Sunday, 28 December 2008

Olympia 2008

Well , what a day it was last Monday- can only now start to get my head round it!
I'd been working for the past 3 weeks on a new contact method for Ruby, one that I can feel confident with and for it to be faster and more reliable. Ruby seems to be enjoying this method as it directly impacts upon what drives her on in agility- ie the next obstacle, it makes me more focused as ruby is so focused on what is next, when I release her she is visibly happier with this method! ( more on this later !)
Marie came to London with me for once as Madeleine's big brother looked after her and remaining dogs for us, her support for the day was fantastic, and so nice to have her there to see the finals !
Speed jumping was up first, the course was to be the flavour of the day- up and down! Ruby was the smallest dog in the competition, and I knew we were up against it on the huge Olympia surface, she ran her heart out, and the weave was the hardest part as it wasn't properly anchored to the surface, and the bars that steady the weaves were in some places 2-3cm off the surface. Ruby did me proud- she always throws herself fully into her competition and won the event despite a couple of times being taken wide by her inept handler trying his hardest to keep up with her.

Olympia 2008 ABC speed jumping from Mark Douglas on Vimeo.

If you get a chance watch these videos on their respective sites as it gives you the option to view them in HD - so much clearer!

A few hours wait and it was the final- 15-20 minutes earlier than I was expecting! We were running last as we won the semi final event. The course was quite simple, directly up and down with dog walk and a-frame on to nothing! As I'd said we'd been training a new contact method and obstacles behind contacts had not been covered yet !guessing the courses beforehand I thought that these types of courses may have been more for the senior/novice finals as they had a few "running" contact dogs in them and this style of course may have been put out by the judge, I didn't think it would have come up in the ABC, I knew it would be bigger than the other events, and not as difficult, to try to put on a show for the crowd and for the bigger dogs to get a chance to strut their stuff.
Ruby was a bit non plussed as all our training had been on the release and me getting past her on the contacts- this course would not allow this, so I had to think on my feet - literally as the course was still being majorly adjusted when we were told we had to get off and run the final !
Sheries run was fabulous, and put pressure on the others as it was a fast run with running contacts. Dave's run was superb and well controlled, finished off with a fabulous weave, Rusty you could see ( as well as shadow) revelled in the atmosphere and both picked up a notch or two.
Ruby's contacts were good in the first run, but I made a bit of a hash of the dog walk to flat tunnel-jump combo, as this had happened I had to go for it , but still get the bloody a frame- ruby looked at me on this obstacle and came down it slowere than she had been doing in training. I had just enough puff left to push her through the weaves and to the finish, big cheer, looked at the screen and it said rank 1, then I heard the commentator say same time and we had to run off!
Still reeling from this I watched as Dave ran a faultless run to beat his first time- I knew we could beat it as I'd made mistakes on the first run, but would I be able to run as well? I was jelly legged and completely pooped from the first run, and here I was with no recovery time having to go again! Ruby had given her all and looked as confused as I did on the line, tried to break her stay, and I could see in her that it was worrying her if she'd sone something wrong !
I tried to push her dog walk this time, but it was a bit creepier, and stupidly I handled it the same as the first run, and had to push her out to the jump- her see saws were as good as I've ever had them- a tribute to haw we've been training them, and in to the rigid tunnel, nice turn , but the legs were failing and I was running out of puff, into the tunnel again- i looked back for her and she wasn't there! I sensed she had slipped in the tunnel and fallen over ( she does this occasionally) On the eurosport footage you get a feeling that the cameraman anticipated her coming out of the tunnel sooner, and she wasn't there! As a consequence I had to wait for her at the a frame, and she slowed down, I had enough puff to get one more directional out, but I saw her "climb" the jump , looked at her in the weave and saw that for once ruby was slowing down, I couldn't gee her up as I was struggling myself, and had nothing in me to shout any commands ( Olympia is so noisy that all commands must be louder than normal!) Running to the finish I knew it was slower as she was struggling, whether she was knackered- I know I was! Or if she didn't get enough encouragement from me at the home strait I don't know- but from the A frame to the finish she lost about 1 and a half seconds! On the video I see her weaving style change from 'swimming' to 2 footed, and this indicated to me that she'd slowed down!
She did me proud this day, ran her heart out and put on a historical show. The timing apparently did go down to 1/1000th of a second and Dave Ray did say we had the same time- but what about the manual timing? I know it would be hard to explain to a crowd of 8000, and it was best to run off- but I would have liked another 5 mins or so to get my breath back- but it was the same for Dave and he coped magnificently with the pressure, and Rusty was brilliant!
Next year it'll be trying to get to the Agility Stakes event for Ruby ( decided this before the event) I am very happy with the new contact method as is ruby, so look for decidedly improved contacts from her next year, and I am feeling confident that we can do even greater things next year for this fabulous little dog!
Puck's knackers are coming off in the new year- I want a full year of competing for him without the testosterone distraction! He's far too good to waste and would have loved the ABC course at Olympia- funny that all the other years I've had Amber at Olympia and wished I had ruby, on this course it would have suited Puck! He'll be getting worked on to inhibit the wild child and get a more "working' head on his shoulders. A wait is being worked on ( thanks to Susie J for helping with this), and we'll see what the season holds in store for him!
Draco I find difficult to train as he is such an airhead, but we did a bit of traing with Susie and we have started on the 2by2 weave method with huge amounts of help from Marie he's very slowly coming on, he won't be competing until the end of the year probably despite being due out in April- we've still got a mountain to climb.
Thanks for reading this, and may I wish all bloggers a very happy and successful new year!

Saturday, 20 December 2008

It's been too long

Apologies, blogger's, I've been far too busy to sit down and write about my mundane little life with the woofs.
Work has taken me to the 4 corners of the UK recently, I sometimes feel that I'm a part-timer at home, Marie probably would say that I was!
Work has been turmoil recently, lot's and lot's of people have been made redundant, but- touch wood- I am safe, I daren't think of what would happen should I lose the job, a) for the money,but as I actually enjoy it so much I struggle to think what could I do should it go tit's up!
What about the dogs?
Draco has started to be trained up, but this has frankly been a struggle, due to lack of training facilities for a dog of his age and my ability to actually get to train him, but I'm on holiday for a week or two, so we'll make huge in-roads into the essentials. He's come in now, to develop the bond and to get him to chill and mature a little bit.
I have a new addition, - nugget Blossom's pup, he'll be mine to do agility with and Marie's to show ! He is a little noisy live wire and he'll be great fun in the future!


