Sunday, 29 March 2009

Magic's big adventure

I didn't feel like it - still got a cold and infected sinus - but we went to UKA Waverunners. It was freezing cold with an icy east wind. The venue was covered in foul goose turds that the cockers found irresistible to roll in and eat.... and to top it the loos were shut as they'd flooded.

I'd put Magic in the nursery agility and decided to run him over the small height to encourage him not to run under the jumps. When I got him and took him to the ring he was sooooo excited and barked and jumped up and down. He was so excited he took off and jumped the first jump and ran past the dog walk. However that was his only 5 faults and otherwise it was a nice round. In the steeplechases he was entered at medium jump height. I was very pleased as he jumped well and fast, he just messed up the start due to over excitement ...and suceeded in knocking me over when he went into overexcited bambi. I'm told I fell very gracefully and got up and finished well within course time!!!

I won't write about Rup on Saturday. The less said the better. He played up all day - even left the ring for a mouthful of goose poo and, again on a hunt to find mummy to remind her it was getting towards tea time.

That night we had the Wimbledon Whizzers first birthday party. It's quite amazing that a club who only started a year ago have been so successful with 3 teams, 2 starters teams. Run their own winter warmer and got enough variety of dogs to run a multi breed league!!!! Rupert got a certificate for being the most versatile dog and Magic for being the youngest dog to attend training (...memories of him aged 9 weeks in a warm canvas dog carrier, braking and whining to be let out to have a go!) So we were late in bed...

At 7am I felt we had time in hand when we left for Waverunners. I then realised the clocks had gone forward and it was really 8am!!! So we arrived as the courses were just finishing walking. The nursery agility was very technical and Magic forgot about his contacts. (I think at the next UKA, I'll go NFC in the nursery to double check he does know them in the ring as he is 100 per cent in training.)

I decided to do Tellington Touch with him to calm and focus him before the Steeplechase. This worked. Plus it was a Magic course with an exciting tunnels sequence early on after a good run and the fiddly bits half way. I took it slowly and we ran on 2nd and 3rd gears. That's the beauty of Magic you can control him when he is calm. He was very responsive to left and right signs. Well, we went clear and he was 2nd!!!!

Somehow all the novice courses came at the same time and started on midi. So we walked about 3 courses and Rupert went from ring to ring. So Magic was a bit manic when I got him out of the van for the 2nd steeplechase. I tried to calm him down but there wasn't a lot of time. To top it we were next to a very yappy snappy dog which didn't help. Magic just shot off and headed for the first tunnel he could see and got an E. When he did come back and knuckled down he was fantastic.

Well, I'm really pleased with him and that 2nd place. He's now got points on the Gun Dog League like his big brother. I'm really looking forward to next week and to the not so far ahead future when we can run him in 4th gear or rather Jordan can as he runs much faster than me!!!

Jordan and Rup got rather a lot of rosettes. They are only a few games points away from senior.

Monday, 23 March 2009

Gun Dog Weekend

It finally arrived! The weekend of the long awaited Gun Dog Show.

We started by heading north east to the East Midlands for the last Winter BAA EMDAC show. I must admit I felt awful driving up. Very cold and nose like a tap. After the night in a Travel Lodge I'd lost my voice. And realised I'd forgotten Rupert's ritalin equivilent. Ahhhh!!!!

The day started with the primary jumping. I was furious with the ring party and judge. I have told Jordan not to go in the ring with Rupert until the last dog is finishing and not to line him up on the start until the judge and scrimer are ready. Well, the stupid leads person made J stand on the start line with lead off while the last dog was still jumping. Rupert was manic. Then to top it the juge decided to talk to the previous competitor. Meanwhile J was hanging on to Rupert for dear life. When he finally let go Rupert crashed the first fence. (His first pole down in 1 year). He was manic and an E followed.

J lost a lot of confidence and asked me to handle Rup in power and speed. Rup pretended not to know what a contact was but luckily did touch them. He did a stonker of the speed and was 4th -shame he checked my signs and that hesitation cost him a higher place.

J had him in the agility and they made a lovely start over a tricky course. There was a horrid switch after the dog walk to avoid a tunnel that J fluffed. So Rup charged off into the tunnel and an E. Not content with that he indulged in a giddy spot of fun.

