Friday, 28 December 2012

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Puppies 9-10 weeks

A little update on the puppies; I am sure most of you who read the blog get to see the photos on FB too, but in case you don't, here they are:

Coy at 10 weeks


Coy taking it easy

Rudi, Coy and Rusty (posing)



Rusty... posing

Rusty with his special good luck message to Scandal for Olympia :-)

And a video of Zephyr :-)

Must get an up to date one of Jinx :-)


Monday, 24 December 2012

Twas the night before Christmas

And the dogs are not stirrring... apart from Honey, who is currently running round with a shoe in her mouth.

I knew I would have a busy couple of months and I probably wouldn't update my blog for a while but nearly 3 months... slightly longer than intended.

The puppies are now all settled in their lovely new homes. I couldn't have asked for more lovely people to take care of my babies, I was so proud as each puppy went off with their new owner. Scandal was amazing throughout the whole thing, and I would love to repeat the mating in the future and keep a puppy - I would have loved to keep one this time round but with Scandal only being 4, and 'life' being pretty busy right now, I didn't think it would be fair on the pup or the other dogs to keep one. I tried to raise the puppies as I would if I was keeping one for myself, so they met lots of people, had lots of toys to keep them entertained, had lots of surfaces to run on (and attempt to use as tuggies), met the other dogs (they all loved Rix), met the cows, watched the tractors, and of course met lots of people. I think they were pretty confident (very naughty) little pups by the time they left.

I have loved getting 'pupdates' from the new owners on how the pups are all getting on in their new adventures.

The puppies are now coming up to 11 weeks. Here are a few pictures of them at 7 weeks. I will do another update with some more recent photos of a few of them.

7 weeks: (pics by Mark Taylor)

Zephyr (Inferno), Rusty (Scorch) and Rudi (Blaze)

Rumour (Sizzle) and Coy (Tottie)

Jinx (Spark)


Rusty (the poser of the litter!)

3 weeks...



Scorch and Tottie




Sunday, 28 October 2012

Scandal's puppies at 18 days...

The pups are doing well, Scandal is being a great mum to them :-)


Inferno... the people's favourite ;-)





Friday, 12 October 2012

6 little Scandalytes!

Scandal had 6 lovely pups born on 10th October, a couple of days earlier than expected but she made it all seem very easy and has been a brilliant mum.
We have 6 puppies - 1 girl and 5 boys. One boy is red and white, the others are black white or black tri.

Friday, 14 September 2012

Planned Litter - Scandal x Kyte

Very excited to say that Scandal has been mated to Brentmoor Skylark (Kyte) and puppies are due mid October.

Kyte is 9.5 years old and Grade 7 Agility. He comes from a line I have long admired, his sire producing 3 agility champions and 1 obedience champion. I have loved Kyte (and his brothers Ouzel and Fig) ever since I first saw them about 5 or 6 years ago. I wanted a Kyte pup at the time I was looking for my 3rd dog, but then Scandal came along and I just couldn’t refuse. I’d always hoped if I did ever breed from her, I would be able to use Kyte, so I’m very grateful to Michelle for making this a reality.

Kyte is a fabulous boy, and has sired some amazing pups. I think he’s produced some of the best litters of agility collies ever (IMO!), the Darleyfalls dogs - Linda’s Ag Ch Kizzy, Ian’s Bobbie, Ian’s Bess, Lindsey’s Wish, Sandra’s Pip and Lauren’s Reef to name a few.
Scandal is 3 years old and is out of Ant Clarke’s Ag Ch Ruby, and John Wykes’ WT CH Jaff. Jaff sired the 2011 Olympia winner Tiff, and has also sired Ant’s Gass and Lesley’s Toot. Jaff is brother to the dam of the Darleyfalls dogs, Flo.

Colours expected are black/white, black tri, red/white, red tri.
I’m very excited about this litter – we have a waiting list but happy to take enquiries.

