Thursday, 28 February 2008

Jess heep herding

See the lovely Jess sheep herding on Dan & Mac's blog:

Jess sheep herding

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Long walk in the February sunshine

I took the dogs out this morning and decided we'd have a nice long walk as it was so lovely. We walked for well over two hours and consequently all is now very quiet in the world of hudsondoglets.

I didn't want to finish the walk and kept taking in an extra field here and there. Kizzy always manages to find a toy to play with be it a tennis ball, plastic bottle or one of Jean's dogs' frizbees that they lose on a regular basis! We always return them to Jean so that we can find them another day!

Today it was a plastic bottle which is probably her favourite "find".

Here are some pictures of our lovely walk.

A view of where we've come from, right up by the aeroplane hangars and the lovely house.
I like looking back and seeing where we've walked.

Naughty Niamh pursuing one of her favourite activities: digging for moles. It comes second only to eating bunny currants!

I couldn't see Niamh at one point and then spotted this little head above the grass!

Abbey munching on grass. She had a lovely time today and is really full of life at the moment!

Kizzle munching on bunny currants - one of her favourite things!

Little monster finds toys wherever she goes (another Molly-like trait of hers)

Off she goes on one of her loops showing off to the others with her new toy!

Look at me! I'm so cute!

We left home at 9.30 am this morning and got back home just before 12.00 pm. I did nip into the Co-op for some bits for lunch but that was all. It's a two minute drive from home to our walk so we were out for quite a while!

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

A trip down memory lane

In between bits and pieces in the office I've been trying to sort out some of the data on my pc. I've got so much rubbish on there it's untrue. Anyway, whilst going through this process I found a few old photos which I had forgotten all about, most of them were scanned in as they were pre-digital times!

Anyway, here are a few: some of dogs and some really old family pictures.

Bess & Lizzie - my two beautiful girls

They left us much too soon (Bess aged only 7 and Lizzie only 8) they were wonderful dogs and even now writing this it makes me cry to think of them. They were such firm friends and never had a cross word between them. Bess missed Lizzie terribly when she died. You can see from this photo just how like Bess my little Poppy is.

Bess in action at Olympia in 1991

You can see from the above photo that Bess had the same work ethic as Poppy. She was totally focused and very very quick. Bess was related to Mary Ray's lovely dog Dash (both from the Royale line) and Poppy is daughter of Dash so there was a connection.

How about the nice patches of brown on the red and yellow track suits. They were seriously uncool!

Poppy with Carrie Anna Hurst in 1997

She was about 12 weeks old there. Gradually her little white blaze disappeared. She was a very cute puppy. I think Carrie Anna was about nine or ten in this picture.

The next photos are taken some ten years later and are of Carrie Anna's little sister - Eliza (Ellie) Hurst. They are so alike!

Eliza Hurst

Ellie with our Becky, Poppy and Abbey at Eridge Forest. The dog between Poppy and Abbey is Ruby (the Hurst's collie) and she is Poppy's litter sister.

Crufts (can't remember which year, about 1996/7)
Back row:
Pepe Angliss (sadly no longer with us); Me and Abbey; Jo Rhodes & Kelbie; Lesley & Loobie and judge Jackie Brett.
Front row: Dennis McCaulay and Ned; Greg and Jaycee and Sarah-Jane and Kizzy.

Nanny & Grandad (my Dad's parents, sadly no longer with us)

Dad & Friends (Dad is in the middle of the picture)

This was taken in Carmarthenshire. Dad was evacuated there as a child during the war and returned many times over the years to visit friends.

Nanny as a young woman

Well, that was a nice little interlude down memory lane!

Monday, 25 February 2008

Kizzy - Sheep Herding

Well after my main post on this topic, here are some photos of Kizzy in action; courtesy of Lisa. She did show a little interest and looks cute in these photos, if not the greatest sheep dog in the world! Bless her little heart.

Strangely nobody took any photos of my dogs? I simply can't understand why that would be? I'm hurt to the core.

