Monday, 21 September 2009

Stour Valley 2009 and our little house guest

We've never been to Stour Valley as we're normally away on holiday during this time. I was a little uncertain as I'd heard one or two reports that the ground wasn't brilliant. I'm so glad that I went as it's without doubt one of the nicest shows I've been to. The land is owned by a couple from the agility world and it's very well kept and provided a lovely venue. There were six rings and it was extremely well organised and relaxing. The day parking was brilliant as we were right in front of the rings so not too much walking!

On Saturday I went by myself and took my three girls plus Zaz who has been staying with us whilst Bernadette was in Austria at the FCI World Championships.

I loved all of Zeki's courses as they were full of interest and no up and down straight lines. In fact a couple of them were actually quite tough considering they were for graded from 1-4. We didn't achieve any clear rounds but all of the runs were really promising. The best one was a tricky little jumping course where, for some reason, Zeki went under the first jump and then had a good look at the timing cable running underneath. No idea why she did that but I did take her back and re-set her. She then completed a faultless round which I was very happy with.

Her confidence level had risen massively since Burnham just a week ago. I had worked on her drive away from me on straight lines/finish line and it really showed. She had definitely improved on this front and is now actively driving over the finish looking for her lead. This I am very happy about! She also had more commitment to jumps and demonstrated this by staying out on corners by herself. That said she did a lovely round in another jumping class and I pulled her off the corner but that was really my handling and not her lack of commitment. Silly person. In all some lovely runs with just the odd mistake.

I also made a change to her start line routine in that I got shot of it. She wasn't focusing and was not really enjoying the set up. So we went back to our original start line which is just to get her to sit although I am making sure to take off her lead before I position her so it is an improvement on mine and Niamh's routine!

Niamh ran well and I was back in tune with her (phew!) We had a couple of nearly runs and one clear in which I trained her contacts as it was one of those border collie-only classes which I'm not keen on but at least it had contacts!

We had a lovely day and I made sure that Poppy and Zaz had time out around the rings. On one occasion they were out for over an hour and both were exhausted when I took them back to the car. Here they are ringside whilst I was walking a course.

Zaz and Poppy waiting for me while I walk a course

The day was absolutely glorious, in fact it was too hot at times but our little crowd (Liza, Leah, Karen, Sian and myself) had a great time with lots of laughs.

Here is a picture of Zaz with Liza and Bernard (Leah's current foster puppy). He is too cute and a real character. On Friday at UKA he found my soup cup under my chair and cleaned it up. It got stuck on his nose and he ended up with a big orange circle round his mouth. Same as I do when I've had tomato soup and nobody bothers to tell me!

Bernard, Liza and Zaz

On Sunday the weather didn't look so good. In fact we drove through pouring rain. It continued raining at the venue until about 9.30 am when it stopped and luckily stayed dry. It was still a nice day but much more overcast. Probably the best day for Andy and Kizzy to come along as she really isn't too keen on the very hot weather. Kizzy did really well and won the G7 agility and came 3rd in G7 jumping. Naughty Niamh and I were back in tune and got all three of our rounds clear getting 2nd in G6 agility (just pipped at the end of the class); 6th in G6 jumping and 10th in the border collie helter skelter class.

Zeki was amazing and we gained two clear rounds: one in the team (in which there was a slight misunderstanding between Andy and myself during the baton change) and in her graded 1-4 jumping which she won! She won the class by quite a margin and was actually the quickest dog overall. It was quite a straight forward course with a couple of handling points and a horribly offset jump in the corner before the blue tunnel which I honestly didn't think we would achieve! Her other rounds were agility and I think she probably would have won the second of these. However, her dog walk in the first agility round was not good as she targeted far too soon on the down plank (my fault, not hers) so I decided in the second agility round to go a little silly and wind her up just so she came off the dog walk happy. This she did but we missed the contact, oh well! In the first agility found she worked beautifully but ran past the weaves, I think I should have checked her in so it was really my fault. I am uncertain when Sian's commentary on the video was directed at me or Zeki! It made me laugh anyway!

Zeki proudly showing off her trophies and rosettes from UKA and Stour Valley

I had loads of support from all my friends at the weekend which is really lovely. Thank you!

Here is a video of my little Zeki doing her stuff. Please excuse the dog walks, this will be our autumn/winter project.

Lastly here are some pictures of Zaz during her stay with us. She has been a good little girl and fitted in very easily with our doglets.

Chilling out on the decking

Posing with her new best friend

Asleep after her busy weekend at UKA and Stour Valley

Making herself at home

Zaz with Zeki and Kizzy her two sisters - all three from different litters

Below are some pictures of Andy doing some "jump into my arms" training with Zaz


  1. That little trio of tricolour shelties is really just too cute! :)

  2. Congratulations that is a great result, cheers and heres to many more :-) x

  3. Woo hoo!! After watching her run 'live' on Saturday I just knew it wasn't gonna take long for the red rosettes to start coming along!! What a clever little sheltie she is :)

  4. ...yeeha way to go guys, well done.

  5. Thank you for taking such great care of Zaz. And for your efforts you get her again next week!
    There are not too many people I would trust with my precious one!

    Zeki is looking great; I see great things in her future! :-) I am so proud of both of you.