Wednesday, August 26, 2009

KC fest and DIN

Before I set off for my 'Big Holiday', I felt 'fluey' for a few days, and I felt absolutely exhausted (and achey) for a week afterwards. Everytime I sat down I fell asleep! There was one evening when I thought about going home, as with extra hormones being thrown into the mix, I felt I wasn't coping very well. However, in the past when things haven't been going well, it has paid off to put my head down and keep going because eventually things turn around, and this strategy paid off again this time. I only realised how bad I had been feeling when I started feeling better. Unfortunately that wasn't until Thursday, nearly time to go home! Thanks to the people who were so great despite having to put up with me!
The KC Festival was massive! Lovely venue. Bit of a mix up with camping, the helpers and non-helpers camping areas were miles apart and despite being down as a helper, I was not sent the right pass. Thanks Sara for sorting that out! Although not with Karen, I had a nice spot near the exercise area. These things make a lot of difference to how much you enjoy the experience! I timed the journey to the rings at 7 minutes which didn't seem too bad. Well, not bad if you only do it once. Example, the journey done four times (there and back) to walk courses, four times to check on progress, six times to run = 28 x 7 = 196 minutes (if walking @ 4 miles an hour that over 12 miles!!). In actual fact it felt like non-stop walking all day. Wow how small things build up! Now if we apply the same principle to dog training, many small things that don't seem very much on their own could build up to something really impressive. While away I loved being with my dogs 'full time', and felt our bond really strengthening. I had the time to do everything how I wanted - individual attention. Now that I am back at work I am really hating my lack of time! I had time to worry about being made redundant while away, it would mean a complete career change. Well maybe from my dogs' point of view that would be a good thing! There was some fantastic agility to be seen, and I did try to make it to see the finals (unfortunately missed a lot as I was working on the rings at the time). Zazzy did very well and qualified for the novice cup finals (someone said there there were 500 dogs entered, but possible there were more, I thought there were 150 grade 3's in each of 3 parts, plus there must have been 100 G4 and another 100 G5, that would be 650, perhaps someone still has a ring plan?). Anyway my handling let her down in the final, I tried to tighten the turn off the second jump too much and pulled her right off it, I should know better than that, disappointing! As an example of the standard of competition, Zazzy came third in one class with the first place dog only 0.04 seconds faster.
Straight onto DIN, I like that venue too, lots of dog walking around it. Will have to continue later as I am late for work!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


I love the Burridge show! It really is a chilled out show, only one ring, so it's easy to keep an eye on what is going on! Quite a contrast to what I think the KC International Festival with 20 rings will be like this weekend! These pictures attempt to show why I love it so much:

You can just see the caravans of people camping at the show nestled in the valley in the background. These pictures are taken from Butser Hill, the highest point on the South Downs Way. If you keep going on the road you can see in some of the pictures (the A3) you get to the south coast. It is just beautiful on the top of the hill, looking in all directions.

Despite being small, don't be fooled into believing (as I hoped!) that the competition would not be fierce! It holds the last Olympia qualifiers of the year, so for many an all-or-nothing run was called for. So I was very pleased with Zazzy, who got good places in all but one run. Thank you to all the lovely people who mentioned that they could see a difference in the way she is going. She is much happier, and I am still looking for, and finding, little things to make her even happier and more confident. I hope we can keep making progress. I was thrilled and surprised and happy when she placed fourth in the Olympia qualifier. She came fifth in the last one and sixth in the one before. Shame, then, that it was the last one this year, as only the top three qualify! However the big news comes from Becky yet again! With her good friend Jessica (run by Karen Cole) she came second in the pairs, qualifying for the Pedigree pairs final!

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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