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Thursday, 28 April 2011

What a weekend!

Not sure where to start with this one. Too many wonderful dogs to brag about, which I cant help because they are the best dogs in the world :-) So a brief round up. 
I set off to Kernow on Thursday, towing Nellie caravan alone. Rog and I had  a lot of equipment for customers, which needed delivering to Kernow, so he had to drive his own van loaded up, and Fern had to work the morning so as it was on route Rog picked her up on the way.
Stunning weather, and after a very noisy 20 miles at the start, the other 70 were peaceful, and I arrived safe & sound at Wadebridge show ground. (The noisy 20 miles will be explained later) 
Rog & Fern arrived 2 hours later and we finished setting up camp. I was actually quite proud of myself. I had managed to level Nellie, get fridge on, plumb the water in, and although I couldnt manage the awning alone, that and the fencing didnt take long with the three of us. Relaxed in the sun with a cold beer and looked forward to 3 days competing.
 Cove started the weekend with a silly un focused round again, and I felt so sorry for Fern and frustrated. He just looked so different to the dog we have racing around our training field! Fern then took him to the practice ring, and unbelievably he was amazing!! The practice ring is right in the middle of all the other rings, so the only thing difference could be Ferns attitude. So I suggested Fern ran the next class for fun, and not to stop or send Cove back over missed weaves or jumps, just get from start to finish  keeping him happy. From that moment on Cove suddenly clicked. 14th and a 7th followed!! Then On Saturday 2 fabulous runs left Fern holding 2 second place trophies!!!! We were over the moon. They were starting to look like a lovely partnership, and the un focused Cove became a distant memory. Sunday and a stunning neat jumping round gave them their first win!!!! 5 clears, and all placed, 3 in the trophies, now thats what I call fantastic!!!!

Twiggy has similar issues with Focus, although for slightly different reasons, so I ended up making my own courses up just to keep her flowing and happy, and we had 2 virtual clears :-) She loves it or I wouldnt ask her to do it, but she does worry where everyone else is while she is in the ring. Still so amazed with how she has come on in the short time I have had her, so the future holds a lot of promise.

Olli was a star, and for the first time had a whole weekend without knocking a pole. He had not been a pole knocker last season but had started catching first poles in the last few weeks. I tried setting him up at different distances but nothing seemed to work. Then last week I noticed him standing with a hind leg at a funny angle. Not lame or bothered but I think he had a tweaked muscle. This weekend he was on fighting form again, and although his over exuberance sent him flying off the end of his dog walk,so no agility qualifier for him, he had some lovely clears, and a 6th and 7th in jumping. Happy boy :-)

Lily is without doubt my superstar, and extremely fit this year. I am still struggling to get my timing right with her, so wide turns are still there, but less than before. She had some stunning runs, and a 4th in G6 jumping, however the best for me was her Large Agility Stakes qualifier. The start was so tricky I loved it! Every handler in that class, stood scratching their heads between the start and obstacle 5. It was a very handly start and after about 5 different routes went through my head I decided on the way to handle it and hoped I could connect with Lily to get it right. Dog after dog suffered elimination before the dog walk, obstacle 5, and some top handlers were out. 20 dogs ran before the first clear round, and it was proving a real nightmare! I was near the end with Lily, and Dawn, Andy, Linda, Kate were all clear (All Grade 7 dogs and world class handlers!) I set Lily on the start line and prayed. She was totally wonderful and as we hit the dogwalk I was grinning like a Cheshire cat!!!! That was the bit I wanted to get and we nailed it. Still clear until I hesitated with the turn to the weaves and she missed the first pole, but just 5 faults in that course was better than I  ever expected!! Only 8 clear rounds over all. Fab weekend with fabulous dogs as always. Another 180 miles done.

Which brings me back to the noisy start to our journey to Kernow.
For the last 5 weeks I have been visiting a lovely family with an unexpected litter of 8 collies! I was passing info around, and generally advising them on worming, feeding etc, all the while not intending to have a puppy myself. Probably my least favourite of them all was the very pale blue merle boy, with a very white face....................so meet and welcome to the Feroda family. George!!!!

