Monday, 23 December 2013

Christmas is a coming.....

Play in the Snow - Zev and Bear
How I love Christmas and the lights and celebrations that the shortest day has been and gone. It's been a remarkable year and so many highs from Zev winning his second championship certificate, winning the medium pro-plan finals and several qualifying classes plus being a reserve for Team GB and England. Marc with Dixie winning her first championship certificate and qualifying for the semis. Marc with Mister Bigs having 2 wins and 2 seconds at the WAOs in Spain and coming second at a Olympia.  A fantastic achievement and with are so fortunate to have our journey with them.
Marc & Bigs fly the England flag - WAO 2013
Raz and Wings enjoy their retirement. Wings is happy with the telly and other pleasures whilst the grace of Raz as he continues to cope with his lack of sight is humbling.  

And with Nuts I feel very much like the fable of  'King Canute' who tried to hold back the tide.   I fight a constant battle against the ravages of time for Nuts with physio and food and anything else that means he has the best quality of time and life. With his ups and downs over the past two years I really do believe you know when it's time for them even if that time would never be right for me as it would always be far too soon.
Christine & with Rivi, Nuts and Zev 2013
Beautiful Bear is now over a year old, he is as cheeky as he irrepressible, terrific with all the guys and leads me a dance so merry that he constantly makes me smile. Then Beautyoli after such a brilliant start at Easter developed only what I can liken to as stage fright.  I had to pull her out of agility for 2013, which was incredibly disappointing.  As Marc said 'the genius of Rivi is destined to be unknown'.

So Christmas, we can celebrate and look forward to 2014 with excitement already as Big, Dixie and Zev have all been selected for the Team GB squad. (We did not try out for the WAOs for 2014.) Plus Zev and Dixie at in the Agility championship Classes at Crufts 2014. And as Bear watches fascinated by the ritual of us putting up the Christmas decorations and we think of the joy as he spends his first Christmas with us and Nuts magically spends his 13th.......

Happy holidays :):)

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Distractions with Bear :)

Well BB or Beautiful Bear, is now 11 months of age. How his puppyhood is a source of entertainment and fun. He has the cutest cheeky personality, yesterday we enjoyed the beautiful autumnal weather and played around in the garden and bear was having fun with distraction training.  I was really pleased with watching this video back, as Bear has found the Rivioli a big distraction at times. But I have managed to turn it around by using a runaround with Rivi as a reward and worked at strenghtening our playing whether it with food or toys or both.

I am also amazed at Bear doing all the jump wings....the seeds of agility are sown. Lets hope ;) In Janary I plan to start his weaves and contact training, depending on the weather,  I know until the shortest day happens in December, the lack of daylight during the week will be an issue. But there is no rush and it means I can remain focussed on his fitness, co-ordination, general life skills and as all ways having a good time.

Then no escaping on video is there, I cued the recall and go past with the wrong leg!! Doh...

It is also just nice to have Nuts on video still enjoying himself and joining in :)

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Pro Plan Masters Final....:) Medium Winners 2013

Wow. After a break of three weeks with no shows we had the ProPlan Masters Final to do. Marc had to pull Bigs from the Finals as he had a glute muscle sprain. Nothing serious but we would not to run one of our guys unless they are 100%. So this meant it was down to me and Zev. How did I get in the right mind set, the week leading up to the finals was less than ideal but heck that is par for course. Then I remembered a Daisy Peel tip to put together a play list of favourite agility runs. This sure did help in terms of getting to the show where the finals were being held. And starting to rekindle the 'game on' feeling.

We arrived and I breathed a sign of relief as they had in the finals and at the actual Bromsgrove Show the excellent aluminium rubber contacts. It makes such a difference I was really pleased as I knew that it would enable Zev to run at his optimum.  We ran a normal agility class and won that, would we be able to repeat the same in the finals.?.

We sure did :) what a fab feeling on what has already been an exceptional agility year. I keep watching the video and just enjoy seeing Zev and me having a great time...doing agility.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Diminutive Dixie wins her 1st CC - Aug 2013

The diminutive Dixie, who would have thought that Marc’s tiny powerhouse of a border collie who we reckon is one of the smallest ‘large’ dogs on the agility circuit in the UK would win a challenge certificate in championship during her first season at Grade 7.

But this is what happened at Wilton Champ show at Bank Holiday August 2013, it was one of those days where the flashes of so much promise all season, was delivered :)...

So looking forward to seeing Marc and Dixie run at Crufts 2014 :)


Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Some Oh So High Moments with Zev

Some oh so high moments with Zev this agility season - A series of first achievements for me and Zev. We came
  • 2nd in the Medium KC qualifier for the semi’s at Thames, so now have a chance to qualify to run at Olympia
  • 1st in the Crufts Singles at Landsdown (Marc won the smalls with Big, so nice to do the double)
  • 1st in the championship jumping qualifying round at Tuffsbury
This is so exciting. Then another bonus was Marc and I with Zev and Big achieved another double at Tuffsbury by qualifying for the Pro-Plan final in September.

