Saturday, 4 December 2010

On a roll...

Whilst I was blogging I thought I might aswell catch up on recent events and training.

Winter training has once again commensed in earnest. The main objective is making our fabulous babies future flyball stars and so far it's going to plan. Our group that we call the intermediates consists of Loki, Shani, Merlin and Ruby. No other word can describe Shani other than amazing... box turn, speed, focus, it's all there. I say this but she hasn't actually done a full run yet, actually none of them have, we are playing the slow game! Loki gets quicker and more focused every week, his box turn is great. He has a very strong eye and desperately wants to herd, he doesn't really chase, he just stares, but it can be difficult to break him away, as I say he is getting there! Merlin is our collie/cocker cross, he will probably be an 11" (10"if were really lucky) height dog and is looking like becoming a cracking little dog who always puts his all in to it. His box turn is nice but still needs refining, it's a touch wide at the moment and front feet hit is a bit low but it'll get there. Then there is Ruby who this time last year wouldn't touch a ball. She's now retrieving a ball and triggering the box. Box training with her is hard because she does lovely on/offs the box with no ball, but she cannot catch the ball when it is in the hole when she turns this way. So when the ball is in we are letting her do her own thing to encourage her to catch the ball (she won't catch anything if you throw it to her, she lets it fall on the floor 1st!). This is working and she is now catching the ball out of the box, when this is more reliable, i'll start encouraging her to turn properly and still catch the ball. Other main thing with her is confidence, she doesn't like changeovers at the moment and her speed is greatly affected if she feels nervous about anything around her.

With the team dogs, I'm aiming to get as many box reps as I can manage with the props in and head to head racing to encourage them to hold their turns. We are also working on various speed exercises to get the best out of them and also give them a bit of variety in what they do at flyball training. My plans with Asher are really just more box reps with prop and work a little bit on foot position to try and get rid of his double hitting, not sure if that will be possible now that he's been racing so long though (maybe a certain Mr Robbins can help with that in march!). The main thing really is making him hold his turn when he's going anchor and out behind the other dog. Ideally we want him back running anchor on ballistics next year so that would make a big difference to him.

We also have our new group of starters who are the hardest bunch I've ever had, I think I'm going to have to adapt our box training technique for most as building the confidence and drive to jump on and off the box is taking a while. Fingers crossed something will click in the next couple of weeks, would make my job a bit easier!

We are also in the process of redoing the Ballistic website as the way it was before wasn't really in the style we wanted it so noone ever really used it, i'll post a link when it's finished then you 3 people who read this will be able to see who these dogs are that I babble on about all the time!
I've kinda lost all enthusiasm for agility in the last few months. I think the problem is that I feel we really haven't made any progress at all in the last year and in some ways have gone backwards. The frustrating thing is that I know the sort of things that I want to work on and how I want to go about it but would be very difficult in a class environment and its just not long enough to work with him. Asher is the sort of dog that will just keep on working, he doesn't really tire and sometimes he needs a long session to really get what you are trying to teach him in to his head. I've thought about private lessons but the trainers that I would want to go to are either too far away or not taking on new people. I do still have a lesson with Anthony Clarke to take that Sarah bought me for my birthday so maybe that will give me some motivation and i'll be prepared to drive that bit further every week for a lesson! Actually if someone could just buy me a field and a set of agility equipment that would be great, thanks very much.

So thats about it, Ashers well, his bad leg seems fine, he went lame the other week on it, checked him over and turned out he had the most massive bruise and lump ever on it where he must of bashed it on a walk, he's such a nutter! It's all gone now so that was a relief!

Acremead and Becketts

Just wanted to finish off the write ups for the last couple of shows. I don't really remember alot of what happened so I'll try keep it short.

Acremead is a lovely show that I enjoy going to, however the ground isn't really great for times so we just went to race. We had Piper back, racing in div 1 was great, we totally messed up against Molten and lost on lights, we held it together for the other races resulting in a very close last race against Bassetts. They just had us by a smidgen but it was great racing. We ended up finishing 3rd with a best time of 17.43secs. Asher struggled with the ground and was a bit inconsistent, he still didn't seem quite on form. I was still pleased with him, he always gives me 110% :). I don't remember the results for our other teams so i'll leave it at that.

Becketts Farm was our last show of the season and we had 3 teams. Missiles ran Saturday and raced brilliantly to win their division, good for them to end on a high. Rockets ran Sunday in a very strong 7 team div 2. Team was Diefer, Sonny, Smartie, Jamie and Perry. In the morning they raced the higher seeds of the division so unfortunately lost all 3. Changes were also a bit out. However in the afternoon they came out fighting and fought hard to win all their afternoon races and set a new best seed time of the year of 18.59secs. They finished 4th.

Ballistics were in div 1 with a team of Piper, Lacy, Asher and Luna. We had incredible racing. 1st race was against Bassetts, thrilling 5 legger, we managed to do our fastest ever time of 17.05secs (just 0.05secs off joing the special 16s club, nearly did it with a 16.95 but we had a slightly early change) and win the race :). Our race against Live Wires was also very tight, we managed to win the 1st leg but when they swapped dogs they just had us by a little bit so we lost 3-1. Extreme were unlucky against us getting ball fumbles and early changeovers in the wrong places, had they been clean runs we would have been very close but as it was we won that race too. So our hopes of winning the division rested on Bassetts beating Live Wires, we watched intently but Live Wires just managed to hold their nerve and win the race resulting in them winning the division and us coming 2nd which was still a great result in such a strong div 1. Really pleased with the way all the dogs ran, Luna was absolutely faultless, she looked confident and controlled and noone would ever have known that we ever had a problem with her. Asher was back on top form, absolutely flying running 3.7-3.9 all day, it amazes me that he can do that over 12". So a great way to end the season although in some ways I feel the end came too soon and had we had an extra 1 or 2 comps on good ground we would have broken the 17s barrier. Nevermind, next year.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Shackerstone

I went to Shackerstone for the 1st time last year and totally loved it so was really looking forward to it.

