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Monday, 25 July 2011

Its all about my gorgeous Olli Ob Knob.

This weekend was all about Olli.........although Lily Cove & Twiggy were also awesome!!!!
Saturday we set off to Roseland show in sunny Wadebridge. Most of our friends had gone to Caerphilly but I had entered Roseland to give Olli a chance at the ABC qualifier. Little did I know when I entered that he would've already qualified at a much bigger show. It was a beautiful sunny day, and as we arrived I saw a friend of mine I don't see often enough as she lives at the very bottom of Cornwall!! I got George out the van and strolled across to see her and obviously for her to have Georgie cuddles. Disaster, as from out of nowhere a terrier had slipped his collar and pitched straight into Georgie. I managed to lift Georgie up amongst the screams and mayhem, and thankfully the terrier was removed, but only after he had punctured Georges ear and removed a large chunk of fur from his back end. I was gutted. Poor George was very shaken and didn't stop crying for a minute, but thankfully he was soon back to his normal cheerful self. It is just one of those things that happen, and unfortunately we cant wrap them in cotton wool, but it was horrible. :-(
Shaken a bit, I went to walk Ollis ABC course, and it was a lovely course. A few tricky bits but nice and flowing. We ran it and Olli was a star and did a beautiful clear round. I was thrilled with the start to the day, but even more so when they announced him as the winner!!!! What a star he is. Never lets me down, but recently he has started to go up a gear and to win was a total blast!!
Twiggy is also getting a bit more consistent as her confidence is growing, and she had another clear round! Last week clear, then again this week I was over the moon, and although she wasn't placed she did me proud.
Lily and I started well with a lovely jumping round and had yet another 2nd place in Grade 6!! 3 2nd places in as many weeks, where was the 1st going to come from?? After that tho we fell out of sync again and didn't complete the other 2 courses. I was not 100% sure if Lily was actually showing signs of a problem and felt a bit deflated that she may have to miss some shows if she did have an injury, yet she seemed full of beans and very hyper so just decided to see how she was the next day.
Fern & Cove had a lovely 6th place in a grade 1-3 jumping, but just to keep up the standard won the Agility!! Every show since Cove won into Grade 3, he has won the Grade 2 agility, so there is no doubts now that he is ready for the harder courses. Lovely show, lovely atmosphere and all 4 dogs winners.
Sunday it was South Devon, and a beautiful venue with stunning views. Unfortunately not good weather as the Saturday had been, but lots of interesting courses to run. Lily started the day with a pretty good clear round in G6/7 jumping. It wasn't a particularly hard course, and lots of fast bits so she went wide as Lily does, and ended up 7th. They placed to 4th. Cove had a few nearly runs, but the nearest he came to a clear was a pole in a very fast jumping round. He would've won it by seconds, but his inexperience showed as he tried 2 very large bounce gaps, and just couldn't quite stretch far enough. He is looking great though. Twiggy had 2 very near misses, and then a clear round!! 2 days running, this is becoming a habit!!! There were 180 dogs in the class, and imagine my grin when they announced Feroda Irish Secret in 16th place!!!! Her first rosette with a number on.  Ollis agility course was lovely. A worky start followed by a nice fast line around, across a box to seesaw, then a push around the outside of the box to the A frame, into curved tunnel and then missing a jump into weaves across the middle. A few bits to think about, and luckily Fern walked it with me and pointed out 1 mistake in my plans. I set him up and promised Fern I would try her handling suggestion. He was off like a rocket, and didn't put a foot wrong. Clear in agility!!! I felt great as we came out, as I knew it was an almost perfect round, and we could do no more. An hour later they did the prize giving. As they read out the dogs in 3rd & 2nd I knew we must have been out the placings, and couldn't believe he had missed out again with such a stunning run. WRONG!!!!!! In first place, winning Grade 5 Agility Feroda Olli Ob Knob!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I screamed! I think I jumped up and down a bit then flung my arms around the judge and cried!! He had done it. My amazing spanner was going to Grade 6, among all those kelpies and collies in large. Nothing that happened after that would matter. I kept looking at him and smiling with such pride.
Eventually it was Lilys combined 6/7 course, and again a clever course with some good traps, but being combined and seeing some of the Grade 7 handlers walking the course, I knew we would struggle. 3 grade 7 dogs in the queue in front of me, and I was actually nervous. All 3 had faults and I thought I had no chance, but as I set Lily on the start line I went into the "zone" As she sailed over the last jump clear I nearly passed out!! Don't think I breathed all the way round! I heard the scrime say "that was fast" and it started me thinking, could she have won it??? I went back to the van, hugged Lily a lot and waited. "And the winner is Feroda Lily Fudge Cake".............Both my dogs pulled out all the stops, and to win with both dogs on the same day is just the best feeling in the world.

