So Saturday was Beacon Agility Show and Sunday was Tunbridge Wells Agility Show. Although it was a long drive up and down to Beacon; I really enjoyed the day. Thankfully Tun Wells show is only 45 minutes away and at one of my favorite venues: South of England Showgrounds. It is a nice venue with great walks for the dogs afterwards on their cross-country course. There is no motorway noise and there are trees dotted around for shade. What more can you want?
I was just running Zen and Zaz this weekend as we needed work to get ready for the WAO. Itzy got to stay home with Dennis and help around the garden. I am looking forward to getting out and running with her again but I just cannot concentrate on 3 dogs at one show. Itzy's time will come; no worries about that!
My goal for this show was to not have to go to another show (BATS) in two weeks time. I guess that sounds like a strange goal! I do not love going to show after show every Saturday and Sunday; I am enjoying my new house and garden too much. So I really wanted a weekend free after the WAO. That next show was BATS and it had a Small Olympia Qualifier. If I could qualilfy at Beacon or Tun Wells; I could stay home and not go to BATS. Beacon was done and a mistake in the Olympia Qualifier meant we had one more chance at Tun Wells or else I had to go to BATS. I just kept thinking of that drive up the M1 motorway to Bats and I was inspired to win! LOL
For those who do not understand how we qualify for Olympia: There are approx 10 shows during the year which are Olympia Qualifiers and the top 3 in those classes go through to the Olympia Semi in September. Out of the 30 dogs that make it to the Semi, 10 finally get through to Olympia. The qualifiers are dotted around the country to try and make it fair so obviously we don't get to all the qualifiers. So when we have a qualifier we try really hard! It is not easy as there were 160 small dogs in the Beacon qualifier and 213 dogs in the qualifier at Tun Wells!
I am happy to report that WE DID NOT HAVE TO GO TO BATS! LOL Zaz won the Olympia Qualifier at Tun Wells (out of 213 dogs!) Bless her little heart; she had such a good weekend. I don't have that run on video but here is her other run (Crufts Singles) in which she came 2nd. It was back to reality on Sunday with more "english" type courses. Variety is good so I hope we start to see more of a mixture this year.
Zaz now has two really good places in the Crufts singles so I am hoping that is enough to get us into the Crufts Singles next year. I am not sure if we have any other Singles qualfiers coming up as we are doing some travelling and missing some shows. As opposed to the Olympia Qualfiers which are top 3 in the class; the Crufts Singles are a cumulative qualfier. So the more qualifiers you attend and collect points in the better chance you have. Two good placings could be beat by 5 lower placings in the point scale so you cannot afford to be complacent. It is good that each event has different ways of qualifying so that everyone has a chance.
So everything looks like it is going well. The agility shows are fun, dogs are healthy, house is great and pup is on the way......hmmmm things never go perfectly do they?
Sadly there won't be a black and white girl puppy joining us this year.The lovely girl puppy that was meant to be mine has not stopped growing. I have been breeding shelties long enough to know this is always a concern but I had high hopes due to seeing previous litters from the mum. My hopes for a little bi-black girlie was just not going to happen. In some ways she made it easy; it was not even a doubt that this girl was going to be BIG. Shelties are hard to breed; over and undersize pups are always an issue in any litter. They don't breed true and you can only make guesses about the size from previous experience, height and weigh charts and alot of finger crossing.
I am disappointed as otherwise it was such a lovely litter from a lovely bitch and a great breeder. This big girl had another home waiting, just in case, so I made the decision to let her go.(sigh) I am told she will have a great home with an obedience trainer and will be loved greatly. I decided not to fly out this week to Denmark as planned because I didn't want to break my heart by seeing the pup in person. I know that things happen for a reason and I am hoping there will be a reason born here sometime in the months to come. It is all up to Zen now.....
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Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Friday, May 20, 2011
We are back from the World Agility Open Championships 2011 (WAO). WOW what a great event and I am going to work hard to be able to go again next year with Zaz. Before I go into more about the WAO I wanted to catch up on the the weekends prior to the WAO.
