only assume that they did not want to get their hair wet or their clothes muddy and therefore used the risk which they could not actually accurately assess as an excuse which reflects well on them and badly on others who were just trying to make light of a bad situation.

I don't know Kirsty Bennett but she wrote this on the Agilitynet Facebook page and I think it is a fair description of the show:
"Just back from a lovely day at Tuffley. Yes, it was wet and there was mud but we were safe enough and I saw no dogs slipping at all. Best of all, nobody was moaning!! We walked a course with a few puddles in it and everyone was joking about whether the puddles were part of the course instead of whinging about the position of the obstacles :) It was lovely! Most of the rings were just a bit muddy, not too wet and certainly no problem for my dogs or, miraculously, for me! Thank you to Tuffley for keeping the show going so I could make my own decision about running my dogs and to those of you who didn't come so I could get all my runs in before 12 and be home in time for an afternoon nap ;-) Definitely booking camping next year!"

In the past year Hex has hung herself on a tyre (below, for those who haven't seen it), spun herself off a dog walk and caught a jump at a funny angle putting her out of action for 5weeks, all 3 of these incidents happened on bright sunny days.


Coincidentally a dog also dislocated its hip on a tyre at the KC Festival the same year this video was taken (on a beautiful August day). Agility is a sport which contains an element of risk, (most sports do!) the weather can increase the risk, but it also increases the risk when you walk your dogs or throw a ball, even driving your dog to the vets has increased risks when you drive on wet roads or in the fog. The way my guys push each other around on walks (see video below) they'd be far more likely to injure themselves tearing around on a walk that day than under control for 30seconds in a ring. If you really don't want to put your dogs at risk, don't do agility! Do Obedience, if it's a Pedigree, then show it but don't judge me for letting my dogs do what they love best whether it's wet or not.
video


Some of the top handlers in the UK ran at Tuffley, if the conditions of the ring were that bad, do you really think that they would not only risk their Champ dogs, but also their reputations and in turn their careers for running their dogs in such conditions?

If you want unfavourable conditions let me take you to the European Opens 2010 in Liberec with the following video. I wasn't there, so I am unable to pass judgment based on media propaganda as to how bad the entire European Open was, but parts of the rings shown in these clips look pretty dire. A couple of dogs do slip and/or misjudge jumps (which often happens at most shows) but this video actually provides an extremely good look at how well our K9 Counterparts cope with uneven surfaces, wet surfaces and tight turns - you can see every limb and muscle working wonders in slow motion. We must remember that much like the vehicles towing everybody around the show ground, our dogs have '4 wheel drive' and are built for what they do. We on the other hand have two wheel drive; our brains, not our bodies are the strength of our species and that's why most of the competitors in this video end up flat on their arses!  

My dogs will always be pets first and foremost but I employ them to do a job and that job is agility, I give them holidays, I give them time off when they're sick and I pay them a pretty sweet wage in toys, livercake, food, walks, a roof over their heads, specialist treatments at SMART and they love their job raining or otherwise. Much like Sheep Dogs, Gun Dogs, Sniffer Dogs and Search & Rescue Dogs my dogs see Agility as their purpose and as working dogs they thrive in their working environment. 
The last show Sprite attended, his joints and kidneys were failing him, he had one eye, I had retired him 2 months prior and I decided to take him for a lead walk in lunch break, as we passed a ring he pulled on his lead and sat in front of a jump in the ring ready to start a run he was not physically able to do - nobody can tell me that my dogs would rather have a walk than go to a show and run.


This is not a well constructed piece of writing, despite my A-Level in English Literature I would still disappoint my teachers by not planning my piece, I just write things as they appear in my head and type it how I'd say it - hopefully it makes sense. Nobody made any comment DIRECTLY aimed at me, but that doesn't mean that their comments on open social networking sites and forums didn't have an effect on me. My main point I guess is that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, everybody has had different life experiences and have taken different life lessons from these, everybody's dogs are different, some more careful then others, some like the mud, some don't and that's fine. I respect that some people saw it as too much of a risk and wanted to stay warm and dry but some people stated OPINION as FACT and that's just wrong - suit yourself and don't sling mud based on the speculation and cynicism you have picked up from others; Negativity breeds negativity. Let those of us who want to sing in the rain do so. No matter where you go, or what the weather, always bring your own sunshine. (I am aware that my English teachers would now be disappointed with my use of punctuation).