We had other good runs, and some funny ones, and the most hilarious moment of the weekend was when Fern ran Olli in the jumping to end the day. Started off ok, then Fern said "tunnel" but moved away straight away, so Olli ran up to her and head butted her leg!!!! Barked and then went in the tunnel!! Olli was not impressed that she hadn't waited for him to pick up the right end of the tunnel!! Fern was giggling and afterwards said how she found it so different to running Cove. 220 miles added for the weekend.
Yep, they are all so different, and god help me next year when Georgie comes out!!! He is proving to be a challenge, not in a bad way but he is strong willed and has a great work ethic with a lot of cheekiness thrown in. Mmmmm it will be interesting, but so rewarding. Mind you he is going to have to be special to keep up with Olli.

Carlsberg don't breed Spaniels but if they did they would have bred Olli. Probably the best spaniel in the world.

Monday, 18 July 2011

Twiggy did a blinder!!!!!

Well!!! What a fab day through pouring rain, wind and a slightly tired head.
My birthday Friday was a lovely day. I was spoilt by Rog & Fern, had some beautiful flowers arrive from up North, a lot of lovely cards, a pampering session at the hairdressers, a quick bit of retail therapy and then an afternoon of grooming and playing with the dogs. In the evening our closest friends came over for a small party :-) I decided as the weather was a bit unpredictable, we would do a "pot" supper. I did a pot of curry and a chilli, Flo brought a pot of lasagne, Estelle brought a pot of Thai curry and I did a bucket of baked "pot"atoes!! It was a great giggle as always, and far too much alcohol was consumed, so most of Saturday was spent feeling delicate. When did it happen?? I used to be able to party all night long, drink a brewery and be fine by the morning! Guess thats getting old for you :-)
Sunday fern & I set off for a day at a local show. Small and friendly, nice classes and only 45 mins from us. Cove is in Limbo, being a Grade 3 dog as of 25th July, so Fern was going to hold his contacts and just have fun. I wanted to try & get it right with Lily without the pressure of a big event. I also thought it would be the perfect show to really get Twiggys confidence up a gear. Olli I just wanted to have fun with. He is so consistent, so honest and has done me proud already this year with his results.
During the week we had been training grid work with all the dogs, and weaves and contacts with Twiggy. I noticed how much faster Olli was in the field, bouncing grids and flying around as fast as Lily!! Also Twiggys weaves and contacts were amazing, which had to be down to her feeling safe in her field, but also I wondered if the screaming and barking from the other dogs in the van while I worked her, spurred her on. Also Ollis speed and madness may be for the same reasons, as normally he queues quietly, never even watches the agility and does good steady runs at shows, so we had a plan for Sunday.
Olli had Grade 3 - 5 Agility first, and it was a nice handly course, and quite tight so it boded well. I wound him up and teased him before the start and he was full of it. A lovely clear round, great contacts AND for the first time in a while he bounced some of the jumps. Grid work paid off a treat!! 3rd place, behind 2 very fast collies, but by only a second!! In the jumping, Fern held Twiggy by the start, and Olli was buzzing. Another clear, beautifully fast but 1 misjudgement by me meant a wide turn so 9th place, but still thrilled.
Twiggy and Cove were out together walking around with us and for the first time ever, Fern didnt stay with me as I queued for Twiggys agility, but went and sat by the side of the ring with Joy. Cove barked as I set Twiggy on the start and she was off. Jump to weaves, perfect! Pin wheel to dog walk and apart from slowing slightly as she saw Cove, she nailed her contact. For the first time she also went straight over the A frame, without stopping at the top to see if she could see Fern, and stopped dead on the contact! A couple of rear crosses, cloth tunnel, seesaw and over the line she went!! Only her second KC clear round, but a proper run. I felt like I was running a confident young dog, who knew what she was doing. 114 dogs in the class, and Twiggy was 14th!!! Thrilled!!
Fern took Cove into the jumping with a heavy heart. It was a very tight course, and Cove is a very scopey boy, so it looked tough. Sure enough he bounced the first 2, and was over the 3rd........which was actually the 9th or something, but he just didnt pick up the turn. It was like watching a Ferrari on a GoKart track. Impossible to open up, and no way to make the tight turns. The agility was not a lot better, and had a weird pull off on a pin wheel! Bit harsh for Grade 1/2, and again tight. However Cove listened, Fern worked it beautifully and they went clear. He did stunning contacts, which Fern held, and it was a perfect round. So guess what????? He won again!!!! So looking forward to Agility Club show at the end of the month, where he will be in Grade 3 and hopefully start to show what amazing ability he has. He is more than ready.
Lily and me were rubbish again. If we get it right she is top 3 placed, but boy do we get it wrong a lot these days!! She is fast and furious, and I am still not being quick enough to handle her properly. To take the positives, her contacts were 100% and as we had already picked up a fault, I really pushed her weaves. Left her and ran at right angles across to the A frame and she didnt falter.  She is an amazing dog and I love her to bits, so I really hope I can get it together as she deserves to win. Just 68 miles added.
I am so lucky to have such wonderful dogs, who love me unconditionally. They dont know if they have done it right or wrong, all they know is that we have worked together and had fun and they always give their all in anyway they know how. I adore them, and just need that lottery win so I can spend all my time with them, as the saying says. "The more people I meet, the more I love my dogs"

