Tuesday, 16 August 2011

KC Festival

I had a great time at the KC Festival. I stayed with Jess and Lee, but had my own tent so could fill it with the endless amount of junk I appear to need for 4 days away.

Scandal was, as predicted, a complete lunatic, out of the 4 seesaws she did over the weekend she held 3 seesaws perfectly and I put her back on 1. She held all her dogwalks bar one which I put her back on. I took her out of 2 classes, she is obsessing with her 'out rounds' which she loves, and wants to fit in wherever possible. She also decided that weave entries were optional, and didn't actually make one until her 4th class of the weekend. She got a 3rd in G6 Jumping with one little blip at the start (she keeps going quicker than my brain can deal with) and an 11th in Marc Saunders fab G6 Agility with held contacts. I hate holding contacts but feel that with Scandal speeding up at each show I really need the control and Scandal has to know 100% that I expect her to wait for the release command. The majority of each round she did was great, just little mistakes from me being too slow.

Honey was great, 10 days of being on the lead on walks and she seemed very excited to be off the lead for her agility runs! She won the YKC Int'l Agility with Imogen on the Friday, and got a 3rd in the British Open Agility and 9th in the British Open Jumping with me. This put her into the finals on the Sunday for the British Open, lying 4th from the end, and also in the Nations Cup. She got e'd in the British Open, but ran pretty nicely which was a relief in front of so many people. Our team in the Nations Cup got a 3rd in the Jumping and 4th in the Agility which put us 3rd overall and on the podium!!

Very proud of Laura and Be for having an awesome weekend and winning out of grade 3, qualifying for the Novice Cup semi and getting a clear in the semi and 12th place. Lee and Todd also had a clear and won G1 Jumping.

Scandal was in a great mood over the weekend and spent most of her free time playing with Tia, or Stig, Jess's puppy, which she was totally in love with. By yesterday she was absolutely shattered and spent all day sleeping and I didn't hear a peep from her. Back to normal now though!

Monday, 8 August 2011

Agility Club

I do actually have a video finally... but I haven't uploaded it yet. I must try and do this soon but the week is flying by and I have soooooooooo much to do at work, I think I'll need the Thursday of KC to sleep and recover.

Well we were in Kent on the Friday before Agility Club so coming up from that way to Ardingly. And a pedestrian had for some reason chosen Saturday morning to walk up the motorway and get run over, so they shut the motorway between two junctions, in both directions. Lots of traffic and Garth’s own diversion later to avoid the car par park that was the official diversion, we arrived at Ardingly at 8.40. Just in time for Imogen to walk her first champ, and just not in time for me to walk the 6-7 Olympia. Now, the 6-7 Olympia I had chosen to be the one class out of the 3 agility’s I had this weekend to go for – not so much to qualify for, but to gage how Scandal faired against some of the top class 6 and 7 dogs. I loved Simon Peachey’s course, big and spread out, there were a couple of bits I was unsure about how to handle, and I went through these with Tracy F, studied the course for a while until I was confident how I was going to play it, and then we were off. Scandal seems to have gone up another notch in confidence levels and decided that she was going to adopt a new form of startline wait, a crouch, a cross between a down and a sit. She was fantastic, good grief I love her sooo much! Everything I asked her to do she did as fast as her little socks could take her. I told her ‘poles’ and she drove to them, and even though she was driving to pole number 2 or 3 when she realised where the first was she pulled herself round to make sure she got it. Ahhhh she was good. She went into the lead, and held it through the rest of the class. She won it by 1.5 seconds. Cripes, that little girl is a good baby.

Scandal’s other class was a G6/7 jumping and I took my own line to give her a blast. She came out of her weaves as I was pulling off them, but got them 2nd time round.

Sunday, we took our own line in the G6 Agility as I wanted to practice aframe weaves, which she nailed, and then seesaw with me racing her, which she tried to hold on to with her tail, so she went back on that. And then she did a lovely running dog walk to finish yay! G6 Jumping, Barrie James’ course, loved it, and Scandal loved it too and won it! There were a couple of turns we need to work on as Scandal didn’t put a neat check stride in, but she felt like she was motoring.

