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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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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