Monday, July 30, 2007
I took Jordan to the vet today and her blood work is fine! Whew! Maybe her bladder is just getting smaller as she gets older. No matter, I am just glad that she has nothing serious going on. Yeah! I was feeling really bad for Jordan today so I took her out in the garden to play agility. She thought it was great fun and bounced around like a pup. She popped out of the last two weave poles each time and still got a sweetie. She is so deaf that we just run around aimlessly doing a few low jumps, weaves and dog walk but she thinks she is hot stuff.
The other good news I forgot to mention was that our "small" team qualified for Crufts yesterday! So now both Zen (in her all sheltie medium team) and Hex (in her small team running for Beacon) will be at Crufts in the Team competition.
The last good piece of news is that my sister Terry is coming to Norway to see us at the World Championships! Yeah!
I cannot believe that Hex did exactly what Zen did 2 years ago. At the Agility Club show 2005 Zen entered her first champ class and won her first ticket. Now in 2007 Hex entered her first champ class and won her first ticket class at the same show at the same age. Now that is some special karma.
Hex also won both the jumping and the agility qualifiers and so ran last in the final right behind Nicky and Indy. I had it set in my mind that Hex and I had to go for it as I knew that Nicky and Indy would be storming around the course....
Special thanks to Indy for making such an uncharacteristic mistake and giving Hex the chance to win! I am keeping my fingers crossed that Indy can finish at Dogs In Need when we can all celebrate properly!
Saturday, July 28, 2007
I went to the gym 3x this week. I love the gym I love the gym I love the gym....bleh.
We went to the Agility club show today and I did nuttin all day in the results department. Oh yeah a 4th in a fast jumping class with Zen. But suprisingly, Hex, the perfect one, actually had not ONE clear round! But I was pleased with all of her runs and was trying to run with purpose and not baby her. This resulted in a few errors, but overall she was a very good girl. Chi got a 3rd in the crufts medium singles and I think this should be good enough in points to get Lisa and Chi to Crufts! Yeah finally! He was a good boy today and ran clear in both of his classes.
Since Dennis is away and Lisa and Tony were camping at the show, I had to bring all 5 shelties with me to the show. This is not easy with the cars and crates we have and I felt bad for Hob-b, Pax and Jordan who got stuck in the car all day. I was able to put Pax and Hob-b in the puppy pen so they could spread out a little; but Jordan (at 12 years old) is still notorious for climbing out of pens. So she had to stay in the car crate. The worrying thing was that Jordan was not able to hold herself and actually wee'd in the crate. She has never done that since the day I got her at 2 years old. I am worried that she may have something brewing as she also has been drinking alot of water at one time. I have luckily never had an older dog with kidney problems but wonder if this is what is starting with her. I think I will take her into the vet this week and ask them to do some blood work on her. I am not ready to lose another one just yet! Yes I know that I am being pessimistic but I just have a gut feeling that she is not OK.
Back to the Agility Club show tomorrow and Hex's first championship class! Indy has a chance to finish his Championship if he wins it tomorrow! This should make him the youngest dog to become an Agility Champion in England! I think Zen may hold that "title" now but I have a feeling that Indy will be knocking her crown off! If Indy doesn't win then I hope that Hex does! Either way; lets hope for a good OBay result!
Me and the dogs (how's that for good grammar) are very tired now. Gotta be up early tomorow!
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Both Zen and Chi ran this course really nicely and I will put Hex over it later on tonight. It was actually sunny and beautiful here today!
Went to the gym this morning and did 35 minutes on the treadmill but only about 2 km. And 15 min on the bike and a few upper body machines. I just realized that the gym must have installed air conditioning since I was last there and that is really nice for the summer as it can get so hot in the gym.
Monday, July 23, 2007
It was a rough start to the agility weekend when quite a few agility shows were cancelled due to the rain and flooding. I am very happy that our house and family are fine after seeing some of the photos from other people. Missing an agility show is no big deal compared to the devastation of the floods on some peoples homes. I will deal with the little bit of water in my garden! (and try not to complain too much!)
I was looking forward to Newlands as it is such a local show. Saturday was cancelled because the showgrounds were just too wet. Dennis is away in the US so I just puttered around the house doing some housework and a little agility training with Zen and Hex. Sue called and said that Newlands was on for Sunday so I headed out to Cranleigh showgrounds on Sat afternoon to help set a few courses. I brought Hob-b along by herself to give her a special afternoon out. She doesn't get a whole lot of individual attention so I try to bring her with me to as many places by herself as I can. She is such an easy going dog.