However, our record for getting through to champ finals is abysmal this year. Last year I think we only failed to qualify for 2 finals. This year up to the end of June we have qualified for just one!!! Talk about a reversal and that’s a bugger. The getting to shows is costly and we luv running in the finals it real ‘by the sit of your pants’ stuff. So the focus for the rest of summer is champ. This focus has made the difference, we made the last 3 finals and we won our second championship ticket at the Agility Club Show on 27th July 2013, then the icing on the cake was the next day we won the Medium KC qualifier. What a weekend of determination, focus and sheer highs of running agility courses :)

For me it is a sense of achievement and recognition of an evolving handling style and a fabulous sheltie, who gives so much. To some this may seem a ‘bragging’ post, but what the heck we achieved this and this is a record and celebration of that achievement. And good stuff happens to need celebrating...

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Time to get a life back :):):) the course is finished!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wingate-Wynnes @ WAO Spain 2013
It has been intense. Marc and Big’s at WAO’s in Oviedo, Spain – fabulous 2 seconds and 2 firsts, a good clear in the team to assist England to achieve a Silver team medal. In England they have won two reserve tickets and qualified for the semis. Great form. For me grooming for Bigs to sitting last major exam, submitting an assignment and doing a presentation.  The discipline to keep going the last two years has been intense. With agility it has been a case of there but not there, so much

studying and how Zev and I have managed to achieve being reserve
Bear and Zev - play time
both for WAO England and Team GB, whilst all this is going on is both amazing and crazy. Being the team reserve has it down and up sides. The training sessions meant Zev and I were getting some training, remembering agility and gaining some great ideas to improve our competitiveness. The down side of being the reserve is just being nearly there but not there!!!! Mentally it is quite a challenge, but I’d rather be a reserve and than not gain a place at all.

I am already thinking how I can make me and Zev a better and faster team. As the rules for having a chance to try out for representing Team GB have changed. Understandably I get why, but bugger me we need to seriously raise our game. How much can we max out of our performances every time? We are so on the edge J, so I need to now get back to agility being seriously fun and nail those courses.
We have ordered some more and much needed agility equipment so that we can start to set proper courses rather than elements of courses. This should be arriving this month. Who knows I might do some teaching of agility again?

Then the beautiful Bear continues to be a delight and lead me quite the merry dance. He has topped it by having his first fox poo-roll. Darn, foxes coming into the garden ;)


Sunday, 28 April 2013

The Bear @ 4 months :)

Bear at 4 months - Mar 13
Well it is a crazy time with a puppy to entertain, exams coming up in May and the agility season to commence. Talk about trying to cram it all in. What can I say about having a puppy after a five year wait, it is chaos, brilliant, occasionally frazzling and so exhilarating. I so luv the whole puppy thing apart from house training especially as it has been one of the coldest March and April since the
records begun etc etc.,.

With learning and developing for me and Bear the focus is on life skills and what I call co-incidental learning. Like with the cone that Bear goes round in the video clip, he is just following the toy  - the cone to him is co - incidental and it is me who is excited as it is a cone ;) little sessions and not to repetitive and not as a drill.  I am really pleased that he will now run around with a toy in his mouth rather than try to get Zev's fur, that was a behaviour that I definitely did not want forming and fortunately the toy playing has stopped it. Phew!

What do we have as the basics of behaviours that I will be able to cue or be useful in no specific order:-
- sit  - park your bottom please
- recall/chase - run round with your human
- play with toys - even whilst the other guys are running around
- get your treat bag - get your treat bag and bring it to your human who will give you sausages
- hand touch - wanting both hands touched
Bear at 4 months - having a soft chew
- respond to praise - that Bear indicates he is really pleased with rewards i.e showing what he finds  - rewarding
- loose lead walking
- wobble board - balance and turn around on
- back up - to go through doors
- lead on

So far Bear has fitted in with all the guys really well, and seems to really enjoy camping which is brill as that is currently a big part of our agility lifestyle. Hopefully we will have many years of fun and entertainment with this little cutie...

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Training With Janita Leinonen - A great day :)

Last year, Marc had the opportunity to train with Janita Leinonen and Jaakko Suoknuuti and this year we were really lucky to get the opportunity to train with them again as Nic Jones organised a training day. Janita and Jaakko are phenomenal agility handlers and we admire the style in terms of how they
communicate the course to the dog and enables the handler to move around the course - with fluidity, swiftness and clarity.