Puck has been difficult of late, just a bit too mad - even more so than usual- so we're considering 'nut-removal" - watch this space!he went to a david Munning training day and we thoroughly enjoyed it- I whole-heartedlty recommend David as a trainer, gave me loads to think about and to work on- and improve my own training.

Ruby has been busy, she went to the supadog final in October ( directly after having a season) she did well, coming home with a bit of crystal, but naughtily popped off the side of the see-saw ( 2nd last obstacle) but she did as well as I hoped, so I was happy with her.
All is now geared up towards Olympia and I truly feel we are ( for once) ready for the final and in tune with each other, I'm beginning to get my enthusiasm for the sport back again, and I am very much looking forward to getting back on track with Ruby next year and challenging for more CC's etc- she has learned the contacts and is fired up to win! and Win and win again !!
Olympia now looms large and we go on Monday, her first time there, my 4th, all other times with Amber the aussie, and everytime I've been there I've always wanted to have Ruby there, now she has the chance to show me and the world what she can do !
We had her last competitive event last weekend and did well with 3 wins from 3 classes- I can't ask for more now- can I? needless to say I am excited and looking forward to it, marie will be with me for once - so the support will be most welcome, and i'll tell you all about it when I get back!

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

LOST in Ireland

Well here i sit in a hotel bar in cork Airport having missed my flight back to the UK, long story , but i had a 2 hour drive in a gutless hire car from Waterford where I had been lecturing the previous evening, got up at 06.45, left hotel at 07.15 ( no breakfast as it was too early) and proceeded, listening to an RTE radio programme with a couple of eejits called "colm and jim-jim" prattling inanities to each other. Now when I had arrived in Cork i had driven through an area called Douglas- and thought it funny to have found another place named after my family ( huge fan of my family name Douglas- so this was interesting to me) any way traffic report came on the radio mentioning south side ring road in Cork around Douglas! An 8 car pile up had occurred and i was headed directly into it! Any way have missed my flight so I'm catching up with stuff such as this blog, missed having to travel directly up to peterborough for an evening meeting there! No flight back till tomorrow, so in for a boring day in a hotel!

No blog for a wee while as I've been a tad too busy for it, not done much agility in the meantime.
Puck seems to have turned a bit of a corner ( helps not to have any bitches in season)and just as our season ends he starts to work very well and is coming into his own. At a funday event recently he beat ruby in a jumping course by 0.2 of a second- and took what I would describe as the slow route! And this week at a mini competition night we had up at The FC headquarters, nice to have Suzie josty and Barry James come up with us- very welcome new input to what we do. Anyway we set up a judge (Nick Josty) and a timer etc, Ruby ran the first course very nicely, but was a tad too neat and knocked a pole down, but was timed at 28.2 secs.
Puck came up , all fired up and very excited that there were some new black and white doggies there, off he set powering round the course, finished with me trailing behind him- and no destruction in his wake- and Nick was clapping- he'd gone clear- but no one told me the time! When I looked I nearly choked - His time was 25.02!! 3 seconds quicker than Ruby!! now i know he's fast and powerful, but maybe, just maybe we're turning a corner, he's worked magnificently recently, so with all the things I have planned for the winter we'll see, maybe now is the time for him to get the snip, it's only this year he's been bothered by sex, but it disrupted him greatly.
Ruby has the Supadog final this weekend, now this event I hoped to get to this year- one of my objectives! So fingers crossed she'll do well.
Draco has started to be trained and at the moment he is a bouncing, gangly fool, but he'll also be going to Golden valley to be trained as from next weekend.
isn't it funny how the plans you lay down for your pups go arigh as they grow up- I'd intended on training Draco on the lead, the same as Puck, but Draco is much more sensitive and has to be off the lead so lots and lots of hard work ahead.

Blossom about to drop her puppies, she's now trying to work out why she's not so nimble and as full of energy, she's slowed down a lot and has ( relatively) lots of goodness for the pups to feed on when they decide to come and see us. Marie said she felt the pups inside bloss this mornign so hopefully the pitter patter of tiny feet soon- And in a few weeks a cacophony of little noisy shelties.
Well hope I haven't bored the pants off you, and hope to catch up soon!

Monday, 1 September 2008

Pedigree pairs final 2008

Thought I'd share our triumph at Stoneleigh on Sunday, winning the pedigree pairs final- our first pairs final !
The first two runs are from the singles warm up event- Ruby finished 2nd- by 1/100th of a second ( manual timing)

Saturday, 23 August 2008

Summer ?? holiday

We set off earlier this month on our trek around the country to go to Peterborough, Ipswich and Chester for the dog shows there- I reckon we had about 2 full days without any rain, and the wind was appalling all the time. It was like running in the Autumn/winter, with lots and lots of mud.
It wasn't a great time away as far as the agility was concerned, we had a couple of good runs, with lots and lots of bad runs. KC festival was a mixed bag, blew out in the qualifiers for the British Open and won the other run we had for the day! (Typical Ruby). Blossom our sheltie was away on a bonking holiday, but also whilst we were away our Smooth Collie Beryl came into season. Puck was dramatically affected by this. He has shown in the past a bit of interest in the girls- but never excessively so. But he was behaving like a sex mad maniac whilst we were away. What I always liked about Puck was that he wasn't sex mad, but here we were at the start of our holiday with a dog who wasn't focused on the job. I worked out why he was so bad, earlier in the year we lost our Alpha male dog Io- I believe having him there kept Puck's desires in check, so I have now to deal with Puck as the Alpha male dog in our household.

His behaviour in the ring manifests as missed weaves and a love for tunnels- invariably the wrong end. He ended up at the end of our holiday with one clear round to his name!! A good one it was though, coming second in the EO qualifier at the KC festival.

On the Saturday at the festival I judged and I enjoyed this- especially the 6 and 7 smalls and mediums. Though found the presentations frustrating- announcements for them were made so poorly that hardly anybody turned up for them- and I do try my very best to get to presentations.

DIN started well- champ jumping- finishing 2nd! Then the wheels fell off the week, E'd in the champ agility at the end of the round, and subsequently many more E's the rest of the week- Ruby's worst sequence of events- ever!