Newlands went ahead on Sundy and the sun shines on the righteous! It was beautiful weather; sunny and breezy. Just perfect! We had to park far away from the rings because they needed to save the soft ground from being churned up. I looked at this as a extra session at the gym....ha!
I was pretty pleased with all my runs with Zen and Hex. I did not bring the video camera since Dennis is away, but Lian videoed a few of our runs. You can see them on her blog at
Knights Shelties. Thanks Lian! The funny thing is that I was determined to attack the jumping course and thought I did. But when I watched the videos it looked like I was prancing around! Some people look so athletic when they run but I just look like I am taking a big of a stroll. AND I really thought I was running! As usual, Zen and Hex did their jobs beautifully and won their jumping classes. Zen also won her agility class and Hex came second on hers. I may not be able to run but I CAN train a dog! haha
Dennis will be in the US for two weeks. He is searching high and low in California for a new pair of Crocs for me!
Friday, July 20, 2007
This is the first time Rugby opened up the building for an event like this. I hope everything went well for them and that they were happy with how everyone behaved! The building stood up well to the torrential rain and HAIL that happened on Tuesday!
Thursday, July 19, 2007
There was one scarey/funny moment at the show when Dave Ray gets on the tannoy and says "Don't go down into the lower fields as the police are coming because it is a crime scene!" The rumour goes around that someone found a dead body in the field! Of course, we all go Ohhh and ahhh and then go right back to running our dogs. A little while later the police come into the grounds and drive down to the lower field (with people yelling at them "FIVE MILES AN HOUR"). We later hear that that "body" was really some drunk guy sleeping! I wonder if it was someone who celebrated too much the night before but never did hear who it was.
We had a really successful first time at Rugby and came home with lots of crystal. The Championship classes were interesting. Both of the jumping and agility champ qualifiers were on the easy side as far as courses go. I was really thrilled that Lisa and Chi, Nicky and Indy (who won both qualifiers rounds) and Zen and I got into the Champ Finals.
The Champ Final was also a very straight forward course. It only had six weaves! Now that is a big strange for Champ. But, hey ho, I was just glad it wasn't NINE. HA!
Having an easy course is not really good for me and Zen. I count on the difficult courses to hopefully knock out some of the faster medium Border collies! So this time I knew that no one was going to make a mistake on this course (other than the usual bars or contact issues) and it would come down to times.
Three fantastic results in this championship final. Nicky and Indy (OBay Truly Driven) winning their first Championship ticket. Zen winning the medium ticket. And a kelpie named Ruby winning the large making her the first ABC(non-border collie) Agility Champion in Great Britain!
Enjoy this video of Indy and Zen running the Champ Final. Our first OBay Championship double!
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Hex ran with the Beacon DTC Small team at Rugby. Unfortunately just out of first place by 8/100 of a second! One more chance at qualifying for Crufts in two weeks at The Agility Club Show.
The English Shetland Sheepdog Club put together two teams (one small and one medium) to run under their club name. At our first competition together our medium team, The ESSC Tri Stars won the class and are headed to Crufts 2008!! Woo-hoo!
Here is our team from left to right: Karen and Ace, Amy and Tazz, Bernadette and Zen, Lisa and Chi.
Our team-mate, Karen, had these great shirts made up and we all looked very smart and professional! I think we did the sheltie club very proud! If you can't see it on the photo on each sleeve of the shirt we had printed BARK BARK. I wonder why? Hahahaha!
The weekend at Rugby was very relaxing and both Zen and Hex ran beautifully all weekend. I felt like both girls and I just gelled as a team. I will post details later. But to summarize, Zen won another Championship ticket! This is her 5th ticket (2nd this year). Although I don't intend to run her at every championship show and collect tickets I felt that we needed to run the champs this weekend to get ready for the try-outs. To top that, Nicky and Indy (OBay Truly Driven) won the small Championship Ticket!
A fantastic OBay double! Two Championship tickets on the same day.The stuff a breeders dreams are made of!
Hex did really well also. In one of the jumping 6,7 classes we actually had an OBay triple! Hex first, Indy second and Timmy third! Now that is the way to do it!
