Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Seasons Greetings!

So I hope everyone has had a very merry Christmas and is looking forward to a very happy new year, and hopefully a slightly happier and enjoyable 2011. It has been a lovely few days so far, having everyone to ours actually on the big day for the BIG roast dinner, it mostly went well with lots of turkey and gammon - apart from us managing to completely over cook the parsnips which turned to mush; not that I mind because they are horrible but the rest went quite successfully!! But aside from the food it was nice to be able to spend some quality time with both of our families and the dogs who were brilliantly behaved, and of course eat a little too much, and the dogs of course getting their own Christmas dinner and turkey spoilings too!

As is our tradition, I play 'Christmas elf' in the afternoon and hand out the presents to everyone before opening my own - its lovely to see everyone's faces as we do try to think carefully about what people would like present wise, and it was also lovely because I got spoiled again with loads of fab gifts. I think that my favourites this year have to be the Wii Fit Plus console from dad, plus games from friends, and my very own brand new Hurtta jacket, Silvia Trkman training dvd, and agility long jump - all from Alex, and quite a lot of other fabby things too.

The doggies have been extra specially well behaved for the last few days, with all the Christmas chaos, family visits, and the stupid icy pavements, so they have been getting shorter walks than they or we would like, so today and yesterday they have had the opposite. We decided to take a drive up to the local country park with all three doggies, and take them on a 2 hour trek where they had a brilliant time - especially the youngsters burning off loads of excess energy dashing around chasing each other. Its so much fun spending time with Alex and watching the dogs racing around in the left over snow and icy puddles, even better that there are hardly any other people about. We did the same today just took a slightly different route, its not just good for them - but it really tires us out too, so there will be another adventure tomorrow!!

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Happy 5th Birthday Kiah!

Apart from being spoiled even more than normal on this day; I'm never really 100% sure that Kiah realises that it is her birthday - anyway its a good excuse to make a fuss of her and buy her a nice juicy steak (as usual!) to have for her dinner. It's nice to be able to spoil her just a little bit - as she has brought SO much to my life, been there for me through happy and sad, high and low - and she never EVER fails to make me smile with whatever she does!!

So today, for all the WRONG reasons I am at home with her, because in the last couple of days I have developed a stinking cough - which has now turned into a really heavy cold, sore throat and stupid croaky voice, borderline flu grrrr. I am not impressed with it - and unfortunately there seem to be a load of sickness and flu bugs going around, but I guess I hoped that I would miss out - so I feel for everyone who has it and hope you all get well soon, cause it makes you feel rubbish.

Well apart from playing with Kiah today (and stopping her shredding the Christmas post) I've been resting, popping flu pills, drinking loads and sleeping, not much fun for her but I think she is quite enjoying her day... This photo was taken today while she was looking after me earlier, and waiting expectantly for one of her many birthday-biscuits. Happy Birthday Kiah, you crazy-awesome-perfect little dog!!

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Accessorising the Van!

We have recently added another new rather large accessory to the van, in the form of new 2-up 2-down cages, of course they really are for the dogs' comfort and safety, and even though they get on well - the cages gives each of the doggies their own space, and they are perfect for travelling to agility shows in style!! It had taken us a while to find the perfect cages, as though every manufacturers' are very similar in construction, we found that Steve Tubb (doggycages.com) though not the nearest to us, was the most friendly, helpful and accommodating to what we were after. Rather than having the standard push latch with the key-lock, we sourced some number combi locks, and Steve constructed the cages with the lock integrated underneath the latch. That way we can lock the doggies in the van securely while we are at shows, and don't have to have a key which I always worry about losing - the cages are just perfect, and finish off the van quite nicely!

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

December Birthdays!

Of course all the best people are born in December... ok only joking but there are some, and they are birthdays of the most special in my life; well there's mine first which doesn't count in the important list - but mainly there's Alex's on the 21st he is going to be 29 (same age as me), and then Kiah's on the 22nd she is going to be 5 she is growing up so quickly! Trust the two Belgians in the house to be the awkward ones, and be born that close to Christmas, but they will both have their own celebrations too!!

But this is just a quick post about my birthday so far, because I have received some really nice lovely presents from my friends and family, and a cheeky monkey birthday cake too!! I have received a set of weaves (in purple, Kiah's colours-fab!) and an agility tunnel so we can set up little training sequences in the garden and over the park, as well as a pair of water proof socks, a new pair of leather walking boots as I really have worn my old pair out. That's not it - as well I have been given a great Malinois t-shirt, a couple of comedy dvd's and a pair of welly type boots, they are fake fur lined so are toasty warm, and have a zip up the front, aren't too long in the leg, and have an excellent grip - they are just perfect for damp agility mornings - walking the dogs and walking courses without getting cold/wet feet.

Talking of agility, in the last 24 hours I've seen the first schedule out for the one of the first shows in the new year... not that I'm wishing December away as I am really looking forward to our Christmas celebrations! BUT, I am quite looking forward to getting back to agility also, using our new caravan (which is currently being serviced so its all ready to go), and most importantly catching up with all our agility friends.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Busy Busy Busy!

Recently we seem to have been up to so much since I last updated my blog, there hasn't been time for it all - though I feel guilty not updating it while reading what everyone else has been up to! Alex and I have even had some free weekends to have a major clear out of junk that we just weren't using, revamp one of our spare bedrooms and completely re-decorate the other. I wouldn't want to do it too often, can't live without our agility fix for too long in the winter!!

So the first thing to mention was that Kiah and I attended the first BSD world champs selection day, there were some brilliant challenging courses set by the judge Lee Gibson, but unfortunately Kiah was even more excitable than usual - and with that, and a combination of my nerves we didn't do very well! It wasn't all bad and we got some points on our last run, just a little frustrating when I know we can do better, but we will try even harder on the next one.

So in the spirit of things going wrong and on a really freezing cold day, the boiler decided to pack up! First it was the air flow sensor not working and stopping all heating and hot water, then once that was fixed, the thermostat went kaput and refused to turn the heating off, but fortunately the british gas agreement we have covered it all and it is now fixed! But not content with just that, my car broke down again - some would say luckily it was at a weekend so we could get it fixed. And they say things come in threes, so to add to that the lead flashings are coming away from the roof and the gutters have started leaking and soaking through the walls, so that is down to be fixed in the next couple of weeks. On that note - touch wood, fingers crossed, black cats crossing, lucky 4-leaf clovers, horseshoes and positive vibes later, everything is ok at the moment, and hopefully it stays that way................... Other than that in more positive news, we have finally bitten the bullet and purchased our own caravan ready for the new agility season, and the dogs are nicely modelling the sofas for us - which have of course been covered in fleece throws, in Kiah's colours no less!! It is a 1994 2 berth Lunar Chiron model with an L shaped seating area, and it suits us and the doggies perfectly. It seems to have been well kept by the previous owners and comes with accessories and an awning, and most importantly has an end bathroom - with a power shower, which was the necessity we wanted! We're (Alex especially, mr creature comfort himself!) looking forward to using it right from the start of next year, caravans are quite a bit more spacious and luxurious than tents!

