Saturday, 28 March 2009

Pictures and dog walking

As I have been working week on week of for the last 6 weeks, I have been going on lots of nice dog walks. Actually most seem to be to the beach!! It has been great really as both my dogs were a little on the unfit side and this has really helped me to get them back in condition! Some friends have taken nice pictures of them while we have been out.

I have been taking a puppy class on a Saturday morning. Have a great group of four dogs and handlers. All experienced handlers with their new "charges". We seem to have got into a bit of a nice habit of going for a nice walk after training. One week we had 12 dogs between us. No wonder we got some strange looks!

My friends Karen's dog, Chequer

Chequer again.

All 12 that were out with us.

And for anyone who thinks it is a good idea to have a blonde dog.......

Which is not quite as bad as she looked after the end of today's walk!

Last weekend was gorgeous weather so I went outside with my Dad's super dooper camera and took some nice pictures.


Mid Downs and WAG

So mid downs. I always love this show. Ok I did catch up with some people at Ribble but Mid downs always feels like the first show of the year for me. Even better this year, I didn't have to drive! I greatly appreciated Toni picking me up and driving me to the show. We had a good old natter on the way up and on the way back. So the agility! Two agiltiy runs each and two jumping. Twix was clearn in both her agility runs. I was frustrated at the speed of her dog walk. Everything else was ok. Jumping was an E in fairness the course did seem rather more grade 7 than 6/7. Jag was e'd in his first agility but had good contacts and was clear in the other agility. We came 8th in the 6/7 jumping. I kinda feel like we could have done much better. I started in control but after one wide turn, I turned into a screaming panicing grade 1 handler! Not good! Lets hope that changes.

I was told by a couple of people that I really need to stop stressing about Twix's contacts and I know they are right. Actually its not all the contacts just the dog walk. So that's it, new resolution... no stressing about dog walk. Postition and go! Should work its magic, I hope.

During my discussions on the way home it was pointed out to me that everytime I "train" my contacts, I always stop moving when my dogs hit the stop position and that really to be training them properly I should keep moving after they have stopped. So... plan for WAG!


Agility... plan into action. Sprinted past dog walk with Jag and he came off!! So did it again with him and he stopped. Twix.. good on dog walk, sprinted past A-frame... she came off. So looks like Toni was right and I had got into the habit of stopping. So need to remember to test contacts a little more.

Both were better on their contacts in the accumulator so that was good. Jag won the jumping and helter skelter, so a pretty perfect day. Twix was 5th in the helter skelter but we messed up the jumping.

A good start to the season really. Next onto Scunny and the first Champ show of the year and first Crufts singles qualifier!!!

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Can't think of a title!

Thank goodness I have had this week off. Can't remember if I have said or not but work is not that busy at the moment so we are working week on week off. It is worrying that the company have felt the need to do this, however apparently the week on week off is having the desired effect on stock levels and so after six weeks of doing this we should.. hopefully.. fingers crossed.. be back to normal work. The company have actually been really good about it all and are paying us for 3 of the days we are at home. The other two we can take as unpaid or holiday.

So works out great that after a hectic Crufts (yes I know I was only there two days and competing on one) I have had time to chill and recover. Have been to the gym and made sure the dogs have had longer walks. Even did some obediepants today with them.

I feel like I have a lot of extra enthusiasm for agility at the moment.. long may it continue.

Forgot to say in my last post well done to a few others at Crufts. So well done to Mr Munnings with Billy and Dobby. Billy for being a good boy (almost perfect) in the team. His last appearance at Crufts and of course to Dave and Dobby for winning the international final. Well done as well to Nancy and Andy for their performance in the mini maxi pairs. Well done to Leah for making it to the singles at Crufts. And I think then a general well done to all those that were there.. no mean feat.

So off to training tonight. Mid downs on Saturday yipeee and then WAG on Sunday. Back to work next week though.

Monday, 9 March 2009

Crufts Part 2

So after Thursday and having to work Friday, I decided that as I was going back up to Crufts on Sunday to be groomy for Toni (and Lee) in the Champ class on Sunday, that I might be better off driving up Saturday afternoon and spending the night in the lovely little cottage that Toni was staying in. Well of course that meant a late night and consumption of large amounts of wine!

However Sunday morning off we went to NEC. Champ day. Toni and Minx and Kite and Lee had Bold there.

Well what a day!!!!!! Toni had two 1st with Minx in the agility and jumping qualifiers, a 2nd and 3rd with Kite in the qualifiers. So both dogs into the final. Lee also qualified Bold for the final.

So onto the final.... First up was Minx. I sat out the back in the collecting area, holding onto Kite and watching Minx on the tv screen. Toni put in a fantastic round with Minx (who was running last of the mediums) to go striaght to the top of the pile and win. 33.77. I do confess to screaming but not jumping around cos I didn't want to stand on Kite! Then I did think that maybe I ought to go and swap dogs and give Kite to Toni. So off I went. Congratulated Toni and then disappeared round the back with Minx. I sat round the back with Minx giving her lots of cuddles and telling her what a good girl she had been, thinking it's a shame they don't understand how good they have been.

