Well nothing much to report from Dartford. I was judging all day and Kizzy had just two runs in G1-7 classes with one mistake in each. A shame because she was running well. In one of her runs Andy said he had a real job to get her focused as handler who had just finished her round came out of the ring and started throwing sausages on the floor for her dog. Andy has stopped feeding Kizzy at the rings and this has worked really well, however the sight of sausage was too much for Kizzy and he had a job to get her back with him with just one dog in front to run. He had a word with the person later in the day as apparently they do this all the time and cheese off a lot of people in the process!
I had a good ring party for my judging appointment and the day went by smoothly. I was happy with the way my courses ran. I had all jumping classes for large dogs: G4/5, G1/2 and ABC G1-4. I tried to set flowing courses with interesting shapes rather than the usual up and down lines that the lower grades so often get.
Andy was all finished by 10.00 am so he took all the dogs off home and had the rest of the day in the garden, oh and a trip to Tunbridge Wells to buy a new flat screen t.v. for the new caravan (which I still haven't blogged about yet!)
The following day was St. Edwards and there were no classes for small dogs; just large and medium. So, I went off by myself and left Andy to do another day's work in the garden. I took Pops, Niamh, Murphy and Zeki with me.
Alan was judging the KC Olympia class. His course was absolutely great, just the sort I really love to run. You had to work the whole way round with no let up but if you handled it right it flowed for the dogs. We managed to get round and ended up with a run off with Lesley and Dot for 8/9th place. I was so happy to be inside the top ten and get a qualifying result that I really didn't work the run off at all well. I decided to try something different and it went wrong so I got E'd. Lesley and Dot did a faultess round to win the run off, but do you know what - I didn't care! For sure, I would have worked much harder had the run off been for 10th and 11th place!
Niamh did two really good jumping rounds, one we knocked a pole and the other I mishandled the end sequence and pulled her off a tunnel. Then we had our G6 agility. This was another course judged by Al and again I loved the design. In a couple of places it was actually more tricky than the earlier G6/7 KC Olympia course but I don't mind that at all! Niamh was brilliant and did everything I asked of her. With only five jumps to go I failed to put in a front cross and handled a sequence by scooping her across my feet - this meant she took a jump in completely the opposite direction than I'd planned and I had to call hard to get her to turn (had I put in the front cross I would have been on the right side and the turn would have been natural). Not only did this cost us time but caused the pole to drop. She was just 2/100ths of a second off the winning time so I think had I handled it correctly she might just have had her first win in G6. Boy, did I dream about that falling pole that night! There were a couple of places on the course where I doubted the way I was going to handle it. I decided to change my handling and was thinking too hard about that to focus on what I'd walked. With two dogs to go I reverted to my original plan (which worked just fine) but in the process I forgot about the damn front cross later in the course. That will teach me to stick to my guns!
I am very proud of Niamh, she is turning into a really good agility dog who is a joy to work. My goal for this year was to get some reasonable placings in G6 but I feel now she is doing more than that. I certainly didn't expect to qualify for an Olympia semi-final as I hadn't managed that last year when we were novice! In fact she has two reserve spots for the coming semis at the Royal Show this week - they are only outside chances and I don't expect to get called but the fact that she gained good enough places to be reserves in two of the early semis is far more than I'd hoped for and then to actually qualify within the top ten and get a guaranteed place is just fab.
I can't finish this post without mentioning Karen and Todd - they had a great first outing at Watford and Bretons and then at St Edwards won 2 classes and came 2nd in another. Way to go!
Sadly no video as Andy was too selfish to come along to video me, just because he didn't have any runs, I don't understand it! Mind you, I was very happy with the productivity rate in the garden when I got home!