Tuffley Results:


Anthony & Amy - 6th, G1 Jumping
Gill & Kassey - 9th, 1-7 Jumping
Gail & Stitch - 1st, 6-7 Jumping
Gail & Stitch - 1st, 1-7 Jumping
Gail & Stitch - 3rd, 6-7 Agility
Gail & Stitch - 4th, 1-7 Agility
Gail & Hex - 11th, 1-7 H/Skelter
Gail & Hex - 20th, 1-7 Jumping

Monday, 9 July 2012

Lansdown

Lansdown used to be a show I really enjoyed; although usually there were only 2 runs per dog, I really enjoyed the atmosphere and a good boogie at the evening Disco.
Last year I came to realise that actually, I only properly enjoyed the show as part of the Club running it. Once I left Clifton I no longer could camp in the inside enclosure and Ring 1 seemed that much further from the camping and Ring 7 seemed that much further from the day parking.
2 Runs per dog hardly seemed worth the effort, so instead of going to the hassle and expense of getting my camping stuff together I would day-run the show, therefore missing out on any evening entertainment...which for all I know, no longer goes on?
But it is relatively local which means I can go and support lots of A-SIT members and this year there were 3 runs available for each of my dogs!
Don't get me wrong, it's not that I don't like the show, it's just that it's no longer one of the shows I look forward to each year and when something has lost it's special appeal, it seems almost more disappointing than if it had never been special in the first place.

Anyways this year A-SIT were asked to run a ring party on the Sunday which with our growing club numbers I estimated to be no problem at all. I took a show of hands and we agreed to it, thinking it would be a good way to make the show special again and raise some funds for the club's gazebo.
Running a ring as a club can be good fun and a nice social team building exercise, the only problem is that most of our members are new to agility and are therefore all in the same classes disappearing to walk courses at the same time and also have not done any ring partying before! So every time I got excited about it, I then got equally nervous. On Saturday I was then given more of a reason to panic when I had another attack of what I have now had diagnosed as Pancreatitis. I have been told that when I have these attacks I should go straight to A&E to be admitted to Ward 2 and monitored until they pass, but I figured I could monitor myself and that providing I stayed seated I would be no better off in hospital than I would in a score tent (less the drip) so Mum reluctantly drove me back to the show Sunday to manage my Ring from a chair. Was it stupid? Yes, apparently extremely stupid, but it was worth it? - Our Ring ran like a dream.

We were never short of staff or smiles, we received compliments on our cheery nature from the competitors and from the judge on our efficiency in running the classses and changing the courses. Our judge, Paul, was coincidentally also a happy chappy when you consider the weather conditions and that he had to keep tweaking his courses.

A special thanks must go out to Claire, Rosie and Jennine (along with her daughter Emily) who came out to help in the rain even though they didn't have any dogs entered at the show and to Mike & Anne who have only just joined us, added their names to our helpers list just the week before and offered our Judge a great amount of help first thing Sunday morning when Mum and I were running late because of my struggle just getting to the show as well as helping throughout the day. O and Sarah C who helped Paul set up Saturday evening.

Thank you Ring Party! I know I could only bark orders from a chair but I really, really appreciate every single persons contributions and the understanding and concern everyone showed for my lack of mobility, we could not have done it without each and every one of you and we have been invited back to run a ring next year, which I have accepted knowing that if we did that good of a job this year with THAT weather, depleting numbers and an incapacitated Ring Manager - well, we can handle anything!