DD wasn't much better- but we stopped the rot slightly with a 6-7 agility win, her A frame started to go off the rails , and in two jumping courses she inexplicably missed jumps out on the course- so video's in the next round or two!

Pucks weaves are in the process of being retrained now I'm home (grass cut yesterday) to many runs being destroyed by his impetuosity and poor wait!

For him I'm putting this season down as a learning experience- not much more than this that I can do !

A week or two off now ( thank dog) I have the pairs final with Tom next week his dog panic has finally gone grade 6 with the 3rd jumping win coming at DD- well done to them.
Saw all of the pups ( except Qui) when we were away and I must say I am so very proud of the way they have all grown up, all very striking kelpies in their own way.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

SUNNY SCUNNY

It took us over 6 hours to get to this fab show, marie was judging and I was scriming so I new we would be well looked after and would have a fabulous lunch as well.
One week on after molli/brie went and as far as i know she has settled in as if she has always been there, Andrea must be photo mad as she's taken literally hundreds of pics of brie, and she looks great in them- what is it about seeing the trees for the woods? In these pics she looks great- at home she was another red and tan kelpie ( in a nice sense). I'm so happy she has found a fantastic and loving home- so now all the litter have their respective homes, I love to see them all and to see the "pairings" ie Bel and Kaiser look spits of each other and Flash and Qui are similar, Draco stands out as being hairy- though it's all fallen out, come winter ( and hormones) it'll be back as hairy as ever. It's fun to take them to the big open spaces at shows and let them off the lead- they aren't as bad as Puck and Tink at coming back to you, but Ruby prefers to run with them ( Draco & Bel as they don't try to bite chunks out of her and aren't faster than her - yet!) 

Weather at scunny was fab- nor blistering hot but just right, the runs started badly ( we had 4 runs a day- not used to this many- but grateful for them anyway. First up was the EO combined 6-7 , it was an intentionally trappy course - far, far too trappy IMO jump traps, tunnel traps, wrong side of tunnels, jumps etc, I've stated before that I like to see handler and dog enjoy the course and not go around nagging and roaring, in 6-7 the pairing will make their own mistakes and you don't need a trappy course to test the partnership. I have found this yoer a prevalence of pull throughs in course design for 6-7 and though I can do them- rather well i think, I confess to being bored by them as they are coming up again and again- surely our judges can come up with more innovative course designs? Maybe this is why I enjoyed Amanda Rogers and Andy Hudsons champ courses this year ( I'll reserve judgement on John Gilberts design at NH) Their courses showed thought and flair and I got my teeth into them., any way both puck and Ruby  cocked up on the first tunnel trap! Ruby following my flicked out hand puck just seeing a tunnel at the end of the dog walk!
Puck weekend did not get any better- his best and only non- E was in a lovely grade 6 jumping with a 2 jump recall !! it was the last run of the weekend and I think he could tell that all was not well in the dad-puck relationship so he tried his very best and only had one plastic pole down.
I also ran Tom's dog panic, both jumping runs were unlucky, but resulted in E's- she need's one more win to go grade 6 , but she (for once) saved the best run for her agility, coming 6th in grade 5 agility, her contacts are very slow (especially the A frame), but I'd actually done a wee bit of training with her earlier in the week and it paid off as her contacts were a bit quicker and more confident than before and she enjoyed herself, which is the most important factor!
Ruby's Saturday did get better with a third in the agility and 2x 1sts in the jumping! Sunday continued in the same vein with 2 x 2nd's and a third- so from 8 runs 6 trophies, she is such a good girl just now, but with a missed dog walk in one of the courses it'll be back to a bit of training for her!
I may look into getting her seen by a chiropracter thingummygig as I've mentioned before her lack of a "right" turn- whereas her left turns are very flexible, I noticed it on the weekend where I could watch her turning over the jumps ( one course) and It occurred to me whilst watching her that I'll get her looked at.

I've never been one for this sort of thing, but when people say it has improved their dog I think it must be worth a try- just a bit worried about the over-dramatisation people attribute top this ie after seeing the chiropracter you hear people say " oh- the spine was horrendously out of alignement " etc But will get her checked out just the same - think there will be one at KC Fest DIN etc.

A six hour journey home on Sunday and I'm still recovering!
Big hols coming soon- so no blog for a while KC Fest , DIN and Dashin Dogs! Should be fun, I'm judging at the KC fest so all you small / medium 6-7 handlers out there as I've stated here your jumping course will have NO pull throughs but it'll be a runners course for the dogs to have a great time!

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Agility Club

Off we set for the Agility Club show, one of my favourites for the year, only 2 runs a day ( 3 or 4 if in the champ/teams etc) but who cares when the weather was great - hot for dogs though- especially funny watching Tink kick her feet out on the tarmac as her feet were getting too hot- also according to Marie it was happening to her on the contacts as well (though probably was being held on them too long if that was happening!)
We went with 11 dogs and came back with 10- Molli is now called Brie, and has a fabulous home with Andrea Russ and her collies. We did not set out on friday with this in mind, it happened in a weekend and Andrea met molli, and fell for her, I've always stated what a fine dog she was, and andrea has a fine prospect for the future, she's apparently settled in and is ( as always with Molli/Brie ) taking it all in her stride, can't wait to see her again though!
I had high hopes for the weekend as Ruby has hit a nice vein of form and Puck is , well Puck! He had some very very nice run's but not quite there yet, he did get a clear in the crufts 6-7 but the madly wide turns put paid to a place , to get the places he must tighten up and begin to listen and react with more alacrity, he got round all of the courses , he's due a sparkling run soon though- I feel it.
Ruby ran in the first few in the Crufts/EO qualifier, it was an interesting course that to do well you would have to control the turns and have a dog that could turn at distance and have fast contacts, etc etc! I decided to do something I rarely do now and that is turn at the bottom of the A frame to turn ruby over the next jump to control the turn and her entrance into the the far end of a tunnel. Also critical was the turn on to the dog walk, a choice was given to go the 'long' way or the 'short ' way, turn around the jump and enter the dog walk- I decided to turn ruby the 'long ' way- as it was the way she was naturally running, and it was a turn to the left, she did it so neatly and her turn so good she had to scramble up the dog walk and drive to the bottom ( not her greatest forte). We finished with a clear and off I tootled up to do the champ jumping round.
The champs were the biggest I've done so far 112 dogs! The Judge was Andy Hudson so I entered with trepidation as in the previous champs I've done with Andy I've yet to attain a clear! The courses were in my opinion fabulous , testing and well thought out with a distinctive European flavour. The dogs enjoyed them, and at the end of the day a great partnership won. Ruby picked up 5 faults in the jumping, in a steady round for her ( I said i was tense), she took off early for a jump - so then the rest of the course was damage limitation. Then I popped down to check to see where I was lying in the Crufts- and it was top of the pile!- But with 320 dogs I'd be surprised to be there by the end of the day.
Champ agility round next and it was over in a blur, I still can't remember the course!
Ruby flowed round and didn't put a paw wrong- as attested by her place 1st !! So pleased with her. Then I went to run Blossom in one of her courses ( I'm sorry but I could murder people in small courses, the queues seem to never get shorter! ) Well when I was waiting in blossom's queue I heard the presentation for the Champ agility class- I missed it - I hate missing presentations ( with a passion) even more so when I win! Sorry Andy!

