It was really great to be back at an outdoor KC show this Easter weekend. We decided not to camp even though we had booked a spot. It was too cold and damp for my liking and as Ardingly is only 30 minutes away from home we decided it was more sensible to come home to a nice warm fire in the evening! Translation of the preceding statement: I am a wimp and I hate mud!
Saturday dawned and was rather damp and cold. We were ring partying all day for Sara and so the dogs didn't get much of a day really. I quite enjoy ring partying once you get into the swing of it but the thing I really hate is the amount of time my dogs have to spend on their own in the car. We don't really have enough people for Andy and I to alternate so most of the day both of us had to be on the ring which makes things worse. We had a good laugh and got through the classes pretty swiftly.
I made a complete hash of my KC Olympia run. I really liked Sara's course (I usually do pretty well on her courses) but I was useless. I didn't go in with a good attitude and it showed. Poor Niamh deserved better so I kicked myself up the proverbial and tried much harder in our G6 jumping class. We ran well in this and ended up in 3rd place which I was very happy with. We also managed a 19th place in the G6/7 jumping with a rather messy round due to a couple of poor handling choices on my part. Then on Sunday Niamh ran superbly. I was thrilled with her performance in both of her classes. We knocked a pole in the jumping which was totally my fault as I changed my mind on a critical handling point but we put in a good time. We came second in the G6 agility. I really did try to win this class and Niamh responded brilliantly. Unfortunately I failed to get into position for a pull through and the result was a bit messy and cost us dearly. I think I knew as it happened that it would blow our chance of winning and I was quite surprised (but very pleased) that we ended up in 2nd place with that glitch. I really hope we can keep up this level of performance and I'm looking forward to getting into the show season as I'm having such a good time with Niamh.
There is only one thing which is bothering me and that's our start line. In lots of ways things have improved as I can now get her doing tricks and tugging in the queue. Last year she would not touch her ball until after her run so this is major progress. However, two or three dogs before it's her turn to enter the ring I lose her completely. I am struggling to get her to sit on the start line and when she does she is leaning so far forward it seems that she will fall onto her chin. That said, so far, when I leave her she doesn't attempt to break her position. I think perhaps I'll have to ask nicely for someone to queue for me so that I can enter the ring at the last minute. Trouble is people are busy at shows and can't always find the time to do this. Andy will do it for me but then that means he can't video. S'pose you can't have everything!
Onto Princess Kizzy. This was her first weekend as a grade 6 dog. Things didn't start out too well in her first class which was the Connection (the class that replaced gamblers.) She and Andy were not a team and didn't achieve the course that Andy had planned. After that though things really picked up and Kizzy ended up 2nd in G6/7 agility and 3rd in G4-7 jumping. On Sunday things continued really well and they got 2nd in G4-7 Agility and 2nd in G4-7 helter skelter. All in all a really good start to their G6 experience.
We made sure all the dogs had plenty of time out with us on the Sunday (to make up for Saturday). Poppy was exhausted as she had loads of time out by the rings watching the agility. She has a new best toy for agility watching. Karen bought her a little chicken for her birthday! Zeki had some good training sessions around the rings. I needed these as Saturday was a bit of a disaster. It was so rushed and I forgot to take any food so she was lunging and screaming at the rings. I was a bit disappointed after all the good work we did at the UKA shows. However I had much more time yesterday and things improved. I took her out several times sometimes with food and sometimes with a toy. Overall much better but without doubt work in progress!
I had lots of time with friends chatting ringside. I had lots of muddy paw prints from little dogs that shall remain nameless - Shadow! I can't stand mud. I have trained Niamh to jump up at other people and not at me so I don't get muddy from my own dog. It's most annoying that other people have copied my training technique! Needless to say the washing machine is working overtime today!
We've decided to venture out in the caravan for Wallingford next weekend. I hope the weather is kind to us!
Today we are going to catch up in the office and also do a bit of gardening. We also have to try to haul down the remaining 30 or so fence panels from the front drive to the yard. So far about 20 have gone down but they are very heavy. We need to get them moved from the front before the end of the week as we're planning to go away. Then there's just the small matter of getting the posts and panels in place. Luckily we have found a guy to do this job in lieu of Andy and Michael doing some drawings for an extension to his house.
We also have to do a new course for this week's agility and then we're going to have a little training session with Kizzy and Zeki. I also plan to do a session on Zeki's dog walk today. Better go before the day runs out!