Sunday, 26 December 2010

Walking & Snow Angels.....

Nuts Xmas 10
  I luv walking and in particular seeing sunrise, which is one of the few benefits of Winter, as sunrise is not till 7.30am.

Sunrise Xmas 10

I just enjoy the tranquility, freshness, the calm, and sunrises are as spectacular as sun sets.  And a big hurrah, as the shortest day has past and slowly longer days will return, as I do miss day light. As it means no longer having to wear a head torche and gear the guys up in their high visibility jackets.  Mind you damm glad these gadgets were invented.

Marc said to me around 9.30am today "you walked your guys already?''
Me "Yes, darling".
I think it still surprises him that I enjoy my early morning walks. .

Zev Xmas 10
 But for me it heralds a new day and new hopes. The moon was even still up and I saw a hare (which the guys know not to chase).  It was so cold this morning, we got back home frosted, but it was great fun and the sun was making a valiant effort to shine through.

On a practical note I have shaved Zev's tummy and as I always trim the guys  'trousers/knickers' (you know the bit under the tail), hock and feet hair and it means they do not get 'silly' damp and covered in those silly snow balls, that cause havoc, with walking.

Making Snow Angels - Xmas 2010

What can you do after walking your guys at sunrise.  Make a snow angel!!!!!!!!!!

Marc really thought I had lost the plot, when I said I needed to make a snow angel. I guess I have totally watched too many cute and whimsy American Christmas films, where you see snow angels being made and Marc probably sleeps through those films hmmmm.  Not being sure how much longer the snow would last, I seized the moment, and I made my snow angel. So that is now ticked off my things to do list, who knows one day I may grow up, but I really hope not :-)

Friday, 24 December 2010

It's Christmas....yahooooooooooo!

Love it or hate it. And I love it, as the holidays have begun :-) And Marc loves being with me and the guys...perfect.

Just had to post this photo of Nuts, so apt with the current snow. And one of my favourites, even though it was taken a about 3 years ago.

Merry Christmas...

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Olympia and We are snowed...

Its back, worse than before, yep the snow that the young uns of our group seem to find so delightful has decided to come back. But today it did look rather splendid and once I managed to get back home from work I could enjoy the scenery.  Its OK on the main roads, but the last mile or so feels more like 20. Fortunately I can work from home tomorrow if it still bad. Then just need to get through Friday and then its the holidays for just over a whole week. Yahooo, can't wait.........

Big had a great time last weekend at Olympia with Marc, I stayed home with the other dogs. Next year I hope to have a dog sitter for all our guys so that I can go to, which would be rather great. Whilst glory was not to happen this time round, it was a really good experience for Bigs, who absolutely lapped up the attention. The photo is of Bigs under the Olympia Christmas Tree, which is of course the best place to pose. My thanks to the OBays for the photo.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Can you believe it? Yes I can :-)

A friend sent a text just saying "Can you believe it?". What can I say but "Yes, I frickin' can".
For years she has worked towards her goal, had some set backs. But always going forward, stretching training skills, examining her relationship with her dogs, taking the occasional wrong turn, sometimes just doing things the hard way (it seems to be the human way of learning!). But always bouncing back. Rarely easy, often hard, but with some tears and with some great laughs. But it not matter what the time or the frame, what matters is that she always strived to improve for her guys both as a person and a trainer. Now that effort into the teamwork is getting the results.

So what can I say, but have a brilliant time competing, your excitement just to be competing on the green carpet at Crufts is infectious and made me think of this song.

Have a totally brilliant time, its your turn for sure... :-)

Sunday, 12 December 2010

The A-F cometh...and finally unwrapped :-)

The guys get such pleasure running
 in the snow

Would you believe it the day the long awaited A-F arrived, the snow arrived and it stayed wrapped up in the outbuilding (posh term of a corrugated stable) for three weeks. This weekend the snow melted, I felt like a witch running around "its melting, its melting". Funny how simple things can make you happy. And the melt took a couple of days and the last day was really treacherous as we ended up with ice about 3 inches thick with melting snow on top. It was so slippery it was ridiculous, thank gosh the guys listen to "don't pull its dangerous" and we did not have any accidents. My sympathies to those where it is even worse. 

Zev with his new toy the A-F.
Luv his action - Dec 10

But I digress, the snow has melted and we could at last unpack the A-F and get it out. Zev is so funny as when you put stuff out as he already tries to do it. So soon as a weave base is out, he is offering agility behaviours, I like 'Zev wait for the poles to be put in!!!!' They all luv'd the new A-F, more toys in the garden. Big's followed suit and then the Rivioli. And it is definitely the right colour and width, as previously thought, Rivi 'hugs' the decent on the narrower versions. You can see by the photo, so between now and the WAO tryouts I have some homework with Rivi, to ensure that she feels totally invincible when she comes across the narrower A-F as it does for her alter the perception of steepness. Rivi's behavior flies in the the face, of people saying it don't matter, all I can say is wait till you have a dog that even when moving at speed, notices things you would not think were noticeable.  That is my guys always teaching me something.

