Tuesday, 30 March 2010

UKA and Interclub Match

Brax has had a very busy weekend with the Interclub match on saturday (Letchworth, Wellingborough, BATS and Redgates) and we all went to Waverunners UKA on sunday. We are still recovering from the serious lack of sleep!

I didn't get to watch Bracken on saturday due to being at work :( but Matthew came home with four red rosettes from four classes!! Well done to everyone at Letchworth for your brilliant results! Brodie and I wish we could have been there.

We went to Waverunners on sunday which was being held at Newbury this year. Although it would have been possible to do five classes, we chose to do three each, especially as Brax had been so busy on saturday. Brodie did jumping, agility and snooker and Brax did two steeplechases and snooker.

I ran the jumping first and it was a flowing course with a straight run up to a tunnel to start. Unfortunately I didn't go right up with him and he missed his tunnel entry as I was already moving to get a front cross in. I was an idiot as I had forgotten my grippy trainers and wasn't running properly! Sorry Brodie!! Anyway, amazingly he got 4th in the class for fastest 5f which was a shock. He was a clever boy coming 2nd in the agility and winning his snooker class. Thanks to Matthew for helping me walk snooker as its a nightmare without a 2nd opinion!
Brax was a superstar as usual and got a 2nd and a 1st in her Steeplechase classes which (finally!) moves her out of novice and into senior. We decided that snooker was not her thing as she thought that Matthews legs looked far more exciting than the cloth tunnel! Naughty girly!

Congratulations to Lian and Saturn who had a fab weekend and got placed in all his classes therefore qualifying for the Tuff e Nuff finals in July. Yay go Saturn! A special mention must go to Ruth and Jamie (who come for a lesson with me every week) who not only got their first clear round in steeplechase but they WON the class!! I'm sure its the first rosette of many. Jamie is an incredibly cute Papillon and Ruth has worked really hard to build his confidence up. He reminds me of Brodie in that if he is relaxed in the environment he will work fast and consistently whereas if something scares him, it takes a while for him to get his confidence back.

Talking of Brodie and confidence, it took ages for him to have his measuring done at UKA! He didn't like the measure as its very different from the KC hoops and he was very borderline again. It took three people a long time to decide that he was only just out of toy and into midi!

Thursday, 25 March 2010

HAPPY 5th BIRTHDAY BRAX!!

It was Brackens 5th birthday yesterday and she had her idea of a perfect day as she got to stay at home with Matthew and be really lazy! People who have seen Brax at a show would never believe that she is such a lazy dog at home. She would sleep 24/7 given a chance! She got a smart new lead from our shop and her Auntie Eve gave her a sausage so that went down well!

We have been perfecting her new trick which is to 'pray'. Its basically a beg but her front paws have to touch. I guess she must be well balanced and coordinated to do this!

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Monday, 22 March 2010

Chippenham - first KC show of the year!

Our shelties did us proud at Chippenham show yesterday! Its strange to think that it was Brodies first ever KC show last year. To be honest I didn't know how he would run as I am so ring rusty and thought I'd let him down with my handling. He was soooo enthusiastic to be doing agility at a party that he was a tad crazy at times (certain superdog impression on the seesaw!) but ran his little heart out for me.

His first class was C1-3 jumping and he got a 5th in it, which I was surprised at as it was a straightforward, flowing course and a lot of dogs went clear. Then he had the G1-3 agility which he flew round and nailed all his running contacts. I was so shocked that he not only won it but was the fastest by a couple of seconds. He didn't hold his wait which was rare but fortunately I saw him move and just started running! My wee man has gone Grade 4 - awwww I'm so proud of him. Sorry about the quality of the video and unfortunately my phone wasn't recording for long enough to catch the end of his run!


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In his C1-3 agility, the course was very flowing and I thought I'd take the opportunity to try crossing behind him in the weaves as he needs to practice this. He was running so well, got his dog walk beautifully, managed cross behind in weaves and clear until the seesaw. Well he was having such a great time that he decided just to keep running and forgot to tip it!! He was fine so I didn't put him back on it but we earned 5 faults for his gung-ho approach. Shame as his time was very fast and he would have come 3rd behind two super shelties. (Big well done to Cat Harvey and gorgeous Blue who won). Brodies last class of the day was the pairs with Lian and super Sizzle and walking it I thought how on earth am I going to get this start right. Both tri boys were clear and fast but as neither of us heard the briefing, we didn't realise that you get 25 faults if you put the baton down in the box. I was just so pleased with Brodie going clear!! Here is a link to their pairs run (and look how similar they are, same dad and both boys mums have the same dad)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_j5SK6x34U

Bracken had a great day as well. She didn't get to do her first run until almost lunchtime so she was a bit cross and she did a stonking run in her G5-7 agility class. Still can't believe it but she won the class - BRAX HAS GONE GRADE 7!! Who would have thought that our first agility dog would have been such a little superstar! Matthew is looking forward to trying a champ class or two with her now. They had a great run in the C5-7 jumping and ended up one out of the places. She was also going well in the C4-6 agility until the end where she came out of the cloth tunnel and missed a jump. Her contacts and pull throughs were great though!

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We gave the dogs a walk with Lian, Colin and their 3 boys in the exercise area. Fab photos to follow! The sun was setting and it made for great pics.
After the show Matthew and I had a yummy meal out with some of our friends in a local pub. It was lovely to catch up with friends in the warm and dry. The food was great and our pudding was so big I had to take a pic of it!