Next came the advanced juniors. Jordan had now become dolly day dream. It was also not a course for Rup with a really fast start into some very tricky handling. I was wishing Magic was 18 months as it was much more his kind of course. I lined them up with medium ticket after the large dogs and hid. Suddenly J and R were doing the full height course with J doing the opposite to what I'd told him. Rup was treating the full height as a a sign he needed more speed. Now I must admit it is very odd for J not to wait for the jumps to go down or insist this happens. Well, I just exploded with him about being responsible for his dog and doing the right height. He said the ring party pushed him in and he was copying his friend. Ahhh!!!!!

By now I was feeling really rough. And 2 hours of ring party was all I needed - a voiceless scrimer was all the judge needed. J was doing both leads and sheets. And nobody bothered to help. We left poor Harold Weston doing all our jobs to do take your own line.

J suddenly went up a gear and wanted to do TYOL. I explained the rules and realised this could be a Rup course. J was game and the pair did a stonker that put them in 4th place with points of seconds depriving them of a first.

Thankfully I was better the next day. Still sniffing. But we made our way to the Gun Dog show. J had a new found confidence. First up was the G1-7 steeplechase. J and R flew the course and I was pretty sure they would be first as the jumped the last fence. Everyone started clapping and then.... the last pole wobbled and dropped. 5 faults!!!!! J's face said it all, so did the judge's! J did 2 agility rounds in the G1-4 and came 4th overall due to a handling fluff that caused Rup to uncharacteristically run past the A Frame. I had serious concerns about the G1-4 jumping as it was like the advanced juniors - a fast motorway start with a sharp left instead of carrying on. Well, despite a bat outa hell start with Rup 2 jumps ahead he heard J hoot and may have seen J twist left but he did go left and a fast clear put the pair in 1st place. What with that and being 3rd in the G1 Gun Dog League J is the happiest child in Surrey.

Well next week brings about the "age of Magic". I must say I'm really excited. He was a little star in trianing last week. Eleanor is really stretching the Pachesham pups and introduced some quite challenging "layering". Magic is so responsive he didn't mind that I was handlnig him from 15 foot away with jumps or weaves inbetween me and the equipment he was doing. He did what he was asked. Eleanor is also working hard at the weaving to get the pups going straight down the middle of the V weaves. I need to do a lot more work with Magic on this. He also has a tendancy to go too fast over jumps and go under. I''m not expecting much at Waverunners except fun. (Too many birds and the river in view!!! (LOL) I was hopnig to work with him today but I'm exhausted and still coughing.

Friday, 13 March 2009

Surf the new and cockers you will find

Jordan and I think that our cocker boys are the most handsome and it seems that others may agree!!

Steve Collins' award winning photo "Rupert Gets Vertical" that once graced the front cover of Dogs Today also featured in the nikon World autumn magazine. It's now on their web edition:

The new YKC web site has incorporated Lynn Coupland's photo of Jordan and the cockers onto their new banner:

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Jet lagged, tagged, measured and E'd

What a bad blogger I've become. We went to China to visit a friend who is working there and had the holiday of a lifetime. We crammed so much into so little time and got back with so many happy memories - making a snow Buddah in the Summer Palace; a snow fight and a bottle of Great Wall Wine on the Wall and running round the Olympic Stadium. Photos of our holiday are on Danielle's picsa site. Coming home was a real downer as there was so much to deal with in our life back home as some of you know. My thanks to all of you who have supported us over the past few months and continue to do so.

