Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Osmaston Polo Ground

This is a new flyball venue located in the very picturesque Derbyshire village of Osmaston, a lovely scenic setting for a weekend of flyball courtesy of the Alpha Dogz. We were possibly a little ambitious when we entered 4 open teams and a starters team knowing that there would only be the four of us (Me, Alison, Gemma and Rach) plus a 5 year old child to keep an eye on too (lol) and especially since I had also committed to attending a BCCGB committee meeting on Saturday between the morning and afternoon racing (fortunately just 20 mins away in Willington) but things actually went surprisingly smoothly! We managed to run in five divisions with Gemma and I judging another division each, meaning we were involved in seven out of the nine divisions running over the weekend…whew! In spite of this we still managed to have a relaxed and enjoyable weekend which was certainly helped by the weather which was glorious sunshine throughout although possibly a little too hot for the dogs when racing.

Our racing started with starters first thing on Saturday morning and we had Spark , Fergus, Tarka, Flint and Spud as backup since I knew I wouldn’t be able to run Tarka and Flint at the same time so I alternated them but mostly ran Flint to be honest who was better than I expected and actually managed to run while the other lane was running and win us some legs. I’ll admit…he is better when the dog in the other lane is smaller/slower but…it’s progress at least! Somehow or other this team managed to come 2nd and we got lovely keyrings with pics of all the dogs on :o)

Next in we had the Demon Cubz, this is our newly formed 4th team which consisted of Pip, Fly, Squirrel, Ethan and Maisie. We had Eth and Maisie sharing since they both have to run last. This team started out well but things rapidly went downhill when Ethan went lame (obviously not ready to come back after his injury at Eastham :o( ) and then Maisie started repeatedly spitting her ball….argh!!! They ran a fastest time of 22.60 which is their new seed time but they are definitely capable of going sub 22 with a bit more practice I think.

Sunday started with the Pawz which this weekend was Spark (making his open debut), Jovi, Fynn, Lexie and Teal. This was another rather eventful division with a new combination of dogs where we learned a couple of things…(1) while Spark may be happy to run for someone else…this doesn’t apply when he’s running in on me running Jovi! (2) When my concentration is distracted from Jovi…her concentration is distracted from flyball! (3) Teal will actually run for someone other than me now! Jovi started running out on her way back from the box, something she hasn’t done since she very first started competing, so I actually ended up running Spark most of the day and…I have to say that he was actually brilliant! Soooo pleased with my little man! I don’t think they got that many points as we seemed to suffer with numerous lights/fumbles etc but they ran a fastest time of 21.31 and I was really pleased that Spark stayed happy and focused throughout…doing lovely tight changeovers and fumbling his ball a couple of times but coming back in over the jumps…clever merlie bum! I only wish I’d put some effort in to training him sooner! Making his open debut at 4 years old means he has some catching up to do! lol

We had decided to run the Racers NFC and run with the wings up to help Tarka re-gain her confidence in competition so that team was Mac’, Faith, Dottie and Tarka. I just feel that she needs the hype, excitement and consistency of running with experienced dogs in an open division to help her find her form again. She ran ok but didn’t have her normal speed but over the day we did discover that she has quite a build-up of scar tissue, over her right hip and left leg and I am wondering whether her sudden loss of speed/confidence is actually due to a physical issue more than anything else. Poor Tarka baby; not really sure what to do with her next??

A few of my favourite pics of this team, these were taken by David Flood of Fenland Firestorm, they were only competing Sunday and in the same division as the Pawz so David only got pics of the Racers and Demonz but they are fabulous photos as always, thanks David :o)



Last up we had the Demonz running in Division 1 and we ran Aston, Bailey, Dylan and Travis. but this time Rachel ran Travis and I ran Aston. I do love running my boy but also missed running Travis too. They all ran ok, Dyl is still not hitting his top form and I don’t think Travis ran quite as well as he had at Eastham so we only managed an 18.41 but we did win the division!

A few of my favourite pics of this team...



We also took several pups…Charm, Gambit, Junior and Walter who got their first vaccines and microchips thanks to Tom and Walter then headed home to Stevenage with Kristian on the first leg of his journey to his new home in Russia via the World Dog Show in Paris…he’s such a happy and laid back little chap…he took his little adventure in his stride as I expected ;o)

Walter – Bryning B’Dazzled (Fynn x Dazzle) just chilling in the garden during his few days stay with the Allcorns :o)

All in all another very busy but enjoyable weekend, lots learned and lots still to work on.

Friday, 1 July 2011

Preiously...on ER...