We had 4 teams in. Missiles and Extraset were Saturday. It all started well with me arriving back at camp ballistics at approx 8.15am after a night of drinking Shaka Khan style, i made it to the ring and managed to run Chelsey in the Missiles at 8.30am, pretty good going i would say! I haven't got a clue what happened but I do know we finished 4th with a time of 24.49secs which is good for that team.

Extraset were next in division 5. Luckily Jemma was better so we had the usual extraset team of Jemma, Perry, Sonny and Jamie. This was a fab division to race in with every race being really close. Our last race of the day was so exciting with it going down to a 5th leg decider against Hinckley Hounds which we just managed to nick by a tiny amount. This resulted in us winning the division :-) we had a best time of 20.02secs (again!).

Sunday we had Rockets in division 3 who had a team of Diefer, Elliot, Smartie and Bunty. The team managed to pull out some cracking times in the morning and were under 19 most of the time with a best time of 18.74secs. We had a couple of races of it going fairly smoothly before problems set in, I won't go in to it but the people who were there will know! Diefer was fab, he's really hit his stride again now and was consistently running 4.2s, Elliot ran really well, his box turn was lovely, and Smartie was also great, she gets faster and faster as the season goes on! The team finished 3rd.

Next we had Ballistics in div 1, I was gutted that Piper had unfortunately gone lame (due to his dad standing on his foot when practising his agility, bad dad lol!) so we had Lacy, Asher, Rosie and Luna. After Champs I thought we were sure to go faster on the ground at Shackerstone but without Piper it was impossible! We had been working on Luna in the gap since champs, we didn't much like the idea of pet correctors and such like so Carol had put lots of effort in to getting her to come back for a 2nd ball. We'd also tried various positions for Carol to stand so that she could fully get Luna's attention and get her to come back straight. We found that most effective was someone else running Luna and Carol standing near the gate as she was coming back so that was our back up plan if she started messing around again! To be honest I don't think we ran that well, Asher certainly wasn't on it and i could tell he wasn't driving back like he has been (I felt pretty bad when I realised he was stiff on his bad leg the next day), Luna made massive improvements, she ran across on 1 leg against Northants but this was quickly rectified.(I must stress if you haven't seen her doing it, it is in no way aggressive and she doesn't run in to/attack the other team dogs, she literally comes through the finish line and veers off in to the other teams runback area level with the opposing dog and then comes back, obviously not ideal and interference in the sense that if the other team had a light they wouldn't be able to rerun but i feel it was a problem we had to work on in the ring because it was the atmosphere causing her to do it) And then she was fine until the last race against High Flyers where she ran across on 1 leg so we swapped to mark realising her and carol by the gate, this worked and after a couple of legs Carol was able to go back to running her and she was great. We lost to Molten and High Flyers, we did a best time of 17.52secs and came 3rd. I've heard some comments on the grapevine about how we've pushed Luna too much and she shouldn't be racing etc but i think people should know the full story before judging on something they know nothing about, I think we've handled the situation pretty well considering the problem started a month prior to this and at Shackerstone it was well on it's way to being fixed! Also people complaining about the amount of people we had in the ring, well I'm sorry but that is down to the judge or the teams we were racing to challenge, I've had just about enough of the bitchiness this year, it does my head in! Sorry about the little rant!

So another eventful show, had great fun on the evenings, Shackerstone really is the best show for the social aspect!

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Very Late... British Championships 2010

I know I'm horrendously behind but I thought Champs still deserved its own post.

If I'm being completely honest in the lead up to the champs due to several different factors I really wasn't feeling it and didn't really want to go. I won't go in to reasons but I hated feeling like that and hopefully next year will be a different story!

We had a dog go sick on Extraset which meant a shift around of the other teams leaving us with just 4 dogs on the top 3 teams and 6 on the 4th team (they have to be run with these dogs as there is a bit of a gulf between them and the other teams and not all of them can run all day).

Missiles ran Saturday in division 36 but were pretty outclassed for time as they were seeded on a fluke time that we knew they wouldn't hit again. They did have some close racing and the dogs ran well but unfortunately they came 6th.

Extraset ran Saturday as Sonny, Perry, Elliot and Jamie in division 18. I had the pleasure of running Jamie again which I thoroughly enjoyed even if I did have to do alot of running! Every single race went to the wire and it was really exciting. We came 3rd with 20.02secs.

Sunday started with a bit of a nightmare when Bobbie fell out the caravan and hurt her wrist (later found out to be broken) and couldn't run Diefer (who we had stole as his owners were on holiday). So Rockets had an eventful start! The team was Diefer, Smartie, Rosie and Bunty. This again was a very tight division and we possibly could of won it if it weren't for a few unnecessary lights and a certain height dog running out on her way up despite changing on a dog that she's used to changing with! Anyway, the team managed 3rd with a time of 18.83secs and I got to run Diefer for a bit aswell which was great!