For more info please have a look on my website ... Scandal x Kyte

Sunday, 9 September 2012

UKA Hawbridge

Last month I went to UKA Hawbridge with Imi, so Imi could try and qualify for the Junior Finals at the Hand Stadium. I'd kind of decided it'd be Tia's last show, as she's 10 now, and with all the problems she had a few years ago, it's amazing that she's still able to do it. She has only done the odd run here and there at KC shows with me this year, and hasn't run with Imi since last summer. The Junior Final works on consistency, so you need a good agility and jumping to get in the top 4 with the results combined. First up the agility, and Honey and Tia were both clear, Honey was 2nd in this class. Then the jumping, again Honey was clear and Tia had a pole. This put Honey 2nd overall, and Tia 4th, so she's qualified both dogs for the finals :-) and it will be a lovely way for Tia to retire! Then... I decided to run Jed. I'd been thinking about it for a few weeks, but then the week before decided I wouldn't. Then got to the show, and it was nice and relaxed, rings not too close together, and Jed was on his best behaviour. So I entered him in the casual jumping - he's still not completely confident at full height, and I wanted him to do a different set of weaves. He was such a good boy, loved doing agility, and gave me 100% attention. He's come such a long way... still a long way to go but this is a big step in the right direction :-)

Sunday, 2 September 2012

KC Festival

I didn’t go to KC Festival this year, however two friends did rather well, so I thought they deserved their own post on here.

First of all super thrilled for Lee and Todd. I went up to Scotland with Lee and Jess to choose Toddy when he was about 6 weeks old... have always loved him (Todd that is :-)) right from when Lisa first sent me the photos of him. Jess and Lee have had a busy year or so... getting married last year and then having a beautiful baby boy a few months ago, and of course in between that fitting in a few agility shows too. Lee and Todd got a G1 Jumping win at the KC Festival 2011, and then Todd has had ‘5 faultitis’ at most shows since then. They got their 2nd Jumping win in the Spring, and then Todd decided to pull out all the stops at the KC Festival 2012. On the Friday they won Starters Cup Jumping and Starters Cup Agility. On the Saturday they won 1-3 jumping and the Starters Cup Semi Final (by 10 seconds). And then on the Sunday they won G1 Jumping and 3rd in 1-3 Agility with held contacts. FAB-U-LOUS!!!

Jess, not to be outdone, did a beautiful clear round with her 18 month old Cocker spaniel Stig and won G3 Agility (by 4 seconds). So G4 for them... WOW! I am super proud :-) although Jess will be holding all seesaws properly in future ;-) ;-)

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Summer Shows

Not going to bore you with a show by show account so this is just a summary of the last month or so...

Scandal’s done some really, really awesome rounds and I’m soooo proud of her! Some ‘nearlies’ and ‘if onlys’ as well as ‘brain (mine) just needs to work faster’. Her runs tend to be either clears or Es, and the Es are completely down to pilot error (mainly the ‘brain needs to work faster’ reason). Such an amazing dog to work, she is trying so hard and I love every minute of running her.

Honey’s been Little Miss Consistent – 5 champs, 2 CCs, 3 resCCs. We are getting there, and I am still determined that one day I will work out what to do to get her to run in the ring like she does in training...

Ricky’s looking fabulous and seems to be loving life – he still manages our 8 mile walks and does the odd piece of agility equipment (still as enthusiastic as ever). Tia is also her usual happy bouncy smiley self, although she does seem to think she’s moved into the neighbours house, and invites herself in (much to the bemusement of their 2 dogs) whenever she fancies.

Jed’s amazing, when he wants to be. He’s a very exhuberant boy and gives 100% for everything (even if it really doesn’t require it, like jumping a 15” jump on set point – really doesn’t require soaring off into the distance with such joy). He loves life, loves free running, lovesss Scandal (not reciprocated), loves training, loves biking/canix. He just has such a zest for life. We recently went on a gridwork day with Gemma and I was really pleased that Jed managed to concentrate for 2 hours, work offlead and pretty much ignore the other dogs. Very slow progress but we are getting there. I’m hoping to do a couple of non-KC shows this year, then aim to bring him out properly next Spring. Out on our walk last week and a lady’s 2 GSDs kept running up to us and wouldn’t leave us alone, in the end I let Jed say hi, and then they had the best game he’s ever had while he’s been with us, they played and played, ran round loads, and completely wore Jed out (a near impossible feat). Jed was Mr HAPPY! Hopefully we will keep making these small steps in the right direction.

Haven’t got many shows for the rest of the year... Am very much enjoying just doing ‘normal’ things on our weekends. Scandal spends most of it herding the chickens, a job which she takes very seriously.