Monday and Tuesday was the World Champ Tryouts. I went into them really positive and we did well on Monday. Then on Tuesday I just fell apart and felt like I let my dogs down with my handling. It is not like me to feel so down after agility but I just did not feel connected on all the runs. I don't know if it was just that we all were so tired? Or as someone said to me "maybe you want this too much"? I don't think wanting it to much was the reason as that usually inspires me! Dennis thinks it is because I wore a green shirt and not my normal red or pink!
I was mostly disappointed with my runs with Hex which were all over the place. I KNOW that Hex is so much better than that. Zen saved my butt for most of the runs except for the one that she decided the dogwalk was more visible than the weave poles.
The end result is that Zen is on the Great Britain Medium Agility Team and Hex is reserve for the small team. Lisa and Chi are reserve for the medium team. Best of all, Nicky and Indy are on the small team! As good as that result sounds I can't get my head around my crap performances yesterday and need a few days to get positive again!
So three Obay shelties competing in Norway. And two on reserve. Videos, photos and details to follow after I get my head back together!
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Lisa and I set up a new agility course to practice on Saturday afternoon. I was glad she was motivated to do it as I hate setting courses on my own. If, hopefully, we make it to the World Champs we will have to get serious about setting two or three new courses to work on each week. If you search the internet you can find courses that the judges (the two who will be judging the world champs)have set previously. We then can set these courses and try and get the idea of what kind of sequences they like to set. It helps to focus me on training specifics rather than practicing randomly.
The world champs this year is starting to be a family affair! We just got news yesterday that our friend Adele from The Netherlands qualified to be on the Dutch team with her sheltie Chilka. Although Chilka is not one of mine, Adele and Han also own Zen's daugher Wizz (see picture in post below). So I consider Adele one of the OBay family and I am sure that one day Adele will be competing in the Worlds with Wizz!
On Sunday we went to St. Edwards agility show. It was my first time going to that show and it was very enjoyable. Only six rings and the ability to park around the rings makes me a very happy bunny. Gosh it just reminds me how much I hate the shows at Newbury and walking miles back to the car and the dogs. The sun was shining and the weather was a near perfect sunny and cool 70 degrees. Eat your heart out all you stuck in 90 degree hot and humid New York/New Jersey! I love English weather!
Unfortunately there were no classes for small dogs at this show; so much to her dismay The Wicked One stayed home. Luckily Zen had FOUR classes to run so that made me happy. I brought Hob-b along for the ride and she enjoyed her day out.
Liz and Viv were there with their goldens along with Sally and her border collies. That group is so funny because they are so organized! Liz brings this huge spread of food including fresh salad from her garden, fresh bread, cheese and fruit! All very healthy and very tasty! They get to the show and set up their three cars side by side, put up three tents and surround the entire things with windbreaks. They got a space right by the rings and I made sure to join the comfy camp! Hob-b came along and I tied her up to the tent. She stayed there there whole day, just hanging out. I had to remember she was there as she is so mellow and quiet you can easily forget she is there! Liz felt bad for Hob-b laying on the ground (how can the princess lie on the ground?!) and gave Hob-b her chair to lie on. Hob-b lay on that chair all day!
They backed their cars up to the rings and opened up the back of the cars so the dogs were facing towards the rings. The funny part about this was a comment someone made while walking by in the morning. "OH" she said "that is a really bad idea; those dogs are going to start BARKING....". I almost pissed my pants! This is funny because Liz does NOT let her goldens bark and I am always trying to get her to make them bark! hahahahaha I was able to say with COMPLETE confidence that the lady was not to worry, these goldens NEVER bark. (and they never did!)
Result wise, I was very pleased with Zen. She was smooth and fast in all her runs. She is just totally on form and always a pleasure to run.
I had a chance to watch some of the people that come to me for lessons. I really enjoy being able to watch them as is so helpful for me to see how they run in competition. It helps me to see what they need to work on in training and how to plan their lessons. Liz did really well with both her Goldens but my favorite result was her 5th in Grade 1 agility for her young girl Lex. After a fall on a dog walk in another class last winter Lex had been slowing down on her contact obstacles. So Liz has been working hard on improving Lex's confidence and speed. This weekend Lex really showed loads of improvement on her contact speed. 5th out of nearly 200 dogs! I know she has it on video and I must see if I can get a copy to post. Lian also did fantastic with her young sheltie Saturn. Saturn ran clear and placed in all 4 runs. He got a 2nd place in an agility class beaten only by a super turbo charged border collie that just measured down into the medium class. This border collie, when it runs clear, will be nearly impossible to beat! It is a fantastic little border collie. So Saturn did really well to get 2nd to this dog!