RESULTS (taken from Agility Club website so sorry if I've missed anyone, let me know and I'll add you on!):

Anne & Chas - 2nd, 1-3 Jumping
Anne & Chas - Clear
Anne & Zara - Clear, G3 (Their 1st Clear round at their 2nd Show)
Gill & Mollyanna - 3rd, 1-3 Jumping
Gill & Mollyanna - 4th, 1-3
Gill & Mollyanna - Clear, 1-3
Anthony & Amy - Clear, G1 Agility
Gail & Stitch - 2nd, 6-7 Jumping
Myself & Stitch - Clear, 4-7 Jumping
Gail & Hex - 14th, 6-7 Jumping



Thursday, 21 June 2012

Barnstaple

Sticking to my guns and avoiding the Top Barn venue, I was going to miss Golden Valley and have a weekend off last week, however a couple of days before the closing date I decided to enter Barnstaple, knowing it wasn't far from me and I'd feel I was missing out if I didn't do SOMETHING!

Even before the show I was very glad I entered Barnstaple, Hex had been cleared by the SMART Clinic to work again and I couldn't wait to have her back in the ring. She did a short training session at Medium height on Friday and one at Large on Saturday to prepare for Sunday. She was so happy to be allowed to play again!

In the exercise area Hex was wearing her 'show clothes' and air scenting for the rings (which were in the next field), she then towed Mum all the way to me! We made some silly mistakes in her first run but she was jumping tight, fast and accurate so I was very happy! In her Agility she had the first pole down but the rest of the run was smooth and faultless, she blasted around the Helter Skelter clear but wide in a couple of places finishing 11th and FLEW around the Collie Jumping, but took her own line 2 jumps from the end. I have my noisy red-head back! I am taking care to stretch and warm her up before runs and just hope that she can take care of herself in the ring!

Stitch won 3 out of his 4 classes and yes, the one we didn't win was the bloomin' agility!!! Argh! To be honest we didn't deserve his first win; it was the 4-7 Jumping and after preaching to my clients all week about telling your dog WHERE a tunnel is before telling them 'tunnel', I proceeded to just shout 'go weave' to Stitch without giving him the faintest idea where they were! Bad handler!
His agility he had the 3rd pole down, he did lovely contacts, but self released 2 of them so I put him back, his next 2 runs were blasty courses which he took full advantage of and throughly enjoyed himself. I had lots of lovely comments about how well we looked together which is great because I am feeling more like a team with him so it's nice to know it shows.

Since sharing my runs on YouTube I have had a couple of blind cross jokes made at my expense. So here it is - 'Hi, my name's Lesley and sometimes, just sometimes I do blind crosses!'. I do not recommend that you take your eyes off your dog, particularly when they are moving at speed, I think Blind Crosses are a LAST resort and should always have a clear, correct pick up (which I am aware I did not give Stitch, I thought he'd be longer in that tunnel!), but having weighed up the options with Stitch and having consulted with his previous handler, it was the only option I had with THAT dog on THAT course. With Hex I could have done a reverse turn/front cross, I had more time (which is how I walked it!), but I fell naturally into a blind cross having already done it with Stitch. It is my opinion that you should arm yourself with as many handling moves as possible so you are prepared for any situation, even if you only use them once in your life and for that reason I teach blind turns to my client's at A-SIT always telling them it is a LAST resort and cringing and instructing them when they do them at inappropriate times or without a correct and clear pick up on the new arm.

Moving on; it was a lovely friendly show with a fun relaxed atmosphere and a feeling of the way shows used to be and for that reason I recommend it... even though for a moment it looked like there would be no toilets, no tannoy and a muddy trek from the cars to the rings, but things (including the weather), sorted themselves out.

Results:

@Barnstaple:
Stitch - 1st, 4-7 Jumping
Stitch - 1st, 1-7 Steeplechase
Stitch - 1st, 1-7 H/Skelter
Hex - 11th, 1-7 H/Skelter
Stu & Ru - 1st, G1-2 Agility, taking them up to Grade 2 at their first KC Show!
Alex & Sonny - Clear, 1-7 H/Skelter

@Golden Valley
Wendy & Ryley - 3rd, G3 Jumping

@SANDS UKA 
Mike & Rio - 1st, Senior Agility
Mike & Rio - 1st, Senior Jumping
Mike & Rio - 2nd, Senior Agility
Michelle & Whistler - Clear, Beginners Steeplechase

Friday, 15 June 2012

Blown Away

Blown away by the wind
Blown away by Stitch
Blown away by the support of friends
Blown away by the results
Consider me well and truly wind swept and gob smacked!