On to more recent events, in the last few weeks the shops have gone absolutely Christmas mad and I saw a countdown today that said it was only 34 days away, that's barely a month to go! We are having everyone to our house for this Christmas day, the first year where it isn't with or at mum's but I will be making sure everyone will be raising a glass to her in celebration, and I hope that mum and granny will be looking down on us too. So this weekend we have been getting into the Christmas spirit just a little together; wrapping up warm, buying gifts and most importantly spending time together and choosing new lights and decorations to decorate the house and tree, gold is going to be our theme this year!

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Doggies Having Fun!

Last weekend we took the two youngsters Kiah and Davy to our local country park, only a 10 minute drive away and plenty of paths, forest and lakes for them to have a great time running around in for a couple of hours, they are still great friends. It was a beautiful sunny day with absolutely stunning orange and yellow colours in all the trees and bushes, and a warm glow from the sun sparkling on the water too, reminds you how lovely some places in this country really are. The only thing that adds to the views is that there's nothing quite like watching dogs play and run free together enjoying life; that sort of care-free, no worries, smiley fun never fails to cheer you up and bring a smile to your face :))

Monday, 4 October 2010

Bittersweet Norfolk

This was our last agility show of the season, always an enjoyable show situated in a lovely location in the countryside, just slightly sad, from what had happened the week before. I knew that mum wouldn't have wanted us to miss the agility, so Alex convinced me that we should go. Due to the October weather being a little 'debatable' especially up in that area of the country, and as a bit of luxury for Alex too as he always does so much for me, I try to arrange a nice B&B (dog friendly of course) for the weekend, and not too far away from the show ground as you don't want to be driving miles after a long day of agility. Well the place we stayed was just fabulous and only 10 minutes drive, a real old victorian style luxury, and certainly more worthy than the simple straightforward name of 'bed and breakfast'! The house was called Home Hall, and the owners couldn't do enough make our stay enjoyable, a wonderful room, lovely organic food, they even had their own slightly bonkers dalmatian which just added to the charm.

So back to the show, it was nice to be able to see everyone again and be treated normally rather than having people be awkward and fuss around, which was great. Our very first run of the weekend was the ABC qualifier for the semi final, and after getting over the silly nerves that I had (as the dog walk was in almost exactly the same place as last year when Kiah fell off and injured herself in the ABC) I had a quick chat with Kiah and asked her to help me out so we could do the run for mum, in memory of her, its the least I could do.
Well I think Kiah knew how important it was to me, my beautiful girl, and helped me out no end - and we won the class, by over two seconds!! I hope that mum was watching from above, and was proud of us. It was the first qualifier of the year so though we don't 'chase' them specifically, its lovely to know that Kiah has well and truly qualified, clever bear! The rest of the weekend was good - but not so spectacular results wise, with silly mistakes by me, one course that was just so silly, we took our own line and practised contacts, and a couple of poles in other classes, and a silly refusal caused by me in another which was a real 'if only' run, never mind.
Though we were very lucky with the warm and sunny weather this weekend (a real contrast to the bitter winds the year before) the days are really starting to turn, and the evenings are just so dark so early, its been a good year but a good time to stop with the shows! So I haven't entered any more kennel club or other types of show - and I'm not planning to for the rest of the year. So apart from our weekly training, the BSD WC selection days and a few specific training days - all of us but Kiah most importantly, can have a well earned, and definitely well deserved rest over the winter.

Thursday, 30 September 2010

My Mum

The week just gone, was nothing less than completely and totally awful, and I can't quite believe it still... After getting home from an agility show - where the weather had been cold, windy and rainy most of the weekend, poor Kiah getting marked the down on her dog walk when she clearly got it in what would have been a great run from her, and the journey home being particularly grim, we had a knock at the door from a police officer.

I guess I knew straight away when they said it was about mum... she had passed away that afternoon, while doing some gardening - one of her favourite things to do! I know that she didn't suffer, its just that her heart had been through enough. Mum had always had heart problems from a young age, but that still doesn't make it fair or right. Its not fair at all when they take the good, kind, well meaning ones, when there are so many cretins on this earth it could have been instead. It was only two years ago that we lost my granny too, so at least mum is back with her mum and they will be back with each other now, sun bathing and doing the crosswords, and hopefully looking down and looking after us all too.

So, this last few days have gone in a bit of a blur not really knowing what to do, but Alex has been my rock, and my friends and family have just been brilliant. I think the doggies know too as they have been helping cheer us up, its funny how they always know how to make you smile. I know that mum definitely wouldn't want any of us to be upset, and to carry on with life as normal, which we are trying to do, and to organise a celebration of mum's life next week.

I wanted to post just so everyone knows how fab my mum was and always will be. And as lots of people have said to me, mum will always be in my heart, and I shall always remember everything she did for me, the good times, and great memories, even if I don't have nearly enough of them. RIP Mum, love you will never forget you. XXX

Monday, 20 September 2010

Burnham - Poor Kiah

I’d never been to this show before as I usually forget to enter shows in September for some reason – I think its because the closing dates are so far ahead, I can’t think that far in advance for a time that feels like its nearing the end of the show season already!! It was a nice quiet show (but one of the worst for very early barking dogs, grrr) held in pretty countryside but only an hour and a half from us so not a long haul trek to get there either.

The first day started well, albeit with a few mis-timed cues resulting in a good jumping run being E’d as it was the sort of course where you couldn’t let them go at all, and the minute I looked up to see where the jump was, it was too late! Then the first agility was a bit of a disaster, lazy handling and bad listening from Kiah making a bit of a mess of the course, but at least she got her weaves well from a difficult entry; and good contacts too.


Then on our last run of the day, must have mis-timed her launch onto the a-frame, hitting it flat on her knees and sliding back down, resulting in a deep graze in her leg right on the knee joint, poor Kiah, she tries so hard but she really splatted on to it. After checking her over and letting her take it steady around the rest of the course, we cleaned her up and she rested for the remainder of the day in her back on track coat. On Sunday she was bright as a button in the morning, and certainly wasn’t lame as I wouldn’t have run her at all, but I didn’t want her to think that she had been naughty in her last class of the day before as she had all that fuss after it! We took it steady in her jumping class – all the hard bits we did well then a push round turned into a pull in, oops! The agility I took even easier, I just didn’t want Kiah to have any negative feelings of any equipment after the previous day, so we went around and it was a nice flowing course, just two poles down, no nagging (well only Kiah yelling at me while getting impatient on her dog walk contact, see pic!) and Kiah and I both came out happy; that was enough for me so we finished on that high note for the weekend. Kiah seemed well and not stiff at all afterwards, she had a good night’s sleep, and some arnica and aloe vera, along with her vitamins and omega oils, but to be certain she was on full rest for the week just to make sure she’s completely ok.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Letchworth - Another Catch Up Post!

The weekend before the one just gone was in Peterborough, the weather forecast didn’t look too promising, but fortunately they must have been wrong as it was nice all weekend. It is a shame the weather has really started to turn autumny now, the evenings are certainly getting more chilly and the evenings have dark skies far earlier than before.