Andy's new toy

Here is Andy's new toy. We collected it on Friday evening. I must admit it's very nice!

It looks black in this photo but it's actually a very dark blue. The engine is chipped so for a big beast it's quite quick. Currently we are trying to work out what all the controls are for. There are so many gizmos on it, it's a bit like flying an aircraft! The most important thing is knowing where are the buttons for the heated seats!

Now we have to get it fitted with dog cages. And of course, we have a Shogun to sell! I hate buying new vehicles without selling the old ones first but this one was too good to miss.

Sunday, 24 February 2008

We're sticking to Agility

Well, on Saturday we went sheep herding. It was a really good day out but it quickly became apparent that this isn't an area in which the Hudsondoglets excel!

First up was Niamh - I had high hopes for my lovely girl. She comes from working stock and her mum is a trained sheepdog. Niamh came into the pen with me and just checked out the area, sniffing and running around. When I encouraged her to look at the sheep she became worried and with Niamh this means her fear aggression comes to the forefront. She barked and growled at the sheep and kept running at them and pinging off back towards me. She looked like a skunk with her tail held as high as it would go and her hackles right up. She was making herself as tall as possible. I tried for about ten minutes but decided to take her out. On reflection I wish I had persevered because when I look back at the video it felt much worse to me than it looked from the outside. OK, it wasn't good but you can see that she most likely could have worked through it. She didn't actually try to grab hold of a sheep, she was just scared. I elected not to take her into her second session as I had lost my nerve. Again, wrong choice but there we go it wasn't to be. Instead I took Poppy in. More of that later!

Next was Kizzy. She wasn't so bad, certainly not scared like Niamh but not really interested. Andy did get her doing a few little bits but she was keener to round up Andy than the sheep! I will put the videos up in due course.

In the second session as said, I decided to take Poppy in. Well, that was a complete waste of time. She did some super heel work and spent a lot of time looking for toys. There were no sheep in that pen with Poppy. She was completely blind to them. At one point I actually managed to get myself the other side of the little flock in an effort to get her circling but instead she just calmly walked between them to find me - she didn't even sniff them on her way through! She was so pleased to find me on the other side and just bounded around a bit more! Bless her little heart; she's been so conditioned over the years on our various holidays to ignore stock and she wasn't going to change at this time in her life!

So, out came Murphy. Sadly he had only five minutes. We wished we'd given him the whole of Niamh's second session rather than Pops. He wasn't brilliant but he showed a good level of interest and definitely would have improved. He was a good boy for the few minutes he had.

Kizzy's second session was similar to the first except she was a little more confident. She did at least push outside the sheep and come round putting herself between the flock and the fence; quite a difficult manoeuvre for a complete novice (so I'm told!)

The other people on the course had varying degrees of success and dare I say failure. However, my dogs took the wooden spoon that's for sure!

The star of the day was Michaela's Jess. Mac was a bit worried about taking Jess in thinking she be a bit over the top. She elected to go in first and set a very high benchmark which nobody could top. She started working the sheep as soon as she entered the pen and the pair of them soon got into a good rythmn. They were even better on the second session. Jess comes from sheep herding lines and it showed. She was a complete natural. Bitch. Only joking!

We all really enjoyed the afternoon and came home very tired.

This afternoon I took Kizzy off to be measured. She took a long time to relax and was up on her toes. The session was held outside and she was very interested in everything around her. It was hard to get her to stand in a relaxed fashion. The measurers were very patient and just waited until they saw her chill out. Then they took the measure and she came in exactly on the mark of small. So now I can do some entries as I'd been holding off until we knew for sure which classes to enter her in. We're really pleased she has measured into the small category.

Al has been here again today doing more stuff. The tiles have gone up in the new utility and Andy's new work surface in the office has been done. This is to take his extra computer and screen so that he can have tutorials open on screen at the same time as practising with his CAD programme. The down side is that the drawing board has to sit in the middle of the window and protrudes into the room more than we'd like but there you go!

