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Friday, 21 October 2011

The outdoor season ended with another trophy for Cove!

I can not believe that we are now at the end of our agility season, as it seems not many days ago we were all getting excited about the first show!!
Last weekend we had a 1 day show at Monmouth to really finish our outdoor season, and it was a beautiful warm sunny day! Olli had another G6 clear, so as always was Mr reliable, Lily had a clear in jumping and 4th in G6 Agility, so I was more than happy with her, and Twiggy was great fun and managed to do her 12 weaves in the ring, just as she does every time at home, and I think I was so shocked I took the wrong course after that and blew it!!! Never mind, Twiggy was always adopted on the basis that if she did agility she did, if she didn't it really isn't an issue. I love my little Irish girl with all my heart, and if she just wants to be a house dog and run and play and chase rabbits, wind up the cats and snuggle up with me every morning nicking my tea and biscuits in bed, that is fine by me :-)
Cove on the other hand, would be sold or shot if he didn't do well..........(yes of course) Fern and Cove have gone from Grade 1 in April this year to grade 4 by 3rd of September, and in his only 2 grade 4 shows has come 3rd in agility, with solid contacts so he is a very consistent, clever boy indeed. I have to say it was a fantastic show to end the year. Great friends to share it with, all the dogs enjoyed themselves and the people in Wales are just lovely. Some real friends made this year from across the bridge and I look forward to catching up with them all next season.

Its been a funny year as far as friends go. People probably laughed and took the mick when we started the year with our own Team Feroda shirts, and we didnt train with any club, just did occasional workshops and guest trainer days, and the rest we trained at home. Fern worked more with Lauren, as she works for her anyway, and I have to admit it shows in Ferns handling. She is very consistent as a handler and a lot more focused on her criteria than I am. She has the world at her feet. I still handle like a muppet sometimes, and wonder why I am in the ring at all, but then I handle a course well and we get top 5 placing and I know why I am there. I am not ready for Grade 7 and Champ courses, I would look silly, but I am enjoying the challenges of grade 6, and Lily & Olli have done me proud all season. Having Georgie from a pup and starting to really focus on training from the start has given me a real insight into how to be a consistent handler. I do intend to go all the way with Georgie, but I am not rushing him or taking any shortcuts, just working steadily and with Ferns help he is coming on beautifully.

Training and trainers are such a minefield. Clubs can be a lovely way to meet like minded people, and train together and support each other, but not in every case unfortunately. In every sport I have ever been part of, from athletics as a kid, to Showjumping & eventing through to agility, there will always be jealousy, back biting and little groups of people that become a clique. Thats why we decided on Team Feroda. I dont mind how some people take it, because my real friends wouldn't give it a second thought. We have each other, Rog Fern & me and we are very happy with our life.
 I am doing more training this winter with Lauren again, because quite simply I like her methods and they work and sometimes you just have to go with your instincts. 
So a huge winter training plan ahead for Georgie, and quite a bit booked for Twiggy now too as I am going to give her the best shot at being a good agility dog, unless she finds it too much, then it will be lap dog and tea 'n' biscuit sharer :-)
Today Fern & I had a lovely day off together, and spent it with the dogs. We met Louise, Georgies breeder, and the 2 boys she kept, Georgies brothers Teddy & Buddy. We went for a fantastic walk on Mutters Moor in Sidmouth, and the boys had a great time. Cove came too, just to keep the youngsters in check and it was bliss. So nice to see them and compare their characters. Then this afternoon we took Lily Olli & Dave up to the field and spent nearly 2 hours cutting the grass, setting up a course and the dogs had a ball. Dave even caught and killed his first rodent!! Wasn't pleasant, but he is a terrier. 
We have covered nearly 4000 miles towing Nellie the caravan, had some amazing successes and some ridiculous failures this season, but I love the sport and every minute of working with my dogs, it is our life now. At the end of November the dogs will all be given a break. 6 - 8 weeks of playing, running, walking on the beach, chasing through the woods and mentally unwinding, before it all starts over again, and I have a funny feeling next year will be the best yet :-)

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure its worth watching.

This week I have been doing a lot of thinking. Achievement is a big word.
 To some people it is so important to achieve greatness, or wealth, popularity, notoriety, and sometimes they lose focus on what is important and miss the little achievements. Take me. I haven't achieved any of the above, but then I do live my life for the moment. I am not famous, or wealthy (far from it!) and I have never been "Miss Popular" because I am what I am and as much as everyone likes to be liked, its not my main objective in life.
I didn't leave school with many O level passes, I didn't go to college or University. I got mixed up with the wrong crowd, did some really stupid things but somehow I muddled through. I managed to always work, and keep sane somehow through the bad times.

In 1988 I moved to Devon and met my hubby. It was also the year I entered a driving competition. Driving has always been one of my passions, so it seemed like a good idea. I won the title of "Best Woman Driver of The Year Southern England" I won a car, a years worth of fuel, and a host of other goodies. It was a pretty cool experience. :-)
In 2000 I passed a diploma in "Horse Mastership" with an A Merit pass. That was pretty cool too. I also managed to re train an Ex working hunter, aged 16, who had been turned out in a field with the cows for a year, to become a stunning event horse, chosen for a team and gaining 12th individual out of 120 horses, at a county 3 day event. He was 22 years old when we did that. 
But these are just things. Yes I was proud of myself for a while, but nobody outside of my family would have known who I was, or been impressed and that didn't matter. I have always been a Jack of all trades. Try anything once, but never had ambition.
What got me started on this is last weekend when I came out of an agility round with Lily. It was a clear round, and I knew it was not going to win the class, but she worked "with" me, I handled it well and as we came out of the ring I hugged her and sat on the grass with her, with a lump in my throat. I felt like a King at that moment. When Olli won and qualified for the Olympia semis I was over the moon, but I was actually more pleased with him last weekend, when he got a clear round, on a tricky course and was unplaced. Twiggy getting her weaves in the ring is a massive achievement to me. I am that strange emotional woman who looks so happy when I just lost :-)
Little things are so special.
I want to do well with all my dogs, and yes I would love to get them all to Agility Champions, but I am not a gifted handler. I also started this lark a bit late on in life, so can not compete with the experienced top handlers, but I love every minute with my dogs, working them, and learning so much about how they work. I am currently training Georgie, now 7 months old, and yes I am determined to kick arse when he starts competing next year, and he will be awesome, but if he isn't then I will still enjoy him and have a laugh, and cry at the great moments. 
My greatest achievement happened in 1991 when I gave birth to my daughter. There is nothing in this world that can beat that feeling, and even though she is untidy, and can belch better than most men, she will always be my proudest moment. The day I met Rog, changed my life and I dont know why he chose me, (well I did pin him to the floor til he submitted!) but I am so glad he did.
I am not "Great" but then I am the greatest Mum.
I am not "wealthy" but that depends how you measure wealth.
I am not "Popular" .....but there are 8 dogs in my house who may argue that. Especially at feed time!
Life is weird, its a strange journey through good & bad, and we lose people we love, we get hurt by so called friends, and there will always be someone better, prettier, faster, richer  so make the most of what you have. My life is hopefully about halfway though, with a bit of luck and a good tail wind, but when my life does flash before my eyes it will be amazing to watch :-)