Monday, September 09, 2013

August is all about Agility

I left the blog for too long and I don't know how to catch up anymore :) I struggle to keep up this blog not because I am lazy, with the new country life style, the outdoor is far more tempting than sitting in front of the computer, especially when your Internet connection is so slow! I get very frustrated watching the Agility Livestream, the video keeps buffering all the time and by the time I watch a run (a 35 seconds run in 5 minutes!), I was so close to slam my computer out of the window! Grr ... oh what make it worst? We paid the fastest broadband! Hmm ...

Well, today is a rainy day, so I can spend a couple of hours on the computer, hopefully to update this blog for a little while :)

All well here, boys and girls. I can't believe I have not have my camera out when we have the most glorious weather for the last two months. I think because it's OUR land and I don't think I need to take the camera out and also when I am out doing little job here and there, I definitely would not like to carry a big heavy camera. So, not much of photos to go with this post. 

this photo was taken with my phone yesterday morning out walking in the countryside with the boys

Sorry, no photos of the girls because they are on the lead walk (not easy to take photo with the lead on). They get a little naughty off the lead as they just would not come back when call :( I think they need to go on the extended lead a bit longer. Oops! Trying to get a group photo is impossible. Sing, Seagull, Saturn, Sizzle, Sipzie and Sonic will pose nicely where Seren and Spie were like two wild child. They definitely don't do a wait for a start! I have tried so hard to teach them to sit wait and soon they are out, they are like escape prisoner! Oh dear, I've never have such difficult shelties to train :) I am not looking forward to Seren's puppy training starting next weekend! I think we will have a lot of "catch that puppy" session!

I love her very much though, she is one very funny girl. Full of energy and very crazy and clever. I am hoping that she is going through a funny stage at the moment and she will soon settle down and learn to be with me is a good thing than run away!

Kennel Club International Agility Festival (9th, 10th, 11th August)

So, our first Agility of the month is the 3-day Kennel Club International Agility Festival. I have not been to the KC Festival for a few years. My very first KC Festival appearance was in 2007 with Sing. Sing did ever so well that year, we have a few podium places and he was in the Novice Cup Final. We didn't make it to Crufts because we got eliminated in the Final. I really enjoyed the Festival, there were so many overseas competitors and it was definitely a big eye-opener for me. I went back again next year with Sing and Saturn. Both boys did good and have a few podium placings. Saturn got into the Novice Cup Final but again, we got eliminated and didn't make it to Crufts but Sing got invited to compete at Crufts in the British Open. It was another great Festival for me. Again, I went back the following year but they moved the venue from Peterborough to Kelmarsh Hall. Sadly, the venue wasn't great and I was very disappointed with so many things. I can't even remember if the boys did well at all. Since then, I delete KC Festival from my list. Last year, when most shows were cancelled due to the amount of rain and flood we had, KC Festival had to move from Kelmarsh Hall to Rockingham Castle and I heard the venue is far more better. I got tempted and also hoping to see my puppies from Netherlands, I've decided to enter KC Festival one more time. 

I've entered Sizzle and Sonic but only got to run Sonic as Sizzle was very poorly, his right shoulder and left hind leg were very sore and struggled to walk properly (he is better now!). I am actually very happy that I only have one dog to run this year as Colin can't take time off and I am on my own most of the time, so no video when he is not with me. 

I so wanted to get Sonic into the Novice Cup Final but I over cooked it. I knew he always have a weaker flat weave entry. Just before the Festival, I spent Tuesday and Wednesday to try to teach him the flat entry in a "short cut" way. I am so regret I have done it as I can see how much damage I have done to the poor dog! Over the years, I have learned no matter how the dog missed the entry or skip the pole, just carry on and never pull the dog out but what did I do to poor Sonic? Everytime he missed the entry, I pulled him out from carry on (to save time and being too tired, that's my thought then). At the Festival, on the Friday, we can't do a weave properly! This is a terrible damage that I have created for him (I am an idiot trainer and handler!)! Before the KC Festival, he was a good weaver, he can do most difficult entries, although he sometimes made baby mistake but hey ho, he's only young and I am happy he made mistake because I can train from the mistake. Anyway, from KC Festival onwards, weave has become an issue!

Sonic got 4 x 2nd placings at KC Festival weekend which I was very happy with. I was worry that he may win out. He is not ready to be up there with the big boys yet, beside the weave problem, he is still gobby at times, when he started to bark (I think he must be frustrated because I didn't cue him early enough), he will lose his concentration and will refuse a jump or mostly tunnel! I am hoping with so many shows this month, he will get to learn to pay attention more on the course than gobbing at me :)

Hopefully, we can return to give the Novice Cup another try next year. 