Niamh's foot is well on the mend. The sheep herding was restricted to a small area with very soft ground to I elected to have a go with her (waste of time - see above!) Hopefully I can get back to some agility training with her this coming week. We haven't done anything for over a week now but it's been worthwhile in terms of the cut healing properly. Only two weeks to Crufts, I am beginning to feel a bit nervous now. It'll all be over in a flash though, the novice competition that we're in only has one run. But we'll enjoy ourselves for sure and whatever the result of the competition the purse will be out for some serious shopping!

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

A new look and other stuff

I decided to have a bit of change and have chosen a new template for the blog. Not sure if I like it yet so I might go back to the original one or choose another! What do others think?

I'm actually supposed to be doing some work right now but Andy has gone out to a site visit and I was fed up with spreadsheets and figures so I thought I'd do a blog update! Don't tell him!

Naughty Niamh and her foot!

Not doing much training at the moment, just some clicker work with Niamh. Until her cut pad has healed I'm not even walking her. The trouble with Niamh is that she never walks calmly anywhere, if I keep her on a lead she pulls and that's not good and if I let her off she can't help but charge about everywhere.

This morning when I got up and went into the kitchen she was giving me some very strange looks and then rabbit running round the kitchen and throwing herself into different beds. She has a huge build up of excess energy. She is so funny when she gets like this but I couldn't laugh too much as I don't want her charging about. I had to calm her down, which took some doing and then I did some clicker work with her to try to use up a bit of the energy surge. Even with that I have to be careful as she throws herself into different positions trying to make me click and treat her.

The cut is healing quite well but last night she had a sneaky lick of it whilst I was watching something on the t.v. She is such a Naughty Niamh. If she keeps doing this she'll have to wear a hood. I hate putting those things on my dogs but I will if I have to.

Sexy Kizzle to be measured on Sunday

Kizzy is fully in season but hasn't yet started to pester poor Murphy. That will come some time next week I suspect. At that point we will separate them, not because we worry about Murphy doing anything but because he gets worn out from Kizzy's "attentions" ..........

Tomorrow Kizzy is going to the vet to be micro-chipped prior to being measured on Sunday. We're going off to a measuring session in Bexley which is only about 45 minutes away so quite local really. I think it's much easier to do this than try to get her measured at a show. I did this with Niamh and found it quite stressful.

Sheep herding!

On Saturday we're off sheep herding. Kizzy and Niamh are booked in but it seems more likely that I'll be taking Poppy unless Niamh's foot has really healed well. I don't want to risk it opening again. Although it's still three weeks to Crufts I would really like to get some training in the week before we go as I'm unable to do anything at the moment.

Training Day

Last Sunday Leah and I went to a Dawn Weaver training day. It was very interesting, more so because neither of us worked our own dogs. Leah trained Murphy and I had Stihl. To begin with Stihl kept running back to Leah but we resolved this very quickly by filling my pockets with cheese. After that she stayed with me and we had great fun. She is a lovely dog to run; she reminds me very much of Abbey (probably more so than any other dog I've run). She is very light and responsive which is fantastic; the downside (as it was with Abbey) is that timing and positioning with rear crosses is critical. More often than not I got it wrong but we did make some progress. Thank you Jay for letting me run your lovely dog. I almost suit a kelpie but not quite!

Leah enjoyed the session with Murphy. Some of the sequences he did really well and others were very challenging for him as in this weave entry shown below.

We had to handle the sequence from the top side of the pair of jumps and it was tough. You had to push your dog out of the collapsible tunnel to go round the back of #2; stay top side and push over #3 and send to the weaves. It was made tougher by the fact that you started with your dog on the run, i.e. no recall start was permitted. This is something Dawn does a lot of. Every sequence was done running with our dogs.

