I’d been contemplating buying Guinness a coat for ages. I’ve had so many discussions in my head about it… it would stop him being completely soaked on a rainy day, it would keep him warm, it would save me drying him … Continue reading
I think we’re all feeling a little blue by the amount of rain we’ve seen so far this winter. I keep hoping for a good long frost and potentially snow to dry up all the mud, but there’s been no … Continue reading
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.
Ash and I set off on Thursday evening for a long weekend camping, with the added luxury of a day of Agility! I’d been recommended the Anglesey show and it was a perfect opportunity to have a nice weekend in the tent as well as get to a new, quiet show.
We’d chosen a campsite about half an hour away from the show and set of at 7.30am to arrive nicely for 8am. It was blowing a gail! We had lovely sunshine on Friday but came back from a walk to find our tent sideways, practically flat on the floor (it was a miracle how no poles snapped). It was no different at the showground, if anything I think it was windier, however the rain was holding off and we quickly got started with G1-2 Agility first up.
I considered this my most important class and I opted to run start. All started well and I pulled off a nice rear cross on the a frame with strong contacts. A tricky round-the-back from the dogwalk while calling away from the tunnel and then three jumps diagonal to rear cross the seesaw (mind your chin) then another round-the-back into the weaves. Yes, he’d done the weaves, then across a box and ARGHHHH!! He turned left in the box toward me and took the wrong jump. Nooooo. Even the judge looked gutted for me. A nice 270 and finish.
Man!! I thought we had it in the bag. He drove into the weaves so nicely and did 6 lovely, we were on for a winner. But I was holding back from the weaves to ensure I didn’t rush him and I ended up so far behind! Never mind. I am so so pleased, that is the best run we have had at a competition for a while, lovely contacts, nice handling (if I do say so myself), only slips up were we got a little stuck on the diagonal and he turned the wrong way from the seesaw, but overall very good. Plus no knocked poles!
A long break now as the next two runs weren’t until after lunch. The day got a little slow and we were very glad of the company and hospitality of Kev, Adele and Avril. We settled down in the car for lunch of homemade ham & cheese butties and chips! Nom.
G1-3 Jumping next and I choked down a miss-timed brew and only managed to walk half of it before they were calling to clear the course. Damn. I went away and quickly drew the course (a technique I’m really getting along with) and studied it on paper. Into the ring and I got Guinness tugging outside of the queue and then kept it up nicely before our run. We went for a wait, nervously, and managed a step away before he leapt up and I ran for it. Some nice rear crosses, although he went off course a little and I needed to spin him around to get back on track. Not knowing if we’d been marked for a refusal I ran on, second to last was the weaves and we powered over the finish! Had we been given a refusal?? I looked at Ash and Kev who raised their arms and said “Ah what happened to the weaves!”. “What did happen at the weaves?! Did he mark our refusal?!” I said. No refusal but apparently Guinness missed his last weave! Aw. I hadn’t even noticed. Gutted.
We had all got so excited, another fantastic run yet a fall at the second to last “hurdle” again. Gutted. Phew! This was exciting. It was really feeling like the final Agility was going to be ours.
As we walked the Combined 1-3 Agility the heavens opened! With the wind blowing even stronger the rain came sideways and we were soaked through in no time. It didn’t last long and luckily went off just before our run. At lunchtime they had finally decided to take out the dogwalk, a sensible decision, but it left the course lacking a little imagination in places… jump, a frame, jump, wing wrap, a frame, jump.
The queue was a bit manic with everyone trying to get their run done to go home. It was far from relaxing. The person queuing in front of me and I spread out and took the queue in a wide circle to keep some distance from the ring, but then the person queuing behind ended up in front of me, which left Guinness surrounded by three dogs. As we entered the ring I had Guinness tugging on his lead nicely which is a great achievement, but as I unclipped his lead a spark of nerves struck me and I grabbed his collar. I don’t know what came over me, despite the queue we were on track to go for our wait but this run was “important” and I didn’t want to risk a Guinness-bog-off-special. As I grabbed his collar Guinness tried to make a runner and freaked out on me (he isn’t a fan of sudden collar grabs) and after a quick pause we set off and knocked the first pole. The rest of the run went in the same style, but I managed to get my head back on as we reached the seesaw and held his contact. I was impressed to see he stayed on it (totally expected him to break) and then nice 6 weaves at speed followed. Always taking positives, we also did a lovely wing wrap, but other than that a potty run!
Disappointing end! Ah well. As I drove away I was kicking myself. I am in such a rush to win out of Grade 1 I am sacrificing my waits. Something that is much more important! I’m rushing toward a short-term goal and spoiling the long term goal. I think I’m ashamed to be in Grade 1, especially as I have started teaching classes, yet I am confident in my teaching and handling ability, plus it is only a matter of time before we get that first win. If I look at my true feelings I am more ashamed about becoming someone without a wait than I am of being in Grade 1… so I need to get a grip and sort myself out!
Off to Holyhead, we finished the day with takeaway pizza and a visit to South Stack.
The whole weekend was very enjoyable. We had a lovely walk through Newborough Forest and a visit to the beach on Friday and a cup of tea by the seaside and a pit-stop at Snugbury’s on the way home today.
The Anglesey Show is a lovely, quiet, two ring show in a nice venue. I was pleasantly surprised to see a lot of friendly faces and it felt geared towards the lower grade dogs. With Beacon being the main show this weekend it certainly seemed that the more relaxed handlers had chosen this show. Plus I hear it was just as windy back home and no one can control the weather.
This weekend was Dig It’s May Summer Show. Saturday was my first official judging appointment for UKA. I was excited but nervous; what if I mess up, what if I make a big mistake, what if people don’t like the … Continue reading