The weekend didn't start all that well; I was a bit dubious about towing the caravan in the high winds but as it was I needn't have worried as we weren't really going fast enough for it to effect us, the 2 and a half hour took 4hrs and after teaching most of the day in the rain I was rather pooped by the time we had unhitched and settled down.

The next morning though I was well rested and so began the Bitz and Bobz show. Stitch gave me a huge shock that day, breaking his wait for the first time with me and then proceeding to ignore every instruction I gave him. There was a party in Ring 2 and I was not invited. Initially I was just embarrassed, but then I was starting to think 'what if he does that in the Final on Sunday in front of everybody and with a commentator commentating his every mistake?!'. As it was he got his act back together in his next run and won it - Panic over.

The next day we had the Final running at the same time as the Chipping Norton show, I had decided I was going to try and run as many of my runs as possible as long as they didn't interfere with the final and I managed to get all 3 of them done and win 2 of them, unfortunately this success did not continue into the Finals ring. Along with most dogs Stitch was lured out of the weaves in the Invitation Jumping, the judge set the same trap in the Agility Final, so I had to decide if I was going to handle it the same as I did in the jumping on weave him on the other side where he would see the jump better, but with me on the other side he would hopefully think we were going another way...WRONG... he still jumped that jump...twice! Argh! In fact with most dogs either missing the entry or coming out the end early, there was only 1 dog that went Clear; A well deserved win from our new friends Anne and Stanley.

video

I was still really pleased with how Stitch and I ran, his contacts were stunning and my nerves only nearly took me the wrong way once! Overall I felt comfortable (not quite confident) and I had fun, which is what it's all about anyway!

Usually I''m at Thames this weekend in the year, a show which I really enjoy (mainly for the evening entertainment!) but I didn't feel I was missing out because the days we had in Chipping Norton more than made up for it. We were surrounded by lots of lovely friendly people and we were very lucky with the weather, it was a great weekend and if I am lucky enough to qualify the DARL Final again next year then I will be there!

Results:
@ Bitz & Bobs
Stitch - 1st, C1-7 Jumping

@Chipping Norton
Stitch - 1st, G1-7 Jumping
Stitch - 1st, C1-7 Jumping

@ Thames
Sarah & Narla - 12th, G1 Agility
Sarah & Ru - 14th, G1 Agility


Thursday, 7 June 2012

Jovial Jubilee Times

I have taken home from Wye Valley a lot of good memories as well as a cluster of rosettes.

I left for the show excited at the Jubilee Celebrations planned at the SWAT Camp but also on a low that Hex was still out of action, I was excited that Voodoo would be able to meet up with his litter mates but low that it would probably be in the pouring rain.

We arrived on Friday at set up in the helpers camping; lovely ringside camping  which would later in the week form SWAT's Jubilee street party. Saturday morning started on a high; I won the 1-7 Jumping which in turn qualified us for the Superstars Final in the evening. Being so close to the rings meant that I didn't see much of the A-SITters to talk to but I did see lots of runs and I was so proud of what I saw, some really confident handling and some really happy dogs which either ended in good results or near misses. I should really carry our Camera on me more often... but I find it hard enough keeping up with my blogs, let alone video editing and publishing!