Ballistics were moved up to division 1 at very late notice and whilst I was very very excited I was also very nervous. We had a team of Piper, Luna, Lacy and Asher. After Luna's lane crossing at Stockbridge we thought putting her in the pack would keep her attention on her own team and as a team we decided if it all went t**s up we would just put her anchor and hold back so as to not put off any of the other teams dogs. Our 1st race was in blue lane (our good lane) against top seeds Live Wires, who to be honest just underestimated us. On the 1st leg they got a light, next leg I think they were a bit cautious on changes and we were going for it! Asher decided he wasn't going to be beaten! Last leg they swapped dogs but Asher was high on the atmosphere and pulled it out of the bag to catch up a couple of jumps deficit to get us the win 3-0 with our fastest ever time of 17.30secs. Next race in red against bassetts our fears were confirmed, 1st leg Luna went flying in to their runback area, tried it once more with a slightly different approach from the catch team but to no avail so we went to plan b and put her last and held her back. Gutting but we felt ok knowing we were doing the right thing, we did the same for next race against High Flyers. In the afternoon our 1st race was against Shooting Stars back in blue. We wanted to win this 1 as we thought it would be the only other race we stood a chance in. It followed pretty much the same pattern as Live Wires. Asher was thriving on running anchor in that environment and his foot speed was awesome (shame about him blowing his boxturn lol), no idea what times he was running but he felt amazing. 1st leg they got a light, 2nd 2 legs Asher just kept bringing it back! We did another fastest ever time of 17.18secs! Last race against Extreme we were in red so we held back 1st 2 legs but we could hear the whole crowd shouting for us to go for it so with now even more nerves we did! And Luna did it, she didn't run across, we won the 3rd leg to take it to 2-1 but on the last leg we weren't together enough to bring it back and lost 3-1. Overall we came 5th which all things considered was bloody amazing! The atmosphere was fantastic and we are so grateful for the support we received both in and out of the ring. Belated huge congratulations to Bassetts who raced brilliantly to win all their races and hold on to their title. There are some great photos of the team and some of the other div 1 teams on:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/kayanem/sets/72157624736312730/

and

www.photoboxgallery.com/flyballfever on the experimental div 1 photos bit :-) inc my favourite ever photo which I really hope David Flood doesn't mind me posting...


So that was Champs 2010, ups and downs and just about every emotion inbetween. Would love to be a part of div 1 again next year but we'll have to keep getting better as I think the competition will be even tougher.

Monday, 23 August 2010

Stockbridge Week

Ok I'm going to try and be fairly brief as it was a very busy week and to be quite honest I can't remember everything!

First Weekend

Missiles and ballistics ran Saturday. Missiles were missing Sky due to injury so struggled a bit within their division but still managed to come 4th. Ballistics were missing Piper so had a 1st team of Lacy, Asher, Rosie and Luna. Without Piper our times suffered and our best was 17.63secs. We lost to Shooting Stars and Lightening Strikes and came 3rd. With having the Shooting Star lights we were able to see individual dog times. We've got these all recorded, Sarah has them somewhere *edit to say* Sarah has now sent me all the times but my computer is too damn old to open the file, i'll do a separate post on it!! From memory I think Lacy's fastest was 4.31 with an average of i think 4.42, she's very consistent. Ashers fastest was 3.76 and average 3.91. Rosie had a fastest of 4.49 and average of i think 4.7something. Luna had a fastest of 4.52 and again an average of 4.7ish.



Sunday we had Rockets and Extraset running. Rockets were Diefer, Elliot, Smartie and Bunty. Same old problem with rockets which was consistency, they seem to be able to hit the odd sub 19 time and then can't keep it up for the rest of the day and are comfortable around low to mid 19s. Diefer seemed to be back on form and was running 4.2s. Elliot ran probably the best I've seen him, he had a best time of 4.5something and averaged around 4.7. Smartie had a best time of around 4.6 and averaged i think 4.82. Bunty had a best time 0f 5.1something but averaged around 5.5. They did a best time of 18.88 and came 5th.



Extraset were Jemma, Sonny, Perry and Jamie. This is our lovely little consistent team apart from Katie running Sonny and still in the process of learning changeovers. They were just a bit unlucky that some of the races didn't go their way but as always they hit low 20s all day and had a best time of 20.05secs. They came 5th. Jemma was hitting some fab times, I believe her best was 4.43 and she averaged 4.5-4.6. Sonny had a best of around 4.7 and averaged i think 4.89secs. Perry was consistent as ever at 5.3-5.4secs and Jamie had a best time of 5.2 and averaged about 5.4. Excuse the video skills lol:



The Inbetweeny Bit

During our week between competitions we did some pretty fun stuff. Midweek we had fancy dress pairs which was hilarious. You had to run the dogs as a pair then the humans had to go 1 at a time up the flyball lane, down a glass of wine, shout "I love flyball" and come back. It was very funny. Me and Sarah dressed as ladybirds and managed to win our division with Asher and Elliot. The boys must have found it very exciting as they ran extra well, I had 2 people come up and tell me they saw Asher run a 3.6, I wish I'd seen it! The rest of our team were also quite successful with Mark and June with Smartie and Rosie coming 2nd in another division and Carol and Mark with Luna and Fraggle!! won the other division!


We also took part in a bit of fun agility where I tried running Jemma and Elliot, E wasn't too bothered but Jemma wasn't impressed although I was surprised she did it at all as she is such a mummy's girl!

Our plan for the week was to also push on a bit with the puppies training as they are all now over a year old (time flys!). I'm really pleased with how they are all coming on, Shani and Loki have had lots of work put in to their boxwork at home and it really showed. It was Shani's 1st time on our box (Nick had made a dummy 1 to practice at home) and she was doing 4 feet turns with ball within about 15mins. Carol has also been working on Merlin but as he is her mums dog hasn't had as much time as she would like, with just a few minutes each day by the end of the week he was also doing 4feet turns with ball. Loki's turn is looking brilliant, here is a vid of Merlin and Loki. I will try get 1 of Shani plus Moss and Ruby (who are also making good progress) soon.


video


The rest of the week consisted of walking the dogs, partying, lots of alcohol, lots of food and 2 trips to A+E!

Second Weekend


It was just the Missiles on Saturday. Fraggle decided after his amazing performance in pairs that he was done for the week and couldn't really be arsed! This resulted in a very comical performance which greatly entertained the crowd but not so much his owner! They still won 1 race and came 4th!

We were supposed to have the other 3 teams Sunday but unfortunately Jemma became ill and wasn't able to race, this meant we didn't have enough dogs and had to withdraw the Extraset. Sarah kindly also withdrew Elliot so that the remaining 6 dogs could run as the rockets. With having 6 dogs the Rockets never really gelled and were never going to be fast enough for division 2 so we just rotated the racing so it was fair for all the dogs. I got to run Jamie which was great fun as I haven't ran a little dog for years, I might have to get myself a handbag dog, I think they suit me! Unfortunately the team came last and managed a best time of 19.40secs.