Any way me and the champ dog... sat and watched Lee run Bold, cracking time but 5f on a-frame. Lee had quickest time. Bold really is a quick little lad and i'm sure he will have his time in the spot light. Then it was Toni to run Kite. Well Kite put in a great round and crossed the line clear in... wait for it and see above... 33.77. A great time. Couldn't celebrate though as next up was Dave and Dobby and we all know what this dog can do. Unfortunately for Dave he had 5f on the dog walk. So that was it... Toni and Kite had won as well. I went into the arena to congratulate Toni and of coruse give her the lovely Minx back. Toni was crying, I was crying... everyone was hugging Toni! It was great. To see everyone so genuinely happy for Toni. What a double to do!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I think it is fair to say that Minx has been hard work for Toni. And so to win this final was Toni's big goal for Minx. For Kite to win at 10 years of age... wow I think that was an added bonus.


I think I floated all the way home and I didn't even run a dog.

So between Toni and Lee... and apologies for missing anything.. they achieved

Team semi win - Jag, Bold, Shy and Billy
Team final win - Jag, Bold, Shy and Billy
Singles Medium semi 3rd - Minx
Singles Medium final - 1st - Minx
Singles Large semi - 1st - Shy
Singles Large semi - 5th - Kite
Singles Large semi - 7th - Bold
Singles Large final - 2nd - Shy
Singles Large final - 3rd - Bold
Singles Large final - 4th - Kite
Champ Large jumping - 2nd - Kite
Champ Large jumping - 3rd - Bold
Champ Medium jumping - 1st - Minx
Champ Large agilty - 3rd - Kite
Champ Large agilty - 5th - Bold
Champ Medium agility - 1st - Minx
Champ Large Final - 1st - Kite
Champ Large Final - 3rd - Bold
Champ Large Final - 1st - Minx

Now that's what I call a Crufts!!

CRUFTS!!!!! Part 1!

Well Crufts, what can I say. What a good and successful year. Ok I was a little disappointed that I was only in the team event. Was one of the first reserves for the singles which was a shame.

So Thursday saw me up at 3.30 and picking my groomy (Claire) up at 4.00am. Off we drove to NEC with me chewing Claire's ear off to keep me awake. Morning semi was at 9.30 or something like that. We were running first and of course being the first memeber of our team to run, I was first in the ring. This year the team was a batton change. We had had our "team tactics" chat from Mr Tactics himself, Lee Windeatt. So we all knew what we were doing, how to play it, what to do if we got faults etc. The course was a little on the tricky side, tricker than we had seen for a few years. Well everything went spot on!! Four runs, nice baton changes and four clear rounds.

All the other teams got faults, so we won the morning semi. We were pleased with this as we thought it would mean we would be running last in the afternoon final and so would know exactly what we had to do. As as happens every year at Crufts, there are the odd rules that are made up as they go along. So whilst winning the semi last year meant we ran last in the final, this year they changed their mind. So on a "random" draw we ran 3rd the final. Not to bad really but no ideal.

The finals course was tricky. Not a bad course but maybe just a little to tricky for a team course at Crufts, on carpet. But nothing actually "wrong" with it. Hope that makes sense.. it does to me.

Any way the first team had two e's, the second team had one e. So we knew all we needed to do was not get e'd! Well, great plan, but Jag and I started off and by obsticle No. 5, we were e'd. My heart sank. Not sure I have ever felt quite that bad before. Dave Ray said "I don't think Amanda is enjoying it out there" and he was sooo right. I took the baton off of Lee, he then went clear, Dave got 5f on dog walk and Toni went clear. Amazingly that put us in the lead with one team to go.

Well there was no way they would mess it up........... would they? After all, all they had to do was walk round and not get an e and it was theres. Well when their 2nd dog got an e, we couldn't believe it. Now all we needed to do was for them to get 10 faults and it was ours. Lo and behold the very next dog missed a contact and rolled a pole. So on 205 faults the team win was ours.

I have to say (and this might come across as a bit of a rant)that nobody can make me feel worse than I did when I got e'd. Even while we were having our photos taken I felt bad about getting the teams e. But.... there really is no need for some people to rub it in. I really wasn't gonna let myself enjoy the moment cos I felt bad. But comments like, "well done you lot, but not you", "you didn't help much did you" really didn't help.

The good thing... I have THE BEST team mates in the world! Who have not said one bad thing to me about my run. Infact I know a couple of them have even stopped people in their tracks when they have made bad comments. We are a team, we got to Crufts as a team, we won the semi as a team and ya know what, we won the final as a team. So now, i'm gonna enjoy it and roll on next year (hopefully!).

I will post videos of the runs when I can... yes even the big E. But i'm proud of our team. Two years running is a good achievement.