Wednesday, August 5, 2009

UKA Nationals

This is the first year I have taken a week off to go to the UKA Nationals. I have mixed feelings about the show. Greg and Laura Derritt did a fabulous job as usual, working hard organising the agility competantly from early in the morning, and carrying on working late into the night running the entertainment. I have never seen Laura without a smile and cheery greeting. The weather was against them, we had a lot of rain, particularly on the Wednesday when everyone in the lower parts of the camping area had to be moved due to flooding. I enjoyed great company and fun times with my friends, however there were a couple of very ugly selfish people around. A few driving way, way too fast around the camping area, who, when asked to slow down, responded with foul verbal abuse. And a few who thought it was OK to let their dogs wander around the camping area unsupervised, and blatantly not bothering to clear up after their dogs. I had to pick up for other people after returning from a walk during the day off, and twice after coming back from watching the finals. Yuk. Of course my own dogs do perfectly acceptable solid little nugget poos, but picking up other dogs' cold sloppy piles is dusgusting! Also sickening was whoever stole some agility equipment during the last night. On the up side, it's a beautiful place (see pictures of our walk in the Malvern Hills), and we had brilliant evenings playing Bingo, card games, there was a great live band the last night so lots of dancing, and lots of play all week with Bernadette's fabulous puppy 'Vinny'. I was ready to stand in, in the (unlikely) situation that his new owner changed her mind about having him! Sadly no such luck!

Agility-wise, well Zazzy hated the rain and didn't want to run. Also - disaster- her running A-frame went wrong. Possibly it started with a short-distance and awkward angle to an A-frame in one class where she had to throw herself over the top, having a rather scary flight and landing. It got me wondering whether I would really teach another collie running contacts, just because there are so many courses with minimum distance and horrible angles set going to (and from) contacts. In the class I have just mentioned it was one (nasty angled) stride off a jump to the A-frame, and a bounce off the A-frame to the next jump pushing away to the side. And yes, all these horrible courses have been in grade 3 (the KC calls these 'graduate'). So I trained all Zazzy's agility courses all week. Becky, on the other hand, was an absolute star, despite hardly any training, and only being entered in one or two classes a day. Bless her, she came home with many first places, including winning the champ snooker, despite being up against some fabulous younger dogs trying out for next years' IFCS World Championship team. She might also have won the gamblers too, apart from a hiccup where she missed a turn-around straight back onto the dog walk. As we lost a lot of time there I did not attempt the 5-point circuit I had planned, but still ended up 4th only 3 points behind the winner, and her gamble (a series of distance push to a jump-pull to 'wrong' end of tunnel-pull over a jump-push way back to the finish) impressed Greg enough for him to suggest that she should be trying out for the IFCS team. Wow, clever Becky. She also got through two heats to make it to the National final, although unfortunately we had 5 faults in the final as I had to push her so hard, well at 9 1/2 she does not have the speedy legs of those younger dogs, and it was a very fast course, so no twisty places for her experience to make up for lack of speed and power! I felt terrible for poor Kaydee, the exercise area was small and became even smaller when the camping had to move up from the newly-formed lake! She is now on a course of massage and I will take her back for more osteopathy. Sometimes she looked so bored and miserable it almost choked me, I feel so sad for her.

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