Back to the show, the first day Kiah was completely nuts; I think she thought she was still at the demo from the week before and that it was a race to get to the finish line! There were some good bits but our main problem was timing and Kiah being a bit naughty with her feet and knocking a few poles. The second day was much better, one ‘normal’ class 6-7 agility which was set a bit like a really cool FCI course - Kiah was running awesome and I messed up her weave entry which was a shame as I think she would have had a good place in that one. We had two ‘special’ classes, 6-7 power and speed, and 6-7 connections. It was the power and speed course first, a brilliant course to practice contacts and we were clear over that part, then the speed section Kiah went clear in too! She seemed a bit tired and didn’t bounce some jumps where she maybe could have, but still ended up 11th bless her! Then we had the connections where you have to make up your own course to get the most amount of points - Kiah was doing a FAB run and would have got a brilliant place, though unfortunately she had the last pole down which means she missed out on the last bonus points. It was a shame as she was already heading full speed for the a-frame so I couldn't really change her path, and we still ended up in 20th place with at least 6 missed points, hopefully one day we might qualify for the finals!!


Overall another enjoyable weekend, the dogs came back with a few gifts too – Kiah got a fluffy new bed (not spoiled at all!), Yahoo got a big blue doggy jumper to sleep in which he LOVES - and it keeps him warm over night too, and Davy has got some treats; I'm teaching him some different tricks, and he learns quickly and loves to do them so it’s a start with Mister Lazy. We also didn’t get back too late on Sunday, so a nice relaxing bit of time for the dogs and us to chill out.

Oh and lots of well dones to say this week too, to everyone I know that qualified for Olympia in either the Novice, Senior or ABC, there are far too many fab people to list so congratulations to you all!! The semi finals were this weekend and the standard of competitors just sounded brilliant it must have been exciting to watch. I cant wait for the finals in December, I hope they are all televised again as I won't be leaving the sofa til theyre finished!

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Catch Up Post - Bank Holiday Fun!

The bank holiday - and a lovely three day weekend just gone was full of fun with our usual annual trip to the agricultural show on both days, to take part in the agility demonstrations and raise money for charity, thankfully the weather stayed mostly dry - always a benefit as far more people attend so we raise more money. As always it was great fun, and the doggies had a great time, the Mali's really did take over the results though... On the first day of the mini competition within the demo, Rusty won it, Kiah was 3rd and little Tia excelled and came 4th!! Then on the second day which is a fast and furious relay - Rusty won the morning competition and Kiah won in the afternoon!! Bless them, they all had a great time - it was just a bit of light hearted fun and no pressure to finish off a good but tiring weekend.

Plus I've made a personal decision - the bank holiday was when I decided, I want to lose quite a lot of weight and get fitter - for general health reasons and to make sure I can give Kiah a run for her money... ok I'll never be that good - but to at least try to give it my best shot in the same way Kiah does for me, around the grade 6 & 7 courses that we're seeing now. So far I've lost 1kg which I'm pleased with... so onwards I go :)))

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Dogs In Need 2010 Report

We're back from another great week at DIN, another show I always enjoy - us and the dogs are shattered and though we came back a day early (we missed the finals, so well done to everyone that qualified!!) it was nice to be able to sleep in my own bed for the first time in a week, do the necessary but boring things like washing, tidying and shopping, but also to give the dogs a day of leisurely walks and sleep. This is just a quick run through of our highlights of the week, far too much enjoyment was had to remember it all!

This years show was no different to any others, just as enjoyable if not moreso as Alex was able to come along for the week and enjoy the rest. We eventually set up our camp for the week nice and close to the rings, with our new tent, and having the van, gazebo and windbreaks around - had our own little private 'garden' area that the dogs could chill out in. Well re the weather - fortunately the forecasters WERE wrong, or we were just lucky - but aside from one miserable grey spitty day, the week was pretty reasonable! As Yahoo is slowing down a bit now bless him, he only joined us on some of the walks with the youngsters, but as he likes to spend so much time outside, some days he was camp guard, either in the sun or under the gazebo, and we bought him a HUGE double knuckle bone so he didn't feel left out, he loved it.

So the agility started on Tuesday, and as I hoped - even though Kiah was being silly from the razor burn, the agility helped take her mind off it a little - and though she still didn't want to play much with her raggy toys, while she was running she was happy - though we still didn't manage any clears, only poles down... no E's yet. Moving swiftly on to and past Wednesday, two lovely courses, shame I messed them both up and got one refusal in each - one trying to push her into a tunnel with both hands at once (why!?) and crossing behind too quick, and another me not committing to a jump for quite long enough, bringing her with me, such a shame as it was another good course, lots of those about this week, really enjoyable, unusual but fun courses.

Thursday was a lovely relaxing day off from agility though most of the day involved food, so after a yummy cooked breakfast (then a curry with friends in the evening!), us two and Kiah, Yahoo and Davy all went on the 'usual' long lunchtime walk over the meadow across the road from the showground with some friends. I think that maybe we had a record number of dogs attending this year in one group, 21 (Belgians, Collies, a Goldie and Sheltie!) all walking and playing nicely together, and posing for a few photos along the way - during the week I'll add some of the doggies holiday snaps on here!

Friday and back to the agility, again pleased with how Kiah was working, just timing issues from my point of view, especially when we could have done so well in the agility course, just me not shaping her early enough to turn left on a jump forcing her to take the pole. The jumping round was a little difficult for a G6 I thought, especially as the similar course for G7 in the same ring had only resulted in 4 clears - I like a challenge, but there is a limit so that course was one added to our 'E' pile for the week.
So as the week raced onto Saturday, the last day of competing and kind of wondering where the week had gone! Again neither run was first in, and we had already decided that we would go home that day for ease - and to get everything down while it was dry as there was a black cloud looming, so everything was packed away (in sunshine, typical!) ready to go before my runs came up mid morning. The jumping was a nice course, though some tight corners caught us out so we had two poles down. Our first run though was in our agility, quite soon after the class started as we were number 21, and I thought it was a nice course though very fast so didn't think we stood much chance. Well Kiah obviously likes to leave our 'one clear of the week' to the last minute, putting in a great agility round to finish in a good clear. Only a couple of scary moments where she got me out of trouble as I was in her way and we wasted a good couple of seconds, but generally the round felt good, her contacts were fast, and turns were tight. That round put us into the lead - thats where we stayed... all the way through, and won the class!!! Even better that my friends were watching, and I've got pictures and a video (which I hope can be sent to me) of her winning round including this photo here. I never thought we would ever manage a win in G6, but wow Kiah you were fab as always, am SO proud of my girl she gave it her all, at such a big show too, that really did top off a good week, turning it into an unbeatable one!

Some fab results for others during the week, 1st for Vicky & Molly, 1st for Caroline & Puzzle, 2nd for Lisa & Inca, a number of 2nds for Lindy & Bracken, 3rd for Candice & Ziggie, 3rd for Dave & Rusty, 3rd for Sue & Jinx, and lots of others, oh and loads of people qualifying for the finals too some fab results I'm sure I've missed someone - well done everyone! So I think to summarise how my week's been... Brill dog and an even better result, brill courses, fab venue, fab show, great company, great friends... dates are most firmly in the diary for next year!!

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Ups And Downs

This last week or two has been a real rollercoaster of ups and downs. Kiah's been at the vet a lot with what looked like an infection after her season, that got me really worried, but touch wood fortunately after some anti-biotics to start with, then various scans and tests, apart from low platelets and a low white blood cell count, the vet can't find anything wrong. Obviously one of the 'side effects' of the scans was a shaved belly (though nothing internal) and she is being rather silly about it - I think it must be itchy, but its quite funny to watch - tucking herself into a corner every two minutes, and refusing to communicate with anyone unless she has to, silly belgian! I hope that she will forget about her 'stubble rash' for long enough to enjoy our agility next week as we're off to Dogs In Need.

