I took all the shelties minus Sipzie (in season) and our little caravan to Newbury Showground on Thursday. We left home just passed noon time and we got there nice and early. All set up by 4pm and I just chilled with the shelties. They were so glad to be "out" again, it all started a little wild, the dogs got new place to sniff and cock their legs; all the obedience training was temporary out of control! Oops! I guess, just like us human, they are allow to be naughty sometimes :)
Due to unknown injury, Sizzle was out of action again. He was very poorly, last week, he couldn't even jump up on the settee and struggled to climb up the stairs. I have Tace looked at him on the weekend and she found 3 tight spots about an inch under his shoulder blade. He is looking more relax and didn't walk in a funny shape anymore. Phew! At one point, he was very shaken, his two back legs were shaking most of the time and every now and then he lifted his front left leg. After seeing Tace, I have not seeing all these worried sign, finger crossed that he is fixed for now! Funny enough, when I took him to see the vet last week, he is a orthopedic vet, he couldn't even feel there is anything wrong with him. He said, he's a bit tight, so painkiller. WHAT? Painkiller only ease the pain not cure the problem. Sometimes, vet amazed me how unprofessional they are! I really missed my last vet, they are purely brilliant and caring!
I have not run just ONE dog for many years. Although I started with Sing, he was my only competing dog for a long time. I was a beginners then. After Saturn came along and started competing, I was busy running two dogs; then Sizzle, made it three! Everytime I went to a show, I was constantly in a ring running a dog. I remembered once, I ran 12 classes a day! At the end of the day, I was exhausted and I can't remember if I did well or not. Then, Sing and Saturn retired. I have Sizzle and Sipzie ... that goes on and on ...
I have to say, I AM VERY HAPPY to run just ONE dog, especially in the UKA shows. I have no pressure to miss walking a course or to try to get to this ring, that ring ... all over the place. Most of all, running Sonic is a lot of fun. Like his daddy, he gave you his all. He tried so hard to give me everything I asked for. He is getting better and stronger each time we go to a competition. Confident? I think he has lots of them! He probably got faster as well :)
We competed from Friday to Sunday at GT, an UKA show; then onwards to Vyne, a KC Open show. My Gobby (his new name!) only ran clear in 2 classes all weekend, but the most important 2 :) I have no video of Friday as Colin only joined us on Friday evening after work. I've entered him in Beginners Agility, Beginners Jumping and Beginners Steeplechase each day. I did NFC (Not For Competition) on Agility and Steepelchase and try to go for competition in Jumping. He still ran passed jumps/tunnels in most of the classes, so we have lots of refusals :) Although I entered for NFC, I left toys on the finished jump, so he didn't get rewarded until he took the finish jump. I've learned that he will get more distracted if I have the toy in my hand and also crossing the finish jump has become quite an issue ... he always miss the last jump and go straight to the toy!
I am very happy with his performance this weekend, eventhough we don't ran clear. He now will try to take jump that is not in line, try hard to "go on" without me being there, and has not refuse any tunnels! WooHoo! To top it off, 100% running Dog Walk! Some of them, I called it phenomena! I know I am biased but you can't stop me loving this boy :)
A lot of people thinks UKA shows are small and the standard is not as competitive as the KC Open shows. They are wrong. This weekend at GT, the courses, especially the Beginners Agility courses are tough. On Friday (no video), Sonic missed the weave (so do most dogs and I was told there's only 1 clear round in all height). The jumps were not in line, so the dogs have to work hard to take the jump, lots of twist and turn (for beginners!), weave pole is 3 pacing from the bottom of the DW, the next obstacle from the DW is a sharp turn 180 degree right jump ... Mmm ... most dogs, including Sonic go from DW to weave! I need to clear my mind, so I can recall the whole course and put it down on the paper.
Friday was a little quieter as most people still at work, but Saturday and Sunday were very busy. There were a lot more competitors. If you think top handlers only going to KC Open shows, you are wrong as there are many top handlers and their top dogs were competing there as well. It's a stiff competition :)
On Saturday, there's tunnel underneath the DW in the Beginners Agility, I don't expect to see that in a Beginners course but I rather like it. I know Sonic will probably choose to go up the DW more than the tunnel, so that makes me work harder to send him into the tunnel. He worked really well in this course. Although I ran as NFC but I still try to run like I want to win the class. It's such a shamed about the see-saw. I was wondering if I do not say anything (see-saw), will he not look at me and take the see-saw? The see-saw is slightly out of line and could it be me that try to cut in, so he came in to me? Colin zoom in too close that you can't see the see-saw :(
Saturday, Beginners Agility:
One thing I am really happy about this weekend is most of the tunnels are straight. After my disaster weekend at UKA K9 tried to qualify for the Beginners Steeplecchase, I hate straight tunnels but I know I need to work harder and I am glad I have a lot of practice with straight tunnels :) In the Beginners Jumping, I think I am a bit lazy handling, so I keep telling him to "go out". I seriously need to loose weight to be able to run up hill!