Ok, so in light of my appalling aptitude as a blogger of late I feel we need a brief recap on what has happened over the last couple of months else anything new won’t make a whole heap of sense! Kinda like the start of one of those ongoing TV dramas lol (cue dramatic intro music….)

Several shows in the last couple of months, can’t remember what happened at them all now to be honest. My dogs in particular have suffered from my lack of time lately and are all a little ‘porky’ (by ‘porky’ I really mean FAT!) so aren’t running their best, with the exceptions of Aston, Mac, Maisie and Jovi who never seem to gain any weight no matter what their feeding/exercise regime (thankfully!). I also think this rapid weight gain is partly caused by the fact that I’ve started feeding them a lot more raw meat and bones, which they love but perhaps a bit too much!

The season has started slowly with a lot shuffling of dogs between the teams as we try to work out who is on form, who isn’t and which combinations are working best. We have also, in the last month, increased our number of open teams from three to four (eek!!) which is quite a lot of work for 8 people but we just have too many dogs to squeeze into 3 teams now (and lots of youngsters in training too).

Aston has been coming on brilliantly in training and has been running consistent 4.4’s in starters competitions (clever lad); he’s such a joy to handle…so motivated and focused, it’s very hard not to become complacent with a young dog like that and forget that he’s still a ‘baby’. He ran his first Open tournament at our very own show, Royal Umpire Caravan Park, Croston and was paw perfect bless him running consistent 4.2s/4.3s in our top team over 12” hurdles with Jovi as the height dog. We ran 18.24s which was 0.5sec faster than we have been running lately but Jovi didn’t run that well and actually came down with kennel cough after the show so I don’t think she was feeling 100%. Next time out (Eastham) we decided to try running Travis in the top team and the additional 1” off the hurdle heights (down to 11”) seemed to really suit Aston who ran 4.1s over this height all day helping us run a 17.95s despite Dylan being a little off form. At the moment we are running them Aston-Bailey-Dylan-Travis…this is because the team we’re running at the European Championships in Germany (sadly won’t include Aston as I never got him passported ) is a combined team with Cambridgeshire Canines which includes Merlyn who has to run start so Alison is currently perfecting her changeover into Bailey. Once we get back from Germany I anticipate that Dylan will go back start with Aston and Bailey following and then…whatever height dog we decide to run on the end ;o) Lots more to come from this team anyway.

There are a few photos of the dogs running at Eastham here

Tarka has taken somewhat of a backward step, after looking so promising in training I brought her out into open competition at Pontefract in May and it totally blew her mind and , as often happens with cockers, seriously dented her confidence . The last month or so have been slow confidence building exercises so we ran an NFC team in starters at our show, our planned Euros team which she really enjoyed and got very excited about. Our next show is at Osamston Polo Ground 2nd/3rd July where I am planning on running our second team (Demon Racers) NFC with the wings in to allow her to run and experience ‘proper’ racing without any pressure. From not doing any shows in July before we head to Germany we are now running at least one team every weekend for Tarkas’ benefit. Fingers crossed she gets the idea soon!

Spark has also really come on great guns since we started weekly training and I am so pleased with his progress. He’s been running starters most weekends and I’m so happy with every aspect of his training; his box is superb (he has done all his training and starters comps running on the chute), he is doing lovely tight changeovers in and out and has even been running start dog and maintaining his focus too. I think part of his progress is the fact he has been training and racing with Aston and they have a very healthy competitive relationship! Lol

I’ve also started training Flint who is doing surprisingly well. He does lovely fast runbacks for his tuggy and loves fetching his tennis ball too. He is gradually tightening up on the chute, this is going to be our second biggest challenge as there is a lot of him to turn! Our biggest challenge however is getting him to run while there’s another dog running…this is currently a work in progress.

We’ve started doing little bits of work with the babies… Jellybean is just doing a few runbacks each session. I’ve spaced the hurdles at 5ft intervals so that she learns to hurdle…as her little legs grow we will gradually move them further apart. At the moment she’s doing well and running back nicely for her tuggy…until she sees another dog…hmmmm…she is definitely a terrier! Preston is also doing restrained runbacks and is currently looking F-A-ST!! Need to make sure we get everything right with him as he’s looking very promising, I anticipate his issues will be dog chasing and ball dropping so we need to make sure those habits do not develop. Half of the battle with flyball training is anticipating the problems you might encounter with a particular dog and nipping them in the bud at the start.