We'd made it to the Champ final, loved the course with options! I walked it and stuck to my plan in the final- ruby nearly ran into the tunnel, rather than the dog walk, but being such a fab girl she did the right thing, but after the tunnel, I had too much time and I thought "I'm in the place I should be as I'd walked it this way, but now I'm here I'm not so sure!" and she ran past the jump! Bollox !! I'd got a bit lost and we'd threw it away, roll on the next one!

A quick check at the Cruft's and we'd finished 2nd to David Munnings and dobby, so 9 more crufts points, making 23 so far, good enough for next year I should think.
One bad thing about the day- no trophy for the champ rounds, so although winning a grade 7 class of over 100 dogs (paying £10 or more for the class) and no trophy for winning it!

Next day was the olympia qualifier- no pressure here as I'm going the ABC way , but a lovely course was completed with a fab run from ruby who flowed round the course to finish in 2nd place Woo-hoo . Again to dave and dobby ( a dog with much better contacts and twice the size of ruby).

All in all a great weekend and I'm addicted to agility and winning again, how fickle am I? Off on a mad journey to Scunthorpe next week- 240 miles- daft!

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Caerphilly

As promised here are a couple of pic's of the trophies we won at Tuffley, these pictures don't do them too much justice as they were bigger than they seem, hopefully they'll have them on offer again next year so I can win some more!





Well Caerphilly is our local show, no bridge to contend with, and only 25 miles away, great venue and some good company, nice to be at a show after missing Rugby, though from what I hear i didn't miss too much.
Puck as usual struggled to contain himself on most of the courses, got to get some form of a wait! He had a couple of nearly's but not quite's, his one clear ( of the month no doubt!) was in grade 6 jumping which he finished third- great considering he had a spin near the end.
Ruby was on this weekend superlative and peerless, of 6 runs she won 4 classes, she was on form in both agility and jumping and her average winning margin was about a second ( or 2 and a half in the agility) her agility win was one of those wonder runs where everything comes together and she flows around a course- she can if she want's save that form for this weekend at the Agility club show .
here's the dragon brood she and puck won at the weekend




We also won the quiz, so another few quid in the kitty to go towards us buying more kit for our club.
Started training Draco on Monday and he is ,at the moment ,a bit of an airhead, wanting to bounce up and down, but he is very different from my other kelpies as he is so sleek and flexible at this age, he will certainly test my skills to get him ready to compete. Best and most promising of the pups is Molli as , when she works she is very much like her mum, and will be a prospect in the future.
Oh and Draco started cocking his leg this week, woo-hoo teenage hormones here we come!

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Tuffley

Off we tootled to Tuffley show last weekend, so nice to go to a reasonably local show, but I guess we'll have to get used to this what with the rising cost of fuel etc, I just wish there were more shows over this side of the country- especially in the winter! What a lot of people don't know is that we are an hour from the severn bridge just to get to any show- and it cost's us £10.60 to get back into Wales! Not cheap!
We've also managed to find somewhere to securely keep the caravan, rather than on the cul de sac (road) anything to keep the neighbours happy, and it has 24/7 access, and only cost's a couple of quid more than the grotty farm we used to keep it on, having the caravan bumped along a rutted road, up a very steep incline, and a narrow road was enough to stop me taking it there- oh and the irate resident who complained if you turned up after 9pm at night!
Well on to the competition, high hopes for Puck who trained very well this week! And ruby had a challenge tournament to defend, and both had an ABC qualifier. Puck was particularly bad this weekend- he's struggling with grade 6 I'll admit! His starts are an ever increasing problem- he's too keen for his own good, and we need one for the future- and when he does get going it's a lottery if he's listening to me or not- but lots to get on with, his highlight was a pole down in the ABC ! the rest were all big fat E's.
Ruby won the ABC - these are strange runs these days- I know I do not need to go for it in these runs, and she should qualify- but I still remember the anxiety of these runs in the past ( which I now have in the crufts/olympia's nowadays). Puck just beat her time- he's due a very good run soon- let's hope it'll be in a qualifier for him! Ruby had 5 clears out of 6 ( the last being when I pulled up as the ground was quite poor and I slightly went over on my ankle- so we walked out). Her jumping was good ( a 2nd and a 4th) but on one run again I went over on my ( good) ankle so held her up- the agility's we're ok , no good places though as twice she went for the wrong jump and I had to call her off- still to gel with her this season! Ultimately we finished 2nd in the tournament to Ant and Magic ( but I remember that see-saw!!!!!) We'll get it again next year!

A cracking photo taken by Alan Score of Ruby- she does take a great action shot!



Unlike this lumbering ox!

I said that the ground was bad and Marie went over on it in her last run with jet- very painful for her, but she coped tremendously well in the pain she was in and Judged on the sunday, I put course out for her that would accommodate her lack of mobility and I hope those people and dogs who run it felt that they enjoyed them, Tuffley really must consider the ground in the future as loads of people fell over at the weekend, the show was great well run and the trophies were beautiful ( it is nice to get trophies that you haven't won ( or seen ) before - they were like big chrystal jewels with a star on the - I'll post a pic in to this blog when I get a chance.

We've started to try to find time to train the pups, which is difficult , but Madeleine has eventually chipped in and started to train Molli, this is very brave of her and I am so proud of her for giving it a go- especially as molli is and will be a livewire, but they seem to be trying hard for each other, even though Madeleine had the setback of falling over, she'll be back to give it a try!