Saturday, 16 June 2012


And on to Thames... always enjoy this show. I’d decided as the champ for large was on Saturday and the champ for small was on Sunday I would enter both. So Saturday they both had the Crufts Singles and Scandal had champ.

The Champ jumping I didn’t think was particularly hard, just a bit awkward. However, there was elimination after elimination... I imagine about 75% of the class got E’d. Scandal just picked up 5 faults for a pole, and had a spin half way round while I dallied about trying to get in the right place.

Champ agility, and Scandal did a beautiful round and came 2nd :-D she was such a good girl.

Then champ final, I knew Laura had done a lovely round with Rodney and knew this would take some beating. Well, we tried, and came very close... 0.3 behind them to take the reserve CC. So proud of little Scandal, she tried so hard for me... I just need to be a bit sharper/quicker/more confident with my commands... oh and of course move a bit quicker in general... always work in progress :-) watching the video of the run, I had no idea what Scandal was doing between jump number 2 and the dogwalk... coz I just ran off and left her, whoops. Scandal does very well to compensate for having me!

Crufts Singles and I messed up the weave entry so Scandal had no hope. But at least we got to train the dog walk and seesaw which was a good thing :-)

Crufts Singles with Honey... slightly painful, Honey wasn’t ‘slow’ but certainly wasn’t enthusing (or was enthusing less than she normally does). We managed to scrape an 8th, which gives us a few more points!

Then on to the Sunday, and champ with Honey. Champ agility first, and Honey did a nice round and came 4th! The champ jumping had a very hard weave entry which sooo many dogs missed, and Honey went straight in :-O then she decided she was going to run as fast as she possibly could down a straight, completely catching me out, which made the next bit very messy and we got 5R.

Still good enough to put us 3rd from the end in the final. Well Honey decided she was going to try a bit harder than usual, and shot off the startline, over 1 and flew past me on 2 when I was cueing a turn... Caught me out again! So a rather wide turn and I pushed her as hard as I could for the next bit... nothing to lose, and she worked really nicely, I’d say probably about 80% of what she can give in training (I’d say at the moment in the ring it’s usually about 50-60%). This took a second off Alan Bray’s time to put us into the lead... and then Bernadette ran! Super smooth and super fast to take quite a margin off Honey’s time and win the CC. So Honey got the reserve CC too. Really pleased with her :-)

Then Scandal just had her 6-7 Olympia qualifier. Hannah Banks was judging, which I was pleased about when I saw her name on the ring plan... I always like her courses as they are nicely spread out, rather than the stupid minimum distance that a lot of judges seem to prefer. I made a decision that I was going to at least do a ‘stop-go’ with Scandal on the seesaw rather than an all out going for it quick release, aware that I quick released both my champ runs on the Saturday and don’t really want to end up with no contacts. She went straight into position on both the dw and ss, whilst I ran off in front to get into position. The run just seemed really smooth and I was chuffed to bits with the aframe-weaves which Scandal nailed. I think Scandal enjoyed this run, she likes just being able to gooooo J this put us 2nd, which qualifies us for the Olympia semis in September! Yippeee :-)              
Just can’t believe the run that the dogs are having, between them in the last 5 weeks they have both qualified for the Olympia semis, won 2 CC’s and 2 reserve CC’s, Honey has 11 points for Crufts Singles and Scandal has 16. WOW :-D


So then we speed on to Hinckley. I love the Hinckley show, big entries but only 5 rings, plus it was Scandal’s first show here 2 years ago. My baby is now 3 ½ !

Champ first – Scandal did a lovely round in the champ agility (including a super aframe-weaves :-D) but had a spin on number 4 when I was toooo slow so she just had to take a guess at which way I wanted her to turn. She came 3rd in this, which amazed me! Then champ jumping, and she had a clear, but lost quite a few seconds when she decided to try and take the scenic route to the weaves... and I wasn’t very helpful to her, poor Scan.

Champ final and she was flying, up until seesaw-weaves... and she just couldn’t see the weaves. More homework definitely needed! Crufts Singles and she was fabuloso and came 3rd... 0.2 behind Ant and Ruby, and 0.1 behind Linda and Kizzy – I was MEGA pleased to be so close to their times :-D this also means that Scandal should hopefully have enough points for the Singles at Crufts 2013.

