Sunday, 30 June 2013


Thames followed straight on from boot camp, I wasn't sure we would be at our best after a week away and sleeping somewhere not in our normal bed, but we weren't TOO bad... could have been worse I think the weather helped, as though it wasn't so beautifully hot at least it was dry!!  We had a great camping spot thanks to one of our friends getting there, and it was nice to be able to get to a show on a Friday for once, odd being set up while everyone else was still arriving, usually its the other way around.

Kiah and I were working really well together (mainly) which was lovely to feel - I think I had taken on board some of the boot camp comments and tips, and there was one 6-7 agility course that loads of people were going wrong on as the weave entry was right next to a tunnel entrance, I knew we had a chance as Kiah loves weaves (normally over tunnels) and yep we got the weave entry, but then I said good girl and she came out at pole two looking at me!! Idiot handler should have stayed quiet...

The other one was a 6-7 Olympia course that I had my hopes set on, and really set off well.  I know that sometimes there are courses that I'm not going to be able to do justice to as much, either because they are skills we have less of, or I know I can't get as many places as a lot of people, or I can't run as fast, but this was a good mix of all. So... we got most of the way around, to about obstacle 14 and I knew I had to run to help out at the other end of a tunnel under a-frame combination, I've seen the video and Kiah was even looking at the tunnel... but she went up the a-frame instead, noooo!! Never mind I was so pleased with her as I should have cued the tunnel more, just a shame.  I have a fantastic picture from Alan Score of Kiah in the weaves on this course, he takes fab photos and always sends them across, this is one of my favourites.

The boys were working at Thames too and entered both days, unfortunately Davy wasn't at his best - he has been working well recently but he was having a few poles, I think its just grid work learning that Davy needs now, plus a bit more practise on weaves, they aren't his strong point its a shame as quite often that is the only thing that lets him down in courses.  He is lots better and it does seem to be 'hit and miss' whether he gets them sometimes, which frustrates Alex a lot!

Risk had a bit of a hit and miss weekend, we seem to have mainly mastered the art of all the obstacles, not being weird at walls, or long jumps, or see saws or flat tunnels, and a couple of good runs on the Saturday, just a bit of lack of concentration causing easy distractions!! On the Sunday we did go back to square one a little bit, and couldn't possibly go near the judge, over a jump or up the a frame or across the dog walk as 'the judge was looking', quite disappointing but we did work through it, and did some good contacts so slightly redeemed.  However - we had one much more positive run, where his concentration was a little better, tried hard on his weaves and was listening mostly - and we managed a slow but clear round, clever little dude, positive steps forward!!

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Boot Camp Agility Week

As the show ended on Sunday afternoon it was nice to know that we didn't have to rush home, and so dismantled the show set up and took a leisurely drive across the country, to set up on the campsite for the week's boot camp near Stratford upon Avon.  We were some of the first to arrive and so after picking a good spot it was the simple things like the electric hook up, water nearby and proper toilet/shower block for the week - simple pleasures and quite different to agility shows!!

We had a fantastic week away with old friends who were on the same camp, and made some fantastic new friends along the way too.  I hate to keep mentioning it but especially as last year's weather was SO rubbish this year is worth mentioning - we picked the absolutely perfect week, not a drop of rain and blue skies and hot sunshine all week was just what we needed!!  Lots and LOTS of fruity cider consumed across the week, very tasty and ideal in the sun.

There were four awesome trainers - Laura Chudleigh, Natasha Wise, Lauren Langman, and Martin Reid, who provided 12 hours of training - tiring but great!! They all helped to make the week absolutely fantastic - I would recommend any and all of them to anyone who wants a motivational, fully filled, personalised lesson on how to think, how to improve yourself, and your dog's skills, fun and enthusiasm!!  The camp was mainly for Risk, but it was such a good set up that Kiah got some turns at playing agility too, they were both fantastic and I'm pretty sure they enjoyed it too!!  Even Davy got a few practises on the equipment, and was a star in the team games of stays and recall.  It was such a fab week from start to finish - I am so grateful to Alex for booking it as a present, and it was such a shame when it was over... maybe next year, not much could beat that week though!!

Friday, 21 June 2013

Hinckley Show

We haven't done this show in years and definitely not since it has been at its new (ish) venue for the last few years, but we had the following week off work as one of our holidays, which was up near to Stratford upon Avon, and so this agility show beforehand was only about an hour away.

Thanks to the crappy motorways showing traffic red spots - typical on a Friday evening, we decided to get an early night, and leave stupidly early on the Saturday morning - which was the perfect solution as we had a clear journey up.  It also helped that camping is allocated which is a great idea and I think more shows should take it on, you can still camp with friends as long as you book that when you enter the show, but it means people who have to work or travel further, still have the same opportunity as early birds to get a sensible camping spot!!