I also had a chance to see puppies Todd and Kizzy; so all in all a good day out! Even better, home by 4pm and able to take a nap before Dennis got home from Golfing. What a great way to spend a day!
Monday, July 09, 2007
Commiserations to Marianne and Monty who were not chosen. But well done Marianne for trying out. The Full Monty is going to have to rest on his laurels and watch his children win!
Sunday, July 08, 2007
Thursday, July 05, 2007
The World Team tryouts are less than two weeks away and run for 2 days this year. ( I can't wait I am so psyched!) They are doing some timing of obstacles on the first day. Those "assesments" will determine if you then participate in the next portion of the try-outs. That assesement part should be OK for us but we are working on the sequences anyway! Then we run 4 courses (2 jumping and 2 agility) and that along with some pre-qualifying points will determine if you are chosen for the team. It is pretty straight foward, the top three in each height category go thru. Can I hope that 4 of them are OBay shelties? Wouldn't that just be a breeders dream come true? That along with Unique and Monty running for Denmark? Oh my goodness you won't be able to shut me up if that happens!
It is a shame this year that there is the ban on docked dogs. As much as I don't like docking it is not illegal in many countries so it is unfair that those dogs are banned in a WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP! For England (as we now have a docking ban as of this year) when a few years go by it will not be an issue anymore but until then it is sad that some really good dogs are held back.
Well when you breed things go wrong ALOT. It is not a job for the fainthearted as there is so much heartbreak along with the good. But here is one of the really good parts! Getting photos of a puppy almost all grown up and living up to her puppy promise. Here is Wizz (who lives in The Netherlands with Han and Adele). I almost cried when I saw these photos as she is so very lovely and such a sweet combination of Zen and Tazz.
And here is a photo of the proud Dad with his little girl Wizz!
After the week in Scotland we headed down to Newbury for the UKA shows. Other than the initial panic of not FINDING the show; it was a nice relaxing show except for the fact that the rain followed us....
I like the UKA shows because you can choose to "train" a class. It is so nice to take a toy in the ring and suprise the dog with a play on a contact or after a good sequence. You don't take up anymore time as they limit your time in the ring to the course time. Like anything I am sure it can be abused but I haven't seen any problems yet.
So after the show on Saturday was the Royal Canine Finals. This is the first time UKA had these finals and I qualified Zen and Hex during the year. Nicky and Indy also qualified as well as Lisa and Chi. So FOUR OBay shelties in the final! As it should be! hehe I can only hope that all agility finals go so well for the OBay Team!
It was pouring rain during the final, you will hear the rain on the video as Dennis wrapped his video camera in a plastic bag and you can hear the rain hitting the bag! Unfortunately due to the rain there were not as many spectators as there could have been and the ones that were there were huddled under umbrellas. Since she could not judge with an umbrella, the poor judge looked drowned out there!
In the midi class Zen came 1st followed closely by Chi in 2nd! And in the "toy" class Indy came 1st followed by Hex in 2nd. Now that is a TRUE OBay sheltie sweep! I was so proud of all four of them. If I am going to be beaten I don't mind being beaten by another Obay! All four of the dogs ran fantastic and gave it their all even in the pouring rain. Rock on World Champ Tryouts!
Dennis is away for the next two days so the video will be posted later this weekend. Sorry for the delay....blame him!
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
Monday, July 02, 2007
This photo shows Pax hanging out in the caravan garden on her new bed. This was one of the few moments of sunshine.
Along the walk the mud was a lovely red colour which showed up lovely on the shelties white feet! To make matters worse Zen decided to roll in something that did not smell very good. It smelt worse than fox poo and Dennis thought it may have been deer poo. UGHHH! I have never smelt anything so bad Notice how Hex and Pax will not sit next to smelly Zen...
So after the walk we went into town to find Dog Shampoo! When we got back to the campsite we had to fully bathe Zen with an outside tap (brrrrrrr) . There was no way Zen was coming in the caravan smelling like that.Along with the camping we had 2 hours of agility training on site each day with a local trainer called Peter Elms. Although I had no idea what Peter was like but I figured what the heck.. we could always use some time on different equipment. I am pretty confident about my training and am careful not to try anything I am not sure about on my dogs. So I wasn't worried in case he was a bad trainer! Also the price was very reasonable!
