Thursday, 21 May 2009

1 more sleep...eeeek!!!!

Just a very quick post because I've got the day off to get sorted for the 'big trip', packing , washing, cleaning etc....

But the divisions have now been published for the European Championships...

EFC 2009 Divisions

We are running in divs 2 and 6 and I am judging division 3 (better read that rule book again!! lol)...can't wait!!! :)

Oh...and did I mention...I've organised an eye testing clinic down at Riverbank with Stuart tomorrow...29 dogs to get through...standard eye tests and gonioscopy...before we can leave for I mad??!!! (no need to answer that question lol)

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Wet, wet, wet... the only way I can describe our lunchtime walk today. I had to pop along the M61 to Horwich to pick up some stuff in preparation for our trip so decided to take the rabble to Rivington Hall for a run in the meadows by the river at the bottom. This is usually very picturesque at this time of year and since I happened to have the camera in the van I decided to take some pics.

Now, you can't actually see the incessant vertical rain on the photos but I think the state of the dogs and the (lack of) quality of the pics says it all!

On slightly brighter note...

...this is the logo Steve sent me this morning for the back of our T-shirts for next week

...Cool as! :)

Monday, 18 May 2009

friends, food and flyball...what weekends are all about

(This is a bit of an experiment, I'm e-mailing this post rather than posting directly on the site so we'll see how it works...)
Jeep finally made his 'big trip' across the pond to his new home in Oklahoma where he is hopefully set to carry on his family tradition and be a first rate flyball dog :)
Read all about his arrival on <A HREF="">Susans' Blog</A>, I wish them every success with this special little boy.
Saturday morning I took the remaining 3 (Mouse, Monkee and Dino) for their second vaccinations so they're now able to start going out and about to meet and greet the public!  They had their first proper outing yesterday as I took them all to Sutton Fields where we were running starters with the Dolphins.  I was picking Radley up and taking her since no-one else could make it, she and Squirrel were running in different teams so I was getting to run them both. 
Now...Friday was my birthday and we went out for a realy nice italian meal at Quattro's near Garstang (Mmmmmm....yummy) then back to mine for drinks, Saturday Paul and Alison organised a little 'Eurovision party' with delicious mexican food and lots of nice drinks...we had a really nice evening but I have to say...I probably wasn't quite 'with it' on Sunday morning and managed to forget (1) our flyball box which was needed because the Dolphins were in both rings at the same time and had only brought the one (2) much more importanly....Squirrels' special balls!!  They'd got wet during training on Saturday (where she'd run brilliantly!) and I'd left them on one of the radiators to dry...disaster!!  Squirrel is something of a tennis ball connosieur and is really rather picky about what balls she will and won't retrieve.  I have noticed lots of terriers on the flyball circuit with their own special balls so I am putting it down to the breed!  She likes a very soft ball that she can squash in her mouth, the soft (kiddies) tennis balls are not soft enough for her, no...she has to have the (expensive) air kong squeaky balls with the squeak removed!  I ask you! lol  She was running with Wilf, another terrier, and the two Roxy's (show cocker and boxer) but the little blighter kept dropping her ball and was very easily distracted and was in just about every way agonising to run...I could have merrily throttled her!! (ah...the joy of running a terrier!).  When we did all 'get it right' and all the dogs completed without any re-runs they were running mid 23.00 secs which really isn't bad for a team of little ABC' frustrating!!  We ended up 5th out of 6 teams.
Thankfully, Radley more than made up for Squirrel!  This was only her second time out competing and is the first time I've run her but she really was brilliant.  She was running 3rd dog between Leila (v fast collie-kelpie cross) and a small jack russell, I decided to try running her from 30ft and going for a changeover...she was a total star!  She was keen and focused, leaning into her harness and pulling to go as soon as we lined up, running in for perfect tight changeovers, fab four footed turns off the box (in spite of the v wet and muddy ground) and fast back out for her second ball, not batting an eye lid at the 4th dog running in on her.  She consistently ran sub 5sec times (including changeovers) and the team ended up unbeaten and winning the division with a low 20.00 sec time!  Her first rosette and a nice bag of CSJ biscuits to boot.  What a clever cocker!  John Clarke (Sunnyside Photography) was taking pics so I'll see if he got any nice ones of her when he's uploaded them to his gallery.
Radley and her littermates all turned 18 months old on Saturday and her brother Murphy (Bryning Makin' Trouble) was making his KC agility debut over at Waldridge Fell, Orienne text me on Saturday evening to say he'd been a little star and come 2nd in the medium grade 3 jumping.  A pair of clever cockers!  Other brother Magic (Bryning Makin' Magic) will be running starters with us at Wood Green next weekend too, by all accounts he's a cracking little flyball dog so hopefully Squirrel won't let the side down! (must not forget her balls!) lol