So inbetween all our vet visits we have been doing some fun stuff too including plenty of walks with the doggies, meeting up with Kiah's friends Rusty and Tia on occasion, and posing for the odd photo of course! On another warm weekend day (thankfully, as the day before was grim!) we went up to where Lisa works at the kennels and had a fab training afternoon, mainly with Kiah practising various FCI type courses, really enjoyed it and Kiah picked up some brilliant weave entries and was generally very good, brilliant place to train. We also did some little bits with Davy who seemed to enjoy himself, not fazed by anything - though the key with him is going to be little and often as he gets bored very quickly. We also ran each others' dogs a couple of times - I got to run Kane and Wish, and even Shadow ran for me, its fun to see how each dog is so different!

As I mentioned, we're all ready to go off to the annual weekly Dogs In Need show tomorrow morning for the week (back next weekend) the van is filled up, washed and polished :))) and we're all packed - even the doggies have their own holdall, full of food, treats, toys, jackets and leads. I say coats because I've just seen the weather forecast - its NOT GOOD, it has been lovely at the last two years of this show, so I guess its time for rain - but hopefully the weathermen are really really wrong!

Still, we're prepared for anything, its our holiday and a week off work, relaxing and enjoying the time with the people and four legged friends we love the most, whatever the weather... If anyone's listening up there though, the sun would be great! Good luck to everyone who's competing at shows this week, I will update on my return but hope you all bring back good results and lots of rosettes!!

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Agility Club Craziness

Following Kiah coming out of season and obviously not having been at training so much and being limited on walkies too, I think she was a little 'over excitable' this weekend to put it mildly!! Out of the 5 runs that we did, we had 4 spectacular eliminations mainly due to her craziness, and one quite good clear round that I was very proud of her for.

Unfortunately on Saturday the weather was pretty unpleasant in the morning with horrid sheet rain - and typically both our runs were first in the ring, so there were a couple of poles down and getting lost in the jumping. Then in the agility lots of slipping about and I took her out of the ring as I noticed she had blood all in her front teeth (cue panic by me!) fortunately after checking her over it was nothing too serious, just a small graze on her lip I think probably caused by the flat tunnel. Sunday was a lot nicer weather wise, but brought about two crazy agility rounds by Kiah, one where she found a tunnel FAR more interesting than me, and another where she forgot how to turn, certainly not helping when my commands were quite a bit late!!

So away from the negative and knowing what I need to train, the positive of the day was Kiah's clear round in the 6-7 crufts qualifier! I was really pleased that it was a clear round and how Kiah picked up her weave entry as it was a difficult one, however it was still 4 seconds behind the winner which made me a little despondent at first. I realised though that there was a wrong turn, and a contact held slightly too long, both of which will have wasted vital time, especially when everyone will be pushing to qualify - and I'm just not used to having to do that! Training is certainly helping, especially getting Kiah to go on ahead of me rather than releasing when I'm level with her, but grades 6 and 7 are a real big step up from previous courses that we have encountered - enjoyable, but hard work!

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

In Dreamy Dream Land

...Kiah was snoozing - see picture of miss sleepy head chilling on the sofa! Today I've taken the day off work for a bit of a rest and to take Kiah to her 'Bowen' therapist Zoe over in Kent for some adjusting and a general all over check up to loosen her muscles. Bowen is an un-invasive and relaxing treatment, which involves lots of little specific adjustments and massage, nothing harsh at all and you can plainly see the advantages. I think its important to find a good practitioner as much as the treatment itself - and Zoe handles and gets to know the dogs brilliantly, Kiah loves being massaged anyway, and the extra bouncy spring in her step at the end of it, is clear to see! When we're back home too, Kiah always has a good deep sleep for a couple of hours, another surefire way of telling she's enjoyed herself.

So on this visit, Zoe found that Kiah was favouring one of her front legs slightly, and as usual a slightly tight neck and spine - its great to see the change in Kiah afterwards, but I'm certain this is down to her crazy agility attitude!! But as much treatment as I can get in for her, is a tiny price to pay to keep my champ in the best condition she can be for what she does for me every week! So for now, lots of rest, and lead walks for Kiah til agility at the weekend :))))

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Wounded Soldiers!

For the last few weeks we haven't really been up to much agility wise though generally quite busy doing fun stuff; we celebrated our two year anniversary about a month ago and Alex bought me the most amazing canvas picture of Kiah (see below) which has taken pride of place in the front room, I love it! We also went to a car boot sale, so filling up the van with bits and bobs to clear out and sell took a while - and making £100 in the process was just a bonus. The doggies taking a trip to the vet for general check up and boosters - with a fab 'school report' on their behaviour and looks from the vet making it even better, and us having a major clear up, resulting in the forest actually looking like a garden again!! Then last weekend we were down helping my mum at a barbeque for some friends through a hobby of hers, a very long day but I think mum appreciated it, especially as she's hurt her foot! Oh and not forgetting my car which has had two shiny new front tyres and a service, I used to get a really good miles per gallon out of the car - now its even BETTER!!

Some of the not so exciting stuff; Kiah came into season not long after the last show, so no shows for us (soooo not fair, on the continent they cope), the boys have both been very good neither of them show much interest in her and they are castrated, despite her flirting - they're supervised at all times at the moment! Kiah just recently also seems to not be quite stretching out when at walking pace, which I think may have been partly due to her season giving her cramps etc, so were off to see her Bowen therapist tomorrow to loosen her up and then more rest, Kiah isn't showing any pain or injury, just slightly awkward movement. We will see how she is for the agility club show at the weekend, would love to go, but only if she's 100% fit.

The most wounded soldier however is poor Alex - though partly his own fault for not getting it sorted sooner - who has had serious back ache for the past few months and only because he was in so much pain, finally decided that he needed to get it sorted. The doctors quickly realised that he has got a slipped disc down near to his pelvis, no wonder he has been struggling so much to walk, let alone sit down for more than a few minutes!! So after a few 'told you so's' and a lot of heat and ice, so many pills he is almost rattling, visits to chiropractors, acupuncturists and physiotherapists - no thanks to the NHS - he is finally starting to feel a little bit more mobile.

So as these things are supposed to come in threes - with Kiah, mum and Alex hopefully things should start to get a bit better now, I'd like to say it can't get much worse but I don't want to tempt fate! Anyway with the Dogs in Need show coming up fast, coupled with the week off work its something to really look forward to, for all of us it will be a lovely break away. I'm also planning more of the shows into September - I've still got 14 days holiday to take before the end of November so I hope there will be lots more time for agility!!

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Friday, 9 July 2010

Tuffley Show

Wow, I think Tuffley might have just taken over as one of the best and nicest shows I've ever been to, just stunning setting in the grounds of the castle, beautiful countryside, lovely places for all three dogs to walk, and even a river for Yahoo to swim in - his favourite thing EVER! He even got a new Hurtta harness which he loves, and will also be used as his water roller pulling harness too, he loves having a job. Davy also enjoyed his trip, with lots of extra fussing as we combined the weekend with a visit to Alex's mum and Colin, and brought my mum down for the trip too, I think we all had a lovely time, with nice warm weather - always helps!! Alex is getting loads better at taking photos with my camera too, consistently getting a good few decent in focus shots per show - its lovely to see Kiah in action!!