Well I've been tagged. I'm not going to tag others as all bloggers I know have been tagged several times. When I went to my 5th folder and photo it was a bit emotional....the arrival of Rupert. This is Rupert's first breakfast at our house. We had picked him up from a game keeper in Loughborough on a detour on our way home to Surrey after our holiday in Dorset. He was 12 weeks and had been living out in kennels and ahd never been in a house before. After one night the bond between Jordan and Rupert was there and Rup cried whenever Jordan left him. Just looking at the kitchen I think how much our lives have changed. The floor is muddy, the cat eats on the work surface where she can stare down, goddess like, at the dogs. The only thing that hasn't changed is that bond between J and Rup.
Well, we got back from China and after a week dealing with problems and work etc. Magic was measured at BATS. He's medium but his long legs put him at the top end. No more growing for him!!!
We went to C Side this weekend and it was like taking 3 naughty children to a finals. J was nervous and in a silly 8 year old mood. Rupert was likewise - they are a pair. Magic was his usual kid out a fun day self. We arrived and there was this awful stink in the car park which wasn't Magic breaking wind. It was worse... I let the dogs out and within seconds Magic had raced off and rolled in some urghhhh slime stuff. He stank. I ran him off under the tap in the yard but the stink stuck. It was all over me too.
J and Rup were a right pair in the starters agility. Rup pretended he didn't know what weaves were and shot off into a nearby tunnel. J got disheartened and it was a disaster. I told Jordan off for not rewarding Rupert and for getting so down hearted in the ring. So we had tears. (But I did hit home a life lesson.) They had a stonker in in the starters jumping until J made a mistake and didn't pull through and ran on and Rup back jumped on the 3rd to last fence. J was disappointed by rewarded Rup and seems to have learnt that lesson.
Next was Magic's fun run. A nice helter skelter. I decided to do the 45 cm height. I got him stinking from the car and felt really nauseous. We played attention games in the queue and as soon as he realised he was going in the ring he became so excited. Pulling to go in with his upper lip curled in excitement. I decided this was going to be fun. Cockers are like kids and I decided a fun childhood experience was what we needed. I got a very short wait and he bambied, like some magical beast, over the first jumps at great speed and was going so fast he went under the 4th jump and shot into the tunnel. He ran by the box (he has never done a box combination before) but immediately came back and did a lovely box and back in the tunnel. (A joy to handle) I decided not to correct him when he went under another jump, just to encourage the speed and the go, go go, factor and reward the coming back and attentiveness. He did a fantastic gallop down the final jumps and Liz was standing to catch him at the exit but he didn't do his lap of honour just turned and looked at me with his ear jauntily turned over his head and upper lip curled saying "Can I do this again!!!" He's a fantastic little dog and his long strides and speed will really suit Jordan. He is going to be an accurate little dog as he is so anxious to do what you want him to. His next "outing" is at UKA Waverunners at the end of the month in the nursery and steeplechase.
Next was the C Side final. And the 1-7 jumping. Ahhhhh!!!! I walked the finals course with Jordan and it had the weaves in the very same place with a right hand entry into them and the tempting tunnel beyond in sight. Otherwise a nice course. J was very nervous. I popped Rup over the 1-7 jumping not having walked the course and it was one of Pete Heffer's puzzles. We got a clear but it was slower as I had to find 13 to 14 and we were 6th!!!!! Back to the C Side final., J got cockered in the weaves. He went far too fast off the dog walk and the corner jump going into the weaves and Rup shot past the weaves; then pretended he didn't know what a weave entry was and got bored in the weaves and shot into the tunnel. J was firm with him and thy finished E'd but respectable. J immediately bought Rup a treat at the shop for being in teh finals.
I decided to handle Rup in the 1-7 agility as it was a horrid start and I knew he wouldn't wait for Jordan and the weaves were still in front of the tunnel!!!! Firm handling of the cocker was required!!! The *********** cocker couldn't wait, wouldn't wait and I lost seconds getting him back and sharp right into the course. He then accelerated and... shot past the weaves.... I got him back and he sulked his way through them and missed one but I decided to keep him going through them. The rest of the course was a blinder of speed, fast handling and accurate run contacts. People watching were very complimentary.
I've now made a resolution that I will always have some say into my dog's names and KC affixes as both mine live up to them and I'm now supersticious about them. Rupert does agility courses like his namesake, Rupert of the Rhine executed Calvary charges - fast and furious but not always accurate and often without waiting for the right moment. Magic is simply "magic" (even when he stinks)........ (3 baths later - one at 3am - he is still smelling!) No, I'm not going as far as to call our next dog "I will always wait for you" or "weave well, wait well" or "smelling of roses". Storm and Jedhi were 2 names that Magic nearly got but we kept his affix in his name and I'm glad we did.