Thursday, 30 August 2012

Agility Club

A couple of weeks down the line, another show threatened by the weather... not entirely surprising.  Unluckily for the show the week before, at a different venue, as that one DID have to be cancelled.  Thankfully this was another local one for us, and luckily for the organisers too, the sun shone almost solidly in the week leading up to the show, so apart from the rings needing to be moved a little, the ground held up pretty well, and all bar about a 20 minute rain shower (where we were luckily sheltering under a tree!) the weather stayed breezy but thankfully dry until Sunday evening!!

Both dogs were competing this weekend, so double the amount of courses to walk, and double the runs to get to without missing any... not going to happen!!  The layout was a little bit spread out due to some of the ground but couldn't be helped - I think I got to most of my courses, and Alex has got the hang of roughly intuitively knowing approximately when courses need to be walked now - but he did miss out on walking two runs on one day which never helps as one of them was really quite complex for a grade one.  Alex and Davy did really well on that one though, did his flat tunnels and send ons, it was just the weaves that he didnt get, the hard stuff he did really well.

Davy had some other really good runs, one especially where Alex either needed to do a cross in front or behind which he forgot to do, that time there were only 6 weaves and he got those too, what a shame.  In most of his runs now though, the only thing letting him down now is his weaves, so more practise required but he is getting there, and really finding the entries now so also partly confidence building too which will come with time.

Kiah had some real handler errors this weekend, I really struggled with spatial awareness (more than normal).  There was one course by Alison Grimes, which I really enjoyed running as it was a little bit different - and did the hard weave entry where everyone was getting eliminated, but then forgot to move and watched poor Kiah take the wrong jump!!  There were two fab courses that I really remember - one by Sam Lane, really spread out and different, where I was nowhere near a jump when I should have been, and another by Marie Hembrow with lots of traps but lots of send ons - where Kiah was fantastic and picked up a fab weave entry with me at the other end, for me to then watch her rather than front cross, and send her over the wrong jump, arghhhh!!  Kiah was really good though, I was so pleased with her, just totally annoyed at me - she deserved her ice cream at the end of the weekend.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

A Different Kind of Mud

Alex's other hobby and entertainment is his Landrover Defender 90 which is his grown up toy and working project, I must admit it is quite good fun to drive once you get used to it, even more so now that it has its 'retina burning artificial daylight' spotlights on the front, which of course only get used responsibly... One Sunday in July, when we had no shows booked, I was convinced to join in with one of the off road events, it was a very sunny day which was nice, though the previous fortnight's (at least!) weather, had ensured there were lots of deep puddles, splashes and MUD to be found.

Most of the driving and experience was fun, if a little painful in places - and I had a short turn doing some driving, though I did of jump out of the truck in some of the very worst of the areas, partly as I'm a bit of a chicken, and also to take some photos and videos of it all.  You can see from this picture quite how muddy it is and it gets (this was fairly tame), and the amount of jetwashing it takes to get it back to white again!!  There are a few sites that Alex and the 4x4 crew go to now and again, so I might think about going along again, its a bit of a different sport to agility!!

A Rather Grey...Week Away

We had a week off work at the end of June - beginning of July to recharge our batteries down in the West Country, a nice relaxing time and we were attending a couple of shows at both ends, the first and the last weekends of our holiday which we were really looking forward to.  It would have been a slightly better week away if the sun had come out a little more, I think in total out of 9 days, we had two where it didn't rain, slightly disappointing!!  The weather has been an unfortunate feature of this year, and especially that week, but we still had a good time.

At the first show it was a nice pleasant first day, once we got there around about midday, I think we managed to set up, have a cup of tea (always welcome!), take the dogs for a nice long walk through the fields and see the beautiful views over Bath, and enjoy dinner with friends, all while the sun shone, only giving way to rain in the late evening.  Saturday wasn't too bad, though the ground had started to suffer a bit, with limited areas of walkways, and traffic not being limited which I think should have been, it was showing signs of not holding up.  Kiah was really good in the runs we did, unfortunate in a fab ABC qualifier course by slipping and just having a pole. Another was in a jumping run, we had a dog run into the ring where we were going clear - the judge kindly gave us a re-run but we had a pole in that, damn!!  By the time midday came on the Sunday though, we had already decided to not do any more runs cause of the conditions, typically the rain started to subside, and the sun made an appearance, but it was too late!!  The tractors were called in (about 5 in total we think!) to tow people off, they did a fab job and so did Alex - helping out our friends getting their camps packed away and towing eyes ready.

The week in between was slightly better, we still had rain but were in a campsite not far from Gloucester rather than a field full of caravans, so slightly better drained - I suppose the rain was probably inevitable as Wimbledon was on!!  Normally we don't take a television on holiday, but borrowed a friend's for the week, it was nice to just zone out in the evenings so I think we will be investing in a small one for next season.  We still found plenty to do despite some of the gloomy days, walks with the dogs, a couple of rest days, having some professional pictures taken by Chris of 'Pet-ography' (definitely recommend!) indulging in yummy pub food, going to the beach, taking Kiah swimming down at Dogchester Hydrotherapy (also definitely recommend!), walking along the canal on one of the sunshiney days, doing a bit of shopping, and sightseeing a little with the camera.

At the end of the week it was a thankful decision by the organisers to go ahead with the show, the sun was shining as we pulled into the venue only a short journey away, and we set up quickly and easily, and after a quick run around for the dogs, they and us were happy to sit in the sun right into the evening, though it wasn't to last!!  Friday was ok, Kiah had a great time in her three 1-7 runs, we got eliminated in every single one but there were some fab courses, somewhat thankfully our runs came up at once as it only started raining heavily once we were finished.  The problem was it didnt really stop... at all...  Saturday's runs I can't really remember, the ground was pretty good though a number of our friends decided against travelling up due to the weather, which was completely the right decision.  Sunday when the rain had continued pretty much all night (again), we had just about had enough, the river was getting worryingly close to bursting its banks, and so we chose to pack up!!  Kiah and I did one course, very carefully, we were eliminated by jump two!! It was mainly just so that Kiah felt like we had done something before we left, but without putting her in danger.

The Tuffley show organisers were very helpful and smiling all the time, even though Alex was quite proud of himself that we actually managed to safely exit the showground without needing to be towed through the quagmire, and we were glad to get home at a sensible time on Sunday, and get out of the mud and rain.  The dogs were pleased to get home too, it was clear to see they were getting tired as well!  I think that we would do that week away again, the shows are very relaxing and quite laid back, the show locations are stunning and normally our highlights of the year - its just that this agility season has mostly been exceptionally bad weather wise and that can't be helped!!