And now little miss Honeybear... who has been allergic to clear rounds since her ticket win at Woodside. Thankfully, a month later, she managed to do everything in one go and go clear in the Crufts Singles and come 3rd! Yay, our first points. She decided, 4 from the end, she was going to go insanely fast, which involved screaming her head off and launching over the aframe so quickly she just landed on the contact. Bless her.

And Honey’s clear roundness continued the next day, in a very straightforward Olympia qualifier, I’d already seen loads and loads of clears and knew it would take some miracle to get Honey to go as fast as them. Well she thankfully decided that she was going to go pretty fast from about number 10, including doing the best running dogwalk she’s ever done (she seemed to grow wings and glide down), and finished 3rd again! So we’ve qualified for the Olympia semis too. Woop woop. I have such clever doglets:-)

Sunday, 10 June 2012

May Madness

The last month seems to have been a bit of a blur. I finished my job at Mulberry at the beginning of May, had a couple of days off and then decided that I’d go to Woodside. I had entered Woodside as we did their Christmas show a couple of years ago and really enjoyed it, plus I’ve loved every Scottish show that I have done. I’d entered it only 50/50 as to whether I’d go (mainly weather dependant). That weekend, lots of shows had cancelled due to bad weather, but Scotland hadn’t had any of that.

So, due to set off Friday morning, except Honey chose that morning to run off, chasing pheasants, and got further and further away (although I could still hear her from 4 fields away, barking her happy little head off as she disappeared off up the hill and into the woods). She’s usually pretty good on the whistle, but didn’t even flicker when I called... dammn spaniel. So, I decided that I would go with out her if she wasn’t back... She got back 15 minutes before I was due to leave. So, I got to Scotland on the Friday, took the dogs for a lovely walk (the views from the b&b I stayed in were stunning). Think the dogs quite fancy a move to Scotland.

 Soooo Champ on the Saturday. Champ jumping – a pretty hard course which saw 56 of the 78 dogs entered eliminated!! Amazingly, Scandal was one of the 22 still in contention – with 5f and one of the fastest times. Honey also put in a nice round (clear) which put her 3rd. Champ agility – Honey picked up 5f but this was good enough to put her through to the final. And Scandal..... Scandal Scandal Scandal, poor little dog. Absolutely flying round, couldn’t have done any more for me, worked like a dream... and then I got her eliminated on number 19... idiot. I was so disappointed as Scandal had worked amazingly, and I loved the final course.

Champ final – Honey ran somewhere in the middle, I think there were 18 dogs in the final. She did a nice clear, not blazingly fast but got a nice weave entry and a lovely sharp turn off the dw where the dog had to run past a jump they were pulling to. She was clear and into the lead, but I didn’t think too much of it, carried on chatting away... And then the final dog ran slower than Honey, and people were coming up to me saying ‘YOU’VE WON IT’ which I couldn’t quite believe. Dave Alderson’s little poodle got the reserve and I think clever spaniel was 3 seconds faster. Really thrilled that she won her (and my) first ticket. Well... that seems to have curtailed Honey and I’s ability to go clear that was our last clear round for the next month!

Vyne on the Monday, I was surprisingly excited at doing this show. I hadn’t entered Honey in any classes so could just concentrate on Scan. She did a ‘good’ champ agility round – just 5f at the end for a missed weave entry, where I tried to help but just messed it up for her. Champ jumping and she did a really nice clear, and was 3rd when I looked. This put us through to the champ final, where she went CLEAR and we came 3rd!!!! There were about 9 clears, and she finished just 0.2 behind Greg and Detox, who were 2nd. And that was with 2 bits that I could have improved a teeny bit. Not quite sure how we could have caught Ant/Ruby up – they were on fire. Really happy that Ant’s made Ruby into Ag Ch Blazing Red of Rujaff, so Scandal now has an Ag Ch mum and WT Ch dad :-)

The Olympia qualifier Scandal was crazy, put her in a wait and she got up and crept :-O which she hasn’t done for 9 months. She flew through the tunnel (number 2) sooo fast that she ran past the next jump (I was about 5 minutes too slow). The rest was stunning, good girlie Scandalina.