So back to Kiah's first G6 show, which was full of really interesting courses - challenging and in some cases a real step up from anything I'd come across before, one thing i noticed particularly was the obstacle discrimination, especially as Kiah has favourite pieces of equipment - weaves and contacts - that she will happily dart towards if there's a choice!

But overall some positive work, a few 'if only' rounds - marked on her dog walk UP contact in one, a brilliant weave entry so stupid me praises her and she comes out the second weave (d'oh), and a lazy mistake by me getting us E'd on the second obstacle!!! I was pleased with how we handled the courses, and even more pleased by the two clears we then achieved at such a big champ show! Our first was on a course I hadn't walked (where you really needed to!) but after going over and over it, we made it around - just, wasting loads of time - and though we were just out the places there were only 18 clear rounds so quite an achievement! The second was even better, our last run of the weekend a combined 6-7 agility, a lovely course but seriously spread out so though good for Kiah, not so good for me when there are over 220 dogs in the class, plus I have to keep up - and direct her - and with the big guns in g7. So when we went clear I never thought we would get 16th at her first G6, just under 3 seconds behind the winner, clever Kiah!!

Sunday, 27 June 2010

One Day at Watford

Just a single day show at Watford today - the hottest day of the year so far so I wasn't 100% sure we would go at first - but with Kiah's cool water bed, lots of refreshing water, her cool coat, lots of shade and the car's air conditioning, we decided that it would be a good day to go. So three runs for us today, one very early on which Kiah was running perfectly in with brilliant solid contacts - just me missing a not so obvious trap and sending her back on the see-saw for a big elimination 4 jumps from home, D'OH!!! Jumping was a bit of a disaster, awful timing so we won't mention that one... but our second agility I was really pleased with - a great run just got an E by going the wrong way over a jump, but some great weave and turns from Kiah. It would have been great to get a clear in apprehension for next weekend, but I think we're ready nonetheless - we're going to be up at Tuffley and it's Kiah's first G6 show, exciting!!!

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Thames Weekend

It is a huge show - probably one of the biggest ones there is and yet I never fail to enjoy it, I guess it makes it easier only having one dog to fly around the 13 rings with, but it is nice to see so many people enjoying themselves and such a busy, vibrant, friendly and well organised show, aside from people speeding (grrr, again) I don't think I heard any complaints at all! We had a fab saved camping spot near to a load of great friends, and with a brill view to a lot of the rings - it was still a long way to the other end but I think everyone was in the same situ - but such a great atmosphere, pretty good weather too, just loved every minute!

What added to the enjoyment was three clear rounds - a little messy but worked at rather than giving up - from Kiah and I resulting in a 6th and a 10th place receiving two beautiful rosettes, and therefore a little bit of consistency too!! We have an unintentional 2 days off this weekend (forgot to enter anything!) so will be chilling with the doggies, shopping, and looking forward to the lie in - but not for too many weekends otherwise Kiah and I start to get agility withdrawal symptoms!

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Dartford & Keston - Kiah Goes G6!!!

Had an awesome time at the show this weekend, some brilliant and careful but amazingly fast work by Kiah - resulting in two fab achievements; winning G5 agility on Saturday by over three seconds, and coming second in agility the day after, bringing home two trophies - one on each day, I think that's fair! Looking back especially on our winning run, and hearing such positive comments about our run from onlookers and the judge about her speed and spot on contacts - as well as that Kiah nearly fell off the dog walk three times before safely making it to her touch point, makes me so proud that tries so hard for me, and all for her smiley face, pow-wow juice and raggy toy reward at the end.

I was just as grateful for our second place the day after - it was our last run of the day and a lovely technical but flowing course set by a top judge. I loved it and so did Kiah, it was just her type of course allowing her to stretch out and enjoy it, but also in a couple of places it showed that we had a couple of great tight turns - I only messed up in two areas - but Kiah helped me out there. I'm going to need to start upping our game in G6 with getting myself more fit (!) and training the turns we need to work on! But for now, we came home on a bit of a high following that weekend!!

Quite a lot of other people with brill results over this and the last few weekends so well done - Jo with Ronny AND Keisha (fab!!), Therese and Lizzy, Marian and Tia, Sarah and Rex, Andy and Thor, Helen and Zeus, Caroline and Puzzel, Sue and Jinx, Tanya and Myst, Mac and Bex and loads more. Congratulations everyone, there's obviously something in the air!!

This weekend is definitely one that's going to be easy to remember but hard to beat for more than just a little while, never thought we would make it as far as grade 6 so it really is a great achievement for us - and very pleased with my girl, lots of spoiling for her!! We are off to the Thames show at the weekend for the first of a couple of 'freebie' shows (maybe a few rounds to practise some of our contacts) - until the first week in July which is our first official G6 show, exciting but a bit scary!!

Quick Packington Update

Part of the reason we went up to the Packington show was to hopefully qualify for the ABC semi finals - well that didn't happen but it was a really nice show, if strangely quiet and laid back, but with brilliant company and great laughs all the way through. Kiah and I were working reasonably well together - apart from left meant right and right meant left oh dear! We ended up with a 6th in G5 jumping that I was really pleased with - and more importantly there was also a very amusing clear round where I had to save the round from disaster about four times thanks to my rubbish directional skills!! We got a huge round of applause for making it around clear, and bless her somehow ended up 13th which I was so pleased with as there was a LOT of wasted time. My biggest disappointment though was me messing up a course three jumps from home where Kiah was just amazing - but I won't dwell on it, just realise how amazing my little Malinois really is when she shows me what she can do.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Brilliant BATS

Nearly everything about the BATS show was just brilliant, a stunningly hot and cloud free day (not quite so good for the doggies but they were nice and cool in the car) and our first run of the day after boot camp - ending in a brilliant result. It was a grade 5 jumping course, quite a challenge but nice as it was very different to what I've seen before - but certainly not the typical style that I would expect us to get a good result in. Anyway we were running order 28 so didn't have to wait long especially as there weren't many people queueing, and using some of the knowledge that I'd hopefully picked up from boot camp - it was what I thought was a reasonable run - we went clear and straight into the lead and stayed there, resulting in her second grade 5 jumping win!!! Even managed to get the round on video thanks to Alex!

Our other runs weren't quite as good (not easy to beat!) but some excellent work in the novice qualifier by Kiah and brilliant contacts, unfortunately just a tipped wing of a jump resulting in 5f, and an E in the ABC class as our pull in didn't work quite as well as expected! So overall a very good day, really pleased with our second win (though at risk of sounding ungrateful, honestly I'm not) it does put us one step closer to grade 6! That is/would be a great achievement but I really like the challenge that grade 5 brings at the moment and I'd love to get a couple more good agility places too before we go anywhere.

The only negative point to the show - that seems to be appearing a lot more recently - is cars speeding through the show ground! I know it was a publicly accessible venue so there may have been a minor few of the 'joe public' people there, but the amount of people that we saw quite clearly doing a LOT more than 5mph on the way in and out was just crazy. Admittedly there weren't any speed signs but people should be more than well aware of it, if not by going to shows previously then by simple common sense! I don't understand why people need to go so fast, does it make them feel better? And to be honest it barely saves a minute or two, and I'm sure that if heaven forbid anything happened to end up under the wheels :( then they'd feel a whole lot worse. Slow down people, what's it going to take! So onto more positive news... that we are off to the Packington show this long bank holiday weekend coming, can't wait!!!

