Monday, 15 October 2007

Very busy weekend

On Friday I visited Mum and went shopping in Tunbridge Wells for Andy's birthday present. I bought him a bag for his new camera and a v-neck sweater in M&S which he's been after for ages. I also bought him a trendy scarf but I'm not sure if he'll wear it! As I was out that way I walked the dogs in Eridge (my favourite forest walk) and took some photos of the cobwebs. They're not very good as I used my mobile. I was inspired by Karen's lovely photos of same on her blog.
Spiders Webs - hopefully you can see them!

Naughty Niamh amongst the foliage which is rapidly changing colour

What a busy weekend. I thought things should be nice and calm now that the agility season is winding down.

Saturday was Andy's birthday and we had a hectic morning with my regular four people who come for some agility training. They are complete beginners and a lovely bunch of people with some super dogs. Heaps of potential. The come for an hour but we usually run over and this week was no different. Andy came and helped so we could get them started on the v-weaves and the dog walk. Then it was a mad dash indoors to get showered and changed ready to be picked up by Dan and Mac who were taking us to the Royal Oak in Crockham Hill for lunch. As usual the food was lovely and we had a good time. We got back in time to take the dogs for a good walk well in time to sit and watch Strictly Come Dancing (I shall dedicate some blog time to SCD another time as I have a lot to say on the new format!) and more importantly be settled for the all important Rugby semi-final. What a match, it was brilliant. Karen and I were texting each other throughout the match, it was so exciting. At the end we screamed so loudly all the dogs vacated the sitting room except Abbey who can't hear much and Kizzy who isn't bothered by much! I felt so sorry for the French team at the end of the game ........ not!

Sunday was completely manic. Andy cleaned up another batch of bricks ready for the front pillars to be built and I cleared the agility equipment ready for mowing later. Then we had to pack the v-weaves in the car and get up to Sarah (our riding school land lady) by 12.00 pm. Sarah invited us to a hog roast lunch to celebrate the sale of the oast house on her farm, not our cup of tea being vegetarians! That said, it was a locally reared free range pig, slaughtered locally so about as good as it can get. As always there is no such thing as a free lunch and Sarah decided it would be a good idea for us to put on a little agility display. Sarah likes small dogs and specifically wanted Kizzy to do her stuff as well as Poppy and that "mad fast black one" as she refers to Murphy.

We knew there'd be lots of people there including children so decided it was best not to take the Naughty Niamh as she's quite scared of children and it wouldn't be a good place for her to be. Pops, Kizzle and Murphy are bomb proof.

There were between 40 - 50 people at the lunch which was held in the indoor school. Sarah had caterers in and it was all very nice. It was a mixture of hunting, shooting, fishing people and serious horse bods (dressage and eventing.) We knew quite a few people and it was nice to see Julie and her husband Gerry, Julie is one of my beginner handlers and by co-incidence she gardens for Sarah. There were some famous faces amongst the visitors including Brook Staples the Australian international eventing rider and his partner Jeanette Brakewell who was part of the silver medal winning team for Britain at the Sidney Olympics. Jeanette has a collie herself and was interested in our training methods, she wished she'd brought her collie for a try out! Anyway name-dropping aside there were lots of 'serious' animal trainers there so we felt a bit nervous to say the least. Sarah wanted us to do the demos and give a commentary on what was going on.

We set up a small half-course and Kizzy was first on. She did her v-weaves which are almost upright but not quite so this illustrated nicely how we use them to teach the dogs. (I don't think I'd use them to teach a large dog to weave but for small dogs they are brilliant!) Then she did some ad-hoc tricks and some jump, tyre, tunnel combinations. Most of the stuff Andy did using the clicker. Every time Kizzy did something they all clapped and cheered. Kizzy was totally unfazed and just got on with her job. She was a little star.

Everyone was impressed with the clicker training technique and were amazed at how Kizzy offered up different behaviours in order to get Andy to click. They were also amazed at how focused she remained for the whole session especially when they found out she was only eleven months old.

Poppy and Murphy did some bits as well and got lots of cheers and clapping and then some of the children ran Poppy round the little circuit. Jeanette also ran Pops round and then tried to dog nap her!

It was good fun but very tiring. We put the equipment away at the end of the session, luckily with lots of helping hands and whilst we were doing this Poppy stayed amongst the children and people presenting her chipmunk to anyone who looked mildly interested in playing with her.

We dashed home to cut the grass in the garden and the agility paddock ready for the coming week and then indoors to do some housework before Nat and Matt arrived to see the garden and stay for supper. To Nat's disgust we decided it would be good to watch the Rugby in order to hex South Africa, sadly it didn't work and we've got them in the final next week.

Oh, wasn't there some other stupid football game on at the weekend .... think we won that but not bothered in comparison with the Rugby!!


  1. Ohhhh Sorry Andy, Happy belated birthday, nice present though England winning the Rugby kxx