EABCC isn’t even worth talking about so I won’t bother (lol), SKC was marginally better… Spark was a pillock (too busy thinking about nice girlies in season), Faith went nicely and was shortlisted as was Jovi but neither were placed, Viva was the most settled she’s ever been in the ring and went really well, she came 2nd in a really strong class so has now got her Crufts 2012 qualifier :o) Last show was Blackpool on the 26th June, I never seem to do well at our ‘home ground’ but, against my better judgment, was persuaded to enter under this particular judge…the Blackpool curse struck again as the judge was changed at the last minute (typical!) and as I expected…we came home with nothing. Viva was shortlisted (junior bitch), Spark and Faith were both binned (open dog and limit bitch) it was an absolute SCORCHER of a day with no shade in the rings and the judge has us moving around the big ring again and again, which under normal circumstances I would be quite happy about but it definitely took its’ toll on poor Spark who was just not a happy bunny at all bless him. I had headed taken him for a walk round to toilet just before he went in the ring and gone to fill up the water bottle at the same time, there was a large plastic paddling pool under the tap which he promptly attempted to climb in! I just managed to grab him at the last minute so he only immersed a single front leg but it was a bit of a mad panic to get it dried off and prepared again before hitting the ring. Poor Spark was most confused since I actively encourage him to get in the paddling pools at flyball to lie down and cool off between races lol I actually had a nice day nonetheless, just enjoying the banter around the ring with everyone :)

Faith at Blackpool

Viva at Blackpool

(photos by Wendy Lawless)

We’ve had three litters born over the last couple of months, well I say three…what I really mean is two and a bit! Lexie whelped a single puppy at Easter; this was always going to be her last litter as she is 8 in October and I just really wanted something else from her so one puppy suits me just fine. Gambit (Bryning All the Right Moves) is now 10 weeks old and a really lovely boy. Lexie struggled to produce milk with just having the one pup so I hand reared him ‘til 4/5 weeks old. He came everywhere with me as a result so is a very happy and confident little chap indeed. He then actually ‘moved in’ with Dazzle’s 7 puppies by Fynn who are 12 days younger than him. These pups are now all spoken for apart from a single black/white boy who injured a right hind leg at 7 weeks old, after numerous examinations and x-rays it thankfully just turned out to be a bad sprain but he’s still here until I’m happy he’s completely sound. I have kept a blue merle bitch pup from this litter on breeding terms, hopefully she will prove to be as good a producer as her mum has been.

Bryning Dare to Dazzle (Fynn x Dazzle)

Mercy whelped a litter of TEN puppies, now 5 weeks old and beautiful. I must get some new photos of this lot. Eight bitches and two dogs, I have yet to find the perfect homes for all ten of them though.

And we have two new additions of late in the form of Charm who is a super blue/white Spark daughter bred by Pat Ward at Starside She is such a character, so bold and bright…I just love her!

Charm - Starside Sparkles at Bryning

And Boomer, a lovely red/white boy from the Nice of You to Combye kennel in the Netherlands. Boomer is currently being fostered by friends in Belgium and should arrive in the UK early next year. I will see him when we’re out at the European Championships in Germany later this month though…can’t wait!

Boomer - Nice of You to Comebye Boomerang Boy

Think that’s about it for now!

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Facebook killed the blog-ster??

Ok…well I do feel terribly guilty that my blog really has suffered a serious amount of neglect over the last few months and have concluded that there are several reasons for this being the case. Firstly, we don’t do as much over winter so I have far less to talk about other than the fairly trivial and mundane day to day stuff (although I actually quite enjoy reading about such things on other people’s blogs lol). Secondly, with the short days and dark mornings/evenings over winter I always just tend to feel as though I have less time to do anything which is obviously psychological since I physically have exactly the same number of hours in a day! lol Thirdly, and possibly the most significant factor is my increasing reliance on facebook to share and interact with friends and like minded people but I do appreciate that not everyone uses facebook or looks at it regularly so I will endeavour to keep the blog up to date over the summer and I will invariably have a lot more to say than is practical on facebook anyway! lol

For anyone wanting to catch the facebook news and updates, from myself and various ‘Bryning Owners’ that also contribute, you can just visit our Bryning Border Collies, Working Cockers and Parson Russell Terriers page and ‘Like’ it to get all the updates and photos included in your newsfeed.

So much has happened since my last posting that I hardly know where to begin in a brief roundup. Both flyball comp and breed show-wise we have done very little. LKA was our last breed show of 2010 and I only took Spark who ended the year in style with a first place in his first ever Open class beating some really super Show Champions; he was handled by Eric Broadhurst for the first time and didn’t go as well as he should have in the challenge but I was pleased with him nonetheless and he ended 2010 having attended just 7 shows and coming away with 5 class wins, a reserve ticket and ticket…not bad going!

