Sunday, 24 June 2012

Brooke agility in slow mo

I've finally managed to work out how to get video's in slow motion-yay!! I'm what my sister would call a techo numpty :)  I posted this video on Facebook at full speed but I just love watching her striding over the first three obstacles in slow motion. It also shows how much she has benefited from gridwork as a young dog.

Brax didn't do any as a youngster and isn't that confident about her striding, she used to have a lot of poles when she started competing. As a consequence, I did a bit with Brodie after he started training (at a year) mainly as it was something we always did with young horses and I felt that he should after Brax's issues. The real eye-opener was going to Gemma Hanekoms brilliant gridwork training day with Brax a few years ago. She really highlighted good and bad jumping styles and how if a dog was confident in its striding then it would take strides out therefore saving half seconds all over a course. I now use the video as a tool to check our dogs striding and if necessary do some extra gridwork sessions with them.

We did a UKA show today and Brodie was a good boy in all three of his classes - he won his gamblers :) The jumping was a fab run and he was really going for it and just ran past the tyre which was the last obstacle. He had got distracted running up the last line and as he was ahead of me there wasn't much I could do - think I need to take up sprint training!! He was fab in the agility and did all the complicated stuff and then I moved too much on a pull through and he back jumped. Bad mummy. I was soooo pleased with him as he was really fast and confident all the way round all his runs. Its the first year he has competed where he hasn't had a 'spook' in the ring at something. I know it sounds silly but its a massive step forward for us :-D

It was VERY scary to realise that Brooke can compete the next time we are at a show!! Watch this space :)

Monday, 18 June 2012

Photos and Brooke pupdate - 15 months

This was Max trying to pretend he hadn't been asleep as I walked up the field to catch him!! I love the look on his face - proper just got out of bed look!!

I finally got a photo of Brooke doing 'froggy legs' she does it all the time and we have started to put it on command. I also have a video of her doing froggy legs on my YouTube channel.

This was Brooke and Brodie on a walk today with their mate Jess, the sun was out and it was just lovely to be outside and stay dry :)

Below is a picture of Toad fresh from his bath. My friend Jenni  is a groomer and my shelties adore her! He looks lovely and fluffy and is sporting a smart bow - Brookes turn next as Brax got done last month.

Below is Brodie and Brax on the field, Brooke didn't want to pose for a picture so I took one of the professionals who will sit and pose for ages bless them!

Anyway, enough photos! I can't believe that Princess Brooke is 15 months tomorrow. She is training a couple of times a week with Matthew and I pop her through the weaves another couple of times a week just to get the idea in her head. She is a real worker, tries so hard and is soooo easy to motivate - just a dream to train :) I'm sure we'll have wobbles with her but its all part of learning. She had a lesson with Dan last week as its great to have someone 'outside the box' to highlight things that we need to work on. Homework includes building value for tunnels, front crosses and getting her upright weaving before next lesson (next week). Happy to say unlike school days, we are loving our homework! Its amazing what you can achieve by doing a little bit often and I wonder how we ever managed to get Brodie and Brax trained by only doing a class once a week. I took a video of her full height A Frame and weaves.

I mentioned last time about running someone else's dog and I did my first training session with her at the weekend. I have trained her and her owner  for a while but when offered the chance to train and compete her and I wasn't going to say no! Dolly is a chocolate Working Cocker Spaniel who is coming up 2 years old and she is just lovely!! She has a good grasp of the basics except weaves (work in progress!) and I'm hoping to get her out at some UKA shows to do NFC this year and hopefully KC eventually. Her and Brooke may be starting in Grade 3 at the same time with any luck :) At the moment my timing is all out but we'll get there! Here is a little clip of our first session together.

Monday, 11 June 2012

A-Frames and Trec

It was so nice to have a let up in the rain over the weekend! Last Friday I took the dogs to Quad Paws again to do three classes with Brodie. I would have run Brax but the weather was not nice enough and she is a bit of a diva! Brodie did a jumping, agility and games class (snooker) and clever puppy won them all! I'm so pleased that we managed snooker as it was quite a tricky set up and we were the only ones in beg, novice and senior who did it in time!