The Crufts Singles was our last run and probably the only one this year where I’ve thought ahhhhh, help. Scandal thought she knew best :O she did a lovely sequence at the start of tunnel under aframe and very sharp turn into the weaves. I was going to train this class anyway as have no intention of trying to qualify her for Crufts ’12. So I raced her dog walk, telling her to target, and she just ran straight through the contact over the next jump! Just completely thought I’d told her to run it (or, whatever, she thought she was doing the right thing). So she went back on that, and then we did 3 jumps to seesaw on our way out, and Scandal ran straight through that too! At this point I picked her up and left the ring. Well, well, well. I kind of knew that as I’d pushed a few of her grade 6 agilitys and the class on Saturday that I’d have to train a few for a while, but didn’t quite expect Scandal to do that. All fun though! Looks like we will be training all our agility’s over the next few weeks!

I did two runs with Honey, the Crufts Singles and Olympia. And…. She won the Singles and came 2nd in the Olympia!!!!!! This should hopefully give her enough points for the Crufts Singles now, and also qualifies her for the Olympia semis. Good span.

Imogen ran Honey for the first time in 4 months and despite only being allowed to train twice since April they did some great stuff, Honey having 5f in the champ jumping and then an E in the agililty (Honey in her own little world after the dw). They then regained their confidence for the Agility Club Junior Over 12 Finals in the evening and won it, and Tia came 3rd with 5f! They also had 2 fab runs on the Sunday, one judge giving Imi a judges special for great handling :-) with just a small error in both classes. Imi ran Tia in the Singles and got a lot further than we did, Tia just running round a jump. Hopefully she will be able to do some classes at KC Fest.

We've just had a weekend off... what a novelty. Honey is currently on 'Ruff Love' after running off AGAIN after we trained last week. She was gone for ages and it was dark by the time we found her. I was convinced she had been stolen as there was a suspicious looking car that had gone by the time we'd gone back to take the number plate. Stupid spaniel was found later in the night, in the woods, happy as larry, not at all worried! So, she's on lead, or in her cage / puppy pen. Makes me realise how demanding she is as she's always pawing, clawing, jumping up, barking, whining, etc etc. When she's on a lead she's on a headcollar so she can't tow me. We trained once on Saturday for 2 mins, and she was great, very enthusiastic (and promptly tried to run off before I could catch her again). I find this sooooo hard to do as my dogs get lots of freedom, so this is a bit of a culture shock to us both. Still, better that than a stolen-spaniel or a squished-in-the-road spaniel. Time will tell whether it makes any difference.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Caerphilly and UKA

I will keep Caerphilly very brief (for me anyway). We (Scandal and I) had 3 runs, 5-7 Circ Jumping where Scan was running somewhat conservatively and ran round a jump, we just carried on. 6-7 Jumping was a bit silly IMO, with 6 pull throughs (all the same style too, not very creative) and I decided that I would do this as can’t keep not doing her jumpings, but work on layering the weaves with the finish jump so I’d be pulling off to the side. We managed 5 pull throughs and then on the 6th one, round a box, Scandal decided she preferred her favourite ‘out round’ rather than through. But she did beautiful fast and confident weaves with me layering the jump so I was very happy J

The 6-7 Agility, I mostly liked the course, it had huge spacings which suits Scandal but not me quite so much. It also had a weave entry that while I thought Scandal could do it, was much tougher than the ones you get in Novice, and I’m aware that Scandal’s still learning to find them in the ring. I decided I’d just send her to it and drive at them, rather than helping her or hanging back. Also needed a ‘here’ running past a jump which involved me working it from the other side of a different jump, much easier if I had a vid but I don’t! Scandal needs one agility, and somehow, I was absolutely point blank determined that this was going to be it. I think in the last two months I have learnt that you need to believe, without belief you won’t reach your goals. And I believed in Scandal, I believed in our training and trusted Scandal to do her stuff. And she did. The first 5 jumps she was a little steady, and from then on she just flew. It felt amazing, like we were a partnership, and she understood me and I understood her J she did a beautiful pull through, lovely fast dog walk and aframe, a great ‘here’ command where she ran with me until I told her what jump to do, the longest snake she’s ever done (the spaces between each jump were hyuuuge), speedy seesaw and spread to finish. She won it by about 2 secs, taking us into Grade 7 and Champ. Wowwww. Scandal’s 4th grade 6 show, and 4th win.

I’d entered Honey in an agility class too so ran that with her and she actually ran quite fast, was a very good girl and tried hard, and won it! Yayyy!