The Superstars Final was great fun. 20 Obstacles spread out over the space of 2 rings. All I had to do wasgo clear in the first round as it wasn't timed. Stitch was a little bit cheeky and self released his A-Frame, so I put him into a down to tell him I meant business, he ignored this and self released his seesaw, but by the 2nd seesaw he had got the message and by the 2nd A-Frame our contacts were perfect again and so we qualified for the 2nd round. The second round was timed and was going well, until about half way round when I found Stitch barking at me and not taking my direction on to the next jump resulting in a 5R and in turn an elimination as I carried on. Apparently un-beknown to me the commentator had called 'Stitch', 'Sprite'. We have no idea how or why as I don't know the commentator, maybe other forces are at work, who knows? It would be nice to think my boy was in there with us...even if it did cost us the round ; )

After the Final Anthony, Helen and Barbara had offered to cook us dinner, I went over expecting a hot meal and was greeted by a FEAST, a full spread, party atmosphere and a delicious pudding, we sat out under the Gazebo with other members and had a good laugh and a couple of drinks. I must really thank the Bray's for the generosity and hospitality, we all had a good night and went home smiling.

Sunday was not initially such a good day for us, the weather had taken a turn for the worse and I just wasn't in the same place that I was the day before. I didn't think it showed in my handling but Stitch obviously thought it did because he was doubting my instruction, a query in front of a tunnel in the Agility cost us what would have undoubtedly been our win to Champ but it wasn't meant to be and there will be other Agilitys out there for us.

As the day was drawing to an end the question on every SWAT members lips was 'is the party going ahead?', we had all the food ready but the rain wasn't holding back. We decided that as hardy agility folk we WOULD go ahead! The food stayed dry in Vicky's awning and we got wet out on the 'street' which was beautifully decorated. The little SWATlets had their faces painted and we all joined in with party games, until we were eventually left with our wine bottles empty and sitting in puddles of rain water which had gathered in our chairs; big smiles all round and many happy memories.

I got myself back together on Monday with a fast fun 2nd in the Collie Sprint and just a silly mistake in the power and speed. 

Here are the results I know of:

Stitch - 1st, 2nd & 3rd in Various Classes plus a qualifying as a 'Superstar'
Gill & Mollyanna - 1st in the 1-7 Poodle Class & 2 other Clears (Just out of the placings!)
Gill & Kassey - Clear
Sarah & Narla - 3rd 1-7 ABC, 12th 1-7 Power & Speed & a Clear
Sarah & Ru - 2x 10th's and a Clear
Alex & Sonny - Couple of top 10 places (I want to say a 9th and a 6th?) and other Clears 


  

Monday, 21 May 2012

Another cold, wet weekend in May

I wasn't going to enter BATs, it's such a long way away, but after that costly mistake at Kernow, I decided to make the trip for another Olympia qualifier for Stitch.
We combined the trip with a visit to my Gran the day before. Mum, myself, Hex, Stitch and Voodoo descended on her Luton property Saturday afternoon, Voodoo immediately rolled in cat poo, my Gran provided a watering can and some Herbal Essence to clean him off. I remember once reading that Herbal Essence (or the people that made it) tested on animals, I felt some guilt as I squeezed out the shampoo, then some relief because if it had been tested on animals, at least Voodoo would be safe from boils and loss of fur.

We went to bed after a lovely roast chicken dinner and awoke nice and early for the show.

First class of the day - Hex's 6-7 Jumping; a nice clear, but I got a jump ahead of myself at 15 and went to send her round the back of a jump she was supposed to be going over! I'd managed to save if for the clear but had wasted to much time to be placed.
Then the qualifier with Stitch - I have been using the sports psychology exercises I learnt on the Louise Ellis training day which SWAT held and as such I went into the ring feeling positive. Stitch put in a stonking clear and went into 3rd place, the dog leading the class had already qualified so we just had to hold on to 3rd, unfortunately, it was not meant to be, we ended up 7th (less than a second off the qualifying time). I've played the run back in my head, there is one space I felt I could have saved a little time, but probably not enough.

The rest of the day went quickly, Stitch put in another good run in the very difficult jumping, only for me to pull him out of the weaves too soon, Hex went lame so I took her for an onsite massage and then Stitch partied in his last run - absolute chaos! Voodoo met lots of other dogs and puppies and enjoyed the day and got 2 new toys, he went home a tired and happy chap.

Results:

@BATs
Stitch - 7th, C6-7 Agility
Hex - Clear, C6-7 Jumping

@Worcester
Wendy & Ryley - 3rd, 1-3 Jumping at their first show!

