Oswestry

Wowie!! Well let’s cut to the chase… we won! We won Grade 1 Agility! Which puts us in Grade 2!

ARRRRGHHHHHHHHH!

Well, don’t get too excited, 3/4 runs were fantastic eliminations are usual!

Oswestry. A showground I have been to be before. I was surprised to see only 4 rings as last time the Shrewsbury/Oswestry Show had 6 rings jam packed in. 4 was amazing! So spread out with a great big area to sit and relax on while watching some agility.

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The weather was an odd mixture of glorious sunshine and cool clouds with bitter winds. I spent half of the day in a vest top and half of it in my hoody!

First course of the day was Grade 1-3 Agility. It was a nice course when walking and I had two options, hang back and rear cross a serpentine or run and push to get ahead for a stronger serp. I went for the run! Well the first thing I found out was that running in football boots on rock hard ground is like running in high heels! At least the faster I ran the more they dug in so I didn’t end up A over T somehow. I’d left my agility trainers at home so it was studs or nothing all day.

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We went for a very nervous wait and I managed to step over Guinness and then released. It felt cautious and steady and then I pushed on and serped (technical term) the middle of the three jumps nicely then rear crossed for a nice line into the tunnel. 12 weaves and I paced along with him and we got them! Run run, catch up, a pivot and then dog walk, finish, ahh!! I was sure we must have done something wrong. I was convinced we weren’t clear. I couldn’t believe. I asked Ash and he said he thought so, the judge clapped. I let myself celebrate!

For the rest of the morning we were waiting and waiting for the results at lunch time. I was hopeful. The odds were in our favour. But I couldn’t celebrate early. I didn’t want to set myself up for disappointment. I walked the Combined 1-3 Agility and Combined 1-3 Jumping and had some time to sit and look through them. Onto Agility and Gill Vann with her Shepherd was in front of me so I had quite a nice relaxing queue, giving her lots of space. With nothing to lose (hopefully) I pushed our wait and Guinness jumped up and went over the first jump. I called him back, thanked the judge and off we went. What a messy run. Not bad but not great. He only did 11 weaves on both attempts and then missed a jump later on. I had taken up enough of the judge’s time so we just went on and got out, but he did stay on his Aframe contact well while I caught up.

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Combined 1-3 Jumping was another lovely course. Another serpentine, good job we’ve been practising them, and I went on the attack. Guinness broke his wait after I hesitantly left him but didn’t take the first jump and I popped him back and then ran off with confidence. I must get my start line head in gear!  Off we went at speed and I pushed our serp and didn’t connect with him enough over the middle jump, nor give very clear arms, so he missed it. Never mind, the rest was good with a nice distance into the tunnel, 6 weaves into nothing and finish. “A good elimination” as Lou described it!

Lunch time finally and as the presentations started to be handed out the Judge from G1-3 Agility, of course, was to be the last to present. We did some shopping (picked up a reflective windscreen shield and a new Frisbee), had some chips and a coffee and were ready and waiting! Grade 1 Agility… 2nd place was announced… it wasn’t me… 1st place… IT WAS ME!

Judge Sharon Chapman grinned as I ran over and said “Lovely run”! I was so exciting I don’t think I really thanked her properly or told her how much I enjoyed the course. Luckily I saw her on facebook afterwards. Thanks Sharon!

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Final class of the day G1-2 Jumping and I was on cloud nine. Another choice of pushing it and running or hanging back, let’s push it! (Even in my high heel football boots). Another broken wait from Guinness and he circled the first jump and went off barking. “It’s okay” said the Judge, Doc Docherty. I got him back and we started with a wait. I could tell Guinness was in one of those moods and he turned off the weaves barking at me (video footage shows I didn’t send him in very strongly either). Only 11 weaves again but we’d taken enough time so we ran on. Pushing for the outside line and sprinting we made it with only 1 knocked pole (better than expected). Pin wheel and two rear crosses and not a bad run at all. The Judge clapped and shouted “Some cracking stuff there!”
What a great guy! I also saw him lifting up the cloth tunnel for a previous competitor whose dog had been nervous to go through. G1-2s are handlers and/or dogs that potentially have never competed before. This could have been their first ever show and that is exactly the experience they need! I cannot credit Doc enough for how he was with us!

Day finished! We were off to a BBQ in Whitchurch that evening and with some time to kill we stopped in Ellesmere to have a walk alongside the mere.

Amazing amazing day!! Finished off with good food and company.

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