No show this weekend ( boo-hoo) decided a couple of months back that it was too far to go to and with the rising cost of fuel etc we couldn't afford it! So as you see I tinkered with the blog design- hope you all like it with my stars theme!

Off to Manchester this week to lecture in Old Trafford to 150 nurses! This I am looking forward to as it'll be my first big journey in my new car which came on Monday!
It has cruise control- so maybe it'll give my knee a break- as the Physio has upgraded me from Bursitis to Tendinitis! I've got the tape to get my knee all Rafa Nadal'd up for the future!








Off to our most local show next week- Caerphilly- so no huge journeys or bridge to contend with- just other factors like plastic poles and poor equipment! and narrow spaced weaves!

Monday, 30 June 2008

A weekend off and then lansdown

Well no posting for a couple of weeks as we had no show to go to last weekend!So I caught up with some much needed gardening and cleaning- we even washed the caravan! Here's a slideshow of lots of kelpies that were at Newton heath the other week- lots of ruby pups there- nobody told me when the pics were being taken- or i may have been asleep when these first pics were being taken!- probably the latter knowing me!
video
Took the pups for a training session last Monday, and proceeded to hurt my ankle again- but this was when I was running ruby as I felt good and was actually running, Madeleine also started her first (5 minutes) agility training with the pup Molli, and did very well- I was so proud of her! Draco did very well if only because it is like having a dog on springs next to me! he took to the tunnel like a natural.
Off to Lansdown then and we had a foggy , wet and wild night! The wind was howling at the top of that hill and was blowing everything in it's path around. I dosed up on pain killers and anti-inflammatories and took Puck out for his first run ( there was only 2 runs a day at this show) Well he tried his hardest , but was extremely wide in lots of the course- actually landing past the entrance of one tunnel- but had enough sense to go back into the tunnel- the judged faulted him for this- but when we finished running he came over and scratched those faults ( a very good judge!) But puck missed the up on the a frame! so Hoops out tonight!
Ruby pushed my running skills to the limit as there was a huge diagonal run through the middle of the course, but as she is so much fun to run and she tries her hardest, we made it, safe contacts on the way round resulted in a win, and a good start to the weekend. The jumping run saw puck be a knob and decide that he actually knew a faster way round and missed a very fast weave entry and to try to sneakily miss out another jump out! Ruby decided as well that she thought she knew the way round and spun at two points in the course- eventually costing me the win and we had to settle for a second place one ( by 1 tenth of a second). So all in all a good days competing. The Sunday brought nicer weather, but the occasional shower. We had three runs today as there was an ABC class at the end of the day, again Puck was first up, and a run in the 6-7 Crufts singles qualifier, off his head he was and broke his stay and run straight into the nearest tunnel- eliminated ignominiously! But we had a reprieve- the judge decided to take out the collapsible tunnel as it was dangerous, and replaced it with a rigid tunnel. So the class ran again- so I tried a different start with puck which ended up in the same result- straight down the tunnel! Ruby ran at the end of the class and ( I did not see this- though- I was told) she fell before going up the A frame- not to worry though- still good enough to gain 2nd place! The jumping run was next with puck again first- I decided to abandon the attempt at a recall and just run him as I felt the course would be too much for us with a tricky weave entrance, but as usual he did the unexpected and came 2nd in the grade 6 element of the course! bouncing and shouting his way round the course. Ruby ran and I knew it was her sort of course, but by now my knee was hurting and i took it easy, treating it as a training round - on the finish I miscalled and she turned the wrong way- but hey-ho still posted a time that was good enough to win the class!
ABC now at the end of the day and a tricky course was put out, ruby this time went first- flowed round nice and steadily, but deceptively so as i relaxed too much and didn't run fast enough at the end, and she took the jump to the left instead of over the wall!
Puck next- so no expectations here! off he started and he went all the way round the right way and produced a stunning round- only to find the judge not clapping- what went wrong i though? Apparently he was judged to have missed his see saw! he has a very fast see saw and pushes off it with his back feet- so I was not impressed with this piece of judging to say the least! But we live to try again at tuffley this weekend- and hopefully keep up this form!

Monday, 16 June 2008

Newton heath and ABC semi final

After what has seemed to be a very long wait the Newton heath weekend came- and a decider to see which of my 3 qualifying dogs would hopefully be going to olympia. I wanted ruby out of preference- she is my best dog and it would be a great shame for her to never get the chance to show off at olympia- Ambers been there 3 times and puck has years to spare! it all depended on the running order as well- as ruby has always had a running order in the first 5 dogs!
2 runs for each dog on the Friday, Puck started off on ground that was up hill and down dale! and dreaded plastic poles and shallow cups! The number of poles that I watched come down this weekend just rubber stamps to me that they are not right for agility- they are unforgiving, unpredictable and dangerous! I run trying my best not to turn my dogs tightly as poles will come down! Pucks agility run was a pleasure- only one ( huge) wide turn saw him post his first clear since supadogs ( which did not bode well for the weekend ahead!) It was a stunning run which eventually would see him finish 4th, by 0.3 of a second from Doris stokoe who won it! But of course it had to be a combined 6-7 course- so we've got to wait for that grade 6 win! his Jumping run was even better, but his fool of a dad pulled him off a jump and I destroyed a fantastic run, his other great run of the weekend saw him knock a pole and post the fastest time of the day in a fun grade 6 jumping run.
Ruby posted the first of her 4 sixth places of the weekend in the jumping as i did a stupid turn which saw ruby fall completely on her side out of a tunnel.
Champs on the Saturday saw ruby post her first ever double E ! Monstrous courses from the judge eventually saw only 7 qualifiers from the 72 to contest the final- which had only one clear round- is this as it should be?- I'm not too sure, I just hope I don't get too many more champ courses like these!
Ruby subsequently posted another 2 sixth places in agility classes!
In the evening and the ABC semi final. Now I must just quantify at thames etc my foot/knee was fine- on Monday Draco started preliminary training and I fell over a sandbag- so i was back to square one for my ankle!
Amber was drawn 11th, Puck 19th and ruby 52nd ( I was very pleased about this- but would have preferred Ruby to go 2nd.
Ambers run was an amble which saw her E'd after the wall at obstacle 4! She saw her mum in the corner and off she went on a mission, so we dawdled around the finish- not bad for her 2nd run since crufts- but it will be her last ever competitive full height course at 8 years old she's had enough of agility so we wait till she's old enough for a veteran class or two in the future.

