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Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Another show nearer Christmas

It was quite odd last weekend, not camping so not towing Walter off to somewhere nice Friday morning, but instead as it was a fairly local show, we got up quite early and drove to Blackdown show both days. I always forget something when travelling to a day show, as when we are away in Walter, he carries everything you could possibly need! Rex is normally just carrying us, the dogs, and their toys and leads, so we arrived at 7.30am and yes I had forgotten my wellies (for walking courses in dewy grass) but that seemed to be all. 
It was a lovely venue, and the weather was perfect so I was looking forward to my 3rd show with Georgie, and also trying to aim for that 3rd win with Twiggy to move her to grade 5. The courses were all nice, the grade 6 courses challenging but flowing, and we had a great day. Lily Fudge Cake had 2 runs and she went clear in both! 100% for my best girl, and although unplaced in the jumping she was 7th in the agility. I got totally disorientated in the agility run, and spent a few seconds with her spinning in front of me while I remembered the course, so 7th was a shock!! If only I had a brain!
Olli also went clear in the jumping, and also unplaced but a lovely run from my nutty Spanner. :-) Fern and Cove had a few near misses but a lovely agility run and a 4th place. Coves sister Chilli won and took herself to grade 7, which she deserves, and although Fern was chuffed for Chilli, she was kicking the ground, shoulders sagged, wondering what she can do to speed Cove up. I think its just the difference between girls and boys to be honest. Cove is careful, sweet and almost too polite to go mad in the ring, but he has so much talent and is still young so it will come. Twiggy was a star as usual and flew round the jumping, smiling and happy and finished with 3rd place and yet another trophy. She also had a lovely run in the Agility, and finished 5th so still not moving to grade 5 just yet.

Georgie has yet to have a clear in jumping. He is so focused and intense on contacts that it gives me a minute to catch up and him a second to tune in, but in jumping he just runs and I am behind so no success yet. Saturday was the same again. 5 faults in the jumping for going wide and not catching my signals, but 2 agility runs later and he was clear in both!! Another 10th (becoming a habit) and then a 9th! Moving in the right direction :-) I was thrilled because it was the first time George had come across painted contacts, not rubber, so he was a bit slow on his first dogwalk, a bit unsure of his footing but by his second run he had it sussed.
Sunday and off we went again, and yes this time I forgot all the chicken carcasses I had promised to 2 people at the show!! God my brain is getting old, but thankfully they had other food for their dogs, or I would have driven home to get them!
Lily and Olli were not quite so on form Sunday, so no clears for them but they had fun, we laughed and I didnt let them know they had gone wrong. They are my bestest dogs, and whatever they do they enjoy it. I saw one person in particular over the weekend, shout and swear at their dog in the ring when it went wrong, and it really upsets me. Crap handling, late signals what do you expect! Never the dogs fault always us handlers :-(
In the words of one of my lovely friends from Wales "Dont complain, TRAIN!"
Cove had another foot perfect agility run, and this time a 6th place. Consistently patient and honest, and still not quite in 6th gear. Twiggy had a very naughty agility run, just getting away with her contact on the A frame, and my fault 3 seconds later for trying too hard and pulled her off a tunnel so 5 faults. Eliminated in the other one, so just one last chance in the jumping to get that win, but she wasnt quite fast enough. 5th place though out of 200 dogs, so I am not complaining!!
Georgie started the day with a lovely clear in agility, much more confident on the wooden contacts, and finished 6th!!!! Then in his other agility run, a flyer and 7th place!! He has changed already from his first show 3 weeks ago, where he took off like a rocket and left me behind in his dust! This weekend he was more aware that we are working as a team, so not slow but more thoughtful and steady and I felt like I was almost with him. The jumping was Grade3-4 combined, and a tricky course really. Pull throughs and missing a jump out, both things we had not come across before, so I thought we would still be waiting for that jumping clear round. I was wrong! Georgie went clear, and he finished 10th in the same class as Twiggys 5th. I was so proud going up twice, 2 dogs in the top ten, but most of all Georgie had 3 out of 3 top ten places!! 100% strike rate for my baby boy! Now that is a buzz :-)
He has had 3 shows, and is not yet 19 months old and he has been placed 10th or above at all of them. Thats a pretty good record, and I am so proud of him. He will be a winner soon I have no doubt, but there is no rush. He has a lot of growing up to do, and we have such a long happy future ahead :-)

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Sad endings and new beginnings,

I still managed to miss a week of blogging, even though I had good intentions to get back to my weekly update! Not enough hours in the day.
So, 2 weeks ago we travelled to Prestbury Champ show a day early, so we could leave there at 6.30am on the Friday to whip across to Stoneleigh and the Olympia semi finals. Fern and Cove were as ready as they could be and the excitement built. Unfortunately the day before we had left a tragic accident cut short the life of a gorgeous young talented dog that Fern loved like her own. No matter how she tried, she couldnt shake off her grief and just wasnt able to get in the right frame of mind to compete, so inevitabley they were unsucessful in their goal of Olympia. It was a very sad day, and Fern was gutted that she felt she had let Cove down, but the fact is he is so tuned into her, so totally connected with her, that he knew she wasnt right and he just didnt run as we know he can. Proof of a true partnership. So back to Prestbury with heavy hearts we went.
The new venue at Frampton on Severn was lovely and we took the dogs to the lake for a swim in the afternoon. What a laugh watching Cove trying to swim! Not a natural at all bless him, where as Lily Olli & Dave were like otters. Twiggy just loves swimming and even George seemed to love his first real experience in the water.

