Monday, 24 March 2008

Well.....nothing went to plan!

Realise I must get some more photo's. vids of the dogs done soon, sorry bloggers who take the time to read this I promise I'll post some soon!
Well the first show of the season loomed large last week, and we still had no caravan, it has been in at the repairers getting numerous things fixed in it- new window, repair from the blow-out and the bathroom area totally overhauled, when I popped in on Wednesday not a lot had been done! Eventually we got it back at 3pm on the Thursday ( and we still had to load up etc!) A 4 hour journey then ensued up to North wales and DD, we got to the site at around 8 30 pm and had to be towed on! Not a good start , and the rain and wind were whipping up! We made do with the basics in the caravan and saw to the dogs and the pups as it was their first big trip out! No accident and all was fine in the van.
The ensuing night was an experience to remember! the caravan rocking and rolling as the wing buffeted us, the wind howling and whistling, and then came the hail and rain, i thought the caravan would either be penetrated by the hail, or that we would be blown away or over or at least be moved by the wind! At 2.30 we heard someone tooting a horn - Super-Marie was up, dressed and foul weather gear on off she trooped into the Maelstrom- well, someone had to stay behind to provide ballast for the caravan!! The secretary's marquee etc had been blown away, and lots and lots of people had ruined awnings/ fences left. In the morning no let up in the weather, and the news came that the show was cancelled, a very sensible choice considering the conditions. And then Cheryl from Northern Ireland arrived! Not good news for her as she'd paid a fortune in fuel, ferries etc! We all felt very sorry for her!
The pups had a great time, out for walks and run abouts with older brothers and sisters, they also caught up with Flash and Diane, he's a big boy and very, very bouncy and active!
We were then waiting to meet the people to come and see Molly on the Saturday, they spoke to us on the Friday and arranged to come and see her on the Saturday.
saturday am came and marie took a phone call from the people to say that they wouldn't be coming to see Molly as they had been to see a litter of Manchester Terriers and fallen for one of them! Now this is fine, but I wish they'd told us that they were going to see another litter (as we'd just spoken to them the day before!) Poor Molly, she's such a cracking little dog, but we'll do our best by her!
Then Cheryl fell in love with Halo! Now I planned to keep a bitch from this litter and I thought long and hard over which one to keep, Draco was a choice of the heart as I think he's a lovely wee chap and he looks so different even more so now that his coat is getting longer! But with pressure from others about how I'd cope training and bonding with 2 dogs and with how much Cheryl seemed to desire halo I relented and the deal was done! Halo was on her way to Northern Ireland. The decision was not a light or an easy one, I was very attached to halo, but watching Sheugh (Cheryl's other kelpie out of ruby- and puck and ~Tinks brother) I thought he needed another kelpie to play with, and he seems to have calmed down a lot, ( he is on the more dominant side of the kelpie trait!) But he needs to stretch out instead of chasing spaniels around all the time, and he seemed to take to halo as she was not too much in his face! And realising my time constraints and training facilities locally I decided it would be best for halo to go with Cheryl. We spoke to Cheryl last night and it seems she's settled in exceptionally well, claiming the camper van as her own and not missing her litter mates at all- or having struggles with the irish brogue! And now she's known as Ali
So I'm left with Draco ,and Molly is still looking for a home!
And on Saturday ruby came into season! So all in all it was probably fortuitous that we had no show! My next show is in 3 weeks time- so Great as she'll be out of season, and have all competing season with no worries regarding her coming in, and with luck she'll come in before Olympia - should we lucky enough to get there!
So that's that all my energies are concentrated on Draco - no pressure! But he's sat in front of me now chewing a bone and looking mighty pleased that he is now the 'chosen one.'

Sunday, 16 March 2008

man flu and it's consequences

Well the grand events of Cruft's came and went, and I'm sure I missed it in a blur, or is that wishful thinking?
Come the Friday and the ABC event I started to feel a bit queesy, I put this down to nerves. It was a struggle to run amber round the courses, nice courses they were too! She ran quite well, not full on as she can do when an audience is there, but at 08.30 in the morning there was no audience worth speaking about! She must've picked up on dad not being too well and stayed 'close to home', a pole unusually down in the agility was followed in the afternoon by an aberrant move by myself in the jumping- a blind turn- suitably punished by amber, as she ran past the next jump!!
Saturday was spent mainly on the sofa with a headache, which I put down to the weather! Beryl had a starring role on the TV by doing what she does best- sitting still!!Apparently the Beeb phoned marie in the week to say thanks for letting them show beryl and that they would be sending a DVD of her time on the sofa, and may be in touch in the future as she was such a good dog!
Up early on the Sunday and away to Cruft's and feeling vacant! What happened to the nerves and anticipation, to be honest I turned up physically for the event, but by no means mentally! I walked the jumping course, and was really peed off that the tricky bit got so glued up, but thought we'd do it a certain way, but knowing ruby's right turn issues just now, I tried to walk it 2 ways!
Off she started, and at the tricky bit where she should be landing and turning right, I could feel her peeling off to the left, so it was on to plan B ( I originally wanted her to take obstacles 6,7,8,9 the same way Mandy took them, but rapidly reverted to plan B - the way everyone else took the course, still i could feel her peeling to the left when she needed to go right, come the jump after the collapsible and she was again off to the left so a big (panicky) shout "right" resulted in a pole down! By now I was pissed with her turns so I worked it a bit better, even though it looked like she was going to miss the long jump! I could feel her powering down and getting nowhere!
So 5 faults ( all I had last year!) And faced with the agility, and as someone pointed out to me I walked the course in a trance!It was trappy and technical, but i thought I liked it! Then I watched the small dogs go and I thought- they're going over jumps I walked the other way! Not a confidence booster! I'd walked a tougher course!
But we were undone by our (one of many ) weaknesses, having to put her onto the dog walk, catch up with her and tell her to get it (contact) Well nothing at all was uttered by me to tell her anything and she pinged the contact, the next second was spent berating myself for not saying anything and off she sailed over the wrong jump- Crufts over! Need to go home!!
Now I know what was wrong I'd got the flu, I've struggled with sinusitis, blocked nose, head splitting headaches, aches, pains and fevers all week, only today abating slightly enough to write this!
There's always again next year! no points chasing this year ( I don't do enough shows to justify competing for this) but lots to go for Ruby deserves a run out at Olympia - so that is our main objective- any which way!
Not disappointed by Crufts Just dismayed that my body let ruby down at the crucial time!