On Saturday I had a lot of training to catch up on at the field as I'd had to cancel a few sessions during the week. What a great bunch of enthusiastic handlers and lovely motivated dogs :) Matthew and I also did a bit of work with Brooke as she has just started doing the A Frame. We only did it low a few times as she was getting it quickly. She did do full height but I have no video of that yet. This was Brooke doing the low A Frame with a couple of obstacles before it.

On Sunday I went with my friend Kate to a Trec competition with the horses. It was soooo much fun and Max and Speedi were awesome!! We had to do a 'control of paces' section first which is to canter as slowly as possible and walk back as fast as possible through a 100m corridor. Kate's mare Speedi is an Spanish horse and is great at cantering very slowly and walking very fast!! Next we went off separately for the obstacle section. This involved things like rein back between two poles, opening and closing a gate, weaves poles (horse distance apart!!) leading them up a step, through a trailer and riding through a narrow corridor. It was all set on Keysoe's cross country course so there was big canters between each obstacle! We also had to jump a ditch, log, hedge, step up (with a ditch), go through the water complex and over a bank. The nice thing about Trec is you can miss out anything you don't want to do. Max and I gave up at the gate as the time was 10 mins to do 16 obstacles so I knew I couldn't waste time. In the afternoon we had a 12km ridden orienteering course and we only got lost once! Lots of lovely bridleways and places to canter :) There are checkpoints and each section is timed and has an optimum pace so you have to guess how fast you are going. We had such a great time and so did the horses! We haven't had the results yet as one pair got lost and hadn't got back until after we left!

The other exciting news is that I have the possibility of running someone's dog at agility both in training and at competition. I'm soooo excited about it as she is a stunning young dog who has got the basics and loves to work. It will be good for  me as a handler (as running Brodie is like putting on comfy slippers bless him!!) oh and just a bit of a difference from the shelties...! More about her at a later date :)

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Quad Paws UKA

The shelties did their first show for a month on saturday! Boy did they have fun and so did we :)  The weather was kind to us and it was lovely to meet up with agility friends again. We only entered two classes each with Bracken and Brodie as one of the main aims of going was to get Brooke out and about round the rings and playing over a practice jump. Its not long until she can do a NFC run at a UKA show which is very exciting and also quite nerve-wracking! She is managing to string things together quite well and had her first go on the Aframe this week (bull in a china shop puppy as normal!) so probably no 'big dog' agility yet but no hurry! We just want her happy and focussed at shows.

Sorry went off on a Brooke tangent! Brodie and Brax both won their jumping class (Brax is champ level and Brodie is senior). I was really pleased with my jumping run as Matthew suggested taking an alternative route to everyone else (he normally does!) and although it was risky it was faster. I love the tactics of course walking and although I'm the first to admit I'm not very competitive I am trying to take the attitude of trying to 'beat the course' this year. Its one part of teaching that I enjoy immensely with my advanced class and we set up courses and run them in different ways. Its great to work out what works best for each pairing and what needs work on. I know that Brodie for example is fastest chasing me round a course and struggles with rear crosses to the right after his back problem last year. Lian (Brooke's breeder) kindly took a video of Brodie's jumping run.

Brodie and Brax ran over the same course for the agility as it was the CSJ quailfier which means the two fastest dogs from novice, senior and champ combined qualify for the finals in December. We hadn't gone with any intention of qualifying but for getting round the course clear! Brax came 2nd to Lian's Sizzle (Brodie's brother) who qualified - well done Sizzle and Lian!! Brax was 3rd fastest overall so didn't qualify but sooooo pleased with her contacts as they have been neglected a bit! Here is her agility run thanks to Colin and Lian.

Brodie won senior agility on the same course (no video) and was 2nd fastest overall so has qualified for the finals!! I was pleased that I managed to get him round clear as it was quite a clever course and only one novice dog went clear and only a handful in senior and champ. I handled it differently from Matthew with Brax as I flicked him the other way round the wing before the weaves. It was a tight entry but he did me proud! He had such a great time and even got to share some of Lian's ice cream as a well done!!
Matthew borrowed Lian's Sipzie for a steeplechase run and they did really well and WON the class!! She really made Matthew run!!

Oh, Brodie and Brax have had their eyes tested by Professor Bedford today and both passed with flying colours - he even commented on how well behaved they are!! :-D