First in my excitement about Zaz's 1st champ ticket at Vyne I forgot to do the obligatory trophy photo for Vyne. I am trying to do this after every show but sometimes just run out of time. These are not the most creative photos and they are taken with my little video camera but they are just meant to be a special reminder of each show. The rosettes and trophies will eventually be put away in a box and/or recycled; the photos will last a little longer! I like to get better quality photo from Dennis but sometimes it is just inconvenient to do the photos when he is around.
Beacon and Tunbridge Wells shows are run on the same weekend. On Saturday Beacon is a small/medium only show and Tunbridge Wells has no classes for smalls and mediums on Saturday. On Sunday Beacon is a Large dog only show and Tunbridge Wells holds classes for all sizes. So it works well on paper...the only catch is the distance between the two shows!
Beacon is in the north of Birmingham so it is on the edge of being able to do in one day.(3 hours) Instead I drove up on the Friday to stay in a B&B so I did not have to get up at 4 am to drive up on Saturday. We drove up late so we were able to have the whole day home and just used the B&B to crash for the night. At only £25 per night it is worth staying just to not have to be up at the crack of dawn.
Beacon show is one of my favorite shows. It is held at sport field so the grounds are good and it is only 4 rings so we can park close to all the rings. This makes Bernadette VERY HAPPY! Have I mentioned before how much I hate being parked miles away from the rings? LOL Also having a show dedicated to smalls and medium dogs also makes me happy; not that I am prejudiced against big dogs but well.....just saying I like my smalls and mediums. Just saying...
Beacon is also a championship show. So it was Zaz's second chance at a ticket. Sadly we didn't win the ticket this time but I was chuffed to bits with Zaz and Zen's runs. We had a new champ judge for Beacon; Lee Gibson was judging his first champ classes. I was looking forward to the courses because I knew the Lee has been exposed to a more "international" flavour of courses. He didn't disappoint and I was thrilled that all the courses were on the difficult side. Not only were the jumping and agility rounds difficult but he kept the final just as difficult. I LOVED it! We had to work all rounds and the final was so exciting.
Here is Zaz in the agility qualifier round.
Zen was entered in the champs because she was competing in the WAO the following weekend. So it was nice to have some handling courses to get us tuned up as a team. I was so happy that both Zen and Zaz made it into the final. Both girls did really well in the agility and jumping qualifier rounds so Zaz was running 2nd to last and Zen was running last.
First up was the small dog final. There were alot of faults and eliminations in the final rounds but then up came Helen and her poodle (running 3rd to last) putting in a faultless fast round. I watched that round and knew that if we had any chance we needed to go for it. So we did but my over excitement caused Zaz to miss out a jump. Watching the video back I know what I did to cause it so it was my fault totally. She never even saw the jump I wanted her to take the back of so she locked on the next jump she saw. I was not disappointed because I was thrilled with the rest of the run. After Zaz ran there was one dog left to go. Nicky and Indy put in a fantastic run to just win out over Helen by a nano-second! It was such a great final and I was proud that Zaz and I were sandwiched between those two great teams. I cannot be complacent as Zaz and I still have work to do to become as polished as Nicky and Indy and Helen and her adorable poodles. This is what makes it fun!
I needed to trust Zaz's weave poles more to have run that section smoothly and in my rush to get to the next off set jump I forgot to change arms to bring her in after the go-round. Listen closely and you will hear my videographer say "pants" which is an English term meaning SH*T or DAMN! Now you all have a new swear word you can use in the USA and not get eliminated for cursing on course! LOL Yes my English friends can you believe they will eliminate you for swearing on course in the US?
Then is was Zen's turn. My little Zen-star ran her little legs off. We ended up in 2nd place to get the Reserve Championship Ticket. Not bad for the old girls (me and Zen!)
Itzy did not come to the shows this weekend; instead she stayed home and kept Dennis company. I find it exhausting running 3 dogs and not sure how everyone else does it!
