Thursday, 23 May 2013


Soooo going back over the last couple of months... Scandal... little miss superdog.

She won 4 of her classes of Kernow, then two weeks later we had a good time at Scunthorpe, lovely run in the champ final until I got her e’d two from the end as she went in the tunnel instead of up the dogwalk as I didn’t handle the sequence properly. GRRR.  Went to Kingdom of Fife the following day and had an awful run in the  champ jumping, I think we were e’d by number 6 when Scandal nearly took my legs out to go into a tunnel, so I took her out. Champ agility she won, Bonny Quick had done a lovely round with Ivy, her young dog, who has stunning running contacts, so I knew it would have to be an all out run, and it was… good Scandalbeans.
The following weekend we had the EO qualifiers and we had a great time. Scandal won the second round, had the best time in team agility and our team won too. The following day she had a 4th and then we made mistakes in the next two runs. Very happy to say that we have been chosen to be a part of Team GB to go to the European Open in Belgium in July! 

We had a break the weekend after the EO qualifiers and then on to one day of Woodside. I’m trying to do the shows that I really enjoy doing, even if they are further away, rather than just doing a show every single week. I find it interesting that as Scandal has matured, she is more in tune with what I am feeling. I find it amazing that a dog knows stress/pressure, even if we don’t think we’re showing it. After Scunnie/KoF/EO Q’s, where I felt that Scandal was simmering and I was just about able to keep the lid on her, I decided that I needed to get some control back, and Scandal did perfect startline waits in all 3 runs (no crouching/leaning forward which she was doing a lot at EO qualifiers), and in her champ agility she stopped (albeit briefly) on her dogwalk and again on her seesaw. She was 4th in this. She was then 4th in champ jumping too, which put her through to the champ final running 18th. They ran the heights small-medium-large so I was on a complete high from having just made up Honey to Ag Ch. Jess Clarehugh and Cara were running 16th and had done a stunning clear round, so I knew it was an all-or-nothing run. Scandal went clear, but then no one knew whether Scandal or Cara were leading, as both had gone round in 34.8.. Alan Short and Bruce was running 19th and went clear but was about half a second slower, and then Jacqui Tarn (and Becca?) ran last but got e’d. It ended up that Scandal had just pipped Cara’s time, in 34.807 compared to Cara’s time of 34.863 (I think it was 3), so Scandal won her second ticket! Hooray! We have had a few weeks break and our next show is this weekend at Nottingham, followed by the Team GB training day on bank holiday Monday at Nottingham Trent Uni. And I now don't have work until Tuesday, woohoo.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Agility Champion Honeybear

Well that’s been a rather busy few weeks. I have a couple of weeks break and no shows until Nottingham… I wish I could say I will enjoy lounging around doing nothing; instead I will be spending every spare minute studying for my exams which are less than a week away......

I have kind of given up blogging… I just don’t have time. And then I think 'ohhh I really want to mention that' and then don't mention it until about 2 months too late.

Honey is now Agility Champion Ochtertyre Bonnie Heather. I decided early on this year that I would only be entering her in champ classes in Scotland. We always joke that Honey knows she’s back in the country she was born in and always runs differently (i.e. much better) up there. I know that Honey doesn’t respond well to pressure (unlike Scandal who seems to rise to the occasion) and the more pressure I put on Honey the slower she goes, however when we get to Scotland she is just different. Excited even before we get to the show. So I only entered her in three shows across March – June; Kernow (ok, not a champ show, but Honey always goes crazy at this show), Kingdom of Fife and Woodside.

As predicted, Kernow she was pretty crazy in the two classes we did and got E’d lol. I actually love it when Honey gets eliminated like this as it’s from her craziness and me not being able to be quick enough to respond to it… I’d rather get eliminated like that any day than get a painfully slow clear. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to communicate this message across to Honey.

I have changed my warm up routine with her - I have tried most things, but it seemed the more I did with her had the opposite effect… she would play happily before her run and then meander round the course completely uninterested. At Kernow 2012 I couldn’t be bothered to do any of that and Honey absolutely flew round and won her classes. Laura suggested that maybe I was stressing Honey out through my attempts to get her excited. I kept this in mind but was convinced that she needed to be wound up and Kernow was simply a fluke and Honey must have been in a funny mood that weekend.

