We had a lovely time at Hinckley. I really liked their new venue even though the camping was a little tight to say the least! I think perhaps someone got their tape measure in the wrong place as not only were the gaps between units rather narrow the actual roadways were too narrow. Luckily for us we have a motor mover otherwise we would not have been able to vacate our spot on Sunday afternoon. It was OK if you one or other of your immediate neighbours had managed to get out but if not there was just no swing room.
Back to the venue itself. It was set in the grounds of Stanford Hall a really elegant stately home. The ground was a little undulating and we had to use lots of blocks to level our caravan but they had made a big effort with the ground where the rings were set and it was pretty good; a few pot holes but nothing too bad. One major downside for me was the shooting that started up on Saturday and carried on for a few hours. It was very close and poor little Poppy was a complete mess. Becca gave me some lavender oil which we put on her head. This is supposed to give a calming effect. Stupidly I didn't have her anxiety tee-shirt with me. I must put that in the caravan for the summer because we often hear fireworks at various shows during the season.
We watched the champ finals which were very exciting and set on very fast courses with subtle little handling points which caught out a few. Elspeth and Leah both got into the final and did fantastic rounds. They must both be proud of themselves and their little furry friends.
Our courses were nice but all were pretty quick and in our one clear round (Crufts singles) we just didn't make the places. Rather depressing really. I chose to train my contacts in the KC Olympia qualifier (only because we'll be in Denmark at the time of that semi-final) that said I'm not sure I would have made the time if I had tried! We had a bad luck in both our grade 6 classes. On Saturday Niamh did a really lovely round in Paul Moore's G6 jumping. I really liked the course but it had a tricky ending with a run of offset jumps; Niamh tried really hard but just couldn't quite make the last obstacle which was the wall. She tried so hard to clear it but took all the bricks out. I was really disappointed until I saw her little face the other side of the wall waiting for me to come and play tuggy! Then on Sunday we had a nice G6 agility course set by Gary Doyle and I really fancied our chances on this. We started well but Niamh slipped in the middle of the weaves. I couldn't understand why she skipped during the weaves but Andy and Gary both told me afterwards that she had completely lost her footing. She did the rest of the course beautifully. Oh well.
Kizzy didn't get anywhere on Saturday with one good round but a missed A-Frame and one naughty round where she broke the startline (Andy was very good and replaced her). He then trained all of her contacts. I feel sorry for Andy because he has worked really hard over the winter to improve contact performance and in training it's looking very good. It had been looking pretty good in the competitive environment but this weekend the wheels fell off with Kizzy overstriding the contacts. I think the bit of training he did on Saturday had some effect as she did a lovely round in the KC qualifier on Sunday getting 10th place in amongst some very good competition. Her contacts were too slow as Andy worked hard to make sure she got them and that's really what made their time slower than it would otherwise have been. She motored round the rest of the course. She also did a nice round in her 6/7 jumping coming 8th. So not too bad but lots of work to do on contacts.
The other dogs had a lovely walk each day around the spacious exercise area whilst we were able to look at the gorgeous house. I did some stay training ringside with Zeki which was pretty good so I'm getting a bit more confident that she will stay with me once we start to compete!
We had a very stress free journey home. We chose the slightly longer route of the A14/Mll but it is definitely a more pleasant experience than the M1. We got home in just under three hours and then sat and watched the final of Britain's Got Talent. I am so glad that one of the male dance groups won the competition. They were both awesome.
Leah and I are getting together today to prepare all our courses for our Boot Camp which is this coming weekend. I am extremely nervous but very excited about it. She doesn't know it yet but she's also going to help me build a new course, film Zeki's A-Frame and help me with my dog walk training.