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Monday, 28 June 2010

Contacts, contacts..........Eureeka!!!!!!

1 of my favourite shows last weekend. Set in the centre of Bath Racecourse, Lansdown is friendly, relaxed and you have miles of racecourse to walk the dogs. It was a scorcher too, and quite hard keeping the dogs cool and comfortable, so the paddling pool was definitely my best bargain of the year so far.

Lily had a mental blonde moment in the jumping on Saturday, starting brilliantly and then at fence 8 picked up a tunnel that was nowhere near where my shoulders were facing, but it was all she could see, and as she then came out playing and goading me like a puppy I took her out the ring. The Agility was a different story though, and she had a lovely run, ending in 5th place. Her dog walk was a bit slow on the down plank, being extra cautious Lily, but her Seesaw and A frame were brilliant. Stopped dead and didn't self release.

Olli had a clear in jumping, but his agility was short & sweet. Having struggled for months to sort his contacts, and him always doing them perfectly at home and in training, I decided my only option was to give him no chances at all in the ring. If he doesn't stop on the contact he gets removed from the ring. I did it last week at Golden Valley, and Saturday at Lansdown, the 3rd obstacle was the dog walk, Olli ran off the end and I marched him out the ring. So frustrating but I had to stick to my guns.

Sunday he had an Agility run and then in the afternoon an ABC Qualifier, which was a daunting prospect, especially having to take him out the ring again if he missed his contact. Grade 4 agility, he flew across the dog walk and stopped dead!!! I nearly screamed with delight! Seesaw perfect, and finally the A frame, which he normally stops on top and barks at me, slammed his feet down and nailed it!! We were eliminated as I was so thrilled i took the wrong course, but I didn't care. As always with Olli, he takes a while to fully understand what you want, but when he does he is great! ABC qualifier, I was bricking it on the start line, but was still determined to stick to my rules. Olli knew what to do and he nailed his contacts, perfect 2 on 2 off and went clear, ending up 13th out of 230 dogs, a lot of which are higher grades as ABC covers grades 1 to 7. We may not have qualified but I have never been happier.

This weekend Tuffley and 2 novice qualifiers and another ABC. Must not get my expectations too high!

Monday, 21 June 2010

The spanner has turned!!

Beautiful weather and a nice show at Golden Valley Worcester. The camping was a bit close together, but luckily we had nice neighbours so it was ok.

Set up and settled to watch England game Friday eve and it was a bit pants. Our flags were flying, but England just couldn't get that win we so want them to get.

Saturday and Lily was ace, stopping on her contacts and placed 6th in Grade 5 agility!

Olli also clear but by the skin of his teeth on his contacts, and unplaced. We then had Grade 4/5 jumping and both dogs had good clears, but I have to say Olli's run was probably the best yet. I had goose bumps as he cleared the last, and he beat Lily by 2.5 seconds!!!! Olli 10th, Lily unplaced, and at only his 2nd Grade 4 show, 170 dogs in the class, half of which were grade 5!!

Sunday and Olli was naughty with contacts so removed from the ring, but again went into the jumping like a bullet, and once again beat Lily to 14th place!! He was amazing to run. Just need to sort out his contact work and I don't think he will hang around in Grade 4.
Lily had a pole in Agility but again held her contacts so I was very pleased.
Dave and Cove were both good boys for Fern, with Dave coping with a very busy ringside, almost calmly!!

Twiggy was just Twiggy. Sweet, fun, easy and loads more confidence around the rings. Really pleased with her continued progress and lovely giving personality.

Monday, 14 June 2010

Trying to find the positives.

