UKA Dig It

The first of the Dig It Summer Shows is finally here! Time to start earning some points!

As it turned out this was one of those shows where we had so much fun the results did not matter at all, although it was still a slightly disappointing day.

Bright and early Ash and I rocked up just past 8am. Straight away we got set to work helping, pegging weaves and putting up the shelter, and before I knew it I’d walked the course and they were calling for the first dogs. I was straight in and with only 10 dogs in the class I gave Guinness a quick warm up and we rushed into the ring. Into a down, lead off and he broke his wait. I put him back and we set off for a messy run. One of those typical first runs of the day. Never mind.

Off into the exercise field across the lane and he had a poo. I knew it, I’d rushed him in. Scooping the poop, I looked up and he had gone. Vanished! Sh*t! (Quite literally). It was a huge field but I couldn’t see him anywhere, calling and whistling, I rushed back to the Dig It field, looking up and down the lane, and breathed a huge sigh of relief to see Ash putting him into the car. Phew. What a numpty. Luckily the little lane is quiet and he’d just run straight off to find Ash.

Time to chill out and have some breakfast.

_DSC0303I left Ash in charge of my camera which resulted in some rare (and extremely unattractive) photos of me! Doing what I do best and stuffing my face.

Quickly onto Jumping and it begun jump to 6 weaves. C’mon Guinness, we can do 6 poles easy, we have them set up in the garden. I ran start him to really drive him into the weaves “Go weave weave weave”…. he Go’d too much and entered at the 2nd gap. D’oh, come back, get in the weaves, lovely, off we go. It was quite a tight, tricky course with some knocked poles here and there but some pleasing rear crosses. Another Elimination picked up along the way.

While taking photos and watching the course later on I realised I had completely missed out a jump! I hadn’t even noticed it when I walked it. Oops! Not like me at all.

A bit of a break before steeplechase and Ash had long since abandoned me for Nick, pleased to finally have someone else at shows who was interested in something other than dogs!

Onto Steeplechase and me and Gaz set a good example of how to walk a course… stand on the edge of the ring with arms crossed. Everyone was starting to get a little silly and carrot cake for lunch was certainly boosting up my happiness scale.

_DSC0200A nice but tricky steeplechase course, I decided to test my wait and ran off three jumps ahead. Guinness jumped up and then stopped just short of the first jump but set the timer off with him nose. I released him and he ducked under. The rest of the course was so smooth and clear! Absolutely gutted!!

Power & Speed came next, my first ever games class. A great opportunity to test our contacts plus it started with a spread jump. I ran start again to help him over and he cleared it nicely. A-frame quickly to weaves was going to be tricky so I held his stop A-frame then sent him in. Yes! Nailed the entrance but popped out around pole 9. Second attempt, fail, time to get out of the ring and try to get 12 weaves out at training more often.

Second Steeplechase, another nice course with some different handling options but some tight turns. I was really pleased with my choices and Lydia and Audra both decided to handle the same way.  We hadn’t even passed each other while walking the course so I was mega chuffed with myself. Onto the course and 1 pole flew, followed by another, then 3 more, a terrible rear cross and over the line.

_DSC0359What a shamble. However he did manage to keep up three poles in a row of tricky spacing, with a bounce in the middle. If you listen closely he lets of a “huff” noise as he bounces which makes me chuckle (amongst all of the barking of course). As I came out Avril and Katie said they’d decided his downfall is that he can’t bark and jump.

5 out of 5 glorious eliminations! The end of the show was spent filming and scribing and generally larking around while we brought the Steeplechase ring to a close.

Still finding victories somewhere, I was so chuffed with how our waits have progressed and I’m starting to feel more confident, plus I’m a lot happier with taking him back to the start if he does break.

Most importantly this show was so fun it really didn’t matter how we did in the ring, the point was that Guinness was having fun and I was having fun!

This video really sums up the atmosphere of Dig It Shows and particularly the Dig It Instructors, some of my best friends.