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Diamond Dogs & More trophies :-)

This weekend I was hoping to try and get it back together with Lily, and handle her as well as she deserves. It was a horrible journey up on Friday, taking us 4 hours instead of 2 due to an accident on the M5. Thankfully it wasn't too hot in the van but the dogs were still relieved to get to the site at 4.30 and have wees!! We set up camp, and JoJo arrived about 8pm and the fun began.
We were lucky to have our chief video cameraman Luke back with us this weekend. (Think Fern & him are back together but its a taboo subject!!)

The weekend was blooming hot, and its such a nice show with a lovely friendly atmosphere, so we all had fun and lots of giggles, especially Saturday evening when we all had the rather tricky Grade 6/7 agility, and unfortunately had all had a few ciders during the afternoon!!  Some interesting handling and a lot of heckling from the sidelines and not a clear round between us! Great laugh though. Before the drinking, Lily and I were back on track and had a clear in jumping, albeit a messy one, and then a great run on Neil Ellis agility to finish 2nd!! I felt a lot happier. Sunday we also had a place in Barrie James jumping, and although my timing was iffy again and nearly pulled Lily off a jump, at least we were working together as a team again.

 Olli managed 3 clears, including 19th in the Novice Qualifier out of 320 dogs and only 30 clears I was thrilled with him again. Clear in jumping and clear but just out of the placings in agility, he is a lovely boy.

 Cove was faster and more confident than ever and after a few near misses had a stonking run in the jumping and another 2nd place trophy. I have a feeling he wont be in grade 3 for very long. His first official Grade 3 show is Agility club in 2 weeks. Looking forward to that one! 
Twiggy was a star, getting some amazing weaves in the ring and had 2 almost clears, just her confidence combined with my slightly bad handling costing her, but every time we run she improves and I know she has a bright future. She doesnt run out of the rings anymore and is happy to play before and after her runs too. 