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Boot Camp 2010

As mentioned in the last line of the post before, the next amazing agility journey was to be Boot Camp, and it really was just fantastic - and easy to say that it was even better than last year. It was in the same format as before with three days of five hours agility and jumping training, with each part split equally between Leah and Nancy who are just the best, most patient, fun trainers to be taught by! Its mentally and physically tiring but great fun and so relaxing at the same time due to the brilliant location, fab weather again, and great company of like minded people to enjoy it with.

There were lots of high points to remember about boot camp this year - seeing Kiah have such a good time, seeing all the rest of the dogs enjoying themselves, learning SO much and seeing the results, as well as catching up with old friends, making new friends, relaxing in a beautiful setting, and hundreds of photo memories. There's even a couple of crazy ones - like Kiah touching the A-Frame once and landing on the floor the other side, as well as charades one evening in the club house! As a sentence to sum it up - While having the best time with your best friend, boot camp is an amazing learning and social experience to never be forgotten.

Oops - Overdue Update!

First a quick note on the show in the second week of May which was Tunbridge Wells - it was a pleasant enough show and fortunately wasn't too miserable while we were doing some ring party on the Sunday, and being local was a bonus too as it was rather cold at times! Kiah and I had a nice day on the first day as Alex was working with a friend and took the two boys with him, so it was just me and her which doesn't happen often but we both enjoyed the time together. My timing was still not quite right (no change there!) but we had some really positive work - a very scrappy clear round, but also hardly any poles knocked, brilliant contacts, awesome weave entries, so very pleased and a very fun weekend.

We've also decided that we've well and truly caught the agility bug... from a hatchback car to an estate, and now to a van, all for the dogs we must be crazy! We are keeping my estate car though, as we need two vehicles for commuting. So in the week after this show we picked up our new blue VW Transporter van, which will be caged out soon and the dogs will have even more luxury than usual and travel in style - I can't wait to start kitting it out with new vet bed and accessories!

And then onto our next adventure - BOOT CAMP!!!!! It gets a separate post as it deserves it :))))))

Friday, 7 May 2010

Bank Holiday at Vyne

You could be forgiven for thinking it was the middle of winter at this show, with bitter driving wind, dark storm clouds, driving rain, a little bit of sunshine, and huge hailstones - we know that Newbury is a bit of a tunnel for weather but it was a bit extreme for the beginning of May - I think it assisted with contributing to what is now my second cold in two weeks :( Anyway Kiah and I were a little more composed and 'together' at this show, no clears but generally minor errors on my part.

I had nothing on first in the ring, so our first run was nearer to lunchtime and by that time it had warmed up a little for our grade 5 agility. Unfortunately Kiah was marked on the second obstacle which was the 'up' on the dog walk - which I refuse to train - for safety reasons - she's enjoying herself and that's her natural stride. I also don't think it should be marked as it penalises the larger stride dogs, but that's a different discussion! Anyway it gave us a chance to practice our contacts and our pull ins in the ring which Kiah did very well. Next was the ABC qualifier (Kiah watching me walk the course!) which I ran with conviction as I am frequently told to in training :) but thanks to a silly mistake by me, Kiah had a pole down, but so so pleased with that run. Lastly we had grade 5 jumping where again we had a pole but generally we were good if slightly messy.

I think we are slowly getting it back together (mainly me) and getting back into the swing of what is still the relatively new agility season - even though there are shows closing left right and centre for the middle of summer, one year I will keep up with them I'm sure!? This weekend we are off to the Tunbridge Wells show where we have three runs a day but its very local so two not too early starts - just how Kiah and I like them, we're not morning creatures!!!

Sunday, 2 May 2010

WBSDS

It would have been a lovely show... apart from the fact that three days before I had come down with a stinking cold :( sneezing-fit anyone?! And in hindsight we probably shouldn't have gone to the show as I didn't do Kiah justice at all!! She was a bit crazy in three of her runs over the weekend, resulting in us still keeping it fun but making a quick exit to the finish line as she was so nuts - sending the long jump scattering, tunnel crazy and not listening - she would have done herself some serious damage. Other than those misdemeanors (sp?), we did have a good time and had some very good but nearly runs thanks to me and my useless timing, especially in two runs, an almost identical error - three jumps from home instead of saying left I called 'Kiah' resulting in a back jump and a big E. I'm finally feeling a lot better this weekend so hopefully my timing will be a bit better, and we're off to Vyne tomorrow for another fun day!!

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Settling In Just Fine :)))

All 5 of us have been down at my mum's for the weekend, helping to celebrate and spoiling her for her late birthday weekend, and the sun shone really HOT so it made it even better as we spent both days in the garden. Kiah and Yahoo are used to coming down to mum's house and love staying over - most especially as they have such a huge garden to play in and lots of different walks - especially down at the sea front which has been lovely and hot for us but breezy for the dogs! Davy didn't take long to settle in too, after a quick 'skulk' around the house (probably sniffing out the cats even though they leave home for the weekend when we turn up!) he soon realised how much fun another house and garden was to play in too.

Yahoo is now getting a couple of shorter walks rather than longer more playful walks with the two youngsters as he is starting to show his 11 years-young, bless him, but as long as he gets a bit of fuss and spoiling, a mooch around, some treats and a bowl of food he's a happy boy. Kiah is however loving having a new and younger friend around to play with and 'beat up' properly, as this weekend shows, I think Davy is settling in just fine around here!!

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Sunny Spring at Shuttleworth

What a lovely weekend it has been at our first 'proper' outdoor show, run by the BSDA of GB up at Shuttleworth college - a lovely setting. It commenced with an early 5am start on Saturday morning but with a pleasant, beautifully sunny and quiet drive up with Kiah and Davy (Yahoo had stayed at home with some friends) - we always find the roads are so much quieter in the morning rather than hitting the end of the rush hour the evening before. So once we got to the show and found our camping spot (which had been kindly saved for us - thank you!) it was time to get into the swing of the show with 4 runs a day.

It didn't start too well for us on the first day with a typical case of good dog... very bad lazy handler, not once but TWICE - on nice flowing courses that really suited Kiah - I forgot to move, both times ending in silly refusals that I could have easily avoided. Anyway more learning and effort required on my part there. The last run of the day was the graded 1-7 BSD agility which was another fab course and so I thought I would try to get it together for Kiah's sake! Well she put in a stonking round to win the class by over 4 seconds, my clever girl, lovely trophy too!

So onwards and upwards from the day before - there were a couple of courses with evil angles which I always think are unnecessary and potentially dangerous, and a slight miscommunication issue about where I wanted Kiah to go (!) - but lots of positives to take out of today with no poles down and some good contacts. It was again the last run of the day that was the gold star for us though - grade 5 jumping was a challenging course with a 'pick the correct end' of the tunnel from a long line of jumps which I would be nowhere near; Kiah and I had agreed that we were just going to have fun and we would accept whatever result that happened! Well when Kiah picked the correct end and I was still lagging behind I thought I'd better get a move on - to then finish with a good clear... though I never thought we would win the class!!!! Two firsts in two days is a brilliant achievement for us, am so pleased! Alex got some brilliant pictures over the weekend, here is my little star Kiah coming over the final jump in her winning round!!