Saturday and it was Georgies first time in the ring. My nerves were shot!! I just couldnt believe how much I was shaking as I set him on the start line but I improved with each run. 3 runs and no clears but mainly because George went up a gear and I was being left behind!! Rubbish handling, bad timing but what a good boy he was. Sunday I felt a lot more relaxed, and in the 3-5 agility he did it!! Clear and although he nearly fell off the dogwalk as the judge ran alongside (something he will learn to get used to) it was a lovely run. Then in the Grade 3 agility he did it again, and was placed 10th!! I was so thrilled with him at his first show.
Cove and Fern got it back together and had 3 good places, inc a 3rd place in agility and Twiggy was a star getting 5 top 10 places and starting to look as confident and fast as she does at home. :-) Finished the weekend with 3rd in the Jumping, and a lovely run it was too.
Lily & Olli are still trying hard, and doing a mix of great things and not so great things LOL! Olli is just hilarious, and on a good day beats Lily in grade 6 jumping, but on another day he doesnt even get round the course without me walking out laughing as he gobs off. Lily still looks great just not so well trained as our youngsters, and I am a bit concerned at how un fit she is. She is just that type, that hardly needs any food to keep weight on, and not very highly strung so as she is chilled most of the time she just doesnt keep fit and as she is now nearly 7 yrs old its getting harder.  I will be taking them all to be checked out in a months time, and see what exercises and fitness regimes we can start after their winter break.
This weekend we were away at Gillingham Champ show, and the weather was amazing. I always like this show, and was looking forward to running Georgie again, and trying to handle him a bit better. He just went faster again and left me looking like a fool as I tried to get my timing right! He was so lovely though and managed a clear on Saturday in Agility, and finished 11th out of 190 dogs! When we get it together the future is going to be very interesting! Twiggy was a star again and finished 4th in Agility and 5th in Jumping. Cove was also successful in Agility and finished 3rd in one and 5th in the other.
Sunday has to go down as one of the best days ever for me. First run was Georgie in the agility, and although he was eliminated for putting his head in the wrong end of the tunnel (my timing again) he flew round the rest of the course, looking even more focused and determined than before, and his dog walk was so fast and confident I was thrilled. His jumping I messed up the middle section, but the last line of 4 jumps he bounced every one! Stunning to see. Last run was a fairly hard 3-5 jumping, and although I nearly crashed into a jump, we were clear!! He finished 10th and I was chuffed to bits :-) Twiggy then ran her jumping and flew round like a pro, squealing again as she was enjoying herself so much! She then went clear in the agility, with a slightly naughty A frame, but lovely dogwalk to make up for it, and followed that by another super fast run in G3-5 jumping, around a tricky course, clear again! 3 out of 3 clears and I was nearly in tears when she was presented with 1st in the jumping, 2nd in the 3-5 and 4th in the agility!!! 5 top 5 places over the 2 days, and not a worry in sight. Even spent some time barking at dogs in the ring while we queued, and whilst with some of my dogs that would be naughty and annoying, with Twiggy is was a total break through. 
Lily had a stunning run in the agility but just a pole cost her a place. She looked happy and fast though, and I really enjoyed the run. Olli just forgot what contacts were again so no rounds finished for him :-)
Cove had 11th in the Crufts 6/7 Agility, and beat some really good dogs in that with a very tight confident run. All too soon another weekend has gone, and our calendar is starting to look bear.
It is weird how hard it is to run different dogs even when they are trained exactly the same. Running 4 now is proving quite hard and Fern will run Olli and Lily now and then to give me a break, as I am not as young as she is :-) The one dog at the moment who I feel 100% in tune with is Twiggy. I know exactly how far I can push her, when I can leave her to do it alone, and its a thrill. I know she will win again soon and she really does feel like a dog who will go to the top. Georgie and me have a partnership to build, and I am sure it will come, but its harder than I thought. He is very genuine and tries to please me in every run, but I do need to get my brain in gear a bit more. In training we are fine but as his excitement levels go up in competition I am struggling a bit.
Off to a 2 day show near to us this weekend, so no camping just 2 early mornings to cope with. I love this sport and just love my dogs so much. Life is good.