Georgie was lovely, and met up with his brother for the first time in over a month. They are so different! Ollie is bigger, and squarer than George, but a beautiful boy none the less. George is still very hyper around the rings but focuses well on his tuggy now, taking out his frustration on that! Still a work in progress but adorable and exciting to work with. 178 miles added.
Friday this week is my Birthday and we are having a few friends round for supper and probably a few beers, so I have started tidying up the slightly neglected garden, with a little help from my Merlie boy! I have no tubs of flowers this year, thanks to George & Twiggy, who seem to think that they are play things full of lovely black soil that just needs digging, so its a bit bare. Hanging baskets are the theme this summer, and some very hardy shrubs!! Still I wouldnt swap my dogs for all the flowers in Chelsea.

Today I have uploaded videos from everyone for a change, and because Rog had to work I have no smart new photos to add. 
Feeling confident of some special runs this weekend, and especially hopeful with Twiggy, my little Irish princess.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Cloud 9 with a spanner!!!!

I started this year with 2 goals. The first was for Twiggy to get a clear round in a KC show, achieved at Golden Valley last month. The second was a tough one, but I wanted to try and qualify Olli for the ABC semis for Olympia. Kerrching!!!!! Achieved on Saturday at Tuffley!!!! I am so utterly thrilled with Olli, who also managed 15th in the Novice qualifier on the same day, with over 260 dogs in the class!!! I cant believe my lovely spanner is off to Birmingham in Sept to try and get his place at Olympia. To be honest I think the final is pretty much an impossible step for Olli, as all the top Grade 7 handlers and their Kelpies and Belgians, who compete year in year out at Olympia are there for the semis, but he doesnt have to do any more in my eyes. To get to the semis is a huge achievement for my gun dog boy. 
Also at Tuffley this weekend, Fern & Cove won the Omnipro starters cup!! This is only their 3rd competition at Grade 2 and already up to Grade 3, with a place in the final next year to look forward to as well. He is such a consistent boy now, and with each weekend comes improvement, both in his speed and his confidence. Their first Grade 3 show is Agility Club, and unbelievably a chance too for them to qualify for the semis at Olympia. I can not even start to think about that, I cried enough when Twiggy got her clear, and when Olli qualified on Sunday, so for Cove to get through..................

Lily & I are a bit out of sync again. Having a few weeks off due to illness has really made a difference. Lily is faster than ever and so confident and I am just not keeping up with her. My timing is out and my split second decision making, which was starting to come seems to have disappeared again!! We did almost get it together in a fantastic handly G6/7 agility course on Sunday, when a dog ran in on her near the end. She had already picked up 5 faults for a missed weave entry so when the judge offered me a re run from scratch I accepted, thinking we would get it so right second time round. Unfortunately I was over working it and sent her in the wrong end of tunnel so another elimination, but there were some very good bits to take away from the course and I am hoping we will be back in tune this weekend.
Twiggy was a star all weekend. She had nearly all 5 fault rounds, with me pulling her off a jump in the Olympia qualifier, and then a slight split second loss of concentration in the CSJ Agility round as she spotted Fern by the ring and missed a jump so I had to pull her around it. Other than that she weaved beautifully and started to think about her contacts, so I reckon the clears will start to creep up soon. She is a joy to run and is starting to have so much fun in the rings now, which is the main thing for me. 
A lovely weekend, beautiful sunshine, great company and lots of our friends qualifying and winning trophies was a bonus. 186 miles added.

 This weekend off to Diamond Dogs and camping with the gang. Another go at Novice qualifier for Twiggy & Olli, and maybe a clear round or 2 for Lily and me if I can get my act together!! Also a lot more work on Georgies ringside manners as he is beginning to realise that this agility lark is highly exhilarating and he thinks he should be IN the rings not just watching!! I have my work cut out, but apart from this minor naughtiness he is coming on beautifully in his training and such a character we love him to bits :-)