It looks like we may at last have a forever home for Molly, fingers crossed, she may meet her potential owners at dashin dogs and be on her way from there, she needs the 1-1 attention.
And yes at last competing season gets underway this weekend, Amber is consigned to ABC's this year mainly, courses seem to suit her ( OR MY FRAME OF MIND!)
Ruby needs 'culturing' and bonding with dad in a competitive setting, and a better contact method.
Puck I think I'm excited with this season, not as consistent as his mum, but gives 100% commitment all the time and I look forward to testing him out on courses he has been groomed for, he won out last September and this weekend will be his first serious attempt at grade 6, so look out he'll either be phenomenal or disasterous ( with a huge pinch how did he do that!!) He is a work in progress and he's shaping up nicely!

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Training and building excitement

Well decided to have a go and try changing the look of my blog, quite chuffed with it, I'll try and understand a bit more about this HTML thingy and adjust it more , or maybe try a different template sometimes! The only problem is that it has changed some of the settings of the other template and I have lost my countdown clock, and I was quite chuffed with it.
I had a training day up at Browns training on Saturday with Nic Jones, it was mainly for puck that I did this. We arrived late (as usual) so he ran as soon as he entered the venue! now ,apart from the entertainment value in the crowd for this display he started all over the shop, he's not the type of dog to bark in the queue, or whilst watching others, but he makes up for it by barking at me around the course ( I , of course, cannot hear any of this , partially due to concentration, or as Marie call's it - oblivious-ness) any way he barked so much he patently couldn't hear any of the duff , barked commands I gave for his benefit! poles and debris littered his course! Once we worked our way into the day he actually started to do some very good jumping sequences- remember he is an Agility dog- and can't be doing with these courses that do not include contact points! As soon as the contacts came out he was a different dog and showed some promise for the forthcoming season- and last night up at FC training, Tom put out a full course ( I'dve prefered it to have been split up[ to train the contacts , but hey-ho beggars can't be choosers! ) - well puck was magnificent - when he gets it right he is the most pleasing dog I have to work he motors around the courses at breakneck speed with contacts I wish ruby could do as effectively! Saying that when it goes wrong ( frequently!) he is unforgiving to me!
Ruby came out for the end of both sessions and had good contacts ( please god she remembers them on Sunday) her jumping was great, but we've still got the right turn issue and a turning issue as she is going so fast she feels there is no need to turn tightly, well I think there is!
Amber ran /trained for the first time since Olympia , and the break did her good as she actually remembered things and worked her socks off- I was extremely pleased with her performance, she's only got one agility run at Crufts this year- the other is a jumping course for a change! It also starts at 8.30 on friday morning, but thats fine as she likes early morning runs, but there'll be no crowd at that time in the morning!
Other news this week, blossom , the sheltie, after pretending for 9 weeks at being pregnant isn't!! Cow-bag, boobies, milk etc- but no puppies! Marie started training the fat off her last night and my word the rest has done her good as she hadn't forgotten anything, and if anything was much better than she was previously- and got her weaves!

Mo - the red and tan pup who is still available has been re-named by Madeleine and Marie- as the name they felt was too similar to words like go/no etc- so she is now called Molly, maybe this 'll be good luck in finding her a forever home in the near future- her ears are at last coming up!
I was in Lincolnshire yesterday (Note to self- don't do any shows there any more- far too far away!) I stayed overnight on Sunday as I had an appointment at the Pilgrim hospital in the morning, well as i'm usually cool and collected about impending competitions, I woke up in the middle of the night in a right fluster thinking about Crufts coming up! My heart was racing ten to the dozen! Cleared the pipes a bit I'll say! Geting excited now- Just hope my knee holds up to the rigours of the event, heard the surface was different again this year- hope it is not as slippery as in previous years.
Best of luck to My wife Marie and Beryl the smooth collie in the breed ring on Saturday, and to the Cavills and Tracy B , Suzie J,Hilary, Gill and lorraine D for the ickle dog eukanuba stuff, also to all my ABC competitors and to all who are in the Champs on the Sunday, especially Nige with zico (for the multi comps they are in!)and Mand and jag- only good luck though! as I'm committed and for once (since last July) I'm in competitive mode!
I won't be filming things this year though as it was a huge drain on my commitment and resources.