We also have other Licosateria puppies competing at KC Festival this year, the little star at the show was Savannah (Sing x Sunny puppy), she won a couple of classes and also have many top placings. This puppy has suddenly come on and do so well. Breaking News from yesterday, Savannah won into Grade 5 yesterday at Burnham show. Well done Savvy and her clever pilot Chantal!

Sonic and Savannah with their winnings @ KC Festival 2013

Saturday, Grade 4 Agility, 2nd place:

Saturday, Combined 4-5 Agility, 2nd place:

Sunday, Grade 4 Agility, 2nd place. There was only one clear round that won the class and she was 7 seconds out of time. Sonic was the fastest with 5 faults!

Sunday, Grade 4 Jumping, 2nd place:

Sing x Samber and their puppies @ KC Festival
left to right: Brooke, Sing, Sonic, Tig and Samber
what a gorgeous Sable Family

Sing and his daughter Savannah. Savvy was not impressed with this photo session :)

the good old mini/mixi pairs, little and large, very little and very large :D

DiNAS (13th to 18th August)

I was having doubt whether to carry on to DiNAS from KC Festival. The reason I entered KC Festival and DiNAS is because I wanted to see my little App that I sold to Netherlands but sadly due to family bereavement, Mariska cannot come. My Volvo is getting  absolutely knackered and we had a leak. I didn't even realised that was the problem before going to KC Festival. The Monday before KC Festival, I took Sizzle and Sonic to see our physio Sally and on our way back, the warning light came on. I drove straight to Richard's yard (he rent the yard from me to repair horse boxes and vehicles) for him to have a look. The coolant tank was empty so we filled that up and didn't think much further. I didn't use the car until Wednesday to do a quick shopping before KC Festival. Off we go on Thursday late morning to Rockingham Castle. After 10 minutes' drive, the warning light came on again but I didn't take any notice of it because I thought we only just filled the tank up, so it shouldn't be a problem. After I got station at the KC Festival, I was too busy concentrate on Agility and didn't think more about the car, not until I went to pick Colin up from Corby Station on Friday night and mentioned that to him. You know what man likes? He shouted at me: Pull Over NOW! I was like what? What are you talking about? Well, he was quite right! The tank was empty again! Now, we thought there might be a leak in the pipe. We filled the tank with water and drove back to Rockingham Castle. 

I camp next to the Dutch and surrounded by Belgian and I knew most of them. Our neighbour was Sipzie's brother Ronin. When they met 2 years ago at DiNAS, they played so well together but this year, Sipzie just wanted to show her teeth to poor Ronin. Oops! Well, Ronin's daddy Marc was a car mechanic or he's good at it. He came to ask what happened and we tried to explain and he and Frank (Sipzie's god father who is a car mechanic from Belgium) came over to try to fix the problem for us. There's nothing much they can do to fix the leaky pipe as you need a new part. I was really wanted to go home but all these friends encourage me to go to DiNAS and they promised to fix the problem for me to be able to drive there. We pour the whole bottle of radiator sealant to temporarily seal the leak and tested it. It seems alright so I carry on to DiNAS in a worried but also carry a spare bottle of the radiator sealant just in case.

I got to DiNAS ok and set up and settle. This is my 3rd year at DiNAS and the first time camp with my new club CHANCE. Although without Colin, I feel safe and happy with Chancers surrounding us. They are such a nice bundle of people. I even went out with them to the evening entertainment and had so much fun. I've never dare to leave my dogs even with Colin with us in the previous years. I am so happy to become a Chancer, we are a big family :)

Boys behaving beautifully during the week at DiNAS. I let the boys loose in the garden and keep the girls in the crate when I am not around. I was helping on Tuesday and I cannot believe how well the boys behaved! I must have left the garden gate open by mistake, when I got back from a break from helping must be good 2 hours+, the boys were so happy to see me and they gate was wide open and they just stay inside of the garden happily bark at me and until I got in the garden and they jump all over me! I am really impressed with my boys :)

Again, I only ran Sonic at DiNAS. Poor Sizzle must have been wondering why he didn't get to play agility. DiNAS is quite a relaxing show but very expensive. I paid nearly £200 for 2 dogs entries plus electric hook up. Each dog got 2 runs a day, an agility and a jumping course. 

With Sonic's weave problem, I was kinda wanted to get him into the Final on Thursday, also worried if I pushed it too hard, everything will go wrong. Anyway, on Tuesday, he got a 2nd in the G4 Jumping and another 2nd in the G4 Jumping on Wednesday. That's good enough placing for him to go into the Final and running 2nd from last.  