Ballistics were the same team although we did have Elliot join us for some warmups. We've been on at Carol for a while now about how exciting she needs to be for Luna so that she comes back quicker and so after various discussions through the week Carol put everything in to running her. This made such a difference and Luna managed to clock a few late 4.3s and 4.4s, she also seemed to be starting to race the other lane. We were thinking how great this was, especially when we managed 17.43secs until disaster struck. We came out in the afternoon and in red lane Luna was coming back though the finish line and continuing to race the other dog in to their runback area. It wasn't agressive and she had the ball in her mouth the whole time but she was running at high speed. We were stumped, didn't see that 1 coming! So our last race in red was against an NFC Jets, they kindly let us run our team 1st so that Luna would do it right and she was fine. Unfortunately as many of you would of seen this problem carried over to haunt us at the Champs but I just wanted to show how recently it started. Despite this we came 2nd and were really pleased with the time as I wouldn't expect that time without Piper.

Hmmm so that wasn't exactly brief but nevermind, I guess I remembered more than I thought! Coming next... Champs!

Agility Videos

Just thought I'd post a couple of videos kindly taken by Lel and posted by Sarah. First one is of Thames so you can see what I mean by how bad he was! Second one is of him being speedy and relatively controlled around the collie sprint at Caerphilly, just a shame about the poles!



Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Caerphilly Agility

Well it went better than Thames, not that that would be difficult!

Saturday 1st agility went jump-weave to start, he got the entry but missed a pole and then just kept going over the next jump so got E'd. I brought him back and he was fine but I was too far behind to bring him round a wing properly so he went on to the dogwalk at a funny angle and fell off it. Redid the dogwalk and he completed the rest of the course really nicely.

Jumping was a fairly challenging course that I knew wouldn't lend itself well to ashers pole knocking however it was probably the smoothest he's worked a jumping course. He listened and was pretty tight on the turns but had 3 poles. He also messed up weaves again, got entry but missed a pole so I got him e'd by putting him back over the jump again and in to the weaves and then they were soo good, how annoying!

Last agility was really frustrating as it was made for Asher, all spread out and contacts breaking up jumps so less chance of pole knocking. Start again went jump-weave and again got entry but going too fast to do anymore, brought him back and fantastic weaves followed by a cracking run with just a messy bit after the weaves where I didn't work it from being annoyed about said weaves! His contacts were fab and he flew round so pleased about the rest of it especially as apparently I actually handled lol!

Sunday I took out a different dog, the crazy, insane side made an appearance. Agility was pretty disasterous, he didn't stop on the dog walk as there was a tunnel after it and he got marked on his up contact for dogwalk and aframe, he did however get his weaves! He screamed the whole way round and was generally a bit of an arse.

Next was 1-4 collie sprint which really was a sprint. He was a really good boy in this and flew round it but had 3 poles :(. Had to check the time as there were lots of fast clears. Winners time was 16.525secs, Asher did it in 16.358secs so was really pleased about that. There will hopefully be a video of this coming on in the next few days.

Should really have stopped there but took him in the 1-2jumping. Ahh he was so bad! Broke his wait, why I didn't put him back is beyond me! And then the rest of it was all over the place, got e'd for going back in a tunnel, got his weaves and then wouldn't go on down a long straight to the finish. This is something we really need to work on as it affected us a couple of times over the weekend. And it seems completely silly that he will power on ahead when you start a course but not when were driving to the finish.

So weaves were a bit better but I still find it very very frustrating as yet again at training last week I physically could not get him to miss them no matter what I was doing. And I really don't want to start going backwards by stopping him before the weaves in competition. Overall though he was much better, Saturday particularly I enjoyed running him as he looked like he might actually know what he was doing despite the silly mistakes. Ooh and I think this week at training we might be proofing waits, I DO NOT approve of him breaking his wait!

Monday, 19 July 2010

Chilterns

Missiles and extraset ran Saturday, I unfortunately couldn't be there to see them but apparently they both ran well and had close racing which resulted in them both finishing fourth. The only change to the teams being Sonny swapping with Elliot in the Extraset.

Rockets were 4th seed in division 2 and had a team of Diefer, Elliot, Smartie and Bunty. The 1st race we lost on lights but did a best time of 19.00secs. After that we narrowly lost races on speed and another 1 on lights. They did however manage to win the last race which somehow resulted in them finishing 4th!

Ballistics were 5th seed in division 1 (still on the 18.12 seed time). Unfortunately Lacy wasn't able to run so we had a team of Piper, Asher, Rosie and Luna. Again we were great in the morning, won the 1st 2 races against Jet Stream and High Flyers with a best time of 17.42secs. In the afternoon we had similar problems as at Frimley and struggled to hit the times which resulted in a few lights but less than last week which I think is mainly due to the order we ran in. Lots more stamina work required! We won against Bandits and Dream team but by the time we raced Jets we just didn't have the speed left in the tank although 1 of the legs did result in a tie so you can tell how close it was! Still we were all thrilled to finish 2nd after some great racing.

Asher was a good boy but didn't feel like he was quite 'on it' and his box turn was a bit all over the place. I think I need to get back in to his fitness routine as I have been a bit laxxed since getting back from Euro's. Less than 4 weeks until Champs, better start getting him ready!

Friday, 16 July 2010

Frimley - Birthday weekend

Thought I'd better quickly update this as we're at Chilterns this weekend and don't want to get behind again!

So 4 teams and no Louise, scary times! Missiles ran Saturday in division 6 which was 1 above where they should of been as they were on a seed time with Jive in the team. They actually did really well and managed a best time of 24.09secs, they won 2 races but unfortunately only came 5th.