The Rivi doing the 'hug' - Dec 10

Look at Big's extension
 as he goes :-) Dec 10

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Don't ya ???

Don't ya just luv love. The cold spell has highlighted Nuts is aging, yep showing the signs of creeping in to old age. The odd accident with the 'pee' and now the lameness has come back if he over does it. When I made the decision to retire him at 7 and half I did grieve that I would no longer have the joy of running him. But because he had arthritis, that would not have shown up until older age, I made that decision the guidance of a vet that I am fortunate to trust and admire. Come Feb  2011 he will be 11 and whilst that it no great age for me it sounds the clock of time marching on and it is scary as hell, (if such a place exists). I think that is the trouble with loving with dogs, their passage of time is not kind.

A great photo by a South African Couple whose name
escapes me = apologies

I sincerely hope that the passage of time will be  extremely kind and Nuts will make very very old bones as I could not be prouder to have him by my side. The thought of losing him scares me silly.

Nuts luvs football
I do not understand people that run dogs in agility that may make them lame or suffer wear and tear. Surely, if you know agility may be the cause then its time to find other things to do? But I guess each to their own, we all only try to do what we believe is right? To me agility is a bonus and when I had to give it up with Nuts, I selfishly shed many a tear, wailed at friends, who so kindly understood  As running him was such a delight even when it went totally 'arse up'  due to handling errors (excuse the expression, please). But even though he has not worked agility or obedience for 3 years or more, that bond has not changed at all. I think my love for being fit and hurling myself around an agility course  was consolidated with him. How could it not? And to Nuts I owe forever and a day.

So don't just luv Love? I know I do...

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Awards time...

Agility Club Awards -2010 and nope
did not get the trophy in the picture!!
Agility Club - Awards. That time of year again, for AGMs and clapping hands and dogs being given an additional bath and groom, for which Zev is not impressed at all. Rivi however absolutely adores being groomed and keeps jumping on the grooming table to try and push in.

Agility Club Awards and yep trophy in
picuture ;-)

Well, well, Mr Bigs has his first big big trophy - this beautiful crystal bowl for the Agility Club - Annual Awards.

Then Zev also got his own one too, not letting the Mr Big have it all his own way, came second in his division and got his first beautiful crystal vase.

And my Rivioli, bless her even with the time out still managed to come 6th.  Great mementos of a cracking 2010 season.

Dixie - Dec 2010

The other pic is of Dixie, who we think has now finished most of her major growing and has had a season and just now needs to mature both physically and mentally. In the new year Marc will be starting her introduction to agility, but for now she has been over a low dog walk about 5 times not for dogwalk performance purposes but for confidence around different heights, so when she comes to learn the dogwalk it will be about performance rather that dealing with what it is too. Dixie already does the sofa, bed and wobble board with no problem. And as you can see from the photo powers out of going around cones and can focus on Marc even with all the other guys running around and having a cool time.
The Cool Kong King running with is
favourite toy

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Knowing what to drink or pick!

Puppy downs - Zev - Summer 2008
There is a saying "you can lead the horse to water but you can't make it drink". Which really has pararells with learning. Yep the mind is wandering and I pondered some possibilities
  1. You can go to a seminar in training and decide not to 'drink' from the trough i.e you are not receptive to the knowledge being offered
  2. You can cherry pick the ideas being floated around - try stuff out and decide whether to keep or not
  3. Or you can enbrace it totally and not be receptive to any further or different ideas
  4. Or can embrace it until you find something that works even better.
With the first - not much point in going or it may be that the seminar was not what you thought. Had that once it was 'toe-curling'. Still learned what I did not want to do. So in a sense I was receptive enough to understand what was being taught, but know myself enough to realise with the best will in the world it was not for me. With others the lesson taught have stayed with me, and I hear them in my mind as clear as if I had been told it today.

With the second 'cherry picking' how do you cherry pick from the knowledge that you are literally 'drinking' up? There is people's training, DVDs and books I have really enjoyed but I may not agree with them totally. That can be true of agility training, I can really admire how someone runs with their partner, but it don't mean I wanna be them or even I could be them. So its trial and error, some things really suit and others don't. I have to work it out and my guys indulge me through the process.

Waits so useful for posing as well as agility ;-)

With the third, should I try and fit a handling system? It might be at the beginning of learning a new sport and in agility there is oh so many elements, the speed, co-ordination, movement, directions both physically and verbally, dealing with training, dealing with competing, that a system provides a structure and a route to gaining a foundation in agility. I did not learn from a specific handling system when I started out, more like point at the obstacle and hope for the best! My poor, poor Storm, how did he put up with me???? 

