Our first show was Carn Brea on Sunday. It would have been my Nans 94th Birthday, and I just had a feeling it was going to be a good day. Twiggy was in my thoughts as being the one to watch, and she even had running orders that were my favourite numbers, or numbers of meaning. All that superstitious rubbish out the way, I actually had a different attitude. Thanks to some brilliant and thought provoking training over the last few months, I was more positive for the first time in a long time, and I was going to attack the courses and not worry who was watching, or bitching and just put all my training into practice.
It was also going to be a special day as Sharon & Chris, Twiggys original fosterers, were going to be there, all the way from Yorkshire. I just knew Twigs would be pleased to see them, and we were too as they have become true friends and take such an interest in how she is coming on.
We left at stupid O'colock, collected Claire, Wren Kai & JC from Exeter, and off we went. Very excited.
My first run was the G3 Jumping and time to see if Twiggy would be scanning the ground, looking for an escape route and fearful of the people, dogs, children surrounding the ring. Not a sign of it. The only slight sign of her being back out of her comfort zone was that she didn't quite reach 5th gear, but she sailed round almost on remote control and went clear. Really thrilled and although just out of the placings, she looked happy.
Next was the Steeplechase, and a good chance to just run around, build her confidence without worrying about any weaves or contacts. Well over 100 dogs in the class, and this time Twiggy was a bit quicker, and once again clear! Ended up with a 10th place. 2 out of 2 and I was buzzing. Finally the agility, and it was a nice course, a few handly bits, obstacle discrimination, and A frame to weaves into nowhere, so time to see what she could really do. She listened, she turned tight, she didn't falter until just before the dog walk she saw Fern and just for a split second she hesitated and I saw the worried Twiggy, but instantly she was back in the zone, finished the course clear, and would you believe ended up 6th!!!! 3 clear runs out of 3, and 2 top 10 places at her first show.
It couldn't have been a better start to the season, and thanks mainly to Lauren, Jo Tristram & Mark Laker my handling and most of all my confidence and psychological state is probably better than ever. :-)
Lily and me were also right back in sync and she ran a stunning agility round, finishing 5th in 6/7 combined, and the best bit was she only had one wide turn, and I knew why instantly. It was my fault but I knew that and as she was half a second only behind the winner, I know she is capable of those wins and Grade 7, and for the first time I feel I am ready for grade 7 too. Olli was hilarious, but although we had to "E"s he was flying, and if I can just control his mad spaniel brain he could still do very well. He looked amazing in his jump style, and his drive was incredible, but curbing or channelling his enthusiasm is going to be a challenge!
So finally to Fern & Cove. Coves first run of the day was 4-7 steeplechase, and he did a beautiful controlled and clean run. fern handled it well, Cove did everything right and they ended up 3rd. First show of the year and he has a trophy. Yay more dusting! The 2 dogs that beat him were both grade 6 dogs, and Fern was very chuffed. However in his jumping and Agility, Fern just wasn't quite right and Cove is so tuned into her they made silly mistakes and didn't manage a clear. I don't know if Fern was a bit stressed because Dave was entered and she had it on her mind, or if she had gone in with the wrong attitude, but it wasn't the normal slick partnership we are used to.
All in all, a good day, the sun shone, the company was great and it was so nice to just have fun with good friends, and our wonderful dogs.
254 miles The journey begins.