Puck was next to go and he was 'up for it' and took off like a steam train, and as usual I was left holding on to his shirt tails! A huge miss on the up to the a frame, was followed by his flying the see saw for the first time in a year!, 10f- but with a time that would have won it by 0.5 of a sec! Next year for him.


Then came ruby who showed her class- and experience! I ran her witha strategy of no turning signals and held contacts- oh and a see saw to the floor! And we got it right- we did not run to win, but to qualify! And she won it ! At last she gets to show off at olympia- I not worried about how she gets there, but next year we'll be concentrating on The Chum route!
The next day also saw us post some crufts points for the year with the last of our 6th's!




So all in all a good weekend that cost too much in fuel and ultimately ended in tragedy as Tom and Tracy's dog Peri ( experi-mental) came off lame and had to be PTS today as she succumbed to the same condition that took our Smooth Collie Io! for something so rare we've had 2 dogs at our club succumb to this horrific condition!- Run and scream free, Peri- you chill out in the big agility course in the sky ( with no contacts to get in the way! I'll always think fondly of her jumping way too high over the jumps and taking off from unprecedented distances from the jumps! as unpredictable as they come- and having way too much fun!
We also met up with lots of ruby's offspring and some pics were taken and I'll post as soon as I get them.

Thames

Well before you know it Thames show is upon us- my fav show of the year (for many reasons) I was feeling good, I'd seen the physio and had a diagnosis for my knee ( it only took 9 months!) I have a condition called Bursitis and it affects the little pad between my knee and the ligaments- also known as housemaids knee! ( all those years with hoists in nursing and all the driving I do have ended up in this injury). So this weekend it was exercise and cold applications.
I ran well i thought and i had positive vibes- great ground- wooden poles etc etc I could run my normal style with ruby!
Champ on the Saturday had fantastically innovative courses from Amanda Rogers, the dogs loved them - even if in my opinion they did not entirely suit ruby's style of running, and I felt that to do really well you had to have a dog that would do an independent dog walk - and ruby needs me there for her ( or- the way I trained her means I've got to be there!) A 5th in the jumping round was followed by a steady clear in the agility round- my see saw was not going to suffer as next week i had the ABC semi final. We qualified in 15th place for the final- so I was very pleased for that. Ruby ran her socks off in the final with ( for her) blistering contacts, I baulked her at a fence where she came to a near complete stop and a fluffy handling bit on the back jump saw me come 4th by 0.7 of a second- oh for my inept handling and it may have been a repeat of last year!
The next day was just as good- a 6th in the Chum saw me book a back up to the ABC semi, a 2nd in the jumping saw me win one of the laser etched trophys. I was booked to run pairs with Tom Hadaways youngster ,Panic- who has just won out of grade 4. We had a fantastic run which saw us win the Pedigree pairs! So we have a national final to go to at the end of August at Stoneleigh- I can't wait as we will be underdogs, but certainly one's to have a side bet on ! Puck was a dulard at this show being an absolute tunnel fiend! His best run being the chum which was stunning except for the missed weave entry as dad got in the way!- I'll forgive the dog walk up contact as it was at such a strange angle it was harder to get than to miss! And easier for the judge to see the up rather than the down !
So all in all a great show, with loads of potential for the next weekend

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Wye valley and the pain barrier

Off we headed to Monmouth on the Thursday before Wye opened and helped them set up the show from scratch. It was strange to be at home with no work to do at all, nice to relax though and have a few days at home- even if the weather was pant's.
My knee and left calf/achilles played up big time at this show, but I ploughed on and tried to run as best i could. i had extra's at this show to do as well- I ran Tom's collie Panic at the show, a lovely collie, who has lot's of potential, but need's more confidence as far as contacts go, but a cracking little jumping dog, and we gained a third place in grade 4 jumping, I ran blossom as well and she gained a 7th and a third in the classes I ran her in. I also ran David Whitehead's Corgi, but I nearly collapsed with this last run and couldn't complete the course with it as my feet etc couldn't do it!
Puck took the p**s all weekend and did not get round one course! some great bits and some exceptionally stupid bit's as he thinks he knows how to read numbers now and does his own thing ( so long as it includes a tunnel!)
Ruby was the star though, in 6 runs she had 2 e's and four ( yes-four) wins- 2 jumping and 2 agility! Means in 2 weeks she's gone grade 7 twice !! Her jumping is spot on and it is the adrenaline rush I get from running her that get's me round the courses- and I am so proud of her a fantastic dog! But i'm suffering for it now as I hobble about the place- off to see a physiotherapist tomorrow- so hope they will come up with a solution or two!

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Supadogs success in the mud!

Well another major show cancelled at least at this one I got a couple of days agility . An early start on Friday resulted in a trouble free arrival at the show in the morning. First run was pucks in the 4-7 agility and a clear round, hugely wide in places , but listening and working for me- resulted in a creditable 12th place, his other 6-7 agility was a bit wild so an inglorious E ensued , I may as well just chart what else he did at the show, he had a beautiful run in a lovely (lynne shore) grade 6 jumping course only one wee hiccup resulted in his best ever jumping run as he powered round into third place!The Sunday was pant's and great in turns, no clears but a few fun runs. We also fell foul to a dog-walk -tunnel issue again!
Ruby was a bit stiff and a little unfit- noted whilst out on walks, so I wasn't expecting too much early on, and our objective for the week was to try and go to the Supadog final in october- we've been once before and loved it so wanted to get there again as I felt it was the best finals we've been to!
I started her on the 6-7 agility course first , I hobbled round!
Editors note;- My sore knee is now not the only ailment as my left calf/achilles is extremely painful- so strappings have been implemented, they alleviated the pain (alongside the pain killers) so long as nothing went wrong- as soon as a mistake was made the adrenalin dissipated so quickly i could only hobble round to the end.
Back to the action- Ruby flowed round the 6-7 agility course and did most of the work and finished with a lovely clear round.
I was feeling lucky and the leg was holding up ok, so I chanced my arm at the supadog qualifier, a 'do-able' course only having issues at the long run to the end of the dog walk, so again she was going great guns and it was only at the long run up to the end of the dog walk that the knee/left leg issue came up, she picked up on it and waited for me whilst coming down the dog-walk so she slowed up dramatically!, but she made it and i had to finish her on the course remotely as I hobbled round- another clear round, watched by wee Dan Burton who tootled off to see my time, coming back to tell me I was leading both classes , which we held on to and won both!! WOW what could this dog do if she had Contacts like Pucks! But objective achieved- qualification at the Supadog final's in Peterborough in October . In the afternoon she ran beautifully in the grade 7 jumping, i got lost a bit near the end so we finished in a creditable 3rd! This was the same course as the grade 6 ( ran separately) and Ruby's time was beaten by Pucks! So food for thought there! Nigel and his grade 6 and 7 dogs ( cougar and Zico) finished 4th in both these classes and both the younger dogs beat their dam's times!
Very sore ankle/calf on the sunday, good runs though, Ruby knocked the last pole in a huge grade 6-7 jumping, and won in fine form the grade 7 jumping- pics of her run here-