With the fourth I have yet so stumble across so perfect a training system that it does it all ;-)

So I guess, for me handling is about knowing me, knowing and understanding my partner, and trying to analyse a course so that I can give the possible flow, bearing in mind our strengths.  If I get it right I will be able to direct my partner smoothly and there will be no 'wrong footing' or 'off course lines'. With training I try to use an approach that suits me, so like with waits, I like to 'bang' in the reward for the dog trying to do what I want whether it be a puppy wait or a wait for agility. So I guess I'm a cherry picker, with a systematic approach. It keeps me creative, inquisitive, willing to try new handling moves and techniques striving forward in the quest to keep on running a fast and exhilarating run.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Irrepressible - the Zev Man :-)

Yep it is those pesky dark winter nights getting in the way of being active. Luving Ugly Betty the 'blackout' episode is just one of the best and having just re watched Bridget Jones - Edge of Reason.  Its the bounce back spirit of it all, and the sheer optimism that something will always be better if we try hard enough. Yep, a good dose of feel good. Just what I needed when winter day light hours curtailing our outside fun a chance to curl up on the sofa with the guys.

And then I found this cutest picture of Zev as a puppy, the sheer joy it is one of those that I treasure.

Zev was just running round as pups do. He still does these same expressions.  That smiley face and being high on life.  Zev the irrepressible....

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Evolving in Agility....

One of the great things with agility is the training element and the discussions that go with it. In one particular conversation it was about stagnating and how to progress/develop or if you like how to evolve. To me one of the biggest realisations I had with agility is that people who improve seem to:
1] take responsibility for improving their self
2] take responsibility for theirs and their partners performance
3] develop a way of training and being that suits them
4] share knowledge and learning to develop skills
5] are inquisitive enough to develop their skills and knowledge and apply it effectively

Then I also think from personal experience:
a] be strong enough to work through the 'slumpy/hitting the sh.t' times and still smile and be an awesome team mate to their four legged partner.
b] making the decision to develop yourself and even though it may be daunting to have the determination to follow it through and develop a sense of belief
c] retain sense of humour as the video shows below. Totally my fault and still makes me laugh. Always in agility it keeps you level headed, how can it not with moments like this?

d] your dog is invariably right if they go off course!
e] time together = quality and togetherness
f] knowing that the agility is a bonus

Whilst there is I guess always some people that you will attribute to your personal growth, and it is fantastic that I have had and continue to have the good fortune to meet those people that have assisted me on the agility journey or any other journey for that matter.

But ultimately the growth of measurable improvement also has to come from within. hmmm heavy stuff, but ultimately for me its true.
 Wynne Freedom :-) 2010

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Pride and joy and..... mowers….

What do you know? Well now you know me and the Rivioli, are just not born posers, unlike Zev who really does photograph handsomely and easily. Do you know how hard it is to get a photo with both Rivi and I having our eyes open at the same time, let alone looking in the same direction?!!!!.. Then there is the botheration of shadows and all manner of things. The photo was originally be taken to show some of their rosettes from the 2010 season (as they had over 30 wins between them). But we we did not get them all in. But heck the most important thing in the photos is the guys and from the way I am looking I am guessing it is pretty damm obvious that they are my pride and joy :-)

The first time on the mower - Oct 10

Then the other busyness of the weekend the girl’s toy arrived a whizzy mower, Marc managed to get one second hand. Initially I was quite nervous, riding it, but the time it saved was amazing as was the ease of collection of cut grass and as a bonus it collected the fallen leaves too. Grass cutting time reduced from a day and half to 2 hours and I am not even proficient in it yet. Happy days….more time to do what I really want…and saved from the relentless grind of time consuming grass cutting, which after having a astro turf garden has been a bit of a surprise.

And the Mister Big,  is great at posing too...
Mister Big - Oct 10

Thursday, 14 October 2010

End of the Season

I am so chuff with how our guys have progress over the season, both as individual characters and as agility partners. Zev,  is just impossibly perfect for me and so knows how to press my buttons. Rivi is as I say is my 'one and only'.

I think Zev and I have had to grow far more in the ‘public’ spotlight so to speak. This video I really enjoy as it is a good example of how much more he is ready to work ahead of me and is getting more experience and determined about the agility game.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Inspired.....and lots of thoughts....

Having watched the FCI World Agility Championships - courtesy of Agility Vision I am feeling so inspired. I have a couple of new moves I want to train over the winter, as demonstrated by Jenny Dam and a few other competitors. The only way I can describe it is a flick forward and turn. I will video my practice over the winter and post it. It does seem to save time and put your partner on a nice flowing arc. Congratulations to all at the event and the winners, there was some totally awesome handling and partnerships on display. I was clapping and cheering and occassionally tutting at the screen, bizzare really, but at that level its impossible to watch it unmoved.

This winter will see us having to keep a programme of winter training more structured due to Bigs going to Olympia. The video is of one of Marc's and Big's last agility runs of the 2010 season. What a great season it has been for them.

I think agility is in danger of becoming a 12 month cyle!!!!!!!!!!! Marc has ordered a new a-f, which I desperately as Rivi has now spooked at the Green and Yellow, narrow a-fs too many times for it to be co-incidental! It is useful keeping a journal as that is how I worked out what was happening.  Hopefully by doing it once a week and banging in a big reward this 'blip' will vanished for next year.  I hope it arrives we have not had one since last year!