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Wednesday, 13 May 2009

busy at home...

Not been anywhere this past week, had visitors at the weekend; Mark and Rach came up from Swindon on Saturday, was nice to catch up with them and their brood. Vicky came up to take Jeep, he flies out to Dallas on Friday and I'm sure he'll be just fine, he's a very easy going and confident little chap.

Sunday morning we had a group flyball training session, Radley seemed a bit distracted, not sure if she's due in season but we had a good session. Sunday afternoon we had all the family over and had a 'birthday party' for my mum, Jelly and Ice cream, pink iced fairy cakes...the lot! lol I bought her some new garden furniture and we enjoyed the unexpected good weather, Radley and Boots (my brothers' cocker) came over so Teal and Drake had cocker company :) The kids all had a great time playing with the cockers the garden...three hours of 'fetch'...I have never seen Drake so tired!! When everyone had gone he just crashed out in the yard and didn't move for the rest of the evening, the dog that is never still! I think we need kids over to play every day! lol

I let another group of dogs out to play in the garden in the evening and decided to make the most of the evening sunshine and take some piccies...
Here's a few I uploaded to Flickr...

Paul, Alison and I have done a bit of training each evening this week while the weather has been nice. Mostly trying to consolidate box turns and build stamina. We're planning on another group session on Saturday. Squirrel and Radley are running starters with the Dolphins at Sutton this weekend, I'm hoping to not have to be there all day as I have a lot to do before we leave for the Euro tour next weekend!

Thursday, 7 May 2009

clever cockers

I was just mooching round the BFA website (as you do) and checking on what awards each dog is coming up for when I fell upon the breed statistics; imagine my suprise to find that Drake and Teal were the 2nd and 4th highest scoring cocker spaniels over 2008 despite both only coming out in Feb/Mar!! More impressively Drake is currently standing 10th and Teal 15th in the highest pointed cocker spaniels in BFA history! They've only been competing for a year! What a pair of clever cockers :)

Mid-week agility training

Went to agility training last night, I was late what with one thing and another but as it's a fairly free session it didn't really matter, just meant less time to do stuff. I took Faith back for the first time in 4 months and it definitely showed! I just wanted to kill her! lol She had completely 'forgotten' her 2on2off position on the contacts so she went straight back on lead and suddenly remembered! Fact is, she had the attention span of a gnat and was totally preoccupied by the other dogs working, putting her lead on made her concentrate on what she was doing a little more. I wish I'd just done that in the first place instead of getting cross with and learn! I ended up tying her up and working Teal instead (the nice focused little dog who hangs on my every word...or maybe it's just the toy I have in my hand! lol).