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

A New Addition

As of a couple of days ago we have a new addition to the family, in the shape of Davy who is an incredibly handsome rescue border collie - who we met and fell in love with at the weekend, and then after lots of discussions we brought him home. He is starting to settle in with Kiah and Yahoo and hopefully we can be his forever home. And before anyone says it, yes I KNOW he is a collie, no one be shocked (!) and does it matter... we think he is lovely, we got him for who he is and his nature, not what breed he is!

He is going to be Alex's dog and hopefully one day may start doing agility, but he is sooooo laid back he might not be interested - and if not then he will just be a lovely biddable boy loved all the same!! Yes... he isn't a Malinois and I'm sure I will get another crazy belgian at some point when the time is right for us all as I love them - but I don't want to compare, and want to concentrate on Kiah at the moment. And in addition to that - nothing, no-one, anything, anywhere can live up to what little Number One KIAH is to me, and what we have together, my bestest girl!!

Monday, 5 April 2010

Easter Celebration Day 2

Another good day yesterday, a bitter wind and not quite so sunny but no huge downpour, however not so positive on the results front for me; with one very messy clear in agility and two eliminations - on silly things I knew about from watching others, and should have handled better. I do love running Kiah, whatever the outcome! Anyway I was still pleased with our clear, good contacts by Kiah, even though our time was a few seconds off the pace due to me having to 'save' the round twice from Kiah turning the wrong way over a jump and possible back jumping - its usually me that causes the elimination!

A couple more Well Dones!! to add to the list for today's great results - Nancy with Zeki, Karin with Indy, Vicky with Molly, and Nat with Kai - and anyone I've forgotten! Overall a really good and enjoyable weekend for me and for lots of others; am looking forward to the next one - that one step closer thanks to Monday's bank holiday making it a 4-day week yay!!

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Easter Celebration Day 1

A positive first day so far on all counts - firstly the weather stayed reasonably warm and apart from a few spots of rain it really was a lovely chilly spring day, the show was only 20 minutes from home which is always a plus point when you don't have the tired long drive home afterwards, plus the show organisers did really well making the decision to move the whole set up around so the show could continue, rather than just cancelling it. There were lots of people with brilliant results today too - Dave & Rusty getting 4th in the power and speed, Lisa and Wish getting 4th in their first ever show, Caroline and Puzzle with 11th - her first placing, Ryan and Fizz getting another G3 win, Debbie and Scooby with 3rd - and many others!!

The biggest bonus of the day though had to be little Kiah... in only our third show of being in G5 we got our first (two!) clears on one day - coming home with a 3rd in agility and a 4th in jumping! I was never sure if we would be able to get anywhere in grade 5 or if it would just be a step too far - but these two places at a big competitive show has made me so happy and boosted our confidence a bit too. Roll on more fun tomorrow, and more sunshine please... fingers crossed.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Belgian In Springtime

We have no training until next week and no agility shows either... but as its been a busy week at work, I thought that I would take Kiah out for a really long walk - just me and her. It really was very pleasant and so warm too its lovely to be in spring and see all the daffodils and crocuses flowering and the grass looking lush and green, we even saw a couple of ice cream vans!! I even thought that this may finally be the end of the rubbish weather, ready for a few shows that we're going to in April - but then this afternoon it has decided to bucket down, and the Easter forecast predicts snow, so now I'm not so sure!?

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Crufts Update

We all had a lovely time at Crufts this year, again it was over so quickly, some stunning dogs in the best in show! The difference in traffic is so noticeable when you are attending on a Thursday instead of one of the weekend days - the roads were empty apart from a little bit of rush hour traffic in the last 10 minutes. Oh and the usual queues into the NEC that weren't anything major - but we left with plenty of time and parked in the first car park we got to as its just easier - that way Kiah got a nice leg stretch walk up to the halls.

Anyway onto the breed show judging, Kiah was in her usual Post Graduate class and bless her we came last our of 4 but we don't mind! Alex videoed our moment of being judged in the ring and I was pleased with how Kiah showed, very pretty and straight 'stand' and I always think she has a nice gait - even if she does sometimes try to run instead of trot haha! Considering we had to wait til about 3.30pm til we were even in the ring I think Kiah did well overall, she was very tired from lots of hanging around, and she certainly had her "hmm no agility here, boring" face on more than once! In the afternoon we did get a chance to have a proper look around, and do a little bit of shopping, Kiah got spoiled with a new toy, a jacket for warming up/down at agility, and a new fleece jumper for sleeping in when we go camping... after all she does deserve it :)))

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

My 100th Post

I couldn't think of a post title to incorporate the couple of things that I'm going to write about, but I think its a bit of an achievement to have made it to 100 posts without getting bored :$ of my blog... but then again its all about my favourite thing - the world of dogs - so I guess I can see why hehe! Anyway our first news update is about the World Champs second selection day - we didn't qualify but I was pleased with our progress from the previous day, we still got E'd quite a lot (lol!) but Kiah and I did some awesome work together, great contacts, a bit of going on ahead on contacts, all weaves done perfectly and most importantly... NOT ONE POLE down over the whole day! I must however say a big well done to Dave and Rusty for once again showing how much of a different class they are in sweeping the board with a brilliant 8 out of 8, and also to give massive congratulations to Jo and Keisha for qualifying in third place - this was the very first time they had gone forward so watch out Germany, the Mallys are coming, very best of luck to the whole team!!

Our next post is about Crufts which we are off to with an early start tomorrow morning; even though its not our favourite sport of agility - we're looking forward to the whole experience, especially the shopping ;) and Kiah will be spoiled rotten as usual! Alex is coming up too - he hasn't been to Crufts before so I think he will definitely find it something to remember! Poor Kiah really doesn't have a lot of coat at the moment so we will see how she does, of course I always come back with the best doggie. Best of luck to all my friends that are competing at Crufts this year; in agility, flyball, breed showing and YKC, can't wait to hear about all your brilliant results!!!

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Crazy Weaver!!

We were at the first agility show of the season today just before the qualifier tomorrow, the sun shone down (woo, no rain!) it was lovely to catch up with so many friends that we hadn't seen in so long, and Kiah worked really well within the manic atmosphere of the show, a couple of poles down, but in the wider scheme of today with what we had to deal with in the courses, I was mega pleased with her. We even received a lovely compliment from one of the judges about her ability which was really nice - especially as it was the course that couldn't have been described as our best run of the day!

Today's post though is about her super-obstacle of the day, which has got to be the weaves which we had in two out of our three courses today. The first was an excellent weave entry - most people had helped their dogs out by doing a pull round but I wanted to try a quicker way so after letting her curve around the jump she found the entry and completed them perfectly. The second was in our jumping course (see picture, look at those crazy legs!!) was a very fast entry and weaves to 'nothing' which she did brilliantly too. Clever Ky-Pie :)

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Final FCI Training

...Didn't go quite as well as I had hoped it would with time swiftly coming along to the final selection day, as it always helps if you can go into something with a bit of confidence of what you can usually achieve. I was always entering this year's qualifiers with the knowledge that we haven't got the experience yet, and the view that we were only going to get some of that experience in readiness for later years, and with what Kiah has shown me already I'm not going to be disappointed if we don't make it through.