Then daydreaming: I wished we were like America and could work towards titles like the ADCH and MACH.  I wish we were like the FCI Agility World Championships and did our Championship Tests over two rounds too. But these are 'icing on the cake' wishes.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Hows Agility Make You Feel?......

Well I know how it makes me feel. Whislt all my guys have songs I associate with them. This song sums up the feelings of running Zev and Rivi, whether day dreaming about a great run or heading to the start line.

Especially the words, the first three lines. Its totally infectious and feel good.

So as the OBay thing of seven things - mine is seven things I love about agility. Not analysed just what I thought right here - right now.
1. The buzz of training
2. The sheer fun that we have as a team
3. Rapport, bonding what ever you call it, it is a great bonus to walking and chillin with them
4. Watching some awesome partnerships
5. The indulgence and forgiveness of my guys if I send them off course ;-)
6. Doing a great sport and striving to improve and the satisfaction of improving
7. The highs
8. opps there is eight on my list of seven. Its the feel good factor

With the weekend just gone special mention to Zev, who won his first C1-7 class.  I was so proud of his performance, he sheer effort and increase in speed over this season is both exciting and humbling at the same time. And thank you to Bromgrove, who were so generous with the trophies, it was nice to get something for another part of our agility journey.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Weeheeee...Bigs and Marc off to Olympia

Well, weeehhheeeeeeeeeeee indeedy!!! Mister Big's first agility season  has showed no signs of letting up. On Friday just gone him and Marc went and qualified for Olympia.  Last weekend at Northern Week Big qualified for his first champ final,  it was also his first champ class. We went just for the weekend and very nice it was too. This is Big's and Marc Agility Champ run. And for me it was great to see Marc back in Champ after having to retire Raz from agility.

It was good to watch the olympia semis, finally at last I was excited about it and getting why people were excited. The revamped organisation of qualifying dates and how it is run is now so much better. It gives a specific dedicated weekend for the semi qualifiers so diary planning is so much easier.  It is tough even watching, as people so wanna do it. I was willing everyone round. I do make a good cheerleader, even if i say so myself ;-) So I was the perfect wife and gave up a day of agility to go and support Marc and Big's and what a great result.

But with a weekend at home, I am conflicted -  luv being at home, got loads done in the garden but heck I wanna be doing agility.

Dixie and Rivi. Still Rivi looking the Seriousoli.The DixieLicks needs to grow some more we hope!

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Learning still and as McDonald's says I am luving it :-)

Blimey what a couple of months, Wings, Rivi, Zev and Big has all qualified and participated in a final. In addition Rivi, Zev and Big have all progressed to Grade 7 and now eligible for Championship classes. With Zev and Big is was a bit oh crikey as they are so young, and even though they did not get placed in the finals due to pilot errors they had a great time and a very positive experience of going into a ring with people around watching, clapping and oohing and arrhing. And in another routine jumping round, Zev got a spontaneous round of applause for a cracking weave entry. But ''Oh Drats '' not caught on film. But this does mean our goals for the year more than achieved :-)

The great thing with the KC Festival and DINAS is the opportunity to watch European and International competitiors. I love the European approach, appreciative of good stuff (clapping), support when things so wrong (more clapping slower and uplifting) and then watching some awesome European/International handling I feel very inspired and going to be improving my handling style even further. Take more risks, run more stylishly - i live in hope;-)

The Video is of a nice run that Wings and Marc did this year.

Then the old learning curve. Having read my posting about being tired and making excuses/or reality take your pick. I thought I have forgotten a crucial part of Lanny Bassham's book when he talks about an event where it was bone chillin' cold and stuff and how he overcome it. That got me thinking was the motivation to win an overrider of the over conditions? It would seem so. And then I had to give myself a talking too, as it is so easy to slip into 'bad' mental habits. Gosh I wish I had a coach for agility, but I will have to make do with myself. And that made me think even more that next year I need to have some very focused goals that I want to achieve both for training and competition.

Yep summer is over the rain has come and that means no training tonight :-( our club is only indoors from Oct to March and it is so wet and yucky. Oh frustrating or what as now with other stuff more settled I am really getting into training, not just for my dogs but think I would be ready to tread my toes in the water and start training others again. With the knowledge I have gained this year...agility seems more exciting than ever.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

What a weekend....

An epic drive for me although probably for some nothing - 4.5hours of driving to attend my old club show in Fordingbridge. It was a great excuse to see some girlfriends and Saturday night we laughed so much I was nearly crying with laughter. Competing wise my guys were great but I was not the 'jet lagged' feeling stayed with me all day. I was only fit for socialising and eating. Fortunately my guys are very tolerant of my human foibles.

This was Zevs and Mine agility run. He was super and just coming out of the canvas tunnel he turned to look for me and ran around the last jump. What the heck his performance is continuing improve, we did 'pull thrus',  'outs' and everything else I asked. His see-saw is getting scary fast, he virtually skids over it. I may have to look at retaining it so that he has more control over the tilt. People were 'gutted for me' as it was a KC qualifier, but all that mattered was the progress we are making. It was easy with Rivi and Zev I can play with them and they are oblivious, but friends disappointment as they want to see Zev and Rivi at more finals is harder.  A friend texted me and said "I want you to win, more than you want to win".