Tuesday Training

Tonight will be busy for me because Andy might not get back to training in time to help. He has a physio appointment early evening. If he does get back then I will run Stihl again (Jay is still poorly.) Obviously Niamh won't be training nor Kizzy. Murphy will be training with Leah though. We're going to use Mand's pattern that she posted on her blog. It looks really interesting. Tonight we'll probably break it down into different sequences and maybe end up with a whole course; haven't quite decided yet. Thanks Mand!

Monday, 18 February 2008

Poppy retires from agility

Well, as lots of you know I've been trying to get Poppy back to full agility fitness since she injured herself back in October. We have made lots of progress and she is back to an excellent level of fitness overall. She is however struggling with a couple of things: one is the first jump of any sequence and the second is in gauging her take off spot when there is long pacing between jumps and/or other obstacles.

It's a very hard decision but I've finally arrived at what I think is the right choice for Poppy and at almost eleven years of age she has retired. I haven't told her that as she wouldn't agree for one moment! I am going to continue to keep her fit by doing small jumps in the garden and at training school when I get the opportunity. This is good for her muscles and for her as she loves agility so much and retiring her is one of the hardest things I've had to do. It was easier with Abbey as she really wasn't that bothered about agility itself, just doing stuff with me but Poppy is and always has been passionate about agility. She was one of those dogs that just had natural talent right from the very beginning.

I've never been too sure about veteran classes and the like because you do see some dogs plodding round that probably should be 100% retired. I've decided though that Pops will benefit from these classes and all the time she is fit and sound I am going to do them with her.

I love running Poppy so much, it's really difficult to imagine walking classes without thinking things through for her. She is my little superstar and always will be!

On Saturday at Bernadette's we had a play with Pops on the small jumps and she did some weaves. She thoroughly enjoyed herself and long may she continue to do so!

Thank you Poppy for all the fun and dedication you've given to me for such a long time, now you can chill out and break as many start lines as you like; you've earned it!

Thanks Dennis for these brilliant photos of Poppy weaving; I love the first one with the sticky out leg and the last one with the floppy ear!

Sunday, 17 February 2008

A lovely weekend

We've had a lovely weekend with gorgeous weather, very cold but loads of glorious sunshine.

Yesterday we took ourselves off to visit Bernadette and Dennis to do some training and have a general catch up and some lunch.

Bernadette set up a little speed course for Kizzy to run and she had a great time. She did some of the stuff really well and other bits need a little more proofing.

One of the things that Andy is having a bit of a challenge with is contact speed, reward and release.

Bernadette gave him some really useful pointers and this has really helped him to move forward. Basically he has to remove the food reward for each target position and replace with verbal praise; do run-bys and lateral distance work praising from a distance and then release from his final spot with verbal command only or ask for further target position, maybe go back and praise but then go back to distant position to release. It's important that the release isn't accompanied by body movement (very very hard for Andy to achieve!)

Kizzy really responds positively to the verbal encouragement and praise so this is now the area that Andy really needs to concentrate on. Another good tip was that each time she goes to a new venue or starts a new training session that the clear target is put back in place for maybe one attempt and then removed (put back only after a couple of failures.) If she fails by leaving the contact or by coming down too slowly then Andy simly picks her up (doesn't let her go back on to the down contact herself), takes her back to the beginning and has another attempt.

With regard to speed on the down planks then Bernadette suggested that Andy do a little back chaining to encourage the speed and confidence - this is working well also.

Andy and Kizzy had a good session in the garden today following these guidelines. Bernadette is an excellent trainer and gives us both lots to work on and think about.

Here is Kizzy on the dogwalk, in two of the photos her head is a little high (posing!) but the third photo shows a good finishing position on the down plank. I took a bit of video which I'll post in the next day or so.

I know, I'm beautiful.


That's what we want!

We also did some work with Naughty Niamh, Poppy, Hex and Murphy. Poor little Niamh has cut her pad quite badly, it happened on her walk in the morning as it was very icy. I had completely forgotten about it and ran her round a couple of courses and only remembered when I spotted blood on Bernadette's new dog walk. Needless to say I felt really bad. Luckily it's on the back of one of her back pads and so no pressure was being put on the wound, she hasn't noticed it at all and that's good because Niamh is a real baby and if it was hurting her she wouldn't walk let alone get on a dog walk! Still, I'm still feeling bad. Between four of us we managed to flush the wound and stick it with new skin. So far it's looking good. The sad thing was that she was booked on a training day with Dawn Weaver today and we couldn't do that. More of that later.