 Dont ask me why, he chose me and was pretty insistent on it. He was also a gift, so how could I refuse??!! I had also managed to sell another one of his brothers to an agility friend of mine in Cornwall, so from our house for about 25 miles last thursday morning I had to screaming howling balls of fluff in the van along with my gang. No matter how loud I turned the radio up, they could go louder!!!! Thankfully they fell asleep eventually or I would have been a bit frayed around the edges!!
So a new beginning for me, as I have never trained an agility dog from a pup. My dogs aren't doing bad being trained from juniors but I am looking forward to this blank canvass.
Rog has now put Parental Locks on my computer!!! NO RESCUE SITES, NO PUPPY PHOTOS!!!!!!! 
Off to Newbury later today for some fun UKA training with Cove & Twiggy, and another go at the Masters with Lily. I love my dogs so much it will be another fab Feroda weekend whatever happens.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Where does the time go?

Sorry, I have been so busy I have slacked off the blog. Not intentional, but Feroda Agility is busy so I am painting weaves, styling walls, painting dog walks and answering lots of enquiries. Its also been year end time for the business, and the business I work for so accounts, tax and VAT have taken over. Also the agility season is in full swing at last, and with the lighter evenings I have been training the gang, and sorting caravan etc so lots of excuses! :-)
On 3rd April we went to Carn Brea for our 1st KC show of the year. All the dogs did well, Cove had his 1st clear in agility, Twiggy weaved 6 weaves in the ring for the first time, after 1 missed entry so had 5 faults in her first G3 jumping, Olli was clear in steeplechase and Lily was 6th in jumping so all in all a good start. For once it stayed fine down there apart from a brief hail storm, and as usual it was a lovely friendly show, and the first time we caught up with a lot of our agility mates. Looking forward to the next Carn Brea in May. 232 miles added.
We had a weekend off then and it was gorgeous almost summer weather so apart from working on equipment we chilled out, had fun with the dogs, Lolly came up on the Sunday and trained Flynn with us before we all stuffed our faces with a roast dinner, and we visited a gorgeous litter of puppies that I have been helping with.
This weekend we were away to Newbury again for Wallingford show, which is probably the first "big" show for us. The weather was amazing! Sun cream was needed, and even had to pour water on the dogs backs and use the cooler coat!
Twiggy was great fun. She has this lovely little trait of worrying and wanting to know where Fern is when she is halfway round a course. It makes me giggle as I know its something she will grow out of and nothing to worry about, although she would have a few clear rounds under her belt if she didnt get sidetracked! I am thrilled though, that at a show that size, with all those rings and people everywhere, she is bouncy happy and such a different girl now. A few 5 fault rounds and a few eliminations but fantastic enthusiasm and my best little girl.

Olli was his usual hyper self, and a bit over zealous in his agility, missing a contact and barking his head off with excitement, but then 2 brilliant jumping rounds, 1 5 faulter because he struggles with spread jumps, but a great clear round to finish the weekend. Love that boy to bits.
His character is so special. At one point on Saturday, he was in the camp garden and Fern and I went along to chat to neighbours so Olli stood up at the fence. I turned and told him to wait and get off the fence so he didnt demolish it, and so he disappeared back behind the fence. 5 minutes later Fern and I went back, and as we walked through the gate, this embarrassed face looked up from the window of the caravan. We had left the door open, so Olli had gone in and chilled out on the sofa! He looked so funny as he realised he had been caught and had nowhere to hide!!
Lily was just incredible this weekend. She put 100% into every run, and we had a couple of potential winning rounds, had I not miss timed commands or directionals. She is so tuned into me she did as I asked, and I got us faults. So frustrated with myself!! However I had started the season with a goal to not go for clears but pick bits of courses that were tricky and see if I could handle them well, with confidence and feel proud of those bits. I did that in the Grade 6 agility on Saturday and we had a lovely clear! Not just clear but 5th place out of 138 dogs! I was over the moon. Sunday, again a tricky jumping course, so I picked obstacles 12 to 18 (the finish) to try and handle well. I did it, Lily was as genuine and trusting as ever and we had another clear. Can not describe my feelings and total admiration for this dog.
Cove is showing that he is not really as confident or mature as we thought he was. He struggles to focus in the ring, much to Ferns frustration, and although he managed some good moments, good contacts and some flowing sequences he also got distracted easily, missed obstacles and even forgot how to weave!! He is still an amazingly talented young dog, with the most loving temperament, stunning personality and a huge part of our family and I know he will start to shine soon, and hopefully put a huge smile on Ferns face, but its going to take patience. A great show, some amazing results in our group too, including Flynn winning Grade 3 jumping!!! Totally made my weekend. Stunning dog, and well deserved win which I know is going to be the first of many. 252 miles to add. So thats the last 2 weeks done. 3 more days and we are off to Kernow for 1 of my favourite 3 day shows of the year. All us mad girls together, lots of qualifiers to try, and looking like a warm dry weekend again!!