Wednesday, 7 March 2012

March 2012

It has been just over 3 months since I got back to the UK with the 2 girls, Freya and Ostara, and time seems to have gone so quickly compared to the 6 months I spent in Europe with them. All in all, it has been a fairly good 3 months with business picking up slowly but surely, and getting back into agility. We very luckily managed to become members of the Thames Dog Training Agility Club, (thanks to a few people, but especially Daniel), which is great as we managed to start training in January. Since then we competed at the Winter League in February, this was run in the horse arena we train in every Tuesday evening. What is quite different for us is the rules in general here, and the specs of the equipment, lots of differences to FCI.  For example, one difference being the distance between obstacles that the dog has to clear can have a minimum of 3.6m between centres and there is no maximum, and when the following obstacle is placed at 90 degrees or more to the proceeding one, the distance may be reduced to 2.7m.  I could see a lot of South African agility people moaning much better about a lot of things :)
Both Freya and Ostara won their classes, combined 3 -7 Agility rounds. Rob judged at the Winter League for two of the other classes and it was interesting to see people's responses and reactions to his courses, and there were a few moans and groans about contact calls :) (seems a few handlers like to try take a few chances with their contacts, especially with fly offs on the see-saw), but I think once people actually ran the courses they enjoyed them :) Here are the 2 courses:

And here is a photo of Freya and Ostara with their winning rosettes.

This last Saturday we competed at our first Kennel Club show, Mid Downs. Quite a different experience for us compared to competing in South Africa. First of all the number of dogs entered was just WAY more than we are used to. The show was only open to Grades 3 - 7, and they still had over 2000 entries. There were 6 rings running simultaneously, four indoors in a horse arena, with a sand surface and 2 outdoors on a sand and rubber surface. Running on that surface was also a bit different and both Freya and Ostara slipped quite badly a few times. Freya landing on her face at one stage, having a face FULL of sand, and Ostara having a nose dive, and then landing flat on her back in the tunnel.  Ostara competed in 4 different classes, 2 agility classes, Grade 6, and combined Grade 6 & 7, and then 2 jumping rounds, combined Grade 6 & 7, and combined Grade 5 - 7. There were between 180 - 230 dogs in each of her classes. She managed to have 2 clears on her agility rounds, placing her 2nd in the Grade 6 class, and then 5th in the combined 6 & 7 class. Unfortunately this was the round she was flat on her back for a second or two, so she could potentially have had a better placing. In her jumping rounds she had an unfortunate first bar down and then a dq on the second last jump in the other round. But for her first show of the season, I was happy with her results and she worked well, and considering all that excitement with so many dogs barking and going mad in such a confined space, she managed to keep her head together! For those of you who know Ostara it is not an easy thing for her :)
Freya who is now in medium, for those who don't know, was handled by Rob and she competed in 2 rounds. One agility 6 & 7, which she had a nice clear in and came 2nd, and one jumping, which was the round she landed flat on her face in but still managed a 5th place. I really enjoyed watching Freya compete, even though it felt very strange not running her :) We did manage to film a few of our the rounds on the day, but sod's law, when we came to capture them onto the computer, the camera has decided to die a death, and the tape is now stuck inside it! So will not be able to post the videos at this stage.

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