Ballistics were 1st on in Div 1 on Sunday. I was really looking forward to it as we had the full 1st team and a fairly new combination of Piper, Luna, Lacy and Asher. We won the 1st race and did a time of 17.43secs. 2nd race was against Bassetts, it was very very close, Asher just couldn't quite catch up lizzy but they had a best time of 17.36secs and we had a best time of 17.38secs so very exciting racing! In the afternoon things went a bit to pot with more lights than a rave. All 3 races went to 5 legs and we should have won them all comfortably but managed to lose them all! A couple of the dogs seemed to tire alot, I suppose this was due to a number of factors as it was hot, they had ran a lot of legs and they hadn't run over 12" in a while but it was a bit disappointing to have been so good in the morning and so different in the afternoon so we will have to work on fitness and consistency. Hopefully that will come as the team gels. So we had the 2nd fastest time of the day and came last lol! Well chuffed with the time though!

Rockets were in div 2. The team was Diefer, Smartie, Sonny, Rosie and Bunty. Again we had problems with consistency, lots of lights and lates. On the plus side Diefer did blue lane and looked really good. The team won 2 races and did a best time of I think 19.26secs, they came 5th.

Extraset were in div 3. They were Jemma, Elliot, Perry, Jamie and Jive. This team ran brilliantly. Really consistent and.... Jemma did red lane :-) :-D all day and looked super speedy, what a clever girl! The others also ran well, they had a best time of 20.24secs, they only lost 1 race and managed to win the division!

So overall a fun weekend at Frimley, with good points and things to work on. Had fun Saturday night for my birthday celebrations even if my team did try to get me to drink a disgusting concoction of all the alcohol they could find, it even had curdled pina colada on the top... nice!

Monday, 12 July 2010

European Flyball Championships 2010

Hmmmm well where to start...

Firstly we nearly never made it at all. The short story is that I had major problems with my car the day before we were due to leave which meant I had no car to drive! We ended up having to hire a car and change the time of the ferry so that we had time to pick up and pack said hire car. It was a huge relief when we finally made it to the venue in Belgium late Wednesday evening.

Racing started on Friday with the lower divisions in temperatures of around I think 36 degrees, I literally felt like I was melting! Saturday was slightly cooler and we spent most of the day supporting the other british teams entered (as we did on friday). Friday and Saturday evening were good fun with everyone in good spirits and lots of Belgian beer.

Sunday soon came around with Asher racing with High Flyers in Division 1. The rest of the team were Maizie, Floss, Millie, Tanner and Badger although it was a great shame that Badger wasn't able to compete due to him still recuperating from his injury. I thought the team gelled well together and I really enjoyed doing changeovers on Maizie although I don't think my starts were so good! In speed trials we managed a fantastic best time of 16.62secs which put us as 2nd seed for the double elimination. We won our 1st two double elimination races putting us in to the semi-finals but unfortunately lost to Jolly Jumpers (who had broken the European record with 16.12secs earlier in the day). Our last race was against K-otic Flyers who we had beaten in the previous race. By this point in the day they were just a little too much for us and we lost but still came a fantastic 3rd in the division which meant we got on to the podium. Jolly Jumpers won with K-otics coming 2nd. I thought all the dogs ran well. I was really proud of Asher he tried so hard in every one of the 8 races and I have never seen him so tired as he was afterwards!

I thought the racing format was brilliant, racing was so exciting! The support between all the british teams was great. I also really enjoyed watching all the other european teams and how they did things, it was all very interesting. Overall a fantastic experience.

Big thanks to High Flyers for letting Asher run with them and making me part of the team. Thanks to Katie for putting up with my panic on the tuesday, keeping me company for the looong journey, bringing our good mate Tim and generally being a fab holiday buddy. Thanks to Jeanette for having Asher on the Saturday so that he could relax in the van rather than stressing himself out being tied up and to Nat for lending us the tent! Finally thanx to all the british teams who were around the ring supporting us.

Ooh and congratulations Jolly Jumpers :-)

Here is a vid of some teams competing, we are in the 1st clip, Asher is 2nd dog:

Ahh I'm soooo behind!

Very sorry for those few people who read the blog that I have got so far behind! So here's a quick update.

Thames agility was a bit of a disaster. Asher decided that he couldn't possibly weave and I think missed every entry. Gutted is not the word, weaves are usually something I feel pretty confident with, lets hope it was just a bad weekend. Contacts were pretty good but none of his runs felt all that good. He had 1 ok run each day, both in agility. On the Saturday he missed the weaves and then fell off the dog walk but he worked the course well. On Sunday he missed the weaves and came inside a jump but that was because I wasn't in the right place due to him missing the weaves!! The rest he worked nicely. The other runs aren't even worth talking about lol!

On 20th June we were back at hearing dogs but this time for a show held by bandits instead of mutts. We just had ballistics in div 2 consisting of Piper, Asher, Lacy and Bunty. We had to swap the order a few times to try and get it to work. We found the best order to be as above but then Bunty started running out on her way up. We somehow managed a best time of 18.12secs, won 2 races and came 4th.

On 26th June I went up to Stevenage to practise with High Flyers before the Euro's, training went well and Asher seemed to gel with the team which was good. I was a bit worried about him changing box but he coped well only fumbling a couple of times.

I'll write a separate post for the other stuff!

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Hearing Dogs



We had both teams running Sunday so I decided to just go for the day (hungover of course!). Extraset were 1st on in Division 3 and were 2nd seed (20.16) with a team of Jemma, Sonny, Elliot, Perry and Jamie. The dogs raced well, maybe not as quick as they were at Acremead but they were really consistent and managed to win every race with a best time of I think 20.16 and ended up 1st!

Ballistics were 5th (out of 7) seed in division 1 (18.30) with a team of Diefer, Lacy, Asher, Rosie and Bunty. 1st race in against Dolphins we had problems with the lights, the fault light was coming on for early changes when they were visibly late, very frustrating. They had been fine all weekend until we raced lol! Asher got the blame for it for thundering through the gate too quickly and vibrating them out of line! Although they did continue to do it sporadically so it can't have been just him lol! We did manage to win the races against Dolphins, Racing herts and the 2nd Molten team. Diefer has become a red lane wonder and will only run in red so he sat out of all in the blue lane. Lacy was consistent as ever running 4.4s. Asher was mental and doing better boxes than at Frimley but not sure if he was quite as fast although he may of been I was just too hungover to bother working out his times! We did a best time of 18.22secs but I don't know which race that was so which 4 dogs were running, I was generally just a bit rubbish! We came 4th which was ok I suppose.