One thing marie noted in these pics was my hair-do - ( or lack of!) and that I'd been separated at birth with Wolverine from X-men- have a look and see - I don't think his body is anywhere as fit as mine, and see - even he uses pointy fingers!




Marie took some wonderful pics of draco at the show, as he was trooping around looking handsome as usual!


She also took these lovely pics whilst out on a walk last week

Sunday, 18 May 2008

Portugal & Worcester

Ah the wondrous life of a jetsetter! This week saw me trooping off to Lisbon in Portugal as a delegate at the European Wound Management Association conference, also I had to take some customers with me and look after them whilst they attended the conference as well, free drink and food! Well the drink was OK -I am a lightweight when it comes down to booze - so though it is free I didn't partake much as I worry about the day after! The food is as usual horrible- so I don't eat very much when I go away, but I make up for it when I come home!
It rained all the time! so no sunny weather for me! So took some photo's whilst I was there and of the tram we were on for an hour or two. Couple of things to note about Lisbon- don't drive there- it's mad! They should ban cars from the small city streets as they are an eyesore and dangerous, and Portuguese is a language I cannot get my head around- I am good with many languages but this one escapes me- I just get the feeling that along with lot's of sibilant "esses" ( S ) I get the feeling I am being grunted at lot's !
video
Up early ( though not early enough) for Worcester show, missed walking all the early courses- though should have as the 6-7 jumping was tricky- being pull through heaven , and one that the dogs had no fun or let up from the handlers! - needless to say 2 e's ensued! Got to run blossom again this weekend, in the Olympia qualifer, we were belting along when she decided the dog walk had to be done again! By now my knee-leg sydrome was taking effect and I was hobbling about. Ran ruby , puck and amber in the agility and 3 e's again - Puck did best, but my lack of movement cost us. Ruby then ran me in the other 6-7 jumping and we won!!!! Not sure how but the adrenalin kicked in and she worked her sock's off for me! Blossom ran in the 3-5 jumping and had a great run, me slowing her up for the weaves ( she only does left at the moment) but we came 2nd! losing to the fast wee poodle than won a blast of a 1-7 jumping, it must've been fast as the poodle can only be in grade 3,4, or 5!
Massive pain now in my knee and achilles tendon- of to the doc's this week to try and sort it out, and then off to Hop farm and Supadogs.
Forgot to say, judged at Beacon last week, what a great show to judge at , the beacon people looked after me fantastically, especially Dave Howard and Fiona Vaughan! Both my courses won in fine fashion by Beacon members Jackie and Fiona! look forward to going again next year- though this time to compete!

Saturday, 10 May 2008

Getting to play!

Well I actually got to get out and play with my dogs at The vyne championship show on the bank holiday! Marie had gone to Shrewsbury where she had judged and she got to play with Ruby - to no avail though as she could not attain any clears all weekend. It was just me who went to newbury so I had the choice of which of Marie's dogs to take- and I settled on Blossom the sheltie- mainly because her runs were in the afternoon.
I think it showed in my runs with Ruby just how rusty I am just now. Ruby had a wide pull in at the champ agility round, I overcompensated and tried to get her over the jump quicker than I should have, so a pole came down, IMO though I felt her contacts were spot on, in the jumping round I changed my mind and pulled her off a jump and it was down hill from there on! Loved the champ courses though, great fun to be competing against all those folks again! For some reason ruby was entered in the ABC qualifier! Walking the course in the morning I quickly realised I was correct not to take Tink (Marie's kelpie) as the course was not for the quick and inexperienced! Ruby was run steadily round it with my version of held contacts and for some reason won the class, I think there was only 10 clear rounds in total from over 300 ABC dogs entered!)
Ruby's Olympia qualifier went well until she decided she couldn't possibly go into the correct tunnel entrance! All in all for her she did not miss any contacts- and I did not feel that she would miss any! So very pleased with her.
Puck only had 2 courses, his first big grade 6 courses, the grade 6 agility I knew was not for him, but in places he coped well, and had a lovely fast weave entry, In the Olympia qualifer he was Awesome! Lvely contacts and a hard weave entry, but fell for the same trap ruby had, wrong end of the tunnel, we need to work at dogwalk- tunnel combinations! as although he's getting the contact, there's no stopping him from going straight into the tunnel! Very pleased as well with his performances though!
Then came blossom two jumping runs followed by an agility run. Her failing for me is the weaves and marie has been trying hard to get consistency from Blossoms weaves, in the first run she popped out at the 10th pole, but was flying, same for the other jumping run, except this time her entry was too fast and although she got the entry, she went straight to the 3rd pole! Need less to say I was very very pleased with her performances with me, remember I do NOT train Blossom at all ( Not allowed!) and it was the first time she had run with me since october ( the day the pups were born!)
Onwards to the agility, we were down as one of the last in the class, i decided to get the contacts for marie and work them with the commands marie uses for her, Off she blasted and she was up for it! Lovely A frame, brinkmanship on the see saw as usual! and then a big long run to the dog walk ( her biggest issue when running with me) so I worked it and patiently waited her to have the 2on 2off position, and then off to the weaves, and what a good girl she was, nearly did the missing the second pole thingy, but pulled it out of the bag and stayed in the weaves, last obstacle was then the tyre ( which she does run around, but good wee lassie that she was she went through it! I waited for the class to finish - not too long to wait, into the tent I went and she won the class- and straight up to grade 5 ! Can't wait for the next time to go play with her again!
My knee and foot suffered though- and here I am today still hobbling about thankfully this weekend is a judging appointment at beacon, so no runs till Worcester, and we all get to go as the van'll be back on the road!