It was sad leaving home on Friday setting off to Thames because Roger had to work the weekend so couldn't come with us. I always feel like a bit of me missing when Rog not with me, but I had Fern and Luke for company, and the 7 dogs of course so we arrived in warm sunshine and set up camp. It was the first time for a while that we actually camped with a group of friends, all from our club, so Friday I invited them all round and we had a barbie. It was fun and a good start to the weekend.
Saturday both dogs had 3 runs each, 2 agility and 1 jumping and we had a lot of mistakes. Olli missing weaves, knocking poles and Lily leaping off her A frame without a glance at "the white bit" and me losing my way in the jumping. Rubbish start but I managed to get both dogs round the 3-5 Agility clear with Lily ending up 14th thanks to me losing a few seconds concentration at the last 2 fences.
Sunday and Olli had 5 faults in jumping with Fern, 5 faults in the KC Olympia Q with Fern and eliminated in the agility. Lily had a good clear but unplaced in 5-7 jumping, 10 faults in G5 Agility and 5 faults in the Qualifier. I was dissappointed as her time in the qualifier was 2nd place.
All in all, both dogs made silly mistakes, missing contacts and not 100% focused and I felt deflated.
So to the positives.
Lilys weaves are still perfect, from any angle and very fast. Her turns are also tightening up when I give her the right cues, and she has only been Grade 5 for a few weeks so not doing bad at all. She is still my star girl.
Olli has amazing weaves now too, 99 times out of 100, and his turns are incredible. He also manages to make us laugh on a regular basis with his capers!
Twiggy now enjoys walking around the rings, tail up and ears pricked now, and will happily play tuggy with me regardless of the crowds and dogs around her, and managed to cope with our friends round for the barbie on Friday, even saying hello quite confidently. She is blossoming into a lovely cheeky happy girl.
Dave also queued calmly to be measured, and he is a medium. He then sat between 2 very busy rings and didn't go off on one! Focused on Fern and walked around like he has suddenly grown up.
Cove is turning into a very lovely, obedient intelligent boy, who totally loves Fern, and although quite mental at the rings, it is pure excitement and drive, which is fab to see.
A lot of our friends did very well over the weekend, some qualifying for Olympia semis, and winning up the grades, and it was lovely to share that with them.
So its all experience, and Thames is now over. Next show to concentrate on now in Worcester this weekend, where we will try it all again!

Monday, 7 June 2010

Hinckley and thunder storms!!

What a lot happened this weekend!!
In a nutshell............

Olli developed an ear infection and so wasn't really focusing, so missed contacts and missed weave entries Saturday, but then 10 faults in Novice Qualifier, 1 pole down in G4 jumping, and 21st place in Agility!! 250 dogs in the class, so very pleased with Olli 1 ear!

Lily hates the heat, and it was very hot Saturday, so 2 scrappy runs, followed by a 12th in Agility! Sunday we had a cracking go at G5-6 jumping, set by my good friend and 1 of my idols Mark Laker (Idol as in he is great with his dogs, a good trainer along with Karen his better half, and I admire them both, not like Johnny Depp type idol...........(sorry Mark)) but I was so thrilled Lily had avoided all the traps I relaxed for a split second with 1 fence to go and she took the final trap!!! My fault entirely, but I was still thrilled with the run as there were not many clears. Then 9th in G5 Agility, and 12th in Novice Olympia Qualifier! She is so consistent!!! I love her to bits.

Saturday night there were about 4 storms going on around us, and we sat in the awning and watched for over an hour. Brilliant lightening in all directions, illuminating the skies.

Sunday and we met up with the Mitchells, who had fostered Twiggy and it was a lovely reunion. Although it took a second, Twiggy suddenly realised who they were and didn't know who to cuddle first!! Really good to see them, and also so lovely to hear them say how lovely, fit and happy Twiggy looked with me.
Sunday lunchtime and we took Cove to meet up with his brother Boss, Dave Munnings dog, and they loved each other! Had a good play around, and then posed for photos, and I must say they are 2 very handsome boys. (Cove and Boss, not Dave & Boss! lol) Dave was lovely as ever though, and it really made the weekend.

The 5 and half hour drive home didn't seem a chore after such a fun and eventful time.
Oh and just for laughs, Stanley managed to break out the caravan Saturday afternoon and go for a stroll. We were queuing for a class when we heard over the tannoy........."Has anyone lost a black & white terrier, full tail, looks like quite an elderly gentleman..." and before they got to "with pricked ears" Rog was running to the secretarys tent to collect him. We laughed a lot. Such wonderful times with great dogs and lovely people.