Adams Virginity

My first trip to Catton Hall! (Does that make me a proper agility competitor now). It was a wet one! I had a late night and then was up from 2am to 3am with the HUMONGOUS thunder-storm, and then up at 6am for the show.

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Waterproofs on! Today I discovered that my football boots are not waterproof, and it wasn’t until I reached the show that I remembered I had some sealskin waterproof socks at home! Numpty.

First up was Combined 1-3 Agility. I’d already decided I was going to run start and off we went. A lovely stop dog walk and then a nice wing wrap with the pole still intact. I pushed him for a distance send into the tunnel while moving into position but he pulled back towards me and then started straying toward the wrong end! Oh no. I pulled him back further and re-sent him in and saw the Judge mark a refusal. Darn. Nice six weaves and finished! My mistake, I should have watched and made sure he was committed before moving away, plus one more step forward would have been all the difference. Never mind.

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I was all alone so there are no videos of any of my runs this time.

Back to the car to chill out and I popped Adam FM on the radio. I wasn’t sure what it was and there was some music playing and then all of a sudden an announcement came through the radio!! OH MY GOD!! I may be easily impressed, but I think this is ABSOLUTELY AMAZING! I could sit in my car and keep track with what each ring is doing. People can be in their caravans and know where their ring is up to. WOW. Mega impressed. Just as I was starting to worry I’d need a push start to get home I remembered my wind up radio/torch that I always have in my car. Voila! I knew it’d come in useful one day.

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Onto Combined Jumping 1-2 and I stood at the start line looking up a line of 6 jumps across the diagonals. All with just about 4 metres in between.

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Looking from number 7, the tunnel, to the start line.

This song popped into my head straight away! I think I know what the soundtrack to my next agility video will be!

There was a nice big start area and only me in the queue when I arrived so I got Guinness happily tugging. The scrimer gave some tickets out to the next few people who had arrived before sitting down to mark my run which gave me more time to tug and get Guinness really revved up. I left him in a down and set off. He waited. I only took a few steps and then released. Brilliant! I raced ahead and didn’t watch him but we had no poles down on the first stretch! I wish I could have filmed it to have looked at his jumping. We fluffed a front cross and the pole dropped and then onto weaves and he made a beeline for the tunnel after only 5! Let’s try again… no out at 5 again. Third and final time, out at 5!! Time to get out of the ring.

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With the rain still bucketing down Grade 1-4 Jumping was soon ready for walking, today was going great with hardly any waiting around! As I walked it there was a lot of murmurs. “Ooh that’s hard”. “This isn’t very nice for Grade 1s!”. “More like Grade 5”. I liked it! I liked it from the moment I started walking it. Yes it had tricky bits, but do-able tricky bits. Maybe because I’ve been training way out of my grade at Dig It. Ironic as we couldn’t even win out of Grade 1 until last month, but it certainly has helped with our confidence and Guinness’ drive and ability. I walked it with a Ketchup (Ketschker) turn in mind. I’ve done them in training but not for a while. I think they have their place. But I’m still not sure why I was even considering doing it. I thought it would help create a tight wing wrap and open up the weave entry as I wouldn’t be blocking his sight of the weaves. However only the other day I had decided to be consistent and work on basic foundation handling skills with Guinness; building up our drive, flow and smoothness around courses rather than adding in new manoeuvres and new rules.

We started with a wait. He wasn’t tugging but went down and I felt more confident that he was going to wait. As I took a few steps forward he stood up and stalked forward and then went down again on command and waited. I don’t mind so much if he is breaking to run over the jump, it’s when he breaks to circle and bark at me that is frustrating. From the wait I was in the perfect position for the ketchup…. I stopped by the wing with my “correct” arm sending him over… he stopped and looked at me. Why was I stood still at the wing with my back to the jump! After what felt like a minute Guinness took the jump, wing wrapped correctly and then missed his weave entry, getting in at the second gap. So much for opening up the weaves! I was kicking myself. 11 weaves and sod it I’d had enough. We went on to do the tricky section nicely and I’m generally pleased with my handling. But what a stupid decision to make.