After training we had a lovely late lunch prepared and served by Dennis and then we sat around and chatted, cuddled the very fat Zen and the lovely Griz who is staying with the Bays and then tootled off home. It was a really nice day, no chores!

Important note added to this post: The courgette soup was made by Bernadette, it was only heated up and served by Dennis.

Here are some pictures of Niamh on the dog walk. They are fantastic shots (well I think so!) In a couple of them she looks as though she's been rolled into the ground - a flat border collie!

The classic one on; two off position!!

Can I get myself any flatter?

Yes, I can!

Thanks to Dennis Bay for the great photos!

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Naughty Niamh

These pictures of Niamh make me smile. The angle they are taken from isn't very good because I was trying to take the photo and get her to offer the behaviours. There is one of each paw being offered and a beg!

She's such a clown.




Gorgeous Weather

The last couple of days were so lovely that I didn't want to finish my walks and come home (back to the office and work!)

The dogs really seem to enjoy the warmer weather, certainly Abbey seems happier. I think I've mentioned that I walk through fields with mown flight paths. Well yesterday we were up at the farm when one of the little aeroplanes was getting ready for an outing. We watched it prepare and then taxi down to one of the runways and take off. I love seeing this. Their flightpath goes right over our house so we often see them when we're doing stuff in the garden. There are two little aeroplanes a blue one (pictured below) and a blue and white one plus a couple of microlights. There is a syndicate of fliers who own the planes and rent the huge barn from the farm where they are kept. They also pay to have use of the fields for taxiways and runways. It's good because apart from some arable farming there is never any stock on this side of the river.

As we approach the farm each day we get a lovely view of the house of my dreams. This is the huge farmhouse that rents the buildings and land to the fliers. It's a stunning property. I like studying all the different chimneys and shapes to the house.

My dream house!

The little blue aeroplane

Just after take off and heading towards our house!

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Training & Stuff

I have ramped up my training with Niamh and am booked on a course this coming weekend. I try to do a few dog walks each day and she is definitely getting the idea. Niamh doesn't take agility seriously like Poppy; it's all a game but the important thing is that she really loves to learn and to do things with me. I get a huge amount of satisfaction from training with her, she is such fun and very honest.

Last night at training club we put up a course that I saw in Clean Run magazine. It proved to be challenging but very enjoyable. There are a further two ways round the course and we're going to use it again in March and April and work on each of these patterns.

We broke the course into three sections and worked on the handling points before running it as a complete sequence. We ran 1-6; 6-13 and 13-20. The first and last segments were relatively easy, the middle section was the most testing. We all found that it worked best with front crosses between 6 and 7 and again between 8 and 9. We spent a bit of time on obstacle discrimination with varying degrees of success for different partnerships.

This was the first time that I put Niamh's new contacts to the test and I wasn't disappointed. She was brilliant. We had our percentage of failures (i.e. final position right off the contact) but I'm learning to live with those and it's not too painful! It's so much better than seeing her creep to her position. That is what I keep telling myself and it seems to be working. I'm using food randomly and at one point last night she did a stunning contact and totally ignored the food and wanted to get on with the job; that's a first with Niamh!

Leah had a challenging evening with Murphy on this course but they did some really good work. The hardest thing was the combination 12 to 13 (jump to dog walk); Murphy loves tunnels and it was very difficult to get him to focus on the dog walk. I think he managed it about twice out of ten or so attempts.

Training was fun last night; all in all it was a good job, excellent!

Here is the course we used in case anyone would like to try it - I really do recommend it as a good training course. We made a couple of tweaks from the original pattern but it is about 98% true to the original course design.

