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 :-)