Monday, 15 March 2010

Crufts 2010!


We are still on cloud nine!! Bracken and her handsome partner Saturn (expertly handled by Lian) managed to achieve an amazing 4th place in the Small/Mixi pairs at Crufts! They did so well as it was both dogs first time at Crufts and they were the highest placed partnership that didn't include a Grade 7 dog! Big congratulations to all the other shelties that were competing and did so well, what clever dogs they are!

It was very special for me and Matthew to have our Mums both come and support us at Crufts. My Mum had come all the way from Aberdeenshire so Brax put on a real show for her! We had a lovely few days together, including some of Mothers day. The dogs absolutely adore having her to stay as these pics show!
I took this really cute pic of the dogs out on a walk in St Albans.
The weather seems to be better today so after a nice hack on the common I decided to turn Max out with a lightweight rug on and no neck cover, his first chance to 'let his hair down!' I just hope that it doesn't rain...

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Fun day off!

I'm having a busy but fun day off! I have just been doing lots of baking as my Mum is coming to stay and I love making cakes! I'm having a rare couple of days off at home so I thought I'd make the most of it and spend some time doing some (much needed) housework, riding and walking the dogs! I went for a lovely ride this morning and took some video of my fav hack!

If you have never ridden a horse, here is a virtual ride in the Hertfordshire countryside. Please turn the sound down if you don't want to hear Max snorting and me breathing!!

This is us cantering in the field - I love watching Max's ears twitching backwards and forwards.

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This is us on the golf course having a trot - sorry about the dodgy filming!

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Our ride takes us back past some very posh houses

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Onto a private road with some even bigger houses! There are some lovely snowdrops out (thats for my Mum-she loves snowdrops!)

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The last bit of our ride crosses the railway. Fortunately Max is a star over the bridge as there are four train lines into London and it can be noisy when a few trains come at the same time!

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I can't believe that it is Crufts time already. We think Brax is as ready as she could ever be and I'm sure she'll enjoy her run round the main arena! In some ways it marks the start of the agility season for us as our first shows are in the next few weeks. Brodie will be competing saturdays and sundays this year as Matthew will run him on saturdays while I'm at work. Looking back, he did very well in 2009 considering he only competed on Sundays. This year I feel he'll be able to cope with more. I don't like overdoing it when they are young, especially as Brodie is a small medium so he didn't start properly competing until he was two. Brax didn't really compete until she was three but that was mainly because she was so full of attitude!!

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Funny Bracken!

I just took this pic of Brax who has got into bed on top of her fav toy 'mooey' (who is a cow - imaginative name I know!) and she looks soooo funny!!She has had her hair and nails done ready for Crufts. Seeing as it is sheltie showing day as well, we can't take her looking like a scruff!!

Good luck to everyone we know who is competing at Crufts!! :)

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Sunny day practice!

The shelties have had a busy day so far, with long walks, Brodie being measured this morning and them having a run round this afternoon. Brodie is currently asleep next to me and Bracken is doing her cat impression and following the afternoon sun round the house!

Brodie had his second measure this morning and is now officially medium. We did hope that he would squeeze into small as he was borderline on both measures but unfortunately he wouldn't relax enough so medium it is! He looks so tiny compared to some of the collies and spaniels but he does try hard. Both of our dogs are small for their height catergory so fingers crossed the next one will be 'big' in its height catergory!! I'm still working on getting number three so watch this space...

Bracken ran really well and I managed to get some videos of her. Here are a couple showing her contacts. Sorry about the fuzzy quality, they were taken on my phone :)

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Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Monday, 1 March 2010

Training day

Yesterday we went to a training day with Dave Jolly that was being held by Letchworth club. It was a really informative morning and our doggies really enjoyed themselves. Dave got me throwing a toy for Brodie over the last jump to get him working further ahead of me and it really got Brodies speed up. Interestingly, Dave said he rarely works on speed but generally on getting the dogs confidence up which in turn increases the speed. I don't use toys lots with Brodie as generally he won't have the confidence to tug with other dogs around but I hadn't really appreciated that chasing the toy is more rewarding for Brodie. Bracken is a far more confident dog generally and will work to chase or tug a toy and she'll work equally well for food.

We were also learning about how important the position of our shoulders were and how a lot of handlers confuse their dogs by waving various arms and shouting inconsistent commands. Interestingly, I ran Brodie a few times using hardly any arm signals and he went just as well, if not possibly a bit faster. I know that I'm a great one for flapping my arms about and hoping for the best so it made my runs a bit more tidy!! One of Dave's other comments was about the need for a wait in agility. When I'm teaching obedience classes, we go over waits in so many situations to proof it as I know without a wait I'd struggle on certain courses. I know people who compete and do well without a wait but generally they have very driven dogs and they have to handle them very differently anyway.

After our training, we went out to a lovely pub and Matthew and I had the most enormous, yummy pies! It was nice to have a catch up with everyone in the warm and dry. Thanks must go to Lisa and the Letchworth club for organising a fun Sunday!

On the Saturday, Matthew took both of the dogs to Barking Mad at Keysoe. Brax got a 2nd in the jumping (despite falling over!) and Brodie got two clears but was a bit 'day-dreamy'. Congratulations to everyone we know who did so well in the finals!