On the Sunday I entered UKA, I wanted to hold Scandal’s contacts in Beginners Agility, which she did, by the skin of her teeth, i.e. seesaw weeeeee, just keep my toes on. Trained her gamblers and she did two super stop dog walks which I rewarded her for (doing good tunnel/dw discrim too clever girl), and a fab weave entry which I also rewarded her for. Then she missed her weave entry in the jumping, no idea why, it was very simple, think she was just soooo excited. Not going to make a big deal of it, she’s still finding her feet, and her speed. Was very pleased though with how happy she was and how confident she looked, so much fun running her.
Didn't run the spaniel, the sun was out and I just could not muster up enough enthusiasm, she is so exhausting to run, and takes a lot of psyching up, both her and me! Next stop Agility Club... and a video tooo...

Monday, 1 August 2011


Running 3 show behind but never mind big catch up this week!

We had a great Rugby show. This is always one of my favourite shows, we’ve done it for as long as I can remember.

Scandal was a good baby dog and won G6 agility on the Saturday, by 2 seconds! I said very little to her, just let her concentrate on her stuff, and she was such a good girl. In the Crufts Singles I was only going to train it anyway, it started 2 jumps dogwalk, she went into 4off and I said ‘good target’ and she reversed back on. We had a bit of a hitch with aframe weaves as Scandal seemed to get in a bit of a pickle with them and it took us 3 goes to complete them, but I stuck to what I had aimed for to layer a jump the other side of the weaves, which was good. The seesaw she slid and there was no way she was going to stop so I couldn’t help slip in a ‘waitttt’ which she duly did :)

Didn’t run the jumping as it was raining and I had misspaniel to run. Then on the Sunday, Scandal was having a super run in Jayne Widdess’ G6/7 Agility, worked sooo well and did 2 lovely ‘out rounds’ (I think these are her favourite thing!)…… and then she ran past the last jump coz she saw her bally. Lesson for me – must work the last jump! Was a bit gutted as we had done all the hard stuff. In the 6-7 Olympia Scandal did a lovely running dog walk, then nice jumps, then I forgot where I was going and sent her into the wrong end of the tunnel, poor Scandal. Couldn’t quite get the sharp turn into the weave entry but got it on 2nd attempt, and then 4-off on her seesaw, naughtyyy. Her seesaws this year are certainly very different to last year! I then didn’t do the jumping as just didn’t like it, there was no flow to it and I am not going to ask her to unnecessarily bend over backwards to make awkward turns/angles.

And then span…. WELL. She got 4th in the Crufts Singles, which I was thrilled with. Champ Jumping (I was on a high from the place in the Singles) Honey decided that on no account did she like the lovely flowing course the judge had set, and broke into a TROT. I wanted the floor to swallow me up, I was so embarrassed. She finished 5 seconds off the pace, it was truly cringeworthy.

Then in the Champ Agility… well, this it seems, was more do-able, Honey much faster and we came 3rd! How is it that she can go from trotting, to almost galloping, in the space of an hour?

This double clear put us into the final. I’ve had 3 goals with Honey this year and one of them was to go clear in a champ final (this year). She has done 4 champs and made 3 champ finals, but the previous 2 I had managed to mess up in the final. Finals with Honey I’m always in two minds about, I don’t get nervous about the course or running her. I get nervous about the fact that I have absolutely no idea how fast/slow she is going to go until I release her. I am so concerned she will have one of her “I hate agility” moments in a champ final, when there’s loads of people watching. Anyway, she was pretty good in this one, nowhere near her fastest but at least she ran, we went clear, and came 3rd. Yay good spaniel, and goal achieved! Woooo!

She was very naughty the next day in the Olympia Q… she was actually flying, and completely ignored me when I asked her to turn after the dog walk. Bad span. We re-did the turn, she ignored me, so I picked her up, walked her out to the car. I have never not rewarded her after a run. We then had to go and do teams, and I was slightly worried that she would refuse to work after still waiting on her sweeties from the last run. However, always managing to baffle me, she ran probably the fastest she’s ever run in her life, absolutely flew round. AHHHHHHHHHH! So frustrating, I just cannot work her out.

So we ended Rugby with Scandal on 3 wins towards G7 and Honey with a 3rd in champ final and more Crufts Singles points, what a great show :)