I have been a very bad blogger over the last month. So much has been going on and I just haven't managed to get round to updating the blog or downloading any of our video runs from the camera. I hate my blog being so out of date so here we go with one of my megga updates!
We've had a good time over the summer with both our dogs running really well. That's not to say we haven't had glitches and issues but overall they've been little super stars.
I've lumped together Aylesbury, KC Festival and DIN as we were away from home for all three of them! I won't go into too much detail about Aylesbury other than to say the camping and running ground isn't for us. Bit too rough. It's a shame because the club obviously put a lot of effort into organising what would otherwise be an excellent show but the ground lets them down (IMO). I didn't run Niamh the first day as it was wet but I did a couple of rounds on the second day without any success. Kizzy clocked up two wins.
This was a blast. I love this show even though it's absolutely huge. It's well organised and I think the committee do a terrific job of running a really professional show.
We arrived on the Sunday straight from Aylesbury in order to assist with marking out the camping. We were part of a decent sized team and everyone worked well together so the task was good fun and we got done in very good time. This meant we had chill time on the Wednesday before we had to get set for receiving campers on the Thursday. It was lovely having the venue to ourselves and I got loads of recalls done with Zeki which was great.
On to the competition itself, Niamh ran well the whole weekend. I was so happy when she qualified for Olympia as this was totally unexpected. I hadn't really bargained on her getting to any semi finals this year so to qualify was just fantastic. She also got placed in both her British Open qualifiers and made it to the final. I think she was the only G6 dog in the final and came 6th on a really quick course. I loved the semi final course which was judged by John Gilbert. There was quite a bit of handling in it and it suits me much better than some of the faster courses. I had one dilemma which was whether to pull and send over the jump after the dog walk or do a complete front cross (reverse turn in old fashioned language!).
I was lucky to be running quite late in the competition so I walked it both ways and decided if there were loads of fast clears I'd go for the quicker method of pulling and sending, if however there were only a few clears then I would go for the safer option of front crossing. In the event quite a lot of people made mistakes on the course (several at this very place) and so I decided to go with my safe option. We almost had a disaster at that jump as Niamh contemplated turning into me at the jump but then realised I wanted her to flick away from me, I can't tell you how close it felt to her back jumping that fence. Luckily for me she is an honest girl and did her job. I love this series of pictures which Dennis took of our dog walk. My face is a picture (not a particularly pretty one at that!) I love the way Niamh is focusing down to her target point. I think I slightly over cooked the dog walk final position but who cares - we qualified! Nobody could doubt her down dog walk that's for sure!
Here is the film of Niamh's run in the Olympia semi and the KC British Open. I am very proud of her in both of these runs.
On to Kizzy. Well, she had a mixed KC Festival. She had two wins and a second placing and managed to scrape into the final qualifying place for small novice final. Her round was going really well with only five obstacles to go. For some reason she shot past the A-Frame to follow Andy. It wasn't a case of her old injury re-surfacing just one of those things. Andy was very disappointed as up to that point she had been going so well. The only consolation was that our friend Neil won the final with his gorgeous little spaniel Bex. They are a partnership which is developing really well and at a rate of knots! More about their friendly rivalry later!
Dogs in Need
We arrived at Ipswich on the Monday morning and got set up. It's nice to get there and plug the caravan into the electric hook up. Wonderful. I like this show as it's quite relaxing with only two runs per day. That said when you've only one dog it would be quite nice to have three runs a day. I didn't enjoy the show quite as much this year as I found a few things a bit irritating: the prize givings which didn't seem to run too smoothly; the cars speeding down the road which runs behind our pitch - this was worse than ever and lastly the trophies for the finals were a bit disappointing.
As already mentioned Kizzy was a little star and won the small novice final. This went a long way to making up for not going clear at the KC final. I know we're in difficult times but it is disappointing to get a glass plaque rather than the usual crystal that this show has provided in the past. I suppose it's even harder for us because we've both judged their finals and handed out the lovely crystal, so expectations are high and it was a little bit of let down. Last year Niamh came 2nd and we got a beautiful decanter. Never mind, it's the winning that counts. In addition, take a look at this lovely trophy that our friends bought for Andy and Kizzy after winning the small novice final:
During the week Kizzy clocked up 3 wins and 3 2nd placings as well as her finals win. Pretty good going I think.
Here are a couple of photographs of Kizzy in the final. If you look at #1 you'd think they should be handing back their trophy, thankfully Jay also captured the moment just before that photo was taken and in #2 you can see they did deserve the trophy after all!
Niamh was a good girl but we just didn't get the places in the right classes. She led a G6 agility right up until the last dog and got beaten by 2/100ths of a second. Damn! I so want a G6 win and just can't seem to get it! I blew out in most of her qualifying classes so no DIN final for us this year. I was disappointed but not too much, still being on a high from the KC Festival helped!
We had a good time at Dogs in Need despite the niggles I mentioned and I guess we'll go back next year as I still thinks it's a really good event.
Take a look at some of the candid shots captured by Dan and posted on his blog.