DiNAS Medium Grade 4 Finalist 2013

Unfortunately, weave has stop us from winning the Final :( If I have not messed up his weave before, I will do a rear across to give him a better line but I was in such a confused mood myself that day. I did a stupid steady stop before sending him into the weave, that get him started to gob! Oh dear! Bad handling!

a big thank you to Sadie's (Sing x Samber puppy, Sonic's eldest sister) mummy and daddy for capturing this run on the video. I am really missing Colin's video-ing. I like to watch back video for my mistake to improve and good handling to make me feel good. 

Although I've entered Friday, the Small Champ Day but I wasn't going to run Sizzle, so I started to packing up while waiting for Sonic's runs. Unfortunately, the rain got heavier and constant, so I've decided not to run. I left the showground about 11ish, thinking I should be home around 2pm but as I was about 60 miles from home, the warning light came on again. Thank God I was stuck on A14 and just after the light came on, the service station (the only service station) was about half a mile. I have to pull in and OMG, the service station was full and I have never seen so many caravan/motorhome in a service station before. I managed to find the only empty parking to pull the car/caravan in. I was given instruction by my Dutch/Belgian friends how to fix the problem temporarily, so I have to wait for the engine to cool down before I can perform. At that point, I was so close to break down, I just wanted to go home safely!

Anyway, we were all home safe and sound at about 4:30pm. The Volvo has to put aside for repair. We managed to dig out our old *new* convertible to temporarily replace my poor Volvo. Thank God, the convertible works fine after a good kick start. It has been kept in the garage for 11 months!

Sing x Sipzie and their little Fat Boy Chessie @ DiNAS
Chessie is so like daddy Sing in so many ways. He is so bouncy, happy and crazy!

UKA Teejay - 18th August

If you think I have have enough of Agility by then? I actually rush to UKA Teejay to try to qualify Sonic for the Beginners Steeplechase on the Sunday after I came back from DiNAS. Hmm ... I just don't know how to explain this but Sonic did a cracking clear in the Beginners Steeplechase heat but we got eliminated before we even started!

Well, we took Sizzle and Sonic in the convertible. Sizzle was in the convertible and Colin and I took Sonic to join the queue. As it got hot in the afternoon, I roll the window down and Sizzle escaped! We were about 3 dogs to run. The tannoy called out ... we have a very nice little tri colour sheltie boy here looking a bit nervous, he's wearing a collar without a tag or telephone number ... I said to Colin to go and collect Sizzle, he asked me how do I know that is Sizzle. I told him just go and get him and he did and he came back with Sizzle wagging his tail happily to see us. 

Sonic was about to go in to run, so Colin asked me to give him Sonic's lead so he can put Sizzle on the lead and I did. With Sonic so eager to do agility and I am not sure if he will stay with me outside the ring, so I was playing his favourite cage ball with him to get his attention. Anyway, there's lack of ring party. I was called to go in the ring by the scrimer and I went in with Sonic tugging on his ball to the startline. I was waiting for the ring party to come and get his harness and ball but nobody turn up so I have to throw his harness and ball to Colin. Colin was all over the place with me suddenly do stupid things and didn't get the run on the video. 

Anyway, that was the best run of Sonic doing a steeplechase course. Normally he will bark at the tunnel instead of going in but at this run, he just dive into the tunnels without any hesitation. By the time we finished and the judge came to tell me "I am sorry you've been eliminated!", my face must have shown up, and he continued to say "in the UKA rule, there is not toy in the ring!". Damn it!

I have been trying to qualify since the first heat and every single time, Sonic refused a tunnel, a jump or did something stupid. I was very crossed, not sure to the judge or to myself, or even Sizzle. After that, I have been in a very bad mood all day. I kept thinking have I been treated fairly? I didn't read the rule to start with but if this is the UKA rule, why I didn't get eliminated in other classes? With Sonic, I have always been tugging with him (either his cage ball or tuggy) to the startline (either for NFC or for competition). This is the very first time I got eliminated for bringing the toy in the ring. I know it's my fault for not reading the rule but if I were to have been eliminated before I will surely remember next time not to do that. Yes, I am very crossed!

This is Sonic and his little sheltie friend Charlie doing the Split Pairs. Oh yes, the weave again :( and the wrong end of the tunnel, Oops! But I am very happy that he managed to run in the Pairs and stayed with me, I don't think he will chase the other dog but you never know until you tried it :) Sorry Charlie, hopefully we will be better next time. 

