We spent 4 days at Newbury, when the Royal Wedding was taking place. 3 days of UKA to train the youngsters and train Lily & Olli in agility, just to ensure we have contacts still, followed by Vyne Champ show on the Monday.
It was a mixed weekend. The weather stayed dry, warm but windy and the dogs were all pretty consistent too. Cove managed a couple of nice clear rounds at UKA, although some runs were still very tentative. Twiggy managed 2 clears in Steeplechase classes, and gained her first numbered rosette!! 7th :-) She is ok if you can keep running and she doesn't have time to stop and think or worry about what she is doing, so steeplechase suits her for now. Olli had some nice jumping runs, and then Lily & I had The Masters to contend with.
The courses were amazingly tricky! I am really starting to enjoy the complexity of some of these high graded courses, and working out how to handle them. Lily sailed around the jumping, and had almost gone clear when I had a split second "spatial awareness" incident and sent her over the wrong jump. In the Agility section we managed just 5 faults and it was our best effort yet. So many people eliminated that we actually ended up 12th overall so I was pleased. Both Champ agility classes I trained contacts, but I ran the jumping and on both days we were placed 4th. Pretty consistent.
The joy of the 3 days at UKA was the ability to walk Georgie around the rings and really start on his socialisation. It is the one thing I feel UKA really have the right attitude about. Puppies should be out there as soon as they can, whilst they are still soaking up all the new experiences of life. Georgie was brilliant. Nothing seems to phase him. He is very good with other dogs, has lovely social skills and respect for older dogs, and loves people completely. It was encouraging that he actually seemed to find the agility pretty interesting too!!
Monday at Vyne I had a Large Olympia Qualifier with lily, and ABC qualifier with Olli. As I walked the ABC course, my heart sank. It was the most ridiculously easy course, set like a grade 1 agility course. Up, down, up down, with just 1 wing wrap. Considering the ABC qualifier is grade 1 - 7 I felt it should have been a bit more handly. Poor Olli can not compete on flat speed, with the Kelpies so with 267 dogs in the class I wasn't hopeful. He did a perfectly lovely clear round and I was so pleased with him, but he ended up 36th. Not quite in the top 5 for Olympia then!!
Lilys course was nice. Not too mad but testing. 2 thirds of the way round she was flying and then I mis-judged my distance from the tunnel as I wrapped her around the back of a jump and got completely in her way, so she took the wrong end of the tunnel. I was gutted because we were so close to the end. All the hard stuff done. Never mind, as always it was my fault. No clears for Lily at Vyne, but we ended on a pretty good note with the boys.
Cove was 6th in Grade 1 jumping, and Olli 5th in Grade 5 jumping! Interestingly, the Grade 5 jumping course was very twisty and tight, so Olli came into his own. Fast wide dogs were falling by the wayside, and Olli was less than half a second off winning. If I hadn't almost sent him the wrong way before the weaves he may have won. A great long weekend and lots of positives. (262 miles on.)
Yesterday we were at Blackdown show. A nice local 1 day for us for a change, and most of the gang were there. The first run of the day was for Fern & Cove in the agility. I was hoping it would be a good start and it certainly was. Cove sailed round, foot perfect and was clear in 24.00 seconds dead!!! Over 120 dogs in the class so we waited and waited, but they had done it. Beating the next dog by 2 and half seconds, Fern & Cove are Grade 2!!! Brilliant start to the day, and at only his 5th KC show, and having a jumping win and 2 seconds at Kernow, he really is starting to prove his ability. Credit to Fern too for not being a quitter. :-) After that he had a few silly mistakes so no more clears but that win was more than enough.
I was hoping to win my Olli spaniel into Grade 6. The class was quite small and it was a lovely course. Having done the tricky start, the spread jump (which Olli normally crashes) we were on the homeward run and I found myself admiring my handsome athletic spaniel as he sailed over the full long jump. What style!!.............and what a pillock I am for being so engrossed in watching Olli I forgot to turn right, so he went straight back over the start jump!!!!! I was gobsmacked. Such a lovely run and I totally blew it. Poor Spanner :-(
Twiggy had a few fun moments, making things up as we ran round trying to keep her happy and not have time to worry. She also managed to run just out the edge of the ring on 1 run, to have a poo halfway round!!!!! So embarrassing bless her. The judge was lovely and said to jump a few more jumps before we left the ring, so she had a positive experience. Lovely lovely judge :-)
Then it was Lily & me in G5-7 Agility. Same course I had blown with Olli, so I was determined not to make the same mistake. It was a beautiful round. That dog is just too genuine and honest for words. Not just clear but a lovely 2nd place trophy! I was thrilled to bits. Then we had a blast around a tunnel fun course, and she worked so well away from me I managed to pretty much hang around the middle and she was 6th. Just the Grade 6 Agility to go. It was a lovely course, with a lot of traps. Spread jump first, followed by jump 2 heading straight for the weaves, but fence 3 was to the right. Tight wrap right to 4 then tight back for the weaves. U turn out the weaves to tunnel, U turn out of tunnel back past weaves around the top to Seesaw which then had a jump directly after which you needed to take the back of. I can not fault Lilys round at all. She watched me intently, went exactly where I asked her and it was a stunning clear. I hugged her so hard at the finish!! It felt so good, and I actually felt like I handled it well. 1 and half seconds faster then anyone else, our first Grade 6 win!!!!! So so proud of my girl :-)
Lily & I have been competing together for 3 years now, starting at Grade 1. We were both novices to start with, and helped each other move steadily up to grade 3. Then for the next year we had a lot of hiccups, mainly because Lily was improving at a quicker rate than me! She was faster and more knowledgeable and my handling often let her down. This meant quite a lot of moments where Lily would make her own course as she was fed up waiting for me to handle her!! If we got it right, and managed to gel, we went clear and placed so we made it to Grade 5, then Olympia qualifier and ended the season at Grade 6. The first few competitions at Grade 6 we just weren't together. I was finding the courses confusing, and poor Lily was trying her best but we were somehow out of synch. In the past few months we have suddenly become one again, and it is a truly wonderful relationship to have. She owes me nothing, I owe her everything, and I just know she is going to keep giving her all to me, and I will thoroughly enjoy every single second I am privileged enough to be her partner. You cant buy this feeling. (36 miles added.)
So Cove Grade 2, Lily Grade 6 and qtr!! A whole season ahead of us and its going to be an exciting ride!!