Sunday, 26 August 2012


I am doing a spot of dog juggling at the moment. Brooke has finally come into season at 17 months and obviously we are keeping her and Brodie under close supervision!! She had a lesson last wed and I had an inkling she may be thinking about a season. Glad to say that she worked like a star and doesn't seem to be hormonal at all, just a bit clingy! 

My Mum came down to visit us last weekend and we had a lovely but very hot time!! It was 29 degrees on the sunday so we didn't do much during the day but went to my Mum in laws for a BBQ in the evening which was our first (and possibly last!) of the year. Brooke decided to help Nana look something up on the computer!

The three amigos out on a walk just before Brooke decided to nip at Brax's ears to wind her up! Brodie looks really fat in this pic but its all fluff!

Princess Brooke at Heartwood - last off lead walk before her season started. We were out for a couple of hours and it was lovely :)

Brax looking incredibly cute! 

My handsome toad :)

Brooke and her fav ball.

Brodie founds something to roll in - this was him after and he didn't smell too good either! Brax would never dream about rolling but both Brooke and Brodie do - future puppy owners beware!!!

I went to a UKA show yesterday - Matthew was at work so it was just Dolly and Brodie competing and they did two classes each (no shows for Brooke for a while anyway). I did Beginners Gamblers with Dolly and missed out the weaves as they are not quite there yet but her contacts are reliable now and her fav thing. She did a seesaw in the ring for the first time very nicely and got to do 2 x AF and 2 x DW's so she was very pleased. I varied the length I held them and she nailed all of them perfectly so I was totally thrilled :) I'm so used to running contacts that I have to remind myself to stop as well! I entered her in the Beginners Steeplechase qualifier as well and I still can't believe that she WON it!! Clever spaniel was 100% focused and really enjoying herself. Brodie has qualified for the UKA Grand finals in Dec already so now I have two dogs to juggle over that weekend! Thanks so much to Kate for suggesting I run her as we are having so much fun!

My gorgeous little toad won his steeplechase as well and came 3rd in gamblers - yay!! Only a couple of points needed before he gets to Champ level in performance. Love my boy! :)

Monday, 13 August 2012

Summer training

Yesterday we had a lovely time training all three dogs at the field. We had a 'game plan' for each dog as I tend to find without one we are not as constructive!

As she is now semi-retired, we just keep her doing short exercises over micro height. We particularly worked on rear crosses as these have always been her weakest cross. We re-trained her to a running contact last year and we did a few of these just to remind her of what contacts are - her dog walk is still a bit 'creepy' but we didn't get any jumps so thats progress! The problem with Brax's contacts have been entirely our own doing in that they weren't trained properly in the beginning (we never thought we'd compete so we were taught it wasn't important unless you compete!!) Any trainer will tell you that 'what they learn first they learn best'!!

Brodie generally is a very consistent little boy. He too struggles on rear crosses but only going right - left is not a problem! This goes back to last year when he had a back/neck issue and was very stiff on his right hand side. I noticed he was coming out of weaves and not turning right easily and sure enough my physio found he was very sore, poor boy. He is fine now but still prefers left over right! I did some work heavily rewarding right rear crosses and he was doing some nice turns. I also worked on Brodies dog walk as he missed one recently and I need to get it sorted as we have qualified for the UKA Finals which is an agility round. Here is a video of Brodie doing a jumping course recently. I was pleased that I could move away from him in the weaves and layer the jump as he isn't normally very brave!!

She is such a crazy sheltie chasing her ball and doing agility that I have got a pair of cheap leg wraps for her. I'm worried about her skidding into the grass or on her contacts and hurting her stopper pads and sure enough after training her wraps were covered in grass stains where she had skidded!! Whether she wears them all the time for agility I'm not sure but it doesn't do her any harm and I think it makes her more aware of her foot placement. We mainly worked on contacts with Brooke, we have managed to wean her off having her manners minder at the end of the dog walk and instead she has a dead toy.

Here is a video of her dog walk in slow motion to her ball.

Her A frame is still a work in progress - Brooke consistently gets the contact but sometimes just jumps the apex and lands on it which is not what we want! We have been using a stride regulator to make her land twice on the descent which is far safer and better for her in the long run.

We have decided to do a 2o/2o on her see-saw and she is enjoying learning her final position. If we ever decided to teach her a stopped contact as well as running her dog walk then it shouldn't be too difficult. No video but here are some pics.

Brooke with her new leg wraps!

With her pink girly target on the see-saw! She is wearing her new agility collar - thanks so much Lian as its very smart!

Eating her sweeties on the target :)

We were trying to put the equipment away and Brooke thought she'd sit in the see-saw and try and get MORE sweeties!!