Sadly Kizzy couldn't train last night as she has come into season. Needless to say she was unimpressed by this turn of events. Andy and I did a training session in the garden on Sunday so she hasn't missed out too much. Kizzy also went to a training session with some other shelties on Saturday at Lesley Olden's so she hasn't done too badly this week.

Poppy Update

I took Poppy to training last night and borrowed Kizzy's space in the puppy class. I have been working on her jumping in an effort to get her back to fitness. I am still undecided whether she'll compete again. Last night was good and she is (touch wood) totally sound this morning. I have been doing various jumping exercises with her at home and have the jumps set just below maximum large height. Last night we did some warm up exercises and finished our little session with a couple of sequences at full height. I intend to continue this week with her fitness program and see how things go. Last week I was almost at the point of making my decision to retire her but I've decided to wait a little longer and see how things progress. Alongside simple jumping exercises at variable heights, I'm doing some rear leg muscle strengthening using her wobble cushion, ladder work and tight grid work (over low jumps) to help regain her muscle tone. Watch this space!

Monday, 11 February 2008

Leah & Murphy

This is some video I took from last week's training of Leah and Murphy. I've left the mistakes in so you can see how Leah worked through them and ended up with some really good stuff from him. She is so patient with him even though he's like a slippery eel at times! He's such a naturally talented dog and does some terrific stuff but he just gets too excited and his head explodes.

On Sunday Leah and Murphy are off to a training session with Dawn Weaver, a full report will follow next week! Look out Mid Downs! Hopefully Herbie will be back up and fit by then but Leah will also have her secret weapon.

Meantime, sit back and admire Leah's patience!

Saturday, 9 February 2008

Course Plan from Tuesday's training

Just for Sarah! I meant to post this course plan with Kizzy's video. Anyway, here it is now in case anyone wants to use it.

We used the Jenny Damm jumping sequence that Bernadette set up in our paddock a couple of weeks back. We added in the agility equipment to practise separately. We were able to do some weave entries by putting in an extra jump for round the back entries and using one from the jumping sequence for flat entries. It was also quite a tough weave entry from the collapsible tunnel.

Friday, 8 February 2008

Kizzy training at club

Here is a little film of Kizzy doing some stuff at club this Tuesday. We put her tub back at the end of the weaves as she hadn't done a lot of these exercises at the club (only in the garden).

Andy was also working on quick releases off his contacts.

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Kizzy Training

This is a little film of Kizzy doing some training on the same sequence that Karen, Bernadette and I did a couple of Fridays back.

Kizzy has a tendency to turn a little wide (we call her the QE2)and Andy's been doing loads of wing wrap practise and she is capable of really tight turns. However, when speed is involved she tends to revert to wide turns. So, after doing a couple of runs on this pattern he went back to drilling the wing turns with her toy. More work to do on these turns!

Her weaves are coming on really well. Since this film she has moved on another step and her pot has been taken away and replaced with a toy. She actually drives on better to the toy so that's good. However, the pot will always go back in place if and when required.

Message for Karen: since the filming of this sequence, sadly the yellow duck on a rope has met a sorry end. He got tugged off his rope and is no more! Luckily we have a chicken on a rope in the caravan which will be retrieved and used for training. Andy is determined to keep the little blue bird on a rope for her first show!

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Dogwalk Training

At last, I've got round to putting this onto a film. It's still work in progress but I do feel we are making ground.

Much of the training is for me as well as Niamh. In training scenarios I have to stop watching her as she descends the down plank. This worries her and reinforces her tendency to creep down to her stop position.

I have changed the command for the obstacle; I give the verbal cue as she approaches and then I keep quiet (well try to). I have also changed her finished position on the obstacle, bringing her much further off than she was originally trained. The clicker was brilliant in achieving this.

I am schooling myself to accept a percentage of failures in terms of her coming right off the contact. It's hard because I want it to be perfect but then that's how I seem to have caused the problem with Niamh. She's very different from my other dogs and worries much more if she thinks she's got something slightly wrong. The others really didn't think like that so I got away with all sorts of bad habits!