We've got agility at Thames this weekend then 1 more flyball before Euros! How exciting!

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Frimley - the Belgians came to visit!

I went down Saturday afternoon so missed the Rockets racing. They were top seed in division 2. The team was Diefer, Sonny, Smartie, Perry and Jamie. Apparently they raced really well, they won 4 out of 5 races and ended up in a 3 way tie for 1st place which they won as they had the fastest time of 18.96secs.

Ballistics were 5th seed in division 1 on Sunday. The team was supposed to be Lacy, Asher, Rosie, Bunty and Luna. But Luna randomly managed to pull a muscle in her back leg on the Saturday night so wasn't able to run. Lacy ran start and was running consitently at 4.4secs, Asher went 2nd, he ran well but box was a bit inconsistent, still for the 1st two dogs we were consistently doing 8.2-8.4 (inc start time) and yet the best time we managed was 18.30secs (again!!). We think Bunty is not running as fast as she was last year. Unfortunately we didn't actually record her and Jamies times to see who would be our best bet in the 1st team and we don't have Luna for the next 2 shows so can't run over 12". We won 1 race against Hampshire which was really close and I think they got a couple of lights. Was really good to watch Jolly Jumpers run and race against them. They are obviously very well practised and the dogs have very good box turns. I was ecstatic that Asher managed to cause a stir amongst them and they said what an amazing dog he is. One of their team came to watch him everytime he raced :).

The last race between Jolly Jumpers and Bassetts was fantastic! I like to think my words of wisdom to Dave with Lizzy contributed to them winning it ;). As I told him he had to keep running away as when he faced her she was checking her stride and slowing down over the last jump. They did 16.79 on the next leg!

Can't wait to race the Jolly Jumpers again in Belgium!

Monday, 24 May 2010

Daventry

Can't believe it was our last ever time at Daventry :-(, been going since I was 12! I got drunk for the 1st time at Daventry way back then lol!

Anyway, we had Ballistics as 3rd seed in div 2 on Saturday. Team was Diefer, Asher, Lacy, Rosie and Bunty (Luna was in season). 1st couple of races Diefer was a git in the warm ups and was running out so we took the ball out everytime he went wrong and left him out of racing completely. In the 1st leg of the 1st race we hit our fastest time of the day of 18.30secs. Asher was start on this and ran 3.75secs!! (it was 3.82 with 0.07start) What a dog! Won that race. 2nd race, Rosie decides to play up aswell and do the same as Diefer and run up the side, she did this for 2 legs so we kept her late on the changeover and she then started doing it right again. Somehow we won that race aswell! In the afternoon, something seemed to click with Diefer and he didn't look like running out at all. Still didn't run him for the 3rd race and managed to win that one. 4th race Rosie ran out again so we took her out and went with Diefer, he ran fine, only let him go from about 15ft though, won that one! Last race we thought would be really tight, we rested Lacy and again Diefer ran properly! And amazingly we won that aswell, winning the division. How we did it, I will never know! Times were disappointingly slow but then it was very hot, poor Bunty was knackered. Asher was fantastic, he did tire a little bit with the heat but still hit 3.75 twice, 3.76 and 3.79 from what I saw and I didn't see that many times. Although I also saw a 3.98 and a 4.02 later on in races so maybe he's not quite at full fitness yet!

Missiles were helped by a bit of extra speed from Jive this weekend as we didn't have Molly. This made a hell of a difference to them although the others also seemed to run well despite the heat. They did a best time of 23.58secs which bettered their seed time by about 2.5secs. Although to be honest this just made them competitive rather than them often being annihilated. They had some really close racing and came 2nd.

Rockets were top seed in div 5. The team was Jemma, Sonny, Smartie, Elliot, Perry and Jamie. The team seemed to gel quite well despite the changing around of dogs and they all ran well. Jemma seems to have got the hang of this racing malarky although we haven't yet tried her in the red lane, maybe next time! Elliot did totally lovely box turns once we remembered to tell him "on the box" on his way down! Sonny's box was also better but still not as good as it is in training, still more reps needed! Big lesson to everyone, NEVER retrain, always get it right from the start! Smartie, Perry and Jamie were consistent as ever although still need to work on Jamies box aswell. The team managed a best time of 19.71secs. They just lost 1 race and it was very tight so they came 2nd.

Great weekend, sooo hot, dogs coped well though and us humans had a water fight which greatly helped! Frimley next weekend and we get to race Jolly Jumpers!

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Worcester Agility

I went with high hopes that his pole knocking had improved, he soon knocked me down to earth so to speak!

Here's the video of his, Jemma's and Elliot's runs:



1st run was C1-2 Agility. At the start he really wanted to go right so when I released him I think he was a bit off balance and had the 1st pole. Was pleased with his seesaw, dogwalk was a bit slow. He then had the pole after the dog walk, I think I changed my arm too late and again put him off balance as he pretty much ploughed through this 1! Was really pleased with the rest of the course, turns were a bit wide but his Aframe and weaves were lovely. So 10faults and a time of 36.something. Winner was 31.something I think (and I know this dog is really speedy :)) so not too bad considering he turned the wrong way a couple of times and I held his contacts.

Next was C1-2 jumping, he worked this quite nicely. Again 2 poles but he listened well and again nice weaves from quite a fast entry. Just not sure why he ran past the last jump.

Lastly there was G1-2 jumping. Started with fast blast around the outside, 1st 3 jumps were a bit angled though so he knocked 3rd and 4th jump, just don't think he could shorten his stride enough. He also had the pole at the jump before turning back for weaves. Again great weaves as he flew at the entry. We got e'd when he took the jump after the tunnel. Was pleased with the way he worked the box apart from another pole! (you can see the course abit better if you watch jemma's round on the same course).