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The End of Winter: March & April Dig It

March and April Can You Dig It Winter Series Show bring the close of Winter and the start of the competing season.

March

Being the numptysaurus I am I haven’t made any notes about the March show, so my account is going to be very brief!

Lou was due to Judge Intermediate and Advanced Agility and I had agreed to Ring Manage for half of the day. Then when Lou was in hospital the week before the show I said I’d Judge for her. We ended up sharing it and Lou Judged Standard & Large which allowed me to run in Intermediate Agility!

I opted for NFC as always and had a bit of a mixed bag of 2 runs. I got a short wait with training and then the dog walk was fabulous! (I have re-watched the video so many times to enjoy that contact). Weaves we didn’t complete more than 10 poles on first run so left them out on the 2nd run, although I had to run him past the weaves to get to where I wanted to go and didn’t call him off them properly. A-frame, he didn’t even think about stopping! (Argh). Seesaw was fine and then finish Serpentine I was mega chuffed with! A slight threadle arm was all that I needed for the middle jump.

A quick coffee and cake break and then back onto Judging duties. It was a pleasure to watch the Advanced classes.

I got into Intermediate Jumping in the afternoon (NFC runs again) and Guinness successful weaved 6 poles 3 out of 4 times from a tunnel!  Hurrah!

I gave the Steeplechase a miss as we were both pretty knacked and pleased with what we’d done.  March Show finitè!

 

April

Phew the last of the Winter Shows and spring is definitely in the air! Lighter mornings and lighter nights! We didn’t get home until 8pm but it didn’t feel late at all with the sun only just setting.

I judged the Beginners Jumping and thoroughly enjoyed it! I was determined not to do too much up and down and although it ended up looking quite like a steeplechase, there’s not much you can do to avoid that with jumps and tunnels only.

The course seemed quite well received with only a handful of dogs Eliminated from running ahead over jumps (partly due to lack of handler communication) and there were some fast clears. I blasted Guinness round before we started and lay down a clear round in 24 seconds! (Would have been embarressing if we’d have gone wrong). Our time remained unbeaten! Zoom!
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I really noticed was how people shaped, or didn’t shape, their dogs around the top pivot. Quite a few dogs were aimed at wings and left to take the jumps straight rather than aiming for a smooth arc. It’s something I find really hard to be aware of when running with my dog so it was nice to be able to stand and watch other people and get a better idea of how the smoother handling looked.

I ran quickly out of my Judging appointment and straight in Advanced Agility on Standard for a quick NFC run. Big mistake, I shouldn’t have bothered. There were too many traps and I didn’t plan what to do so we flapped around, failed our weaves and self-released off almost every contact. Second run I had a better plan and we did much better, but our contacts were still pants. After reading an article about whether putting your dog back onto the bottom of the contact actually helps I wasn’t really sure what to do when he pinged off, and left the ring feeling a little annoyed.

No time to dwell, straight into Intermediate Jumping and I ran for competition. First run, too busy worrying about a wait, was on the wrong side of Guinness and forgot where to go. Second run, I faced him and walked backwards and he waited nicely! Annoying that it was not a confident wait but a huge bonus to our recent wait failures! Off we went, tough 270 start then straight run of a few jumps before turning into a tricky left hand weave entry (the nicer of the 2 sides though as they have a pole wrap to aim for), steadily jogging along and we got 12 weaves! Front cross and up a line then tunnel tunnel finish! AHHHH! CLEAR ROUND!! AHHHH!

Woooooop. 12 weaves. A wait. No poles. Fantastic weave entry. OMG. First competitive run of the year and everything is falling into place.

We got 3rd!!!  1 second slower than the winner which aint bad considering we’re competing against G3-5 dogs!

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Quickly into Steeplechase which I missed walking, messy run but alteast he did another wait, and then time for a burger!