Its not only dogs we have I have a cat as well called les ( or fat-les to his friends) he's 14 now and struggling a bit from a life of being pampered and pestered by lots and lots of dogs, I adore him though despite being crotchety and a bit smelly! too fat to clean himself nowadays, and he blushes easily and I can't get him to keep his eyes open when having his piccy taken!

Sunday, 4 May 2008

Puck's theme

well if any song could be closely identified with Puck it is this , if you've seen Puck, how muscled up he is and how he strut's about and how he tackles agility can identify this song with him! But I will quantify - he likes the girlies, unlike the village people!

Tragedy and boredom

Apologies to the many few who bother to read this stuff, but we've been caught up in so many things recently I don't quite know where to begin.
i'll start with the tragedy, the passing of our Big smooth collie "Io" he was such a regal dog, calm and considered in all that he did. Of all our dogs he was the one we 'worked' the least, and was more of a family pet than a worker. He did show successfully, and had qualified for Crufts, he was trained to a high standard in agility, being very keen and quick for a smooth collie and he absolutely adored to do the contacts, always getting them (wish I could say that for the others). He had trouble with the weaves as his back end could not keep up with his front and he ended up tripping over ! His problem came with the dangly bits between his legs ( he was entire) he'd rather run off for a pee than do most anything else, - he marked a lot! So he was agility retired and lord of all of our pack gently rearing the pups and telling them what they could and could not do. He succumbed to Fibrocartilaginous Embolic Myelopathy, a condition we were totally ignorant to , here is a link to a deeper understanding to the condition

http://www.marvistavet.com/html/body_fibrocartilaginous_embolism.html

(apologies - you'll have to cut and paste the link as I cant get the hyperlink to work)

It is a terrible thing , and the fact that it affects young dog's is a horrific thing. I do miss him as does our pack - they are leaderless now - such a dignified dog, just thinking of him now leaves me choked up, run free big fella, and mark as many posts as you want.
Well all that cost the GDP of a small third world country, so the van is off road untill it finds the money to fix itself!
I went for the one day to wallingford show, puck ran well in some challenging courses, though was a bit off his head and his weaving problems have resurfaced with a vengeance! Ruby ran well - I held my nerve and held her contacts in the agility, and she came a creditable 5th! In the jumping my knee and foot came up trumps and I was in so much pain I couldn't run properly, and in this with dad hobbling around she came 5th- in the grade 7 agility we missed a jump out as she ran past it out of the collapsible, with a comical look on her face that said ' it was that jump- wasn't it dad!" After that I was a jelly and couldn't run her as I was laughing so much.
WBSDSBWSDW show we didn't go to due to the van, and Marie has gone to Shrewsbury to judge and run dogs- she has ruby with her so well se what she can do with her!
Am I missing agility, a wee bit , but not overly- my joint's are enjoying the rest- maybe a win or two will cure this lethargy! Vyne and a champ on Monday- hopefully well do alright as I am going to go

Monty Python tribute - YMCA

Found this whilst trawling around for Puck's theme music, which I'll post directly after this. Thought this was a hoot as it fits in with our 'flying circus' theme!

Friday, 18 April 2008

The Kaiser Chiefs with The Ukulele Orchestra - Ruby

I've decided to educate us all with finding obscure stuff on ewe choob etc with obscure references to my dogs or songs I associate with my dogs, so Surprise, surprise we start with Ruby's theme song! Enjoy -----more on the way!

Thursday, 3 April 2008

Shaggy dog

I've mentioned before how shaggy draco's coat is, well here are pics that do it justice!
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Pretty Molly
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Blossom leading the charge!
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training Madeleine how to jump!
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Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Pictures- at last

DRACO

Well Marie was away to play in Scotland for the weekend with Beryl, her smooth collie for the weekend. She came home the bridesmaid again though! Beryl's big failing is her movement at the moment and again it let her down in Edinburgh, eventually coming second to the bitch that won Crufts and went on to win BOB for the day making that dog up to a CH. Though Marie complained that the other dog doesn't move so well either and there was a suspect looking 'patch' on the other dog! Ho hum, she'll just have to try again...........and again!
Ruby came into season the weekend of dashin dogs, so no training for her last week - for once her seasons have landed at the right time, so a whole season of competing for her! She's 6 next week, I can hardly believe it, but , like me, she's still young at heart. Here she is in a rare moment for her, that is, not avidly gazing at the hamster!

As the wife was away Puck could come in and spend some quality time with his dad, and hopefully watch my old decrepit cat, Les move from his basket occasionally! Puck trained very well last week, but as usual, we get it together on our 2nd run, not our 1st go! He was on a mission though and nipped me a couple of times, I love it when he does well , and just wish to show him how I feel about it, unfortunately Puck see's this as a chance to "eat" dad!! , Ruby punches me in the unmentionables, Puck tries to maul me........is it something I've done??

I must admit though, I am getting mightily BORED with just training..... and it's taking the edge off my desire to do agility, 6-7 month's of just training is taking it's toll and my concentration is deteriorating and I'm not doing my dogs justice- I need competition now, and still none till Wallingford, though I think I've cocked up the entries - I wanted to enter the brace, but when I entered quickly on ISS the option just didn't seem to come up- so I think I missed it, I think running Ruby and Puck together would have been interesting. Also not doing the laser pairs as Ms White is off after easier pickings up North! Also don't think I'll be getting a chance to be in the Power and Speed final as the heat at DD was cancelled, and I'm judging on the day in question at Supadogs!............Not a happy bunny!
Judging this weekend at wye valley small/medium show, should be fun as I've got teams and 6-7 jumping (my fav) I do like making these little dogs run and stretch out on courses!
Took some pics of the pups at the weekend, not as good as Marie's, but great for me!
This is Molly , speed demon, needs more socialisation as everything new needs to be barked at !! Still hoping for a home, yet another reason to get to more shows, for people to see her in the flesh!


Draco is growing fast and is such a handsome litte fella, he idolises Puck, but Puck won't have anything to do with him, though he does like Belle! These pics dont do his coat any justice, it is about 3 inches long over his back .....when you consider that Kelpies coats are about 1 inch long! I'm hoping he won't suffer too much when (if!!!) it ever gets sunny and warm.