I do want to win, but I don't want to lose good grace, positive focus and the joy of running.  The wins or qualifications will come. This year I have not thought we ready to hit those heights. Zev and me are so excitable when we start chasing qualifiers next year. Perhaps I am wrong, and I know opportunities should be seized. But how you deal with things is oh so important to me too. There is a fantastic motivational poster at work that says "Attitudes are contagious - Is yours worth catching" (copyrighted) I think it was by corporate impressions .  Such a great tag line and thought provoking too.
Then what a donut moment I had in my last posting saying perhaps I was asking too much. The truth of the matter is I probably don't ask for enough. I am so known for 'babying' my guys. However come September I may be getting to classes twice a week rather than once, where I can train how I want. It is hard to find places to train where you are not being instructed :-)

Then my grapes, the birds have been nicking them!!!!

Intact - before the birds helping themselves

The birds have had grapes for a change!!!!!!!!!!!!!oh well

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

The Babyoli - back with a bang :-) Weeeeeheeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!

Back with a bam. The Babyoli is back and what a comeback, two 1st in Agility, a 2nd & 5th in Jumping. The two agility wins put her into Grade 7. Then the icing on the cake was we came 2nd in the Adams Novice Derby that she qualified for last September. I have deliberately erred on the side and caution and gave her extended time off to recover from her poorly paw which is now a very sound and healthy paw again. Phew for our first run I was actually a bit nervous, would she be OK? Logically, medically, physically and rationally there was nothing to be concerned about. But as I would walk to the end of the universe for my guys, I was just you know was a tad concerned. But I need not have been, way cooooool! The video is of the Final...a yes, yes, yes moment indeed!

Then Mister Big and Marc went Grade 7 to. So next year they will all be in Championship Classes. The rise of Big's through the grades has been fast. He only made his first KC show at Easter. This is one of his winning runs, from the weekend.

Then the handsome irrespressible Zev had a 2nd and 3rd in Grade 7 jumping classes. I was thrilled with this. The vid of one of his runs shows a pole come down and if you watch carefully it is actually knocked down by his tail, how frustrating is that! On the whole the run was fast, responsive and with the longest leadout we have done, so I was very pleased. However I have been lax with Zev he is so charming and I have not followed my criteria to its usual standards and I realised this last night, when Marc said "Zev is quiet going on the up and running across the dog walk, but he barks all the way down". Which tells me I have been asking to much to soon. And whilst he is fast, I can run too fast for him, which then gets him all barky in telling me off mode. Which is fair enough. Note for Zev:- your handler has had a 'lightbulb' moment.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

July - a year on.....Phew!

Play Fest - The guys have a complete 'riot' in the garden.
And its corny to say but a joy to watch.
July - a year on. Last July was when I made the decision life had to change and to change direction it included quitting my job to get things back on track. It has been a scary few months, well 10 months its was what it took to achieve and in that time the following has occurred.
  • New job - back in human resources and so far so good
  • New home -  great - stacks to do but we knew it would be a long term project
  • The guys doing good, Raz does cause us a worry but on the whole its good.
  •  Zev's progress from the start of the season to now. We have been through some upward gear changes and some blips as sometimes he just seems to go to fast for his brain. He is now nicknamed the bionic sheltie at club ha ha and yep I really have to run and push us both. But ultimately it is really satisfying and oh so fun. His other nicknames are 'Sir Snobalot' as he only interested in others when they have food otherwise he gives people a rather disdainful look and 'Turbo Womble'.
  • Rivi - bummer that with a rip roaring start we have missed almost two months of the agility season.  However she herself is doing great and today we did some Salo puppy foundation stuff today to refresh basics as we start our way back to agility
  • Big. What can I say. He is truly irrepressible and now at training really starting to open up and that is starting to transfer into the agility competitions.
  • Dixie in season. And just started the Salo puppy foundation - and cool. Must video as very effortless, with the others you can see the learning progress and therefore can see the learning. With Dixie it is just effortless!!!
Joe Boy
Sometimes change is good and sometimes it is good to 'go for it'. Yep things can be scary, but better than the alternative of being not happy and not making an effort to change things.

Well another weekend at home. Missing doing the agility competing. Missed doing Weardale however it was so great to see Mum and Dad who came up for the weekend. Been too too long. Marc and Dad beavered away and I now have two compost bins and loads more clearing done in the garden. Had cheesecake - naughty but very nice and not a creamy cheesecake but puff pastry and icing and coconut - total sugar fix :-). No one seems to make cakes like Gilberts Bakery. That is missing from the Midlands..oh well.We also had Joe come and stay while Alan and Jackie compete at the Agility European Open. Joe is rather old and had a stroke earlier in the year so not easy at all. But he a fantastic dog and it is rather sad, he is at this stage of life. However he seems to have enjoyed himself and followed Marc and Dad up and down whilst they mowed the lawn.
The beginning of the compost bins

Gilberts Bakery - Cheesecake - totally yummy

Zev in his garden 'den' - chomping on his dog biscuit

Sunday, 18 July 2010

A very up and down weekend......