Tunbridge... well the less said about it the better, I couldn’t string two jumps together and didn’t really enjoy the show being indoors. Just one of those things I guess. Worcester, and I used the 2 agility classes to train Scandal’s contacts – two perfect seesaws, 1 perfect (yay) stop dw, and 1 slightly less than perfect but very fast stop dw. And 2 nice aframes. 2 great weave entries. She was fabulous. Honey... ermmmm half a sleep spanielsaurus. Nuff said.

Nottingham – this was my first time at this show, I’d heard mixed reports on the venue. The ground for the rings I thought was pretty good, I’ve certainly run on worse. Lee G was judging the champ – I thought this would set us in good stead for the FCI courses for the WT Tryouts on Monday. Not going to lie – I’ve always enjoyed Lee’s courses, the first one we won was in 2003 (Open Agility – took Ricky from Novice to Senior!) and we’ve won a few more along the way.

Champ Agility – I pulled her past a jump so she got 5R but otherwise she was fab. She finished 21st out of 127 entries. Champ Jumping and I was soooo pleased with her weave entry in this – completely nailed it. Just one silly thing from me meant we wasted some time, but still clear, and 9th. Woohoo. This put us into the final AGAIN! We ran 13th out of 20th. Greg and run before me and as usual had put in a great round with Detox and was in the lead. Detox has 2 CC’s, a 2nd place in the FCI Individual Agility and has just been selected for the GB team once again. She’s one of my favourite dogs in agility and I knew we’d have to do a pretty special run to beat her. The dogwalk exit in the final meant I could possibly do a ‘run’ but would rather play it safe with a ‘stop’. Knowing Greg was clear I decided it was going to be a completely all out no holding back run... nothing to lose. And gosh, did Scandal go. I said at the time, I thought I probably had about 0.1 of a second when Scandal had exited the dogwalk to command her to go round the back of the next jump, and somehow I got it right. It was an amazing run and probably one of the only rounds I’ve ever done where a) I couldn’t have got it any faster... in my eyes it was a ‘perfect run’ and b) I was completely focussed on every single obstacle, and Scandal – not aware of people, the tannoy, the fact we were going clear, or anything else. It was one of those runs that just feels gooood. I nearly burst into tears after the run (I’m so grown up lol) as it was one of those times where everything just comes together. To my amazement we went into the lead, taking 2.5 secs off Greg’s time (which I completely didn’t believe at the time). Dave then put in a lovely run with Sunny but was still 2 seconds off Scandal. I couldn’t believe that we had WON the TICKET :-D thrilled was an understatement. She then also got a 3rd in the Crufts Singles. Below is a vid of her in the champ classes at Vyne and Nottingham.

The Worlds tryouts didn’t exactly go to plan... our first run – jumping, she got 15f, then the next two agility rounds were (IMO) great, just a blip in each one. But hey, can’t say I was toooo upset, sooo overjoyed about Scandal winning the ticket on Saturday :-D

So now I’ve got 2 dogs in the champ class at Crufts 2013... madness. Scandal’s just getting better and better – loving every second of running her. Feel very lucky to own such a clever little princess!

Thursday, 26 April 2012

April update

Completely useless with keeping this blog up to date... Catch up time. We’ve had a nice couple of months – Honey was such a good girl for me at Crufts, getting 3rd in the Singles Agility semi final and then 3rd in the final. We were also on TV – highly exciting! Here are our runs if you haven't seen them. I do think Honey's semi run was better than the final - but I am VERY glad she ran at all as that was my biggest fear of running her at Crufts!

I decided to go down to Cornwall and do a couple of days at Kernow. I took Scandal sheep herding Thursday/Friday – she wasn’t as good as last time, she has lost some of her naturalness. She was more fun last time, mainly because I didn’t really have to do anything as she just ran around like crazy doing everything for me. I’d entered her in a class at Kernow on the Friday and did that and could tell she was tired, so took her out halfway through. Saturday and she took me by surprise – she went up a gear in the 6-7 jumping and she got further and further away from me, I was running a second or so behind her. We managed a clear and she got a 9th. The agility didn’t go quite as planned but still better than yesterday, and Scandal was flying (a little tooo much). Then she got a 2nd in 5-7 jumping, 0.2 behind Angela and Tif who won it. Sunday and we got a 3rd in 6-7 jumping, and E’d in the other two classes, again Scandal working nicely but me just not sharp enough with my commands. She did lovely waits and I think only had 1 pole across 7 classes. Perfect seesaw in all classes too :)