It was a long drive back home to get up early the next day for Tunbridge Wells. The nice part is that Tun Wells show is only 45 minutes from home. Yay!
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Two weeks ago Zaz followed in her mother Zen's pawprints and won her first Championship ticket in her FIRST Championship class! Anything I could write would be inadequate in describing how I feel about Zaz and what she has done for me. Instead I will let you enjoy the video.
We leave in two days for Zaz's first big event. The World Agility Open Championships 2011. I am grateful for this opportunity to show off my two special girls Zen and her daughter Zaz. This will be Zen's last big event as she will be bred this summer; so I will be cherishing every moment and just enjoying her awesomeness. I thought I would share this special good luck card made by our friend Sonia. I have similar cards for almost all of Zen's international competitions. Each one is kept in Zen's scrapbook as a memory of that event. Now Zaz can have her own scrapbook and we can start with this special card.
Wednesday, May 04, 2011
So Itzy is now in Grade 6 and her first graded classes were at the Lincoln show. I was really happy with how she ran and that she can be competitive in Grade 6. She achieved two 2nd places at that show. Now it is just finding Grade 6 classes for her. The majority of shows put on combined Grade 6/7 for the smalls and mediums. The quandary I am in is that I want to do the Championship Shows and shows with Qualifiers for Zaz but I need the Graded 6 shows for Itz. Unfortunately they often do not go together.
Her second shows at Grade 6 were over the Easter Weekend. Although I really do not like the Newbury showgrounds I drove out on the Easter Friday to the WBSDS show because they had a Grade 6 class for smalls. Itzy ran really well but a small error got us Eliminated. I try really hard with Itz not to let her know when things go wrong; we just go on as if she was correct. So if you see me run a class and wonder why I am acting like we went clear even though you saw a fault, don't feel the need to tell me! LOL
Itzy had one Grade 6 agility class on the Easter Saturday but we had a knocked bar. Again I was so pleased with how she ran. On the Sunday she was sh*t hot and happily won her first Grade 6 class! I felt like a starter handler all over again worrying which dogs were left to run and if anyone would knock her out of 1st place! LOL Hopefully I have got that out of my system now and what will be will be for the Itz. I am not worried how fast she gets out of Grade 6 but only focused on both of us running happily. Itzy is actually suprising me with some of the skills she has because I don't remember teaching them to her! She is still behind Zaz in alot of training but I am OK with that. This is why it is so nice to have the two pups together; I am not in so much of a rush with Itz.
Here is how Itzy plays with her rosettes. Actually it is one of Zen's rosettes as I wouldn't let her play with her first Grade 6 1st place ribbon! She bounces up and down with it but, of course, since we were trying to video it she became camera shy.
The following weekend we had a long 4 day weekend due to the Royal Wedding on the Friday and the Bank Holiday on the Monday. I was tempted to do some shows but decided instead to stay home and spend time with Dennis and friends. Once the show season starts in full swing those relaxing non-agility weekends become scarce. I am trying to plan a few one day agility weekends rather than spend both days away but it is easy to get carried away with entering shows. Luckily because our entry fees are so low; I can easily just decide not to go on the day without stressing about losing the entry fee.
On the Bank Holiday Monday we headed out to Newbury Showgrounds (again!) for the one day Vyne Championship show. This was to be Zaz's first Championship class. (more about that later!) But even better there was a Grade 5-6 and Grade 6 agility for Itz. We were rushing around for the Championships classes so I missed walking Itz's Grade 5-6 class. Even so I was pleased with how she ran! She came in 4th out of 51 dogs in this class.
Then came out Grade 6 class! And she won it! This time I did not watch and check the other teams but waited to let Dennis check after the class was closed. Yes Dennis was there again to see his Itzy Bitzy win! (which is why we have lots of video!) Poor Dennis is now going to feel obligated to come to every show were there are Graded classes for Itzy!
So Itzy is now half way to Grade 7. I do not think she has another Graded class now until June. But it looks like our goal of Grade 7 by the end of the summer is very achievable! Go The Itz!!