Spark winning his class at LKA (photo by Cathy Saxon)

From a real high we were plunged into a real low with the sudden illness and death of Sue Large in early February, just 4 months after awarding Spark his first CC at SBCC and us having a real blast together at LKA in December. What a terrible shock and a real blow to her whole family but also the dog world at large; Sue was always happy to share her time and vast wealth of knowledge and experience with everyone and I had been touched by her generosity of spirit since I bought my first ‘show bred’ border collie, sired by Tetley (Wizaland Lucky Brew JW); Sue was always so helpful and encouraging to me as a complete novice, it was a really sad time for all who knew her.

So far this year we’ve only been to MBCC champ show where Spark was 3rd in Open dog and a couple of open breed shows where Spark and Faith both had class wins, Viva a couple of consistent places and Jovi came 2nd in a strong class at her first ever show; if I can get her to settle in the ring she should do ok (although that is quite a big ‘if’!).

Spark winning his class at NWBCC Open Show (photo by Sue Tranter)

Viva at NWBCC

And of course Crufts where I had just entered Dottie and Spark but Dottie didn’t hang onto her coat so only Spark went, he was unplaced for the first time ever (shock…horror! lol) but was beautifully behaved as always and returned to represent the breed on the Discover Dogs stand on Sunday too, along with Fynn.

Spark by his bench at Crufts 2011

We have EABCC and SKC champ shows coming up over the next few weeks so fingers crossed for some good results there. It’s quite frightening to add up the cost of show entries and diesel costs so I’m not sure how many shows we will get to this year to be honest. I thought long and hard and decided that, although qualified, I’m not going to take Spark to ‘Border Collie of the Year’ this year…it’s just too far and too costly for the sake of taking a single dog unfortunately.

In terms of flyball tournaments we had a couple of months off with no competing or training so we’re not entirely prepared for the season ahead and are going to have to just ‘suck it and see’ but that means there’s no pressure on either dogs or handlers. Travis made his Open debut and is running reliably but we still need to work on his box and his junior handler, Megan has a lot to learn too but is making good progress. I am still working on foundation stuff with Tarka, she is looking very promising and I want to make sure we get it right with her so no more starters competitions for her until I feel she’s ready to run in open, the chaos of starters is not conducive to cocker confidence building. Flint (the ENORMOUS whippet/saluki/greyhound thing I rescued last summer) has just started training and is doing surprisingly well…let’s hope it lasts! Again…baby steps with him, don’t want to waste that potential by pushing him too soon.

We have managed to secure a new permanent training ground thanks to my wonderful vets at Rowan Veterinary Centre; their brand new purpose built surgery sits on quite a large plot so we have mown a half acre (ish) area that we can use for training, there is a lovely (hmmmm) open water pit in the middle of the plot too which the dogs have decided makes an ideal ‘plunge pool’ for cooling off! lol

We did have some surprise success however on our first attempt at Crufts flyball with our YKC team which had been a last minute thought at the end of last year. We had qualified at the last qualifier of the year in October so went on the last day (Sunday) looking forward to our day out but with no expectations. To our surprise and delight the kids and dogs were brilliant and sailed through each knock out round without dropping a single race to win the final against Hinckley and be declared the 2011 Crufts Champions! Woo Hoo! Team consisted of Rachel with Spice (WSD) and Aiden with Lily (Labrador) from Cambridgeshire along with Daizy, Megan and Rachel who ran Bailey(WSD), Dylan (Bryning Truly Magic), Faith (Bryning True Believer) and Haze (Bryning Indian Summer)

The Demon K9’s - 2011 YKC Crufts Flyball Champions!

We have two new editions to the pack since the last blog update too. Jellybean is a rough coated Parson Russell bitch puppy that I kept from Squirrel’s Christmas litter, she’s just an adorable little rogue like her daddy!

And Preston is a young blue & white border collie pup from the Beesting ‘kennel’ in Wigan. There is quite a sad tale behind Preston joining us here as I had originally chosen and taken his litter brother Drift who was a really super puppy and such a funny character but was tragically killed in an accident at just 5 months old which was just devastating. Shortly after Drifts’ sudden death Jean and Jimmy very kindly offered Preston to me; since I already knew him and liked him a lot it seemed like the perfect opportunity to retain the new bloodlines I had wanted when looking to bring in a new pup in the first place. He is sufficiently different to Drift for me not to be constantly reminded of him or to be tempted to compare them and has settled in here really well becoming firm friends with Jellybean.