I’d entered Honey in an agility class each day and decided a different tactic with her. On the Saturday, I warmed her up and then just queued with her and did virtually nothing – except queue. Well, she went as fast as she usually does when I put loads of effort into exciting her, and won it! On the Sunday I did the same and she went even faster, as fast as she does in training (she’s only ever run this fast in the ring once before – almost a year ago!), I found her sooo funny as she was screaming and was just mental, so we got e’d quite a few times, but she is just so much fun when she’s like that. She actually behaved really well all weekend – didn’t escape from the garden at all and didn’t run off when we went to the beach. The only annoying thing she did was carry everyone’s shoes around that were in the awning and then leave them outside… especially annoying when it rains.

End of an era for me as I retired Rix from veteran/anysize at this show. Both his hearing and eyesight seem to be deteriorating, especially in the last month or so (although I sometimes think the deafness is slightly selective), and he can be a bit unsteady on his back legs. He doesn’t really do anything, he’s just always ‘there’, and I like that feeling, maybe it’s just a weird safeness/security that he’s around. He’s the quietest, easiest dog in the house, and loved being in Jess and Lee’s caravan where he would invite himself up on the sofa and then use his selective deafness when it was kicking out time and just keep very still and pretend he was invisible. Bless him. He still comes out with us on our long walks although I’m not sure he will be up to doing 10 miles when (if) the weather gets warmer. Saw his sister at Kernow too… haven’t seen her for about 5 years… a dog walked past with a face sooo like Ricky and I just watched it thinking ‘wow, that looks so like Rix’ and then realised the connection. I do love my Rixstar.

Scandal’s brothers have been doing well – Rave going G7, Chilli winning G5 jumping and Rocky winning G3/4 jumping – clever boys :-)

People keep asking how Jed’s doing – he’s doing well. We aren’t doing a lot with him – he has a long way to go before I start training him properly. I'm just playing about with him at the moment doing little bits, and he is gradually maturing. He LOVES his training, sometimes a little too much. He adores running in his CaniX harness, G ran 14 miles with him last week :-O and the worst thing is Jed was still bounding around in the garden when they got back… he never seems to run out of energy. I am fairly certain he will eventually compete in agility (4 months ago and I was very sure he wouldn't), it's more of a question of when will he be ready - I'm not in any rush. I think it's likely that it will be next year, but I may put him in a couple of classes at the end of this year, to see what he'll be like. We go to a lovely foundation agility class with him and he can now work off lead for most of the class, with about 8 other dogs there, and he's fine - a dog (which resembles a rabbit) ran up to him a couple of weeks ago and he just calmly sniffed it in delight, as opposed to 6 months ago when it would probably not have been the same story! His lifeskills have improved massively and he’s now fairly ‘normal’... just need to keep on top of it and slowly build on it now.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Best Moments of 2011

2011 was certainly one of my best ever for agility. Scandal far surpassed my hopes and dreams as a raw two year old. We had our blips, the flat tunnel phobia in April, the ‘go round’ everything in May, the ‘flat, post-season blues’, the ‘ahhhhh, I’m going to be attacked’ after she was attacked by two dogs in the Spring. But shining through all that was the confident, keen to please little girl just finding her feet and learning to love competition.

Scandal has a strong eye and so spent much of her intitial set up routines in 2010 scanning what was happening in the rings around us, especially if they happened to go over/through anything that made her favourite sound (aframe/dogwalk/tunnel). We made huge amounts of progress through the 2011 season and the vast majority of runs that I did with her she did not flick her gaze away from me at all. I changed several things I did including not queuing. This made such a big difference in that Scandal got on to the line excited but focused, and me in a much better mood not having been exasperated by her poor-ASBO-like queuing antics.

I think in the space of a month Scandal went from immature, slightly awkward looking and not too sure of herself to driven, balanced and confident. This was May. We did one show where I walked her out of a couple of runs in frustration, us on different wavelengths, Scandal mystified and me not getting her. By the end of the month she was on fire and had one of my most memorable weekends – this was SWAT + Packington. She was awesome! I love watching these runs on video. She understands me, and I understand her. We begin to look like a team.