Teal worked really nicely, we did lots of jumping exercises and I worked on my position and timing at getting her to turn tightly and come through, my god can that little dog turn tight! (if I get my timing right!). I don't know why this should suprise me, it's the very reason she always beats the collies to the ball when we're out! Her long lean body is perfectly designed to wrap around jump wings! :) We finished up doing a long run down 4 jumps into a box out into a curved tunnel offset to the right of the box, back into the box and then a long blast back up the line of jumps. I got Faith out to do this and she loved it, worked on ahead to the tunnel really well allowing me to stay in the box to put the reverse turn in to pick her up on my right to go back up the line...she was flying and really having fun. For the time being I think we will concentrate on lots of these fast flowing exercises for Fi and get her concentraion and interest re-sparked. It was good to finish on a positive with her though. Doing this exercise highlighted my biggest problem with Teal at the moment...if I have her toy on me she is reluctant to leave me, this meant that I struggled to send her on ahead into the tunnel and stay in the box for the pick up. I ended up placing her toy at the end of the tunnel and sending her on into the tunnel, each time I ran a little shorter but encouraged her on with my voice. I think we may just need to lose the toy for a while and just play with it at the end of each exercise. I also think I need to start using my arms more to encourage her on ahead. I think a trip down to Joy's is probably in order! lol

So much for my 'two free weekends'...they're almost fully booked already!

Bank Holiday Flyball!!

It was a busy bank holiday weekend with three days of flyball over at Drax courtesy of the Kellington Flyball Teams. 5 divisions of Open racing running on each day Sat/Sun as well as 4 divisions of multibreed and 2 of starters on Monday!

This is the first time we've headed over to this venue and I was pleasantly suprised, lovely well maintained ground, the camping area surrounded by trees and a fantastic clubhouse a stones' throw away! Toilets, showers, a bar and delicious and reasonably priced food all on the caravan doorstep...perfect!

I was nice to catch up with a lot of friends and teams we haven't seen much of over winter too, the sun shone on Saturday and Sunday and we had two fairly lazy days with just one team running each day and no judging or ring party duties, although we did trade boxloader/linesman and ball collector with Tyne Tailwaggers on Saturday as there were only a few of them there, same as us.

We actually had a suprisingly successful weekend with the Pawz (seeded 5th) coming 3rd in Div 5 on Saturday and Faith making her 'post-litter' comeback, not running in top gear but she did run well and was really keen so hopefully we'll have her back on form soon! The Racers (seeded 6th) won div 2 on Sunday!!! Our opposition just seemed determined to hand us victory in every race even when I tried to hand it back to them with double false starts!! lol On two seperate occasions I got a 2nd false start with Mac but the opposing start dog also faulted meaning I 'got away with it'...very lucky!! It was really nice to get the division win but at the same time we never had to push it and really race so coasted through the division with the slowest time of all 6 teams! Not really what it's all about but hey ho...says something for consistency at least!

Squirrel ran with Rotherham starters on Monday and they came 2nd. She shared a spot with another dog but she was a little star! She also told me that she wants a Canadian box for her birthday, she ran so much better on this than our boomerang box but it's much more like the training chute she did all her initial training on.

Teal ran with Rotherham's 2nd multibreed team (with Charlie, Bryning Bright Light) and they came 2nd in Div 2 and Drake ran with their first team (with Ollie, Bryning Old Devil Moon) and they came 3rd in Div 1 but the racing in both divisions was very very tight, Doncaster Team Pow Wow ran a 17.76 and won the division, we ran an 18.80 something and our Div 2 team ran 19.84, all 4 divisions of multibreed were good racing to be honest, it was an exhausting but enjoyable day.

Over the weekend I managed to get the last of my dogs' final measures so have sent off a big envelope of height card applications for them. Dottie, Lexie and Faith have all finished up at 13", Drake 12" and Teal 8". Have got to start it all again with Kitten and Squirrel now! (although Kitten got her first measure at 11" at Anglesey already). Teal also picked up her Flyball Dog Advanced certificate, clever cocker :)

We have a couple of weeks off competing now before our 'team tour' begins on the 22nd down to the Cambridgeshire K9's tournament over the bank holiday weekend and then over to Belgium for the European Championships the following weekend, back in the UK the following week and staright over to Littleport for the High Flyers debut tournament. We will be away for a total of 16 days...can't wait!