I had a lovely relaxed finish with some cake, a bit of helping on tickets & leads and then packing away. Back at Dig It we were very excited to unload all of the equipment onto the field and set up the fencing!

A great finish to the winter series. I wish I could be feeling a little more confident about our competiting ability but pleased with how our weaves are and I’m feeling semi-relaxed about our waits, as they are normally better on grass.

TAG next weekend, lets see what happens!

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January & February Dig It Winter Series

The first show of 2014 started with Dig It Winter Series.

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January

Lydia was away so I helped to run the show with a few other Dig It guys. I had a lot of fun but I was very busy in between runs. Amanda Hampson judged the Advanced and Intermediate Jumping and it was a pleasure to see and try her courses! I am continuing with NFC runs and chose to do a 9 obstacle sequence from her course. There was a flick flack/serp that didn’t quite go to plan with a tunnel drawing them away from the third jump, I couldn’t get it even with two tries. However weaves we managed 12 poles once but 3/4 times popped out at pole 10.

Amanda Hampson - Intermediate Jumping (Course Section that I ran)

Amanda Hampson – Intermediate Jumping
(Numbers not correct to full course)

In Agility I made my own course but included a nice 3 jump sequence from the judges course. Again we popped out on 10 weaves so I didn’t attempt them again. The sequence didn’t go to plan either however our contacts were good.

Watching a friend run I saw them make a handling choice different to mine that worked much better! I watched and immediately thought  “of course, why didn’t I do that!”. It seemed like such an obvious option yet I’d missed it. The same with the Jumping!

I am failing to see all of the handling options. I look with blinkers on and see one or two options, make a decision and then go for it. It’s something that I need to work on and also an ability that I want to pass to my students, so I best get better at it myself! Perhaps more time walking the course?! Or at least concentrate more while walking and broaden my mind.

Steeplechase I blasted for a run but I’d got my Dublin boots on and I tried to lazy handle/push Guinness out and i left him too far. We didn’t train track! I went off the rails.

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February

This show was a lot of fun! I had a bit of a lazy start (I was there by 8.30am nonetheless!) and had a wait until first run so I got my camera out and did some photos and filming for Dig It. There were three rings with two clubs providing ring parties so everything was well run and the rings moved quickly. Agility first and a tricky handling section with lots of options got quite a few people pondering while walking it. I made my choice and was really pleased as it worked well, flowing smoothly into the tunnel! (Hurrah my course choices are getting better perhaps). I ran for training but stuck to the course as it allowed everything I wanted to work on.

I filmed the worst of my two training runs so be open-minded when watching this, it went much better the first time…

[There is a lot to analyse and take away from that video but I wont bore you with it in this post! Important thing is the fecking weaves! Epic Guinness!]

6 weaves and we nailed the entries plus Guinness powered through them so fast he got stuck! Really impressed! Contacts were good although he released on my movement more than he should, however he had stopped so promising for competition.

Jumping was a nice up and down blasty run with 6 weaves from the tunnel. Again amazing weaves and only missed 1 out of 5.

I pushed our waits aiming to leave Guinness closer to the edge of the ring. As you can see from the video he doesn’t even think about it in the agility, as soon as the lead is off he goes. However our other runs were better with some nicer waits. I’m struggling to see how we will bridge the training-competition gap! At the moment it looks like a huge, bottomless valley.

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Steeplechase was a fun course from Becky Sargent with two tunnels next to each other. Although some say this tests nothing, as it is not obstacle discrimination, I had a lot of fun! I didn’t guide Guinness enough nor judge how long his jump is (partly due to not walking it) and and we got Eliminated when he took the furthest tunnel rather than the one closest to me. Never mind still a fun run with some good distance work and rear crosses.

Only two more shows to go and competition season is creeping closer and closer! I am hopeful that our waits outdoors will be better as Guinness was always happier on grass last year. The Dig It Club Comps start in March so I’ll be out there as soon as possible, pushing and testing our waits!

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