Sunday, 28 September 2008

The Last outside show of 2008

Well it is over. UKA Waverunners is our last outside show this year. It was a lovely day - well after the fog and mist cleared - with glorious sunshine. Apps Court by the Thames in Walton is a lovely venue.

We went out on a high with J winning the time fault and out and the steeplechase on Sunday. The steeplechase win was by 10 seconds!!!!! (But weaves, sit stays and Rup's potty moments remain problems we need to sort out during the winter.)

The good news is that the Disabled Handlers gold League closes on 30th September and Jordan is a runway winner, having (sadly) beaten Marion and Fizz, the Pap.

Rup and I ran in the pairs with Emma and Flo. We've trained together since our dogs started in agility and always wanted to get the mad cocker and springer together as a pair. Well we did it. We were outclassed as the other midi pairs were higher grades than us. But fluke, we won!!! The course was designed for Rup a lot of ground to cover, which he did in a stonking clear round with no potty moments. Flo did really well too with an unfortuante pole down.

So no more shows until the indoor shows start in October. We'll miss camping and the outdoors. I can't say the sunshine as we didn't get much this year.

Next time we are outside Magic will be competing in nursery/pawsability/all sorts jumping. He's enjoying his training and I'll post some photos over the next few months. The plan is for him to make his debut in the fun run at C-Side in March.

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

More Fame for Rupert Goes Vertical

In July Steve Collins' fantastic photo of Rupert doing Dash n Splash "Rupert Goes Vertical" was the front cover for Dogs Today, the UK's biggest selling Dog Magazine. A week later it was on the cover of the programme at the Cold Wet Nose show. (....It's also on Steve Collins' business card!!)

A few days ago Steve emailed me to ask if I would release the model as the Nikon World Magazine want to do a feature on the photo in the forthcoming Autumn issue. I duly released the model and signed for him as he is under 18!!! Then came the news via Steve's web page that the photo is also being considered for entry into the prestigous 3rd Fédération Internationale de l’Art Photographique Club’s World Cup in Paris later this year alongside another one of Steve's photos “Big Mick”.

Another of Steve's doggy photos of a would be carriage dog ‘When I Grow Up’ - has just been placed runnner-up in the Dog Photographer Of The Year 2008 Competition - Dogs At Work category and we'll be able to view it at Discover Dogs at Earls Court.

Steve is an absolutely incredible dog sport photographer. The guy amazes me. He stands above the crowd at events like Dash n Splash and has the split second timing to get incredible photos of the dogs hitting the water and all the power and energy. Then there is an almighty splash and Steve gets soaked but somehow his camera stays dry and the splash and water drops are encaptured in his photos. Do check out his web page.

Scrambles - A Year On

The September Scrambles show last year was our first agility show. We ended up with 8 E's - including 2 for leaving the ring to sample picnics and to survey the refreshment tent.

This year Scrambles wasn't our best show. All 3 of us made silly mistakes that cost us dear - a pole in the steeplechase because of my body language; missed weave enteries and Jordan's loss of confidence with weaves and slight panic about hearing the whistle in power and speed. It was unfortunate that weaves in the Royal Canin Agility were just before the last jump so Rupert seeing the finish acellerated, realised he had weaves and went in at the second pole. Shame as our time was the fastest and we lost a qualifying place in the RC Agility. Sunday's agility had the weaves after the start. Again Rup charged off like a bat out of hell at the start and realised he had weaves and, again, went in the second pole. Jordan lost confidence with the weaves in the jumping. But Rup weaved beautifully in snooker and we came 3rd. I realise I need to rethink how I do snooker. I asked the judge and scribe to give me waves instead of a whistle. According to the ring manager they need to wave a lot more!!! They said I was too busy running like a bat outa hell to see them!!! I didn't realise I'd faulted and finished the course. We'd have come 2nd if I'd gone straight to the finish. So folks, if you see us doing any of the whistle games please stand round the ring and wave like fury when the whistle sounds and I may see you in the nano second I'm not controling the mad dog. Our day ended with a 3rd in the steeplechase for Jordan - only points of seconds separated the first 3.

Well, it has been a good year. Only one more show to go before the end of September and we'll find out whether Jordan has won the gold Disabled Handler's League. I have to say I was willing Marion and Fizz to win and am really pelased they have beaten me. But it looks like Jordan is gonig to win it.

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Pachesham Puppies Are Go!!!

Today was Magic's first agility training session with Eleanor Balchin at Pachesham. He joined a class of 6 other pups of similar age. He isn't the only Bryning in the class! Clare and Skipper one of Pip's pups are also Pachesham pups. Clare even remembers lifting up Magic when he was 2 days old at Nat's. I remember a handsome choc merle boy when I picked up Magic. Well, agility is a small world.

Eleanor's message is Go! Go! Go! Think we'll have to call this class the Thunderbirds. Well, Magic knows that word, phew!!! As long as she doesn't change her theme to wait! (...Must start working even harder on those waits!!!!) It's a miracle if Magic is still for a nano second.

Magic really enjoyed his lesson. He's got "go round"; "walk back" and is enjoying planks now. He is not so good at running over jumps to me - tries to take the short cut to best watch the pigeons in the roof. I realise I need to sound more exciting than the pigeons.

