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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
Our last show in Grade 1, off to new territory of Osmaston Polo Ground to pop my Dog Vegas cherry.
Hurrah, not the first class of the day, I gave myself half an hour lie-in. A nice quiet show with only 54 max in G1-3 classes, compared to 130 at Oswestry.
The ground was soft and we’d had some rain so studs were on (I did take my agility trainers too this time) and we set off for G1-3 Agility first up. A hesitant wait and I must apologise to the person doing leads, I rudely appear to ignore him and chuck my lead at his feet when he had his arm outstretched, I am so busy concentrating and worrying on Guinness’ wait that I often don’t look at what I’m doing with the lead.
We got a wait nonetheless and took down the first pole (I left Guinness too close to the jump). It was a good run with some pleasing handling, he ran out of the weaves around 9 (due to me rushing I think) but nailed 12 weaves second attempt. Contacts were shocking – he self release all of them, didn’t even think about stopping, and is a little hesitant down to the bottom.
I don’t know what to do with contacts in a show. I agree that bouncing them back onto the bottom doesn’t really help, but if he misses one I would quite like to do something about them rather than just running on. Onto the next G1-3 Agility and this time we were going to concentrate on contacts, we have got that win into G2 and now it’s time to use the show experience wisely.
I went for a stronger wait and Guinness bogged off before I had even taken a step away. He wouldn’t come back, just stood barking at me. Messily I got him into a down and then we went and he blasted past 6 weaves. We ignored it and ran on, taking a quick course up and down the contacts. I made sure he stopped on the Aframe, he released off the seesaw and then release off the dogwalk, but I paused and he reversed back onto it. Argh.
After spending a lot of time sat in the car reading the first Grade 1-3 Jumping was set up and we sneaked in to run before the lunch break. The first jump was a nice distance into the ring and we were able to get in and get tugging while the previous dog was finishing. I felt confident, Guinness was tugging nicely. I popped him through my legs and into a down, unclipped the lead, and off he went on his own. AHH. I couldn’t get him back again! Barely bringing him around near to me before setting off. The rest of the run was okay, missing a jump on a tricky off set row towards the end, but I’d had enough.
I was so annoyed!! I’ve never felt frustrated with Guinness at an agility show before, ever. Until now! I didn’t show or tell him (although it was probably ebbing out of me) and I rewarded him the same, but mentally I wanted to scream and yell at him. Of course it isn’t Guinness’ fault, it is my training fault.
I could have cried. My mood flowed out at Ash and we bickered. Then I sulked.
Good job it was lunch time. An hour in the car reading, eating sandwiches and a lot of cuddling later and I had sorted my head out. Time to get the last run done and then get home and do some serious thinking and training!
It was a while still until my run and we went to get coffee and donuts and sit ringside. They were presenting some results out and suddenly I recognised my own name! I had got 2nd place in Agility!!! I was sooo surprised. With 10 faults! I wasn’t expecting that.
Final jumping class came and Guinness was tugging on the start line! I unclipped his lead and carried on tugging. Into a down, release the toy, we were feeling good. He jumped up and ran off ! He didn’t go far and quickly came back around in between my legs. He ran off again and circled the first jump, 5R. I had almost given up but called him back and he came into position in a down back at my feet. A more confident wait this time and off I went and released! A FANTASTIC RUN! I was so pleased with my handling choices. We were fast. I ran! I got a front cross in a place I wasn’t sure that I could get to.
Jenny was scoring and shouted “Great run Ruth. Fast. You’re 2nd!”. As the next person finished “3rd now!”. Ack. If only we hadn’t had that refusal! But overall our start line had been so much better! Tugging is definitely for us and tugging off lead and then into a down is our key formula I think, we just need to get it 100% now.
That was it! I decided to wait until the presentations at the end of the day. I knew we were unlikely to be placed but I couldn’t go home and miss the chance of a rosette.
We settled down in the sunshine reading again, I finished off Agility Voice and Ash made good progress through his book. Then the results came and only 2nd and 1st were announced in Grade 1.
Never mind! A late finish. A mental day with tears, cheers and learning curves. Overall another great show and some value ring experience.