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With only one class left I was listening to the ring waiting for them to announce that the course would be walked and would restart after lunch (it was already 1pm). To my surprise they said the ring would not stop for lunch. I walked it, a little unsure about some sections but pleased with my choices. I went for another run start and sprinted after Guinness as he powered over the dog walk. A quick front cross at the tunnel to a sharp turn and a sudden jump and he ran past the wing for a refusal. ARGH. I think I’d babied the turn from the tunnel and was in his way. Dammit. 12 weaves and he pushed right to the end beautifully. Typical. The rest was great!

I came out and saw Vanessa and she complemented our run. It had been good, just bitterly disappointing. That would have been our ticket to Grade 3! I decided to wait for the results as all of the classes were coming to a close and I sat with Guinness ringside and chatted to Vanessa and her husband. She is a new Dig It Instructor that has moved from America. She’s amazing! It was so lovely to get to know her a little bit better.

The results came and I hadn’t been placed which was expected. Grade 2 Agility only had 2 placements.

It was only 3.30pm and time to go home! This car parked near to me did make me chuckle… a little over-optimistic I think!! (Although the sun broke through for about 20 minutes and was directly on the windscreen).

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Muddy, damp and absolutely knacked I pressed the wrong button on the Sat Nav and before I had chance to realise I was on the M6 Toll. Bye bye £4.80! Never mind, it was a nice quick blast down the M6 rather than the windy lanes and the bumpy A50.

Home for half 4 and enough time for a lovely bubble bath before tea. It’s been a great day with some fantastic runs! What an improvement to Dog Vegas! I look forward to being back at Catton Hall soon.

 

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Derby UKA

An hours drive up the A50 and I arrived on time to walk my first course. What a lovely venue! At Broomfield College Equestrian Centre, the Derby Show is very minimal with a small car park, generous exercise field, indoor equestrian centre big enough for two large rings, a secretary room and heated toilets. No viewing gallery and no cafe.

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I was amazed at how quiet the show was. There must have been very low entries and the show was quickly flowing through, finishing at a reasonable time of 5pm. There was at most 20 dogs in a height which gave everyone a good chance.

First up was Agility. I was pleased to see Jump -> Dog Walk, which allowed for a good running start as we are still working on our waits. There were only 2 others queuing in front of me and we set off nicely. Jump into weaves was minimum spacing and Guinness knocked the pole but got the weave entry, and then popped out at about pole 4. It certainly wasn’t a comfortable entry. Never mind, our contacts were good and he didn’t falter on the aluminium.

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A few hours break and it was time for beginners Jumping. A nice fast course similar to a Steeplechase (well what else can you give to Beginners). It started off in a big spacious corner away from queuing dogs and I was able to play around with Guinness’ waits a little on the lead while the previous dog cleared the ring. I unclipped his lead, stood up and released. A wait! Hurrah. I have already decided I am going to start to push the waits at Dig It shows now. Off we went on a lovely run and then Guinness went into the less-obvious end of the tunnel and I didn’t front cross very well and he ran past a few jumps. The rest went well and the best(?) option for us at the end was to rear cross the weaves after the tunnel. First attempt he turned back to me away from weaves. Second go and all 12 weaves perfectly while I rear crossed. YES YES YES!

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Time for lunch and a long wait for the final class of the day. I didn’t enter the games class, Gamblers, as I didn’t know how it worked. I didn’t know how it worked as I hadn’t tried to learn. Silly reason I know, but I decided to save the money and just do 3 runs.

Watching Gamblers was great and I happily understood it after listening to the judges briefing, talking to people and watching. I must start entering the games classes and having a go! Plus once into Novice you have to gain games points to progress.

Time for Steeplechase. The start fence was backing onto the queue ringside and with 1 crazy Collie and 1 staring male dog either side of us in the queue, Guinness was not happy. We ran start across a box and Guinness veered off and took a side jump. Gutted. Even more so as the rest of the run was amazing! Guinness ran ahead lovely and I front crossed in some fantastic places to take the best line.

That was it! As the sun set it was time to pack up and go home. Everything was muddy from the exercise field and it was just like going home from a Scout camp.  A great venue and a great show. It was nice and quiet with lovely big spacious rings. My only slight gripe was that the rings were so big that the start jumps could have been a little further into the ring rather than right on the edge. It’s certainly something that I am going to think about more when Judging. However there was generous space and its all part of agility.

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