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

North Somerset Show

I am sorry for the absence of posts, a lot has gone on in the past 5 months which I have had difficulty getting through, around, over... I know I have missed results from shows for both me and A-SITers. Off the top of my head, Sarah and Elliot have been winning stuff at UKAs, so have Wendy and Ryley and Gill & Mollyanna had a win at a limit show, Anne and Chas and Rosie and Freddie have also been collecting rosettes. And I am sorry for not acknowledging these on the blog sooner or having an exact record of the results but I hope to be back on form now!!

 Monday we went to the North Somerset Show in Wraxall to stand out in the cold, wet and MUD! It was not a pleasant day at all but I smiled the whole day through. Lots of A-SITers there doing well (some making their debuts) and despite having not seen Stitch for nearly a month, I felt we were a good team and I had Hex back after her LONG break having babies. Everything just seemed to be as it should.

Results:
Anne & Chas - 1st, 1-3 Jumping
Stitch - 1st, 5-7 Jumping
Julie & George - 3rd, 1-3 Jumping (They're first show!!!)
Anthony & Amy - 7th, 1-2 Agility
Gill & Mollyanna - Clear, 1-3 Jumping
Gill & Kassey - Clear, 4-7 Jumping

So well done everybody! Also well done to Anne and Zara who were only 2 jumps away from a Clear at her first show.

And a get well soon to Jennine who broke her finger holding somebody else's lunging dog and to Maggie who had a recent trip to Hospital.

Next week I am judging at Blackdown show, I hope the weather has something better in mind! I have finalised all my courses and can't wait to see you guys on them!

Here's a little taste of the North Somerset Show for those of you who missed it .

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Happy New Year!

Wow, 2011 just flew by!

Well....the first part did. I hit a brick wall in September where a number of events within the space of a week turned my life upside down and back to front (and not in the fun rollercoaster way).

I am not the sort of person to talk about 'negative' feelings, I don't often cry and I keep the things that mean a lot to me very close to my chest. I don't like to think of people watching or judging me, I admire people who can be more open when they are feeling low - I'd probably cause myself a lot less trouble if I just opened up.

I spoke to only a handful of people about September's series of events and how they were effecting me and I thank those people for their support, time and understanding (you know who you are). By mid October and a 'Ctrl-Alt-Del' later things were looking up again and following Hex's season and successful mating the world started wizzing by again. Now I'm in a new house with my long suffering boyfriend (of nearly 8 years) with my furry family and little furry cupcakes on the way. I am VERY happy... but am wary that things can NOT possibly continue to go that well for me so I am watching my steps and my back!

As a club, we are really growing in members and in abilities and achievements. At the Christmas Meal we reflected on the highlights of 2011; it really has been a good year for us and the compliments I have had from people on my members handling, enthusiasm, helpfulness ringside and the general vibe we give off has been fantastic and as I said at the meal; all reflects well on ME, so thank you : )

I am really looking forward to seeing the 'class of 2011', continue to grow and achieve and the 'class of 2012' make their debuts.

I have decided this year to cut back on the amount of shows I do and stick to the ones I enjoy. I hope to have Hex back in action by Mid-End of May and want to ensure that we have FUN! I am also doing more judging this year, I usually do one or two appointments a year, I have taken on more with a mind to raise our profile, cut my costs and give back to the sport, especially as I know that with the new KC ruling on judging family members, shows are going to find it more difficult to cover some classes.

So that's what I 'm up to this year. But what will you be up to? Set yourself some goals, they don't have to be big, just think about what's important to you for example my goals are:

- To take Stitch to Champ level
- Qualify Stitch for a Semi &/or Final
- Bring Hex back up to full fitness by mid year and start where we left off
- To have more fun and put less pressure on myself at shows

If there is a goal you would like to discuss with me, if you would like help setting your goals, just let me know. I am here to help.

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year and a fun and successful 2012.

xXx


I will leave you with some pictures of the Christmas meal taken by Anthony (Thanks Ant):