Monday, 10 June 2013

Abbots Langley Carnival

We had a weekend off from competing this weekend to give a display at the Abbots Langley Carnival with our training club, Watford ATC.  We had about an hour display to give in the afternoon showing off dog agility to the public.  It gained a lot of interest with lots of people cheering us on.

Everyone in deep preparation for the event
It was generally a very relaxing day.  We spent most of it sat around in the gazebo or wandering around the carnival.  Quite a lot of members of the club were there and it was good to build more club spirit.  We hadn't spoken to a lot of people at the club prior to this event so it was definitely good for us.

On to the agility.  We had an agility round to start with to show off the equipment.  Patrick decided to make it more fun for the audience by putting two tunnels next to each other under the A-frame!  It did make it more entertaining as quite a few of us went wrong, but then no one really cared as long as we all had fun.  We ran all four of ours, including Zazu.  All four of them ran nicely.  Winnie was running like she does in training and was enjoying it.  Zazu was also very good as this was the first time we have run him in front of such a crowd.  He did a few jumps, a wall, tunnels and the dog walk.

After this we had a team really race.  Just a few jumps and a tunnel, but two teams running against each other.  We ran Zazu with the small dogs and again he ran very well.  He only missed one jump when he was running at an angle, but after each run he got better.

There were quite a few of the beginner dogs and handlers at the display, and they were all very good.  It was the first time a lot of them had done anything like this before.  Everyone was enjoying themselves and so were the dogs.  There were no disasters.  We are going to another display in a couple of weeks at the Shenley Fete.  Hopefully that  won't be quite as frantic!

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

PADs Agility Show

Another weekend, another show.  This weekend we were up in Walton-on-Trent, north of Birmingham for the PADs agility show.  This was the last show in a long run of four weekends in a row at shows.  I had a good feeling about the show and was really looking forward, especially as the weather forecast was great.  We had Shadow running at grade 6, Doople at grade 4 and Winnie at grade 3.

We had a pleasant dive up avoiding the toll roads and arrived in good time.  The show was nowhere near as busy as Nottingham last week, and the quality of the runs wasn't the same either.  The course were generally good and challenging, but there weren't very many top handlers and watching the classes wasn't as exciting.  That being said, I didn't have the best of weekends.

Pre-show relaxing at home
On that note I'll start with Shadow.  The first run in Saturday was grade 1-7 jumping.  Shadow was running forward and barking lots, always a good sign.  It didn't take us too long to get eliminated though.  Shadow spotted a tunnel about 10m away and that was it!  Her next run, grade 1-7 agility, had a similar ending.  Shadow got distracted by a tunnel after the weaves and missed the jump.  This was probably my fault for telling her where we were going as she powered forward.  She did spectacularly miss her dog walk contact and ending up in a heap at the bottom.  She must have lost her balance because she jumped incredibly far and rolled over twice after.  She was fine and came back to the contact wagging  Next up was the 6-7 agility.  The weave entry in this course was very similar to last weekend at Nottingham, going in from the opposite direction.  We almost managed but Shadow missed the first pole, something to practice there as it seems more and more common. We fell foul of a tunnel again as Shadow raced into the wrong end.  We finished the day with 6-7 jumping.  This was quite a 'naggy' course but also with big gaps.  After nearly missing the class whilst watching it for 20 minutes, we went in and had a good run.  Shadow was a bit wide on one the turns and I didn't pull her in far enough so we got a refusal, but it was a good end to day even if we had no clear rounds.

I was hoping Sunday would be better and we wouldn't have the same tunnel issues.  We started with grade 6-7 agility.  It had some tight turns and an opposite direction weave entry, which we managed well.  Unfortunately we missed the A-frame contact, which we haven't done in a long while.  Next was the grade 1-7 jumping.  This was a fast flowing course and ran well, but Shadow got distracted in the weaves and missed the last pole.  This was followed by the grade 6-7 jumping.  Again fairly straightforward and fast with a funny angled weave entry.  We managed the weave entry but Shadow came out half way down.  Still no clear round!  The last run of the day was grade 1-7 agility.  This was a good course to finish with and again quite fast.  This time we finally went clear!  Albeit a little steady but I'm happy nonetheless.  After 8 runs we had one clear round, nevermind!

Doople had a good weekend last week so we were hoping to continue this.  +Susi Cooper ran Doople's first run was grade 4-5 agility.  She started well but came out of the flat tunnel funny and seemed to lose a lot of confidence.  She didn't finish the weaves correctly though.  I ran her in the grade 1-7 jumping to see if I could get her running better, and avoid the tunnels Shadow was so fond of.  She ran well this time and was going for it.  We ended up 8th.  Next up Susi ran her in grade 1-7 agility.  She didn't seem to have much drive this time so it was hard to run.  We're not sure why, lost confidence or fatigue, but she occasionally does this, not very regularly any more though.  I ran her final round, grade 4-5 jumping.  She still wasn't running like she can do, and I pulled her off of the last jump because of that.

Doople's first run with Susi on Sunday was the grade 4-5 agility.  She started off well but had issues with the tunnel under the entrance to the dog walk.  Susi got too close to the tunnel entrance so had to back out, which caused Doople to miss the tunnel.  Then with the dog walk Susi pushed Doople to wide so she went in the tunnel instead.  Next up I ran Doople in the grade 1-7 jumping.  Doople started well but lost her speed towards the end on the long straight run.  By this point she looks like she is trying but flagging a bit.  This was followed by grade 4-5 jumping.  This course was similar to the 1-7 jumping, Doople was running it nicely but again looking tired.  We had some nice in's and Doople didn't seem to slow as much as she has, but we need to work on her drive with in's.  Finally we had the grade 1-7 agility. She again looked tired in this course but finished the weekend well so we are pleased with her.

Winnie didn't have a very good agility weekend.  She was in two classes on Saturday, the first of which she was barely moving, we missed a few jumps because I was ahead.  The second she kept going under the jumps.  This is in complete contrast to training when she is really excited and happy.  We forfeited her Sunday runs as she didn't seem to be enjoying her agility that weekend.  SHe was happy he rest of the time, especially when the we went to the dog treat vendor!  Although she was being picky about the treats he was trying to give her!  This will probably be the last show we do with Winnie for a while.  We may run her in anysize classes but only if she's enjoying it.

It ended up being a short weekend as we were on the road by 3 o'clock.  Thinking we were going to get home in good time, I promptly found a bridge too small for the caravan about 2 miles from the showground. Doh!  Luckily I didn't damage anything, but I did have to try to turn a van and caravan around in a small road.  I turned it part way around into a very convenient lay by.  Cue fed up motorists.  We had to man handle the caravan the rest of the way, but with so many stuck motorists at least there were a lot of people around.  Only they all stayed in their cars and watched the two of us move a trailer by hand, charming!  I also had someone nearly take the van door off as they were in such a hurry to go.  Note to self: don't blindly follow sat-nav when it takes you a different direction home!