UKA Hawbridge - 24th August

So, after the disaster elimination from Teejay, I was hoping to give Sonic one last go to try to qualify for the Beginners Steeplechase at Hawbridge. I am so used to the smooth ground at Dowty Sport Club, I find it a bit difficult to find my footing right at this pasture ground. 

When I walked the Beginners Steeplechase Heat course, I wasn't convince we can do it. There's 3 tunnels back to back. Having to get Sonic into one tunnel is challenging, let alone 3 tunnels back to back! What can I say? He ran that course beautifully. He wasn't the fastest dog there but he ran clean :) Yes, he won the class and qualified for the Semi Final in December. Now, his homework is TUNNELS and NO GOB :)

Thank You Nigel Steady for filming this run:

FAB Dorset IFCS Qualifier 25th & 26th August

From Hawbridge, I drove to Motcombe to compete in the last IFCS qualifier. I left booking the hotel a bit too late. I was in between to go or not to go due to the distance. If Sonic has qualified the Beginners Steeplechase at Teejay, I probably will not go as I hate to drive more than 2 hours now. Actually, having a break from Hawbridge to Motcome, it wasn't too bad. I found the Best Western Hotel a few days before the show and I was rather happy as it's only 3 miles from the showground but they rang me back to say they made a mistake to have received a double booking! Hmm ... so I have to look somewhere and decided I have no choice but to go to Travel Lodge which is about 10 miles away. I don't really like Travel Lodge, they are quite dirty and charge £20/dog per night. Thank God this is a new Travel Lodge, it was so new that they have no grass (yet) and Sizzle refused to walk on the pebbles for toilet! Inside, everything was clean and tidy with new technology put in and I only paid £20 for the dogs for 2 nights. I am a happy girl :)

This last IFCS qualifier spread into 2-day. We have IFCS Agility and IFCS Snooker on Sunday and IFCS Jumping and IFCS Gamblers on Monday. All videos are courtesy of The Burdett Shelties

Sizzle @ IFCS Agility:

Sonic @ IFCS Agility:

Sonic @ IFCS Snooker:

Sizzle @ IFCS Snooker:

Sonic @ Grand Prix:

No video from Monday but Sonic won the IFCS Jumping, he was the only clear at his height :) and both boys got the Gamblers as well :)

Letchworth (30th, 31st August)

Nearly there ... :)

It wasn't much of a rest after the IFCS qualifier to continue to Letchworth. I wasn't going to do Letchworth this year but after much persuading, I went a long ... It was a 3-day show. It was about 40 minutes drive from home, so it wasn't too bad. Sonic has 3 individual classes plus a Team run. He was a little naughty in the Jumping, too busy gobbing, Oops!

Unfortunately, he won the Agility and now Grade 5 :( He also ran clear in the Team but one of our Team mate got 5 faults so we weren't placed. I was very happy with his Team performance as he had to sit wait and watch the dog took the last jump towards him, that's a big progress for him. I am very proud. 

Sonic's Grade 4 win on Friday:

On Saturday, Sonic and older sister Tig doing the mini/mixi pairs. I think this probably is the most gobbiest pairs :) Both dogs ran lovely though. We are hoping to do more pairs next year :)

The gobby pairs :)

Sonic also has another win in the Graded 3-5 Agility, so he is well and truly a Grade 5 now. 

This is Sonic's other winning Agility:

UKA HADs (1st September)

Promised! Nearly there ...

I want to be able to qualify Sonic ...
  • Tug E Nuff                              NOT tick    
  • Beginners Steeplechase           TICKED
  • CSJ                                        TICKED

Since that I have qualified Sonic at the CSJ and Beginners Steeplechase, I determined to qualify him for the Tug E Nuff as well, so instead of going to Letchworth only 30 miles from home, I've decided to go to UKA 80 miles away to try to qualify.

Seriously, there were too many 3-day shows every weekend and I am actually shattered towards the end. First time, I was unable to wake up that Sunday. I was so sore and stiff and most of all, I was very tired and brain not in gear. I must be an agility mad, I still managed to drive there and didn't run well! I so wish I didn't go as it wasn't a good experienced for the dogs. 

Result: Sonic didn't qualified. It was the Jumping first and he pop out of the weave again, so with fault, I didn't bother to run him in the Agility and I came home with 2 paid tickets unused! I think I am an idiot! With pay on the day, I still have 2 paid tickets unused! I am definitely tired!

There is another Tug E Nuff qualifier this weekend at AJAX but I am not sure if we can go. Sally came to manipulate Sonic on Saturday for me and his left shoulder was very tight and sore. I am due to see her again on Thursday, we will go from there to see whether he can run on Saturday but I have a feeling we will have some time off at home :)