Andy took the caravan down to Ardingly last Thursday morning and got it all set up. Then he had to mark out the rings for the show and help set up some courses etc. I had a lesson here and also took the big dogs for a nice long walk. Andy had taken Kizzy with him and he said she had a great time helping him to set up the rings. She rode round on one of the little buggies and generally had a good time.
I got to Ardingly at about 5.00 pm and it was very nice that I didn't have to do any caravan setting up! This reminded me of the days when I used to work very long hours and arrive late to all the agility shows when all the work was done. I rather like it, maybe I should do this more often!! Might be a bit expensive on the fuel front though!
Anyway we had a pleasant evening with Jackie and Terry who had travelled up from the depths of Suffolk. We can still just about understand what they say .......
On Friday there was a bit more setting up to do (which I managed to avoid as I was doing some ring party on the Saturday). Then we just chilled out. It was very pleasant. Andy left about 4.30 pm with Kizzle as he wanted to go home and have an early night ready for his early start to Beacon show on the Saturday. We decided it might be a bit disruptive for him to get up that early in the caravan as all the dogs would have woken up and disturbed everyone around us.
Andy really enjoyed Beacon and would definitely go again. The only pain was that the Champ class had to be re-run. Bernadette was involved in this class and as Andy was giving a lift home to her instead of leaving around 3.00 pm they left well after 5.00 pm and got home much later than planned. I felt really sorry for all involved especially those who didn't get through to the final who had done so in the first place. There's really no perfect solution to a situation like this but I still think it was probably better to re-run it as they did than to perhaps have let the tickets be awarded and then withdrawn by the KC at a later date. That would be truly awful for the winners. Like others, I too wonder why the situation wasn't addressed at the very start of the first class. I can't understand why anyone would do this after the event and not before.
Anyway, Andy got a 7th place with Kizzy in the Burgess qualifier (G3-7) which he was very pleased with. He let Kizzy down on one of her courses by taking the wrong course and then she popped out of her weaves in her other class. Their team was unlucky with one of the dogs falling right off the dog walk which was a shame, thankfully she was OK.
I had a mixed bag on the Saturday at Ardingly. Niamh's first run was in the KC Olympia class. I loved the course which was judged by Steve Treamer. It was quite a tricky course with lots of handling. So tricky that when I did a stint scribing it was about 15 minutes or more before I actually got to fill in a dog's time, i.e. there were a lot of E's. The eliminations happened in lots of different places, not just one sticking point. You had to work hard for your whole round there was no where to let up.
Anyway, it got to Naughty Niamh's turn and we managed a really good run. At the time the qualifying times were around 34 seconds and she put in a time of just over 35 seconds which I was really pleased with. I could have save a lot of time had I remembered to run down the dog walk instead of waiting for her to catch up. I should have been past the dog walk and doing a front cross as she arrived in order to negotiate a tricky "go round" on the penultimate jump. Instead I arrived behind her so had to make her wait whilst I got into position for the front cross. That was the only part of the round which I was disappointed with (myself, not Niamh.) In the end the class was won on a 32 second round and there were a few more rounds of similar times but I still ended up in 14th place which is much better than I had hoped for. She is definitely on the up.
We did our best in our G6 jumping but a stupid error on my part meant that Niamh was eliminated. Then we just had our G6 agility which I was really looking forward to as there was a combination of jumps that I was going to handle by doing push throughs. Unfortunately we didn't get that far. In the queue I couldn't get Niamh's nose of the ground and this continued as we made our way to the start line. She was still sniffing when I put her in her wait. She did stop and we set off but she wasn't really with me and I let her take a jump she shouldn't have. Once we went wrong down went her nose again and I struggled to get her back. When we approached the A-Frame she decided she would rather do agility but I stopped her and picked her up and carried her out of the ring. I have never ever taken any of my dogs out of the ring in 22 years of agility. I was really upset with her. She wanted to play ball when I put her down in the aisle way but I told her no and just took her back to the caravan. She was very put out as she loves her game of tug at the end of each round but I felt that she needed a "time out" to think about things. It was a shame this was her last round of the day as it left me with a horrible feeling. I wasn't cross with her just disappointed.
I was left wondering how you can achieve 14th place in a really important senior class and then look like you've never done agility in your life! Hey ho, dogs are great levellers!
Andy got home around 8.30 pm and Jay was very kind and cooked our supper. We'd all had a few glasses of wine by this time and Jay needed a little help with co-ordinating the chips and burgers and salad! Later on he entertained us by charging round in the dark with his flashing strobe light. Make of that whatever you will!
On Sunday the weather was nicer. It was still very hot but not as humid and with a bit of breeze. Andy had a mixed bag with Kizzy. They didn't have a good round in their KC Olympia class. It started really well but it was a hard weave entry and Kizzy just didn't get it. Andy is a litte bemused by this as he's trained every weave entry you can imagine. I do however believe he's doing something with his arms that he doesn't do in training, i.e. he tends to leave her to her own devices in training but is perhaps over-working her in the ring and she doesn't understand it. Kizzy is also skipping the last weave which she doesn't do in training so it's time to up the ante in her training and start putting in some distractions when she's weaving - as advised by Mary and Bernadette. In her G1-3 jumping she got 5th place which is great but she can do much better. She didn't weave as fast as she can; plus she seemed to spend rather a long time in the pipe tunnel which cost her time.
Niamh, well we had three eliminations but I wasn't at all concerned as a) she worked her socks off and b) the mistakes were mine. The best round was her G6 jumping where I achieved my best push through yet and then ran for home (in order to achieve a push through at the finish) and left her on a corner forgetting to put my arm out so she came with me.
I was really worried that she would sniff the ground again as her first run was in the same ring that she lost concentration in on the Saturday. Bernadette offered to keep her in the shade whilst I queued and this was really helpful because I found she was much less stressed than normal. She was pleased to get to me with only a couple of dogs to run and was much more focused. Andy queued for me in the next two classes and I sat in the shade with Niamh and actually got her doing tricks and tugging her ball. I've always queued with her myself but having either someone keep her away from me or queue for me definitely seems to make a difference. It's just a pain to have to ask people to do this for you but if it works it's worth the effort. Mostly Andy is around to video me so he's happy to queue on my behalf.
The best thing about Sunday was that my little super Pops won the veteran jumping. She really enjoyed herself and as usual I blubbed as I came over the finish line. It's so lovely to see her enjoying herself and feeling important. She won a lovely 3D glass trophy and the biggest red rosette.