Thursday, 1 September 2011

Agility Shows - catch up

At last I have found time to sit at the computer and update the blog!

So, let's start with agility shows (I will do a separate posting for the EO's as I think they warrant their own space :o))

Well, since Tuffley the girls have run well. Zeki got into the champ final at Rugby and had I not faltered to mark my own seesaw (which the judge didn't mark) she possibly would have had the reserve ticket. Instead we came 3rd, a result which I was far from disappointed with bearing in mind the large and strong field at this show. I think Leah might have the run on her video so I will have to nag her at some stage to download it for me! Annoyingly we didn't do well in the Crufts singles class which was the one I really wanted in order to get some more points. I think we have one chance left for this competition.

I found it very stressful running two champs side by side. I have done it often in the past but always with large dogs so running in the same ring over the same course. Here, the two champ classes ran side by side and I had early runs in both. Not pleasant!

We were due to stay up for the Sunday but after a sleepless night at the B&B on Friday after the EO training (which was excellent) I was just not keen on going back. We had an unpleasant experience with a group of drunken builders keeping us awake all night long. So instead I headed home and had a relaxing Sunday instead.

Other shows have been Newlands, KC Festival and a couple of days at Dogs in Need. I thoroughly enjoyed Newlands and really used it for training Zeki in preparation for the EO's. I have mixed feelings about the KC Festival because it is so large and very tiring. In addition two horrible things happened at this year's show which will be very hard to forget.

Firstly, a fellow agility competitor and someone I've known for as long as I can remember had a heart attack after running his dog and despite tremendous effort from the first aiders and medical team died in hospital. Don Nunn was a real character and gave back to agility in so many ways: judging, ring partying, club training and more. I remember when Niamh qualified for Crufts at the KC Festival in 2008, Don also qualified and I cannot remember anyone being so thrilled. I think he came 17th in his very last class, the one he ran before he died. Bless him, what a way to go and I hope that one day his family will take comfort from the fact that he died doing something he enjoyed and was so fiercely passionate about. He will be missed very much by lots of people in the agility world and my thoughts are with his wife Christine and their family.

Secondly, a woman was attacked by her own dog after completing a round of agility. It was a horrendous attack, not just a simple biting. Apart from one other ghastly incident a few years ago, this is probably the worst thing I've seen involving dogs and humans in agility in all the years that I have been involved. I have tremendous respect for the men that helped this woman putting themselves at risk and saving her from further serious injury. Luckily this sort of incident is very rare in our sport but it does make you think very deeply about the hyped up situation we put ourselves and our dogs into each weekend and indeed at training classes.

At the KC show I bought Zeki another deck chair. She now has this indoors and absolutely loves it. Here are some lovely pictures that Hannah took when we were having afternoon tea at the show:

Tidey matches Zeki's new chair!

Zeki and Zaz borrowing Zeki's camping version of the chair!

Tidey wants one too!

and here is Zeki ensconced in her new sitting room arm chair at home:

Agility-wise I was thrilled with the way both my girls ran. Niamh got into the British Open semi-final and all we had to do was run clear to get to Crufts but we had a misunderstanding at the weaves (partly due to me shouting weave instead of saying poles.) I originally changed my verbal cue from 'weave' to 'poles' because it sounds just like 'Niamh'. Whatever came over me I don't know. Zeki and I failed to get into the medium semi-final which was frustrating but not the end of the world. She did some brilliant runs and came away with quite a little haul.

We did a couple of days at Dogs in Need and I wasn't sad not to be camping there. I have attended the show almost every year since it started (I think this was the third one that I've missed) and I am tired with the format. I think the organisers do a fantastic job but I just need to do something a bit different. I was cross with myself that I didn't get Zeki into the champ final all down to a stupid error on my part in the agility round in which we were eliminated. We ran clear in the jumping and came 4th but that's no good with an elimination in the other part!

Last weekend were Surrey and Bridge House, I went to the Sunday show and had a lovely day. I took Poppy along and she had a wonderful time round the rings watching the agility. She was exhausted when we got home. Niamh got an 8th in her agility class and Zeki won an agility class. Their other rounds were good but mistakes by me stopped them running clear.

One of my mistakes which is on video is where I completely miss out a jump and get eliminated. This wasn't because I forgot the course but because I walked the course incorrectly. I do this so often but usually someone tells me or when I'm waiting to run I notice someone running the course differently to how I walked it. This time I ran #1 and so didn't get the benefit of seeing it run properly. I actually did this in the EOQ at the KC Festival and noticed with two dogs to go! That was very lucky as I was placed 17th with Niamh and 2nd with Zeki! I must look at the numbers when I walk courses!

I was just too tired (or is that lazy) to get up early on the Monday to go back again so instead had a lovely day at home in the garden.

Next weekend Zeki has her medium Olympia semi-final followed by Prestbury Park champ show on the Sunday. Fingers crossed for both!

Kizzy has been having a rest from agility as she hasn't been running quite right. She is seeing an excellent osteopath who is getting her back to fitness. She did a little bit of jumping for the first time this week and so far, so good.

Here are some photos and videos:

Zeki in her deck chair in the awning (above) and Tidey and Niamh on their beds (below)

Poppy agility-watching at Bridge House show

Niamh (above) and Zeki (below) with their rosettes and trophies from the KC Festival

Zeki with her first place along with some of her Obay relatives and Skipper, Sonia's rescue sheltie who got his first ever clear round and came 3rd!

The beautiful Naughty Niamh from Newlands and Dogs in Need.
Wonderful photos by Alan Score

Five more great shots of Niamh at the KC Festival by Jodi Lunn

And finally ....... some pictures of Kizzy's enforced holiday from agility. Here she is doing what she loves best .... eating:

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