Saturday, Beginners Jumping:
There are two steeplechase classes everyday but I only ran one. If they are on the same time, I will try to walk the two courses and see which one I think Sonic is not able to do it and I will run in that. I think it is a good practice for him as at Club training, we don't get to run a full course all the time and I think he needs to learn to run a full course as we are starting to compete now. Sonic missed a jump in the Steeplechase, I think he was a bit too fast and couldn't turn or even not seeing the jump :)
Saturday, Beginners Steeplechase:
Sunday, there is this Tug E Nuff performance that I want to try to qualify. I was quite emotional about it. I know Sonic is a good dog but lack of clear round. I just don't know what to do. I know I wanted to qualify badly. There is no way I can play safe in the Agility, Sonic only have one speed when he does Agility. This is a big class, if I want it, I need to work hard and really go for it. Mr Gobgy is not gobby at all, when I came out, I feel good, I don't think we can do any better!
Sunday, Tug E Nuff Agility:
Now that Sonic won the Agility, I want to run clear in the Jumping more than ever. He nearly pop out from the weave as he went in too fast as you can see in the 3rd pole, I thought he's going to pop out, so I dare not push too hard. Also, we lost time on the wide turn and he nearly miss the finish jump again. Such a "heart-attack" course! We came 2nd in the Jumping but his time was 2.5 seconds behind the dog that came 2nd in the Agility to him. They are neck to neck. In a smaller UKA show, we would have qualify easily but sadly we got push out. Top 2 overall go through to the Final in December. Sonic came 3rd in Overall. This is a combined result of Beginners and Novice Levels. The 1st place dog is a Novice dog. The 2nd place dog is the one that came 2nd behind his Agility and won the Jumping dog.
Sunday, Tug E Nuff Jumping:
Sunday really is a funny day. There were so many late entries in almost every class. Eventhough we didn't camp too far away but we can't hear the tannoy at all. I have to hang out so I don't miss walking any of the courses. As I was having my snack lunch (Spanish donuts! It's not round for sure!), the Steeplechase started. I have to get Colin to bring Sonic so that I don't miss his run. I can see from this video his "going on" is getting so much better and I am really pleased with that. Although he still try to cut in every now and then but last week, I won't be able to send him to go on like that. Hopefully, he will improve more!
Sonic with his Tug E Nuff winning
Sunday, Beginners Steeplechase:
As we finished our Steeplechase run, the Gambler's ring was calling to the end of the height before Sonic, so I thought instead of going back to the caravan, we might just hang on there. How wrong was I? After they calling to the end, we waited nearly 2 hours! That's the worst thing I have ever done. It was a hot day, we kept moving him into a shade, he was hot and tired. We didn't ran well in the Gambler! I was in the wrong place to do the Gambler as well :(
Sunday, Beginners Gambler:
We stayed for Sunday night to do the Vyne Champ show. I didn't run Sizzle, I think he needs a good rest. I've entered Sonic in 3 classes but I only ran 2 as I am desperate to go home. I really miss my Windy Ridge Farm. Sonic's first class was the KC Olympia qualifier. This is Sonic's first KC show of the year. The last one he ran in a KC show was back in December Rugby Christmas Show where he won into Grade 4. As he is quite a small medium dog, I have been trying to run him in the UKA shows so he jump lower to build up his muscle and confident over big jump. Honestly, I do not know if he is going to knock poles but he was a good boy. I did try my luck to push it, as this is a Champ show, so the standard is higher. I may have over push it but it is good that I know we need to do more proofing. His weave was very naughty at Vyne :) I have only just started to do some weave and see-saw proofing in the last 2 weeks, I think we need to work harder. Homework! One thing that made me happy is his DW. I have not done DW turn into the tunnel underneath the DW since last April when we were still in the old house. I am so glad that he did it and did well.
Monday, Vyne KC Olympia:
I want to kill myself for this run. Sonic ran beautifully but I forgot the jump after the long jump. I tried to recover but Sonic is too fast and little gobby, so we missed the jump but that's good. That tells me in future I need to know exactly where I need to go. Stupid mummy! Sorry Nic Nic!
Monday, Vyne G3-4 Agility:
All in all, what a good weekend of Agility.
Now, I can't wait for my next adventure with Sonic!
all photos in this post by Ian Clark photography