So, our first grade 6 was to be at the end of June. With the words of ‘you’ll struggle in grade 6 [to start with]’ ringing in my ears I had more determination than I can ever remember having, that I was under NO circumstances, going to struggle in grade 6. I had wanted to hold Scandal back in grade 5 until I felt she was ready to handle the tougher 6-7 courses. June, she was ready. I was so excited at the thought of running in G6.

A friend and I went to Mark Laker’s mid June for a lesson in Sports Pyschology. Poor Mark. With me ranging from ‘dunno, I’ve got no goals’ to giggling ridiculously at trying to say my dream out loud, I have no idea how he had the patience. But he did, and I think it’s made a huge difference to how I work. Thanks Mark :)

Lansdown – our first grade 6 run – jumping. She went clear. She won it. Oh, and she beat the person’s time in G7 who said we’d struggle ;-) satisfying, oui.
The next month was a blur of a hen weekend, Jess and Lee’s wedding, me running at Diamond show whilst drunk (winning one class and falling over in the other two), and of course, Scandal going grade 7. In four shows. Caerphilly, we needed one more win – an agility. I ran like something possessed, it is one of my favourite runs ever, Scandal won by about two seconds. Damn that my video camera battery ran out on the run before.

She followed it a week later at Agility Club by winning G6 jumping and the 6-7 Olympia qualifier (by 1.5 seconds). She was flying. Honey was flying too – winning the Crufts Singles, giving her enough points for Crufts 2012, and coming 2nd in the Small Olympia, qualifying her for the semis. Honey’s two 2011 goals… tick.

KC Festival – down with a bump. Scandal was mental. So crazy. I’d walked her out of four runs by the end of the second day. But she was so much fun, a total wild child. Honey was fab, and qualified for the British Open Semi and Nations Cup. Serious amount of fun.

I’d already decided I wasn’t going to do DIN. I was a bit agility’d out, and needed a few days at home, to chill. In the end, we went down to Cornwall, for Scandal to try being a sheepdog. She was amazing, Roy loved her and we had such a fab time. She was such a natural, and would’ve worked until she dropped. We are going again in April. So excited. In fact, more excited about that than the agility show I’m meant to be doing whilst we are down there!

So, September, semis and Scandal’s first champ. Honey delighted me on the Friday by qualifying for the Olympia finals – a lifelong dream of mine. The dream continued when I got to run in Scandal’s first champ – aim was to try and get a clear round (in the agility or jumping). She did better than that, she got 2 clears, and then a clear in the final, AND to top it all off, the reserve CC, I think 0.2 off getting the ticket. That was magic. The following day my dream weekend was complete when I managed to hold my nerve and get Scandal round clear in the 6-7 Olympia Semi, getting a 4th out of 20+ clear rounds, taking us to Olympia.

I’m not sure whether this comes under the ‘best moments’ or not, but in October, we got dog number 5. Yes, we didn’t need dog number 5. And we certainly didn’t need a rescue… or a Malinois. But we got all three in one dog, and this was ‘Jed’ (some of you may know him as Bandit, Milo, Dexter or Zak from Many Tears). Fate has a funny way in how things work out. Jed certainly contributed to a lot of the worst moments of 2011, but some of the best too. I will write more on him when I get a chance… that will probably be next year, lol.

And finally… Olympia. It’s weird. I can’t write about Olympia. I have only watched the video a couple of times. I will just summarise. The most electrifying agility competition that I have ever been to, so much pressure, so much atmosphere, and something that everyone wants to win. Honey was awesome. Bless that little spaniel. 2nd in the pairs and 2nd in the Final. I couldn’t ask for any more from her. Scandal just did a couple of baby mistakes, but ran the course superbly and I SO want to go back!

So that sums up my ‘Agility Highlights of 2011’. 2012 and Rix has just turned 13, and last weekend did two 10 mile walks with us. Scandal and Honey had 6 weeks of no agility, just lots of walks to keep fit (ohhh, plus running off for Honey, so she is now back on lead for most of her walks). Hopefully I will have as much fun this year running the two ginger dogs as I did last year… very exciting that the show season starts back in just a couple of months!