Some of the sequences/courses that were set on this training session were awesome (as has every one of our lessons has been, very big thank you Nancy we have learned so much), the problem is me really!! One issue that Kiah and I have is that she is just TOO responsive - not something that anyone would normally worry about - but I'm far slower to react than herand it would be useful if she helped me a bit sometimes, and didn't getting angry with me for getting it wrong!! Overall I have been pleased with our progress and learning, and though I'm a bit nervous about Sunday's qualifier we'll give it our all!

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Wet Worthing

There's only one word that can describe today and that is very very wet! Me and the dogs (Alex was working, AGAIN, stupid shift work job) took a trip down to see my mum and spend a nice day with her chilling out - even Kiah gets to have a cheeky snuggle up on the sofa - and catching up as I hadn't seen her in a while and it was lovely... apart from the weather! Fortunately mum has a large garden so in the brief intervals when it stopped the doggies got to have a mad run around and I got to take a few pictures - Yahoo smiling and Kiah scowling as I point a camera in her face yet again! Kiah likes to play chase around the fruit trees and Yahoo likes to do his 'death rolls' on his squeaky toys so they both wore themselves out ready for lunch/jumbone time. In the late afternoon it did clear up a little so I took them both up to the seafront for a nice long proper run around which they both enjoyed and stayed fairly clean (bonus!), we've got two tired happy doggies this evening!

Monday, 15 February 2010

Happy Valentines :)

Another lovely weekend made even nicer by the romantic day 14th February that is St Valentines which was yesterday, it is a little commercialised now - says the cynic in me, but you don't have to spend loads to have a nice time. It is however a good excuse to spoil/be spoiled the lovely other half in your life and spend some quality time with each other... and that's exactly what we did, with cards, words and gifts including my 'Boofle' as seen here, he is very cute and the kissing dogs card which is just adorable and really thoughtful too as I had very briefly pointed its cute-ness out in the shop, a good few weeks before!

Just a quick word on Saturday as that was good too, I was a lot more contented with Kiah (and me) at training, we were working and gelling together a lot better, we got some good weave entries and a couple of super tight turns and I was very happy with her jump work - the only poles down were due to my handling, so she was a good girl, really pleased.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

FCI Training Part 3

I've been a bit more reluctant to update my blog with the results from this session's training simply because I don't feel like Kiah and I were working together particularly well, and it's so frustrating as it feels like we've taken one step forward, but two steps back... especially with things that I know she can do - her weaves being one of them, I'm pretty sure its her favourite piece of equipment but it was proving a challenge on Sunday. However we had a good time (why NOT have a good time, its just a hobby, if you're not having fun, why do it!?) and there were still some positives to take away - there are always positives - such as Kiah keeping her feet up, improving her wait, some good turns, and a really tiny thing, her 'out' command starting to take effect since practising.

Before anyone thinks incorrectly, it was me and Kiah that I was disappointed in this week, and certainly not Nancy's training as I appreciate all her knowledge and time, especially a few key points that she always manages to notice, its amazing the little things that a brilliant trainer can see, pick up and help you to improve. We have one more training session in 3 weeks which will hopefully bring bits from the last three sessions all together, fingers crossed! Anyway at the moment I am seriously thinking about starting to possibly change a few things around so that I can have a better balance of things within my life, so will keep you all updated on that too :).

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Playing with Photoshop

I was lucky enough to be given Corel Photoshop/Paintshop as one of my Christmas presents and due to various other time constraints I have only just taken the time to start having a play around with it. I've realised how little I know about the program as a whole, it is a whole new set of 'tools' to mess about with!! After a quick look at the book that came with it (where's the fun in reading that!) there are just so many hundreds of things to do within it, that I haven't yet even begun to touch the surface of what clever photo-enhancement type things that I will...hopefully one day... be able to achieve with some of the pictures I have taken.

So, of course the first 'victim' of my photo editing has to be a picture of Kiah. It was a photo I had taken over the park which as I couldn't get down low enough in front of her, happened to have a load of trees, houses, lamposts and general rubbish in the background, and you can hopefully see the result of how I managed to make it all 'disappear' by using the clone tool. I do get a brilliant feeling when I have taken a photo that I am really happy with, and then that it doesn't need any type of editing (as I think editing should only be done to enhance rather than change), but there aren't many like that, so programs like this can be such a useful - and precise function - to be able to use for those photos when there's a pylon, tree branch or similar coming out of the side of someone's head! For my first attempt on this photo, I'm quite pleased with how it turned out. Now time for more investigating to see what other things I can do!

Saturday, 16 January 2010

"Did Someone Say Agility!?!?"

Of course I'm talking about the start of the agility show season 2010... what else?!?! Now the snow has finally packed its bags and gone (not that I mind the snow, just the chaos it brings!) and very slowly the nights are starting to get lighter too, we can start getting back into our weekly training so getting both of us a bit less unfit, and thinking about mine and Kiah's hopes and plans for the coming year.

The shows have all started to slowly arrive ready for entering, got to keep an eye on the websites to make sure I don't miss the closing dates - done that before! We have already entered three shows, and obviously they are all at Kiah's new grade 5 so they are going to be a real challenge for us, I know some courses will be a real step up from anything we have encountered before so it is definitely something to work at, but definitely enjoy! We have also signed up for Boot Camp in May as we had such a great time last year and it will also help me with one of my aims which is to improve my handling. Generally though within grade 5 I'd really like if we can get a few places and though various people have said that we will easily win out, I am in no rush to do so, we have a lot more to learn first. Roll on summer!!

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

First Snow of 2010

And it really has been a proper snowfall, it has been unlike any amount of snow that I ever really remember seeing before apart from a vague recollection of sledging and hitting a tree when I was very young - and I'm 28 now, which is saying something...No comments please!! Though there are disadvantages, because unfortunately this country still isnt best prepared for extreme weather conditions, not just the travelling but also the getting back home once you have finally made it to the destination - so I really do feel for the emergency services who are doing a fab job, plus all of the people that may have had to travel for any length of time, it is just so scary and really dangerous.

Anyway back to last night... the snow started coming down in blizzard form about 8pm and was settling everywhere almost immediately, when we woke up this morning and looked outside I don't think it had stopped all night!! It certainly continued to settle when we took the dogs out at about 9.30pm (even though it looks like daylight in the photo, the sky was kinda creepy it was so light!) and didn't get back home til about 11pm, after a mad four-legged run around in the pristine white snow, and of course after making a HUGE snowman he was about 7ft - even taller than Alex so miles taller than me - Kiah looks tiny next to it (in her pretty Hurtta coat)!! We went for another long snowy walk this afternoon with the doggies, and apart from the snowman going on a diet I think someone had shaped his body a bit ;) he is still standing proud in the park.

Friday, 1 January 2010

...And a Very Happy New Year!!

From your celebration hosts; Princess Kiah and Prince Yahoo. As you can see they were both proudly sporting their party outfits in the form of bow ties that they wore on our New Years Eve / Engagement gatherings that took place last night!! I think a good time was had by all, with lots of drinking, eating and celebrating in style, and reminiscing over good memories of 2009 - two of the most enjoyable being Kiah winning into G5 (somewhere I never thought we would get to) and a fabulous weekend in Brussels leading to mine and Alex's engagement!

So at the beginning of a brand new year, and also a brand new decade, all four of us - two and four legged would like to wish our friends, families and everyone that takes the time to read this blog, a Very VERY happy new year moving into 2010, with good health, friendship, good luck, happiness and everything you ever wished for. Let us all look forward to a positive and enjoyable 2010!!!