Monday, 15 September 2008

Paws in The Park

We are exhausted after 3 days at Paws in the Park.

We went on Friday for the Dash n Splash training day. This is a must in our calander as it's the only opportunity to train our dogs to do measured long jumps into water and compete at Dash n Splash and Dock Dogs. We're really grateful to Gwain and Kate Theobold who run these days and are responsible for training the top British water jumping dogs.

This was a great day for Magic who is just starting out. We spent the morning with Jordan handling Rupert in trianing and Gwain worked hard to get more height into his take off. In the afternoon it was Magic!!! How did he get on???!!! Check out this link
Well, he might have lacked some technique in Steve's photos but he was a bold little jumper with a lovely high take off. Gwain was pleased with his natural style!

We caught up with our friends from the GunDog team and Alex kindly spent some time helping me sort out Magic's recall problem. He recalls beautifully except when he gives chase to a live animal. The death toll is currently 3 pheasents, 2 rabbitts and some near misses, which include a baby deer. He's currently on a 30 foot training lead to control these chase instincts. Alex showed me how to use our "dead fowl" and a slip lead to create control and we may have to take him to Alex to work with a pheasent pen soon.

Sadly we weren't camping for the weekend as our cat is on a feeding tube and we had to get home to her. We were both upset as the Hop Farm in Kent is our favourite venue - even if our last expereince was being towed away after the river flooded at Supa Dogs.

Saturday saw an early start as we had 4 courses to walk for the agility. Jordan was nervous. Although Rupert is medium at BAA and UKA he is large at Kennel Club and has to do the full height and both he and Jordan struggle over full height courses. J carefully walked the courses with this in mind, planning his lines and turns. Despite this they didn't do well with faults with knocked poles and weaves. I realise with Rupert going slower over the large height Jordan is alongside him and sending him into the weaves too late. Rupert looks to lipread and goes into the second pole. I tried to troubleshoot this over the weekend but no luck! But they did well with some fantastic rounds and lovely handling. 2 judges actually came up and congratulated Jordan on handling.

I had one of my best agility moments doing the 30 weave pole challenge with Rupert. He did all 30 weaves and we were clear and fast!!! He's gone long way from the dog at the start of the year that ran past weaves to avoid them. (Thanks to Eleanor Balchin at Pachesham!!)

Magic went manic. He was like at kid in a theme park for the first time!!!! He had a go at the 100 meter sprint after a drag. He was underage for this but as he was so up for it the ACES team decided to let him do the full 100 meters. Well, the flying cocker did it in 10.64 seconds not bad. Only points of seconds away from a place in the final.

Rupert was an old hand at Dash n Splash. On the Saturday he jumped into the finals of the mini dogs with an 18 foot jump. He was first in the mini dogs final and 3rd in the division 2. We were could not believe the first prize - a dog basket full of toys and treats donated by Horley Pet Supplies. It was worth carrying it across the showground to the car!!!!!

Sunday Rupert decided to "go weeble" instead of vertical in the Dash n Splash. If you don't know what weeble is check out this link
Despite this change in style he jumped into the division 2 and mini dog finals with a jump of over 18 feet. He was once again first in the mini dog final - and - yes, won another generous dog basket! However by division 2 he was tired and wanted his dinner and only managed 5th place.

But on Sunday Magic was a little star!!! He jumped 12 foot and got a place in the mini dog finals where he jumped 11 foot to come 4th. Not bad for a youngster. Watch that dog next year!! Who knows he may even beat Rupert!!!

We returned home exhausted. The cockers think it's Christmas with 2 dog baskets full of toys and treats.

Thursday, 11 September 2008

BAA Finals

Our first post! It's the end of the BAA agility season with the August finals at Ashfordby. Our agility career started with BAA last October, with me handing Rupert and Jordan doing more and more handling. J now handles Rupert full time and I only get the odd look in for snooker, gamblers or take your own line.

The good news is that it's a year to be proud of. We started out with E's in October (I must have been mad driving all the way from Surrey to Newark, forking out for a Travel Lodge to get E'd (lol!!!). But by January we actually got some low placings. By June Jordan and Rup were getting into the first 3. Not bad with a medium dog in all heights classes against some fast collies.

Our results for the first year are promotion from Introductory Level to Primary.

Jordan and Rupert were third in the Under 12s league and 3rd in the Junior under 12 finals with a cracking clear round. It's no shame to be 3rd to juniors like Sam Chapman and Ella Garwood. I felt that at the finals weekend J and Rup had gone up a gear yet agian - maybe cos they listened to mum's advice!!! Not bad for an 8 year old and dog in their first season.

Rupert qualified for the finals of the multi-mix clever dogs. I was not up to a final of 3 heats with best of 3 rounds in each heat (lol). So younger fitter J took over, having never done clever dogs before. . .! Clever dogs - is a sport that combines a round of agility with a flyball run - flyagility. It's fast and furious as 2 dogs race against each other. I was really proud of J as you have to listen out for whistles or watch for flags that signal faults he wasn't fased at all. Nick, the judge, was fantastic and very Deaf aware. Starting everybody as visually as possible. And Rupert ran in open lanes for the first time and wow!! didn't run out. As you can see in the photo Rup was worn out after the final run off for third and fourth place!!!
It now seems a long time to wait for the BAA winter series in Grantham.