For me as with my own particular things that I need to minimise or strengthen it suits me particularly well, I have to work at the movement but once I get it, it feels natural and fluid in terms of movement. I remember the day after Marc did the training last year and his handling just went up a whole level. Really exciting and gives me even more to look forward to when Bear will start his training.

To start Janita gave us the opportunity to practice particular moves that we need to learn so that we will be able to teach ourselves and our dogs. That was a good workout and means that the dogs were happy as they had done decent work before we had our individual sessions.

As an individual we got 22 minutes and this was timed. This is great as it means your free to relax, watch, prepare and cool down whilst it is not your turn. It also means that it is very fair, you all get the same amount of time and can work on specific elements that are personel to you. This approach really suits us.

Janita as a guide to their style of handling was clear,  supportive and encouraging. It was a great day :)

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Mister Bigs and Zev @ Crufts 2013

What a brilliant event this is. And this year the excitement was built as Marc and Big had qualified for British Open, Singles, Team and Championship. They were gonna be busy for sure. Then Zev and Me achieved my dream of being in the Agility Championship at Crufts. It was also extra special as it was Zev's mommas retirement Crufts and what a fabulous sheltie she is not just talented but a super nice sheltie too. To me the Championship event is the one to qualify for, whereas Marc would say all of them are. In fact Marc has already given me instructions to qualify for more events ;) We had a brilliant time and Sunday being Championship day was a new thing for me and Marc both in the same event albeit different height categories. Mentally we handled that aspect pretty darn well.

The links are to Bigs Jumping Win in the British Open, The Beacon Small Team Win and The Champ Finals as Marc and Bigs made it through.

The Kennel Club and Crufts so great with the videos to share with all. Incredible to us Mister Bigs Jumping Win has already had 14,000 views. He is becoming famous methinks, as a poodle should be. Next month the work begins to qualify for Crufts 2014.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

All about love and life..

Valentine week saw my beloved Nuts turn 13, it is a continued source of joy that he still with us. Then I think of the luck and work that Marc and I are still together since we met 20 odd years ago.
Love is a transient thing it could last a day or a lifetime. That is the scary thing I guess it can make you feel 'top of the world' high or when broken 'the lowest of the low'.
The truth is no one knows why love happens as it does.  That gives it both strength and also fragility. The same is true of life spans, why some live long and for others it seems as if they were robbed of time.

Another joy of the Valentine week is Bear has joined our family. This puppy search has been long and hard, and I have had a few disappointments on the way. Even grief as one pup I really longed for died at just 10 hours old.  I lighted a candle for him and cried as so many dreams and hopes seemed to wither at this point.   I thought of giving up but friends rallied and a through a journey of unexpected turns I found Bear.

As soon as I saw his photo I knew, as soon as I met him I knew and most importantly he liked me.  It was instant and it would seem I am an instant kinda gal. What relief, what joy. The cliche of life being a journey so true in this case and so we are joined by a much loved and long wanted addition :)

Bear in action, playing and having a chew... puppy time

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Whats in a name....Rivioli...?

Rivi by Watts Photography - June 12
This really made me chuckle to myself. Rivi's name I made up from Drive which is part of her KC name Nedlo Drives Me Wild. To me it is a great name and easy to create affectionate names such Rivioli, Beautyoli, Sleepyoli and even in time of crises we have botheroli! But Rivioli is the most frequently used and endearing.

But what did I know? As I have recently I have found out:

a] The Ritz Hotel, a renown and internationally famed hotel has a bar called the The Rivioli Bar. This bar is in Art Deco style which is a favourite of mine and heralds and age of elegance, romance, creativity, innovation, light and style. I hope that I go there one day, for wining, dining and romance.
Rivi and Me by Watts photography
b] Rue de Rivoli is apparently one of the most famous streets of Paris, with some of the most fashionable names in the world based there. Along with a hotel called The Hotel Paris Rivioli, I will have to get too Paris for a romantic weekend as I think I have found the right hotel to stay at.

So blimey indeed, my Rivioli is a bit on the posh side...rather ironic really. Named it seems after such fabulous places.

And just goes to show, when you think you have had an original thought, someone, somewhere has already probably had it!!!

These great shots are by Watts Photography . I luv the detail he picks up in the dogs, the intensity, colouring and character. They give great memories :)

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Snow and Rest 2013

Snow brings both chaos and pleasure. But as always the guys have such a delight in the initial snow and Nut's new coat from Camddwr Canine has been a brilliant blend of providing him with warmth but so light and comfortable that he will come in the house and lay down in it and quite happily keep it on. Which for his comfort needs is perfect, otherwise it just would have been too cold for him to come out and play.

Snow will always be a chance to capture memories of the guys having a good time.

We have had a complete two month off from training, and next week will see us getting back into training. So glad to have the time off for various reasons and we really think it does us all good the canines and the humans.