After the excitment of Tuffley and training going well, it was time for the Rugby KC show. The very exciting thing was that Marc and Big's qualified for the Semis this September. And this is their qualifiying run.

For Zev and me it started OK and managed to get round the Champ Jumping and came 10th despite it not being a flawless run.

Onward and forward to the Champ Agility and there we were cruising the course and I went to cross behind the aframe and the judge was in the way -  i just bellowed for them to get out the way, and Zev coz he must have seen me slow up turned around and came back down the aframe. I was gutted and then I was cross with myself as I let it annoy me and that meant I handled the rest of the course not well at all so we ended up being eliminated. I did try and reflect and wondered if it had been me, but even people I did not know came up and said about it. It was really disappointing, and I got no apology. I did not expect a rerun but an apology would have been decent. Who knows in the great scheme of things, even if this had not happened I might have got Zev eliminated anyway, but I will never know. Still this is agility and there is always something new to reflect upon, learn to deal with and move on from. Especially losing my focus and feeling very irritated - so not happening again as it so not me and totally exhausting.

And only another two weeks and hopefully I will have Rivi to run totally missing running the Babyoli.

Sunday, 11 July 2010 July so far

Having much to celebrate....
First - Zev's and me being in our first agility championship class at Tuffley show. I was so proud to run with my man. My cheeks ached from smiling so much all day. More so than usual. We gained a forth and sixth place in the qualifying rounds to put us into the final. But no videos..hmmm...we left the camera at home. Still a good start and I was pleased with me too, as I feel on the whole my handling is progressing and Zev was so responsive and did some real great stuff, even if I say so myself ;-) And thanks to Tuffley for the fab champ rosettes I was thrilled to get them and a great memento.
Second - the irrepressible Mr Bigs and Marc won two grade 6s classes at their first grade 6 show. So they too are having a cracking season.
Third - on the 10th July my Rivi has finally had her stitches out and the pad has healed really nicely. And I was allowed to lead walk her for 10 minutes today and can gradually build up the length of time each day. The vet had done a great stitching job and the boots that we got from Ann at camddwrcanine have been brilliant whilst she went in the garden to do her doggy stuff. I was so worried it might split again, but the being so so careful has so far paid off. Rivi has been so good and brave with the whole thing,  So hoping we will be back to agility at the end of July or August have to see how it goes. So at least 6 weeks missed. Yikes indeedy.
As we have had some time at home and no shows we have enjoyed exploring what is growing in the garden. It is so different seeing things grow rather than just buying them from the supermarket. And the cherries we picked were fabulous.

Monday, 28 June 2010

The Tryouts and null points...

Saturday only running Zev was odd, and we only had one clear. The other run he was going clear but  the release on the dog walk was not optimum so I asked the judge if we could do it again. And the judge kindly agreed. What a nice understanding judge :-) I keep throwing runs when I should be collecting points!

Then the tryouts loomed, what can I say, me and Zev had some uncharacteristic blips, which no matter as I was only taking him for the experience of trying out. Zev was so good with all the hanging around and me having butterflies of excitement. I was so proud of him. He is just such a nice dog to have at your side.

For the first time ever, I have gone to the tryouts and achieved no points. Blinking heck...but hey the next time we go the only way is up as you cannot achieve minus points!!!! It was like being in the Eurovision song contest.  I think this was disappointing in terms of that but in terms of running Zev I had a lovely time and he is such a babe, and his stamina was awesome. Whilst I was very careful due to the heat and other factors when we returned to our camp, he was like "yeah, time to have a riot" and I had to say "hey Zev your human is wilting",

The bonus was watching some great teams, including Zev's momma Zen and Bernadette qualifying again. Way cool :-) and congratulations to all that qualified.

P.s Mr Big had some great runs at the show and next week has his first grade 6 show and Zev has his first champ class. And hopefully, Rivi will only be out of action for another two weeks as she is BORED...but being a real darling and has not even taken the bandage off, which considering her one of her nicknames is 'princess pea' this is a relief.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Oh poor Pawsoli.....

There was me excited and looking foraward to the tryouts and bummer whilst taking the guys for their walk this morning my Babyoli somehow managed to slice her main right front pad so badly it needs stitches and for her to have the stitiches she needed to be sedated. So she will be out of action for 3 to 4 weeks. I am peeved and relieved. So totally peeved Rivi is hurt, peeved as Rivi is such an active dog and it will tough for the next few weeks for her not really getting why no walkies, no games etc.,. selfishly I am peeved there will be no tryouts and agility as I love running with her. the same token relieved in the great scheme of things it just a cut paw (well not just a cut it is a serious cut) and hopefully will heal in no time at all, as the stitches will be out in 12-14 days. poor Babyoli.

