Thursday, 27 January 2011

The smooth'ish' groove....

Well, another and this time local show, and onwards and forwards with getting some jumping practice in. We had 3 clean runs, and we got a 3rd in this jumping and a 5th in the agility. The jumping was was an exciting course, and not much room between obstacles for sure. Or at least that is how it felt.  I was so pleased we pulled it off in a smooth'ish' fashion, and it was so lovely that we got a round of applause for getting round.


I was so extra pleased with the weave entry as training wise I wanted to believe that she could do it, but so many handlers had their dog on the right. Should I have Rivi on my left or right – decisions to be made. My 'reverse' thinking skills told me Rivi ideally should really only be on my right if I wanted her to take the pipe tunnel in this scenario. My grateful thanks to Lesley Olden who taught me this concept as it enables me to think more clearly if I have a debate on handling options, due to the way a course is laid out.

Really looking forward to getting us some more Grade 7 and Championship experience this year. Having already started entering some summer shows!!! :-)

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

How do you know?

How do you know to get back into the groove? Is there a best way or is it trust your instincts?

The weekend after the tryouts, we had another show. Do we go, yes. The weather forecast was for light rain. Well gosh knows that the forecasters version of heavy rain is as it was raining so hard and so windy. To me it was torrential. Thank goodness for waterproofs for humans and dogs. Apart from our extremeties we stayed dry and snuck. Its madness I thought but actually it was OK.

The first two runs with Rivi, well we were like bottles of shaken fizzy pop. Rather ironic since I have given up fizzy drinks except as a treat at the weekend. The excitment was in her eyes. But bugger, still poles down. Should I run her in the 3rd and 4th runs? Much debate, should I run her, she was totally sound - the issue was getting back into the groove. We are just rusty, so we decide to press on,  and all the poles stayed up.  Which means the last two shows we have done, we have had placements. But most important, the jumping skill she has is coming back.

Then last night at training, the rustyoli had gone and smootholi is back, no poles down, her speed is back both over the ground and her contacts are the fastest they have been. Plus she is a very very happy doggy :-) Yipee that is a win-win situation. I do like the guys to be happy.

As a friend said. "Bring on the season and the wins-oli :-)"

I luv how friends are getting Rivi's endearment names and making them up too.
A sign of relief from me, as we are this week back to training twice a week and that means the guys are entertained.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

WAO England Tryouts 2011

After blissful day on the 26th Dec, the flu strikes. I am sick and I am shocked as I have not been sick like this since decades ago!!!!! So between the snow, the winter darkness and flu, Rivi's preparation for the WAO Tryouts was around 3 training sessions in 8 weeks - not good. Still tired...and with a niggling cough, I ummm and arrgghh do I go or not?  Due to the heights being different at the WAO to the Kennel Club, UKA and FCI rules, we did not enter Zev and Big as they would have had to jump a higher height which in relation to their size was wholly inappropriate. Should I just go with Rivi, I felt mean for Zev and Big and then as Marc said the hotel is booked the entry paid, lets go.

So go we did, I was thrilled with the Rivioli, and I was pleased with myself. Sure I will always be loud when I run, all control of my voice is lost. And now I just have the attitude it is part of me and my guys don't care as they know loud voice equals great fun. There was fantastic courses to run, and bar one run, where I did a stupid handling error and sent Rivi off course, I handled good.  But it was a good lesson for me, as now I know how to deal with that type of sequence. Rivi's showed the lack of training by having an uncharacteristic number of poles. It was a shock for me being out of breath after a run, the flu had really taken its toll on my fitness. I think we ended up about 12th overall. The event gave me lots of handling experience, dealing with the hanging around, how to deal with it from a psychological perspective. Just so productive all round.

I was smitten with agility all over again. In the depths of the flu I had consider knocking agility on the head, thinking rational thoughts about the ridiculous cost of fuel and lack of money to do other stuff.  But after the first run I was buzzing and chuckled that I ever entertained the notion of giving it all up.

Rivi did her utmost for me, took the hanging around in her stride and was just so cute, I came away from the runs so happy, once I got over a blasted coughing fit. This was the first major tryout she has attended.
 Why was I so happy, coz Rivi had a great time and I for the first time in agility felt like a 'grown up'. Coz despite the many wins and how well we do. 'Doubting Thomas' always wanted to get on my shoulder and I would argue with myself to remove the doubts but the niggle remained. And I knew that until I resolved this niggle it would have the potential to jeopardize my progression as a handler. But this weekend exorcised the 'doubting thomas' demon. Me and Rivi deserved to be there and that increased my enjoyment, the realisation that my handling has improved, so had my determination and belief.

I guess this probably is a bizarre read, as people say I come across as really confident and loud. Loud I am, blame my Essex roots ;-), the confidence has been as they say work in progress.

So to the organisers of the WAO Tryouts, thank you for a fabulous weekend. It was well organized, realistic and a fantastic experience.  The people on ring duty did an excellent job.

To the individual winners and the opportunity to represent England, congratulations. There were awesome established teams and newer ones coming through.

Let the weather improve and training recommence :-)