So 8 poles in 3 classes, not a great average really! Nevermind, he actually worked the handling of the courses alot better then he has before so definitely improvements. And to be honest I'm just pleased that he is able to run again :-)

Friday, 14 May 2010

A bit of Agility

Asher's now back to jumping full height, he looks absolutely fine and is possibly jumping better than he was before which is good.

We went through a couple of bad weeks with his weaves, he just wasn't confident about what I was asking and kept coming out at No. 10. To the point where he was just stopping dead at 10 and looking forward, very odd. So took it right back and did it as just a single obstacle, went mad with praise when he did them and after a couple of go's he seemed to realise. He's been fine since.

Contacts have also had ups and downs, I'm quite happy with Aframe. Some dogwalks he does amazingly and others are a bit slow, maybe I'm being too picky!

I've been pleased with his responsiveness around courses recently, he seems alot smoother to run. He appears to be thinking more and preparing for jumps and turns better. Maybe I am improving slightly, I really do hope so!!

We've had some tricky exercises at training in the last couple of weeks and he has done really well. We are at Worcester Agility show tomorrow, very much looking forward to it. Lets hope his improvements translate to the ring!

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Acremead, the May version

So 4 teams this weekend, great fun, I love having lots of teams in! Missiles, Extraset and Rockets ran Saturday.

Missiles were the usual team and ran well improving their seed time by over a second but only managed 5th place.

Extraset were Jemma, Perry, Elliot, Jamie and Jive. This team ran fabulously. At the last Acremead with Piper and Smartie in the team they managed 20secs so when submitting a time for them we thought 21secs would be reasonable as Perry and Jamie were running just over 5.5 and Jemma and Elliot just under 5. Well this lot decided they didn't think much of our estimation and in the 1st race did 20.16secs... oops! We then had to be really careful not to breakout again so held back lots on our changeovers and ran late 20s for the rest of the day. Needless to say they won the division! As much as I'm not a fan of winning by such a margin, it was an honest mistake and we genuinely didn't expect to run that fast so we were all ecstatic at how well the team ran. Sarah's housemate Tasha took some videos so I thought I would time and see what the dogs were running. The reason for breaking out soon became clear! Perry was doing 5.1ish, Jamie 5.3, Elliot 4.6 and Super Jem had sped up to 4.4secs!! I think Jem had suddenly realised that it might be fun to race the other dog rather than just stare at it on the way to the box so was flying. Elliot was also coming back better and his box looked really good. Still some work to be done on his return drive but luckily Sarah is a good pupil and I'm sure will get that sorted!

Rockets were ran as Diefer, Sonny, Smartie and Bunty (with Rosie as reserve as she is coming back from injury). We were hoping Diefer would be fine running over the lower jumps especially as he had run faultlessly over 12" at training last weekend. Well he was fine in the red lane but was still being really naughty in the blue lane. There was really no excuse for this as he ran fine for most of last year over this height. Back to the drawing board i'm afraid and he needs more boxwork as it didn't look good! To be honest the rest of the team were also a bit all over the place and never really gelled. Sonny ran well in the morning and did nice boxes but looked sluggish in the afternoon. Smartie was great but had an odd moment where she suddenly went lame and then 5mins later she was fine again. Bunty was another one who was great in the morning but dropped her ball a couple of times in the afternoon which she hasn't done for years! So overall a bit of a kerfuffle! We submitted 19secs and they managed 19.44secs I think. We came 3rd but should really have won it as we beat the top seeds and eventual winners and only lost the other races on lights, it just wouldn't come together!

Ballistics ran Sunday. The team was Piper, Luna, Lacy and Asher. Again we had a submitted time, although not very well planned, we were asked at the last acremead if we just wanted to submit the same time as we ran at that show which we thought was 18.58secs, we just went with it not knowing which dogs were going to run. Some how our fastest time was recorded as 18.69 and we ended up in div 2 on that declared time. Well with these dogs we knew we would be quite a bit faster than this so again had to be careful on changeovers. Piper looked fantastic, lovely box and running 4.1-4.2 over the 12", his handler was also more confident and was doing excellent starts. Luna looked faster than the last show although not sure what times as changes were so far out! Lacy was great as always and looked more comfortable over the 12" than last show. Asher had a whale of a time running anchor, he point blank refused to be beaten back and won a couple of legs by just a couple of 100ths of a second despite going out 2/3 jumps behind! The only problem with him when he plays catch up is that he blows his box turn, they weren't terrible but certainly not as good as when he runs start. And he proved my point in 1 race when he was actually out before the other teams last dog and did beautiful box turns so that is something for us to work on. We won every race and I thoroughly enjoyed the racing. Our best time was 18.28secs but I think we could of knocked pretty much a second off that with tight changeovers. It was good in a way that we couldn't go much faster as we now don't have Piper for the next 3 shows so atleast we are on a realistic seed time for the dogs that will run in that team although right now don't ask me who they will be!

The Ballistics win on Sunday was dedicated to Tess who would of been 13 on that day. I miss her so so much so I'm glad we were able to mark the day with a win for her.

It was also Asher's 4th birthday on Saturday and his present was of course being allowed to run all day on Sunday, I don't think he would of asked for anything better!

Below are a couple of videos of the Extraset



Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Acremead and Best Laid Plans!

Wow what gorgeous weather, I have a sun tan... in april, brilliant!

