Thursday, 16 May 2013

Godmanchester DTC Show

This weekend were competing at the Godmanchester DTC show in Ely, Cambridgeshire.  We were hoping for nicer weather than the previous camping shows but alas 'twas not to be.  We had Doople running her first show at grade 4, Shadow running at grade 6 and Winnie running a couple of runs at grade 3.

It was a nice showground at an equestrian cross-country centre in Ely.  The grounds were lovely to walk around with some massive cross-country jumps.  I'll stick to dogs I think, closer to the ground!  It was an average size show and we weren't camped too far away which makes the weekend so much easier.

Photosphere taken from the middle of the rings
First up was Shadow in her combined grade 6-7 jumping.  This was a very easy course to start with which is good to get your confidence up with.  It was basically a helter-skelter but useful as a warm up.  We got a clear round but no where near the placings.  Next up was the combined grade 4-7 agility.  Shadow was running forward well but lost a lot of confidence doing right hand weaves, she looked like she had never seen them before.  I went back to do them on the left and she shot straight through, a little bizarre as we train both sides equally.  Next we had combined grade 4-7 helter-skelter, another good blast but Shadow was running a little slower as it was raining but we still managed a clear round outside the placings.  After a rather heavy 20 minute down pour spent inside the scorers tent, we had the team event, I'll more about that at the end.  We finished the day with graded 6-7 agility.  Shadow was a little steady again as it had been raining earlier but a good round.  Very steady through the right hand weaves again but we managed to complete them leaving us only 0.1s out of the placings!

In terms of results, Sunday was the opposite of Saturday for Shadow.  We started with the pairs running with +Susi Cooper and Doople.  It was another interesting start to the course and again it was our friend Ray Burke's course!  It started with a jump and two parallel side-by-side tunnels, in one then the other then back between the two and into the weaves.  Needless to say there were a lot of dogs, mainly spaniels, going through the tunnels a few too many times.  We both managed that but Shadow again lost her confidence in the weaves so we ended up with faults.  We followed this with graded 6-7 agility.  It was a very tricky course with open spaces.  We managed it well with only a couple of wide turns but unfortunately Shadow missed the A-frame completely!  I was running passed after a long gap and stopped working the equipment, so she followed me around it.  If that wasn't bad enough, I basically did the same thing in the combined grade 4-7 agility as well!  This time I tried to cross in front of the A-frame but wasn't quick enough so I pulled her around with me.  Apart from that she was really going for it.  Our last run was graded 6-7 jumping.  This was a fairly tricky course with a tight start followed by large open spaces.  We finally managed a placing picking up a third.

Doople started the day with combined grade 4-5 jumping after a nice leisurely morning for her.  For once it wasn't me getting eliminated after the first couple of jumps, this week Susi takes that title, and on the first run too!  Susi didn't turn enough on a pull through so Doople back jumped.  It was good afterwards though.  Next up was combined grade 4-7 agility, the same course Shadow ran in and managed a better round than Shadow too finishing with a clear round.  Finally, after me standing in the queue in the rain while Susi and Doople wait inside the scorers tent, the heavens opened and dumped what felt like a years worth of rain.  As the judge was now running for cover I abandoned my place in queue, along with the rest of the queue.  20 minutes later we were back out and, sort of, ready to go.  We weren't sure how Doople would run as she doesn't like the rain, but it had stopped and Doople ran quite well despite the slippery surface.  As half of the class had already run in dry there wasn't much hope for a place but a clear round none-the-less.

Sunday started in much the same way as Saturday.  Doople had one early-ish run in the pairs.  I won't repeat  myself, but Doople ran a good round and was let down by her pairs partner (yes I am talking about myself). This was followed by combined grade 4-7 agility.  For some reason, despite my poor efforts with Shadow in this class, I ended up running Doople as well.  I didn't make the same mistake twice though!  Doople ran well for me although I did get too far in front for the weaves so we ended up with faults.  The final round of the weekend was graded 4-5 agility.  This was a good course and there were a lot of people making silly mistakes.  Doople ended up with a third place which was brilliant.

Last but not least was Winnie.  Winnie is still lacking a lot of confidence in the ring.  At training she is running well and is really enjoying it, but at shows she doesn't have the same drive.  That will come with experience which is why we only run her a couple of times over the weekend. She was running forwards and jumping well, albeit slowly.  She is cantering the dog walk now in the ring which is great, a lot of time can be lost if dog is slow as it is 36 feet long.  I got caught out in the rain again before the ABC (anything but collie) jumping.  Susi took Winnie to stand in the secretary's tent while I went in queue in the what felt like hail.  It passed after a few minutes though.  On Sunday Winnie was even slower than normal.  We're not sure if she was stiff from a cold night's sleep, or whether she was still mentally fatigued from the previous day.  She is physically very fit but mentally she gets tired quite quickly.  Susi ran her for the final day, by which time we were making up our own course to keep it straight and simple.

As I said earlier, Shadow ran in the team event, the Dog Vegas Chase the Ace qualifier.  We ran with Juliet, Maureen and Heather from the Poodle Club so it was good to have a full team of small poodles.   Susi and Doople have already qualified in a different team so couldn't join ours.  Team classes consist of 4 dogs and handlers and is a batten relay race, only the batten is held by the next person to run rather than running around the course with it.  The faults for each dog accumulate to give the overall team score with the timer running continuously from the first dog starting to the last dog finishing.  The team with the fewest faults and fastest time wins.  We were all a little steady as we were caught out in the 20 min downpour.  We all ran very well with all of us going clear.  You could feel the tension as Heather ran last after the three of us had gone clear.  Getting four clear rounds in a team event is quite rare, out of 25 teams only two teams managed a full set of clear rounds.  That left us in 2nd place and qualifying for the final!

It was a good alround weekend with some good runs from all dogs.  The good thing about the weekend for Shadow was that we didn't miss a single contact, not counting missing the equipment!  Improvements are still needed though, particularly with the weaves.  Doople was still running well, we now need to work on more complicated turns as she is moving up the grades, especially teaching her to go round the back of the jump.  Winnie just generally needs to work on her confidence in the ring, as long as things don't go drastically wrong she'll get better.

Next weekend we have a one day show in Luton, at least it's just around the corner.