The photo is when I met Rivi for the first time. Not the bestest photo, but makes me chuckle that she gave me a good inspection and then sort of said 'ohh she'll do'.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Newton venue

Well it was a  new venue for the show and it was stunning. With agility we are so lucky that some of the venues allow us to see some really beautiful areas of the UK. The new Newton Heath show ground was one such venue Arley Hall & Gardens. We could let the guys off and have a lovely walk with them as there was so much space and the scenery was just fabulous and being able to do agility too! :-) We hope to go back someday, and spend more time there.

We all did good and had some good runs and wins. Next weekend will be a bit mad, I decided to enter the tryouts for the FCI team, however with the deciding factor that I want the experience of trying out again. This is my first year back as a grade 6/7 handler and need to refresh skills and revisit some situations to confirm whether my aspirations for Rivi and Zev would be the same as they were with Nuts. I used to luv doing the tryouts with Nuts. Will Rivi and Zev enjoy the event too, I will be finding out?  I looking forward to seeing some great handling from other teams and giving my guys and myself a great experience with out the self inflicted pressure of I must do it this year. This year is all about the foundation for our future at this level. Weeeeheeee, I am excited already :-)

p.s hope that Marc will enter Mister Bigs next year if all goes well.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Humbled and sad....and proud

In Life there are always moments that humble me, more often at times I least expect and I am humbled by the capacity of how thoughtful people can be. Last night I saw Gem, no 'D', had not seen her for around 3 weeks, and I knew something was up. The seriousness of the 'something up' took my breath away, her beautiful big man, 'D' was no longer with us a victim of gastric torsion. We hugged, Rivi hugged, we hugged the sadness and the tears. And the shock that Diesel, coming up to 4 years old will no longer be bounding around. So why am I humbled? Coz in the shock of the loss Gem still managed to give me a card and a present so say thank you for helping with their training, support and friendship. That is why I am so touched and at the same time so sad for Gem and 'D'. In reply I can say I am have met them and been around at the start of their taste for agility. Hopefully, one day Gem will come back to agility as her interest and efforts in learning to be a compassionate, thoughtful, understanding agility partner and most of all enjoying the sport with her dog, was impressive.

It seems far too many have loved and lost far to soon, and know heartache when it should have been the most distance glimmer in a future not yet due to arrive :-(

The Video is of Rivi with one of her recent wins at the weekend just gone.  The guys all did great, and it was a great weekend, but really wanted this posting to be a tribute to Gem and 'D'

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Hinckley...summer seems to be coming

This was a good weekend, Hinckley run a great show. The Zev video is of a course we just enjoyed it was a very fast course and a great finish to the weekend and we even managed to come 5th and I was well chuffed.

Rivi and me - we gained some placements as they were clean rounds and most importantly we worked together. I feel that my work to get us back on track is starting to come together and my timing is improving. Probably helps that I am getting back into gym - my fitness level really impacts on my handling.

The Bigs was great and he is gaining the all important experience that will give him more confidence and in turn more speed.  A friend kindly took a picture of him in action for us at a show we went to the other week..

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Nottingham...News...Read all about it...

What a weekend after a few weekends at home it was good to be back doing a agility. It is additive for sure. 
The Front Page News: My beautiful Zev, went grade 7, so we can now do champ classes. Weeeheee, I was so proud of my little man, my stomach must have had a 'million butterflys' dancing in it. I find it incredible that in three shows we have achieved the necessary wins to progress. And he is going up another gear, on two of our runs I was really out of puff. I know that being grade 7 will be hard and that we are going to have to polish our selves so that we are no longer a rough diamond team, but a brilliantly cut diamond team. It is going to be a heck of a ride and I am so looking forward to us getting some experience at this level in preparation for next year's agility season.

News Flash: For Mister Big it was his first grade 5 show and he won into grade 6.  He is the Big Man for sure.

The Back Page News: Rivi and me, still have not yet refound our harmony on course yet. Some bits we did were great and I was like 'heck, we are getting somewhere' then another we were so appalling together I wondered 'heck, what do I do?' What did I do? Carried on so that I could get something positive to reward her for and it worked we managed to string two obstacles together. At the end of the day, learning to work through the 'down turns' is what makes the 'up turns' so magical, so Rivi and I continued to do the classes we had entered of which one included the qualifier for the DFS Crufts Team Relay. And we qualified, so Rivi and Me with our team mates are off to DFS Crufts next year. Thank gosh that was one of our clean runs!!!!

The Small Print: Dixie had a fab time, as her sister came to visit and they had a great reunion, merrily playing tag around the caravan.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

The Dixie

What can I say, the Dixie continues to be so very cute, incredibly strong herding drive, oh so smart and great fun. Mandy who breed the Comebyanway Border Collies and who owns Dixie's sire has sent me some photos so that people can see her 'mum and dad'. Why did we end up with a Nedlo pup, well actually another Nedlo pup. Well, the reason being I instantly liked Dot (mum) when I first met her when she was six months old and said, "ohhh, if she has pups in the future can I have one?". Then Will the Sire, is lovely too. A promising combination. Needless to say the timing was always wrong for me and I did not end up with a Dot pup, but Marc has!!!!!!