Hinckley is quitet a small show, it is only five rings and mainly for grades 3 and above, but has lots of qualifiers and championship classes so most rings are exciting to watch.  Even better the champ final isn't held until all the rings are finished so it makes it more of an event - which it should be.

It was only Kiah running at the show - good for Alex as it meant he could get a nap in on Saturday after towing up that morning - better for Davy as he really is the sort of dog that doesn't mind if he misses the shows and just gets the odd walk here and there!!  I was so SO pleased with Kiah, she barely had any poles down, wasn't too loopy, and there were a couple of really spread out but challenging courses that my handling just let us down on, typical.

I really liked the courses that were set - clever, tricky and requiring enough handling to be clever, some slightly european style sections, so the dog still gets to enjoy themselves, but not so nasty that they end up turning you round and round never to be seen again!!  I think it takes a good judge to set courses like that, well thought out and very enjoyable.  The Olympia qualifier course set by Simon Peachey was just like that, and the grade 6 agility set by Nic Jones both of which I highly enjoyed running.  There was one course on the Sunday, a 6-7 jumping set by Stuart Harmes that was going really well, no poles, Kiah really powering out and me attacking the course... until I got lost!!! Sometimes I just struggle to keep a course in my head and in this case I added an extra jump into the course and obviously got eliminated, damn!!  A highly enjoyable show though, and dry and hot and sunny, will definitely consider it again.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

In Other News...

One good thing to have come out of Kiah being injured, is time.  Its not often we have much time to do things, especially with the advent of the last couple of years, so on a bank holiday weekend it was the ideal time to finally sort out the last of my parents' house once and for all - as it has now sold, and the new buyers wanted to have a quick exchange/completion which was fine by me, especially as we were running out of weekends to go down there.

Alex was fantastic helping shift everything, and his good friend came down to help us with his van; it took us all three days to ensure everything was removed, binned, sorted, burned, tipped, kept and/or put into storage temporarily, but it was a bit of a relief when it was done, somehow a weight lifted to not be constantly thinking about it.  Strange and some how guilty kind of feeling to feel 'relieved' for it to have gone when I have so many happy memories, but that is exactly what they are and I shall never forget anything about my childhood home, or everything that goes with it.

When we got back home and unpacked all of the keeping stuff for the final time, it was lovely just to have a relaxing sunny walk with the dogs over the park in the afternoon/early evening, and visiting Yahoo bridge - where we scattered his ashes - as the picture, lots of lovely memories.

Whoops - 6 Weeks Goes By!!

After one of Kiah's check ups with her physio, she stupidly overdid it on a walk where she was supposed to be taking it easy, and so had been on rest for a few weeks, plus additional physiotherapy visits to get back on track.  We ended up missing two or three shows annoyingly, but i'd rather she was 100% better before risking anything, there's no point and she gives it everything she can at agility for me so I do the same for her - even though she doesn't think so!!  There was only so much that mental stimulation will give her, she adores her 'Nina Ottosson' treat/thinking games, but was rather bored by the time we started to bring a little bit of agility back in.

So when we did get back to agility, it was a bit of a shock to the system as we had all three dogs running, Kiah entered as usual but also Risk in g3 and Davy in g1 - at the moment.  Our first show back we were doing some ring party and the weather was typically frustrating - torrential rain one minute (on our walk!), gusty and sunny the next, so it confirmed that I would be taking it easy with Kiah especially, as I didn't want her getting hurt again. She was suitably loopy in the runs we did do, not entirely surprising, good contacts but completely off her rocker!!

Davy was entered on the first day of the show only - the second day didn't have g1 classes but Alex doesn't mind it means he can take it easy and not have to worry about walking courses!!  Davy did well in quite a hard agility course, involving a pull in around a jump that could easily have been taken - and ended up in 2nd place, a fantastic result!!  I forgot to mention that we had another show before Kiah was injured, I didn't get any clear rounds with Kiah (though some lovely courses there) but Alex and Davy got a well earned 3rd place in a jumping course.

It was Risk's first show as well, and I was surprisingly nervous!! He was very good in his first jumping round, really focused (for him) only losing it a little bit in the weaves - about the 14th obstacle - which we hadn't long completely mastered, but we got through all twelve and finished the jumping course positively which I was pleased with.  I only entered him in two classes per day to stop him from losing interest, and he was really good in his agility too.  It was a slightly challenging weave entry - not difficult just a little for us and our first show, but we got it second time around and did all 12 which was great!!  We had a bit of drama at the long jump, odd as it has been practised many times in training without a second thought, but worked through it and again another positive finish with only a slight loss of concentration - very pleased with him, clever boy!!