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