Bernadette and Karen have helped me to keep on track with my new regime. I can reinforce my command once Niamh is in position, what I must not do is to use the command when she is descending the down plank otherwise I'll be back to square one. I 'broke' my last command by doing this and it basically became another phrase for her to lie down.

The first bit of film was taken on the Friday when Karen and Bernadette came over to do some training. The second on Sunday when I decided to do some positive reinforcement of her stop position. She accepts this happily when it's done away from her descent of the down plank. Bernadette also suggested I get her using her back legs to reinforce her position (when she's come of a little too far) for a reward so we've started that as well. Next I need to start tossing her food reward without her leaving the position to grab it. Still a bit of work to do on that score. Overall though, I'm pleased. It looks a lot better when compared with some of the dogwalks she was doing last season.


Here's a video of the jumping sequence we trained a couple of weeks back. It's one of Jenny Damm's patterns. It was quite challenging with loads of options on how you could handle each element of the pattern. Good fun.

More prep for Crufts

Niamh's new softcrate arrived today (thank you for organising this Karen). She is very happy in it already as you can see!

Our paperwork arrived from the Kennel Club this morning. Our event is in the main arena at 10.20 am on the Saturday. Not long to go.

More training this evening, am going to concentrate on the dogwalk again this week!

Olympia 1998

Pete very kindly gave me a DVD of Olympia 1998 which was Abbey's first time there. We have it somewhere on a tape but not sure where all that stuff is hidden since we moved. It's lovely to have it on a DVD.

I have split out Abbey's two runs for the blog. We ran second in the morning semi-final and won the event by almost 2 seconds. The dog walk was rather quick but I guess we got the benefit of the doubt! Can you believe that year they forgot to order crystal for the winner of the semi-final competition. Typical!

In the final we ran last (apart from the fun dog). They always used to reverse the order of the morning's event, not sure if they do that any more. Greg won the final, Stuart Harmes was second and we came third. The proudest moment for me and Abbey. The top three times were so close and the hardest part for us was the long run home. We had a funny little twirl at the bottom of the dog walk but she was so nimble I don't think it cost us any time, it was definitely that run home with me huffing and puffing behind her.

I had a really bad cold and a horrible cold sore, I can remember trying to cover it with my hand for the photos at the reception afterwards. Nothing though could detract from my elation. I might as well have won the event I was so proud of my little Abbey. It was her first time at Olympia so she exceeded all my expectations.

I wish I could get some of the videos of Bess at Olympia onto the blog. They are all on old video tapes from our original camcorder and I wouldn't have any idea if you can transfer them. They go back to 1991 which was Bess's first time at Olympia. I think the track suits were even ghastlier then. Brown and yellow from memory. At least in this video they were sort of OK!

Monday, 4 February 2008

Pictures from today's walk

Here are some pictures from today's walk. I know they're not very good but I'm pleased that they show some action. My subjects are too distant in most of them but then I never was a photographer. Compared with my mobile they're great and hopefully I'll get more proficient with time!

I think you can click on each photo to see them bigger and that way they look reasonable and it seems like I'm a slightly better photographer! Yeah, right!

I'm having that plastic bottle off you!

I'm coming to get you!

I've got the lump of wood and you ain't having it. In the foreground: Becks "I'll just pose"

Naughty Niamh doing an impression of Buckaroo!

I'll head her off at the pass!

I'm coming at ya!

Get back here and give me that plastic bottle, damn collie!

Kizzy and Poppy in pursuit of Niamh - they've got no chance of catching her when she moves into top gear.

Hhmm, who shall I bug now?

Naughty Niamh doing her sheepdog impression (getting some practise, I hope!)

Out the way; sheltie coming through! Background: prick eared Murphy!

Wait for me!

Let's race!

Bringing up the rear - my little Abbey!

Little tri bottom! So cute!

Poppy looks like a little rider-less racehorse in this shot!