Actually I was very impressed with Peter. We were in an advanced group (which in itself was great as sometimes the small/medium dogs get lumped together regardless of their level) and so the training was mostly running sequences and courses rather than training. He set up some difficult sequences and I like to tackle new and different courses. Here were the more difficult scottish courses I was hoping for! Other than an issue with odd weave poles
Here is Zen yelling at me "WHY are these weave poles so funny?"
During the week they had two nights of competitions to raise money for a local dog rescue charity. They were very interesting!On Tuesday night they had a competition called "Handicap Hurdles". This competition was a head to head, knock out run simultaneously over 2 identical jumping courses of 30 obstacles each(yes I said THIRTY obstacles!). Basically the two courses were side by side but one ran clockwise and the other anti clockwise. The last 6 jumps(yes 6 jumps in a straight line; my nemesis!) of each course came down the middle, side by side, so you could really cheer the dogs on and see how close they were over the final jump. Knockouts are always fun to watch; but please remind me that they are not so fun to run over and over and over! I am too old for this!
The reason it was called "Handicap Hurdles" is that each team would move forward in their start position depending on certain criteria. You would move up one or more obstacles depending on the grade difference between dogs, 10 years difference in handlers age, BC vs ABC and Large dog vs. small/medium dogs. It was funny to see some teams moved up over 6 obstacles at the start. We got a one jump start only once!Anyway since it was a knockout as I kept progressing thru with BOTH dogs...guess what that meant? I had to run this 30 obstacle course around 10 times!! I finally gave up and gave Zen to Dennis to run. He bravely agreed to do it although he has never run her and really doesn't run agility at all. He ran her twice; once in the penultimate run and once in the final run. Guess who he was running against in the final run? You guessed it...Me and Hex!
I was so proud of both girls as there were around 80 dogs competing and we competed against mostly Border collies and larger dogs. The best news was that this competition raised 240 pounds for the charity! The organizers did really well to put this together, they worked very hard to keep it moving along yet keeping it fun.So it was the final; Hex and me against Dennis and Zen. Guess who won? Of course, Dennis and Zen!
The winners of the Knockout. 1st place Zen, 2nd place Hex and 3rd place a lovely lurcher (just to make Tony and Lisa happy)
The next night on Wednesday the charity competition was a weave pole knockout. We have some video of that and I will post more later.....
Sunday, July 01, 2007
Starting our week we drove up to Bakewell for a stopover before the last part of the journey up to Scotland. We stopped at a really nice Caravan Club site called Chatsworth Park that was part of a large manor house and deer park. There was good walking for the dogs and a few pubs within walking distance. The walk to the pub that night was great but unfortunately the pub recommended by the site wardens was awful! This food goes on our list as just about the worst food we have eaten in a restaurant. Dennis has decided that if the pub says "families welcome" that means the food is really really bad! The caravan site had really posh shower blocks and that always makes me happy. I am really easy to please...really.
We got up to the Kelso site for the Scottish show on Friday and set up in a nice location. The site was great and was within walking distance to the pretty little town of Kelso. The site was located at Springwood park and, again, had great shower blocks! There was a little indication of the possible mud situation right from the beginning but we just drove up 10 hours and were not going to turn back now.
Scottish shows seem to be very different from agility shows down south. (well to be fair I can't label ALL Scottish shows..I can really just comment on this one). Strange things like:
- The running orders had no indication of numbers of dogs in the class! To this day I don't really know how many dogs were in our class. I guesstimate around 60-80.
- They don't have calling sheets to check you in. They just give you your scribe sheet when you ask and then you hold it while you queue and queue and queue. Oh and believe me scribe sheets do disintegrate in the rain. (did I mention rain?)
- The don't have a score table and therefore you do not see your times or faults or know if you placed; you just have to wait until the end.(One good thing is that whenthey post the results later on so you can see your times compared with others that placed.)
After the 2 day show we stayed on at the site to hopefully do some sightseeing and walking. Also included was 2 hours a day of training with a scottish handler named Peter Elms and some friendly competition at night. But more about that later!
Enjoy this video. Please note that although I am not the most graceful handler in the best of circumstances... I was running even worse than ever due to the mud! No comments on my gracelessness please! The dogs had some really good runs over the weekend but not all were videoed due to the rain. So here are just three jumping runs from the weekend. Note the simplicity of the courses which also was very dissapointing as I thought Scottish courses were supposed to be harder!