So this year, we got Crufts out the way (again Honey not particularly interested, in fact one person thought she was injured as she was so slow – they clearly didn’t see her training 2 days before when she was screaming round the course as fast as her little ginger legs could go!), and then it was on to the three shows, one in March, April and May, before she had a couple of months off.

Kernow we just did two runs but she ran beautifully (albeit E’s). Kingdom of Fife the champ jumping was *very* hard and she managed a fairly scrappy clear. Champ agility was a fast and more open course and Honey decided this was right up her street and won it. Champ final she again was running really well and then towards the end decided to cut behind me to ADD in a jump. Honey NEVER adds in jumps… she usually goes out of her way to miss them out. But it was nice that she was running so well.

On to Woodside – I loved this show last year and couldn’t wait to go back. Again I didn’t play with Honey in the queue – Garth warmed her up for me just by walking her around, we kept her away from the ring and then I took her when there were two dogs to go. This seemed to work perfectly as a) I wasn’t stressed as I was in Scotland = CHILLL, and b) any subsconscious vibes would hopefully not have too long to be transmitted to spanielly. Honey started off well by winning the champ agility by two seconds. She was then 2nd in the champ jumping, 0.1 off the winner. This put her to run last in the champ final. Once I had convinced her to actually do a start line wait (glad they weren’t judging to FCI rules… we’d have been eliminated before we got off the startline ;-)) she ran well, and started to do a huffy-squeak half way round. Actually, how she ran the 2nd half of the course wasn’t
far off what I get from her in training. She won the final by quite a way, giving her her third challenge certificate and making her up to Agility Champion! Soooo Honey now gets to retire from having to run with me. Lucky spaniel. Imogen will be running her in the shows we can get her to, although not sure yet which ones they will be. I will be able to put my time into Scandal and Jed, poor Jed has taken a bit of a back seat in the last month, and he gets SO excited when we get to a show and he thinks he might actually get to run.

Here are Honey's run from Woodside...
Honey has also made breed history by becoming the first agility champion cocker spaniel, I know there are quite a few spaniels on 1 or 2 CC’s but none have actually been made up to agility champion.

I must say a very big thank you to Imogen for letting me run Honey. Honey was Imogen’s first dog and together they went from grade 1 to grade 7, before Imi had to move 200 miles away, and very kindly let me run her. Hopefully Imi can get lots of training in when she comes up to stay with us in the holidays and will be ready to do some more champ classes.

Monday, 6 May 2013


I thought Jed deserved his own post. At the end of March we went down to Kernow, one of my favourite shows of the year. Jed has come on a lot over the winter and so I decided Kernow would be a good first show for him to do. The only thing is he is still very green and I haven’t been able to train him as much as I’d hoped – in the last couple of months he’s only had 1 training session a week… not really ideal for teaching his contacts.

He had a great time… only knocked 1 pole all weekend over 6 runs, which is great considering when he was first learning to jump and had no idea of how his legs worked he used to plough through jumps, breaking the entire cup/wing on more than one occasion. He even managed a clear round in G3 jumping and came 3rd.
He absolutely LOVES running, but you can see from the videos he’s used to only doing short sequences… in the 3-5 agility he did tunnel-jump towards the score tent and then went ‘where’s my toy, where’s my toy’, then I got him back and we carried on and did jump dogwalk, and then he did ‘where’s my toy’ again. And in his G3 jumping he went through the tunnel straight towards the startline ‘where’s my toyyyyy’ and bless him had to slam on his breaks when he FINALLY realised I was calling him. Anyone would think he was obsessed with his toy ;-)

Two weeks later and another weekend of competing. He did a total of 4 runs over the two days and had 3 clears! His first run was 1-3 agility, he was good but didn’t wait on his seesaw, he went on to do the next jump and then realised he was meant to have stopped and came running back pulled it back down and sat at the bottom bless him. Then his next run was another 1-3 agility, he did a beautiful running DW and AF, and a very good stop on his seesaw, and came 5th J:-) then his next class was G3 jumping and I hadn’t walked the course, so he had a wide turn but still came 8th. The following day he just had one run, G1-3 jumping, and did another clear, and this time won it by over a second :-) he is SO much fun to run, a massive big goofball but tries his heart out to get it right. He’s still doing a few jumps goofily, but this is settling down, and I know it’s just because he’s trying extra hard to jump, rather than plough through, which is most appreciated ;-)