Monday, 6 August 2012

Brooke at UKA (take 2!!)

We went back to the UKA Nationals and Matthew took Brooke into a couple of Steeplechases (nfc) and I took Dolly spaniel into steeplechase and nursery agility. They were both a bit wild in their first run but had nice bits of work. I was so made up that Dolly thought I was worth sticking with as we were right next to the burger van!

Their second steeplechase runs were much better - both dogs were much more focussed and confident. The courses were lovely and flowing, the only difficulty in the second one was the offset jump-tunnel-jump sequence to start with. Dolly got a refusal as I didn't run fast enough and apart from a slight detour to see the judge she did a lovely run, especially up the last line. Good enough for a 2nd though :)

Matthew very sensibly didn't try the start but just did the tunnel onwards. Brooke was having FUN!! She did some lovely work ahead of Matthew and was particularly good up the last line. She is so fast even for Matt that we don't want her to learn to spin and bark at him if she doesn't know where she is going. Its such a difference to wee Brax who never needed to go on as Matt could be there for her.

Dolly also did Nursery agility which was a brilliant course for a young dog - wish all of the nursery's were that flowing. (Last weeks had numerous crosses and tunnel under dog walk!!) Dolly was a superstar and did a lovely wait followed by lovely contacts :) She nailed her dog walk but I'd forgotten that they lower the A frame for Nursery and she failed to stop in a 2o/2o and bless her self corrected. Wow she was great - more  focussed with each run and no spaniel nose!! Sadly not all runs were on video due to the thunderstorm we had :(

Friday, 3 August 2012

Horse news

I thought that Max pony deserved his own update as he has been on box rest :(  I am always really careful with his weight as being a native pony they are good at packing in as much grass as possible! This year due to the weather conditions the grass in our field is soooo lush. I was keeping Max in during the day and turning him out at night in a grazing muzzle. At least this way he gets to spend time with his best mate Dice as Dice needs lots of grass unlike Max. I have tried putting him in his own paddock but he doesn't like it and goes through the fence!

Anyway, he managed to break out of his muzzle last week and when I caught him in the morning he was really pottery on his front feet. I was hoping it was an abscess but the vet confirmed that it was mild laminitis :( He has never had it before and I was gutted that one muzzle-less night was enough to cause him pain. He has been on box rest for a week and is now allowed out for a couple of hours a day. No riding yet but I'm just pleased that the vet is happy with his progress. She has done a blood test for Cushings disease as its common in teenage horses that suddenly develop foot problems. Results for that are back next week. I think Max is enjoying all the extra fuss he is having while he is in - lots of extra grooming and yummy hay!

We were lucky enough to watch the Cross Country event at the Olympics - WOW!! It was truly awesome and so incredible to be so close up to the fences. The course was very twisty and hilly and we managed to walk the whole course before we saw the first British rider jump the first fence. The fences were beautifully made and all had a British theme - this one is called the Royal Herb Garden.

And this fence was the East End fruit barrow - complete with real fruit!!

The atmosphere was brilliant and London seems to have come alive with the Olympics - there was happy people everywhere which is very unlike any normal trips into London!! A real once in a lifetime experience and one to treasure. Icing on the cake was that the British team got the silver medal - GO TEAM GB!!!

One of those days...

We decided to bite the bullet and take Brooke to her first show to do a Beginners Steeplechase NFC (not for competition) last sunday. UKA shows are brilliant for this as it gives the baby dogs the chance to be rewarded in the ring which keeps up their drive and motivation.

Brodie and Brax were doing a couple of classes and Brooke was only entered in one as the other steeplechase was too late in the day (I had to get back to do horses). Unfortunately it just turned out to be one of those days!! All three dogs runs clashed so Matthew withdrew from Brax's class and had to run back to the car to get Brooke. In the meantime I ran Brodie in Power and Speed and handled like an idiot - poor Brodie needs a new sat nav!

Anyway, went to watch Brookes first ever run and Matt set her up on the start line and she waited beautifully. Then her nose twitched and off she ran out of the ring! It turns out that her 'Grandma' Lian (her breeder) was behind her and Brooke totally adores Lian. She wouldn't leave the ring for anyone else but she had to say hello!! She did go back to Matt and managed to string some jumps and a tunnel together. It wasn't the positive experience that we'd hoped it would be but at least it was positive for Brooke, just not for Matt :(

It's so long since our other dogs were at their first competitions that you forget what baby dogs do. Brooke is usually such a focused girl when it comes to playing with Matthew so at least we know we need to work on her focus when her Grandma is around! Brooke's brother Sonic did a lovely couple of runs - clever boy :)