 With thanks to Mandy and Lesley, who put the combination together

Monday, 17 May 2010

2 down 2 to go...for Zev

Last weekend was our agility club show - we have small/mediums on the Saturday and then large on the Sunday. Zev continues to amaze me with just how he is. At Shrewsbury the weekend before he won grade 6 jumping, and now the following weekend he has won grade 6 agility. So that is two wins towards grade 7.  He also did his first team run for the ESSC and the team came second. Zev and I ran 4th. I luv running last, I like the game on aspect since if the first 3 team members go clear, you know you need that clear and its 'step on up' time so to speak. See Lian's blog for the team run. I am very grateful this was videod as it was our club show, there was simply no time for Marc and I to video.
Biggles was on freebies and Rivi was superb and I was still slightly out of sync - however I am progressing which is very pleasing - bring on Nottingham in a couple of weeks.

This and next weekend is home time. I have new taps in the kitchen...I am easily pleased and it has just been great being outside in the garden and getting stuff done, planning and dreaming for the future.....The photos are just a record of some progress we have made with the garden and little Dixie sneaks in a couple. I will post about her soon...

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Just a picture...Bank Holiday Weekend

Well, another fab if crazy and surreal weekend. Luv'd this beautiful picture taken by a friend, who has one of those super duper cameras and wanted to try it out. Thank you for a super photo.
It was a crazy weekend for sure. Big won into grade 5, Zev won a grade 6 jumping, which was great for me as I watched the grade 6 mediums and some were so fast and whizzy, we went to check if he had scrapped in with a place and he had won it. It was a great boost. Rivi had some great results including a win, however in a couple of classes she back jumped a jump and I don't teach this. Analysis, she is getting so responsive and tight when I cue her to turn. She is literally doing it there and then and thus coming back over the jump! Her contacts are coming back after a spook at a previous show. (She froze on dog walk, a few dogs later the down plank had bounced out of its hinges!!!!!!!!!!!!)
Then in a combined 6-7 class she came 3rd, it was a fab course designed by Lee Gibson. The trouble with running his courses, they are so well designed and challenging and fast, you just wanna run it again and again. As they are just exhilarating.

That is why agility is additive, its the sheer thrill of doing well over great courses.

Thursday, 29 April 2010

I've told a fib..............

I told a fib in my previous posting, oh horror....not like me at all. But I thought about Rivioli and why did I not notice that she was going up a gear and realised actually it had been brewing for a couple of weeks. That totally reminded me of a seminar I went to by Dr. Ian Dunbar - years ago, and one of the points made that I remember is dogs always give information it is about how we interpret it and indeed if we interpret it at all? So I mulled a little more and thought back to Easter and training and yep the 'indications' were there, I was just so busy being so darn positive.  I had cheerfully disregarded them rather than be positive and solution driven? Big 'whoopsie oops' on my part and therein the tale of......."I've told a fib"

Dogs invariably tell us, we just have to be prepared to interpret!

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Lincoln and Rivi changes gear

What weekend, it was me and Rivi on a crazy weekend. Rivi has change gear and forgot to tell me!!!! She was so fast, so far gone and ping ping ping. More pings than a ping ball machine! We only have 2 runs where I looked remotely like a co-pilot. We were apparently hugely entertaining to watch due to this, and why is it your crap moments are noticed and the hundreds of beautiful moments go largely uncommented? Still hopefully all the e’s are now out of our system. I don’t think I have ever had so many 'e's. The advantages of selective memory ;-) My timing was so far behind this new gear she has found I was saying tunnel at the point she had already been there, done that and wanting to do the next thing and then she is so good and helpful she was pinging over everything. Still thats agility the crazy rollcoaster ride of partnering the Rivioli. A beatuiful smooth uphill climb and then woohooo we tilt over into the crazy downhill part.

Zev was just fabulous, I can just read his expression and it’s like ‘game on’, I live in hope that he will pass the tip on to Rivi to let me know about gear changes!!! He got progressively faster as the weekend went on. How I wish we had our last grade 5 run on tape. With this earlier agility run I took the long way round to the A-F to ensure a straight approach in light of the wet ground conditions and made myside do a rear cross rather than a front cross.

Next weekend sees Zev in grade 6 and Bigs in grade 4 and an upward climb back to smooth for me and the Rivioli. The determination is kicking in.....

Monday, 19 April 2010

Naff photo - but sums it up... :-)

Another great weekend at Wallingford, weather, company and agility all great. Rivi, Zev and Big all achieved wins with us as their co-pilots. But for Zev and Big they are on freebies, so their wins don't count. With the Rivoli,  the win counts to her progression. So one more to go and we will be in Grade 7 and eligible for champ classes. Blimey, this season we are so ahead of aspirations, its incredible. The photo whilst naff i.e shadows, the glamour of wearing crocks, fleeces etc.,. clearly gives the other side of  why I enjoy camping at agility shows in great weather. It is just chilling with the guys. And this naff photo demonstrates it perfectly...thanks to Marc :-)