Rockets ran Saturday in Div 2 (Jemma, Elliot, Smartie, Piper, Perry and Jamie). We were really pleased with the way all the dogs ran. We let Jemma just run blue lane and she was really focused, she did warm ups in red and didn't seem to look across then either but we didn't want to risk running her as we wanted her to get in the habit of doing it right. Elliot was excellent, box turn was so much better than at Becketts farm so winter training (and Smart visits!) clearly paid off! Smartie was consistent as ever but as expected her box turn regressed, she is very stuck in her ways and wasn't totally independent on the new turn anyway. Not too bothered as she has a nice fast turn anyway. I was however bothered that Jamie's turn deteriorated alot, the new box turn had made him quite a bit quicker so it's very annoying that it didn't hold. Part of the problem was that because of the heat and Jamie tiring we couldn't warm him up between races so couldn't remind him of the turn with the props in. We will see if we can fix it over this summer. Perry was good following him being out for the last couple of months injured but has slowed a little hopefully this will come back with fitness. Piper was amazing! I love that dog! He ran start and in the pack and didn't bat an eyelid. He ran out once when the other lane caught his eye and he came off the box really wide but other than that he was perfect. His box looked really good, a couple of dodgy ones but he was trying really hard to do what he had been taught and had some stunning ones aswell. Taking off his start times (which were understandably quite large as it was his handler's 1st time running in competition) he was running 4.1s-4.2s and I'm pretty sure he has alot more to give. The team only managed a best time of 20.00secs (Piper, Smartie, Elliot and Jamie I think) but the ground seemed to be running quite slow and Jamie really tired with the heat (and 6races) so overall pretty good and they came 4th.

Ballistics were in Div 1 on Sunday. I described the planned team in my previous post but unfortunately Angie and June broke down on the way and couldn't make it, which meant we had no Bunty and we would have to run over 12". So Asher went on the sheet as 5th dog just in case we needed him and we thought he could do a few legs anyway if there were any races we thought we could win. Well Diefer had other ideas. Diefer decided he couldn't possibly jump 12" and was running up to the line and swerving out around the jumps up to the box, once he got the ball he would turn and come back down over the jumps. What a git! Couldn't believe it as we've done power jumping and full runs over 12" this winter with no problems. The only way he would do it was to run him right from the start gate which obviously made us considerably slower. So super sub got to make a lot more of an appearance than we originally planned. We got to go start which he loves anyway and 1st leg he does 3.95secs. The boy was back! Overall he probably did 3 full races split over 4 races. We rested him totally against Bassetts and Molten as we knew we couldn't beat them anyway. He went on to run 3.83secs as a best time with quite a few other 3.8s and low 3.9s. I couldn't believe it, considering how unfit I think he is and over 12" aswell! So proud of him :). We won 2 races against Dream team and Lightning Strikes. Our fastest time was 18.58secs. Luna, Lacy and Sonny ran well. Was really pleased with all there box turns. Luna ran 4.6-4.7 (she ran 4.8 over 12" at Becketts), Lacy and Sonny both started off well but flagged quite alot as the day went on so are clearly lacking race fitness.

We are a bit stumped as to where to go from here. I expected Luna to be a bit quicker (but as I said lots of teams were saying there dogs were off there normal times) and I didn't expect Diefer to act as he did. At Acremead in 2 weeks we have 4 teams (2 of 4dogs, 1 of 5 and 1 of 6) and need to decide who goes where. At the moment we are thinking of putting Piper in at the deep end and putting him straight up 2 the 1sts but were not sure if this is fair on his handler who was sooo nervous this weekend. Then Diefer and Sonny would come down to Rockets. This would mean a 1st team of Piper, Luna, Lacy and Asher. Rockets as Diefer, Sonny, Smartie and Bunty. Extraset as Jemma, Elliot, Perry, Jive and Jamie. We will have to train Piper over 12" to see how he does and see if we can persuade his handler that the 1st team isn't that scary a place! Any thoughts on Diefer greatly appreciated please!

Asher was back at Smart on Monday and his leg has been given the all clear, I just have to continue with the exercises to bring it up to full strength. They couldn't believe the muscle he had developed in the 3 weeks since I last went! 1 more appointment in a months time as a final check and then he will be discharged.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Flyball and Asher got to do it properly :)

Yay Asher got to do full runs. His favourite part was of course that he got to do box work and he did lovely box turns. With the full runs, started out releasing him from the gate and worked him back to 30ft. Wasn't really winding him up as I wanted him to take it steady but he was accelerating well. Not at full speed but then I wouldn't expect him to be especially not running from that distance (he does need a good run up, he's like a jet taking off!). Was good to see him doing really good box turns and then trying to accelerate on the way back. He tends when he is racing to carry the speed he generates on the outrun to bring him back as well so doesn't really drive back that much so I was happy that he was picking up speed on the return as he didn't have the usual speed from his outrun to rely on.

The rest of training went well. I got to run the lovely Elliot who is an angel in the flyball lane and so easy to run. We trained the teams for acremead (minus piper who will be in Rockets) . So ran Rockets as Jemma, Perry, Smartie, Elliot and Jamie. The plan is to run Jemma in blue lane (this is her good lane) and Perry in red lane. Piper, Smartie and Elliot can swap the middle 2 positions and Jamie on the end. We've submitted 18.9 which on paper should be about right but you never know! Ballistics are going to be Diefer, Luna, Sonny, Lacy and Bunty (unfortunately Rosie has gone lame). They all looked good at training, was happy with boxes except Diefer who seemed to regress quite alot, very annoying as up close he does lovely turns. We've submitted 18.4 which again should be very achievable but the fastest time they did without Asher last year was 18.76 so we will see! Planning to do a race or 2 over 12" aswell to see what difference that makes.

Had some real breakthroughs with the starters this week aswell. Finally got Moss doing some nice 4feet turns with a ball. This has taken a looong time but I'm hoping something has clicked now. The problem we have is that he has no motivation to drive off the box, he is not interested in a 2nd ball or tuggy once he gets the ball in the box and at the moment is only interested in coming to me. This is something that we will have to work on and I am going to have to distance myself a bit from him so that he will work for his mum. He should be doing full runs within the next couple of training sessions so we will see the full extent of his drive problems then. I'm hoping because his eye is so strong that he will be a racer and that will be his motivation to drive back but I'd much prefer he was concentrating on us as he still has a tendency to chase! Ruby is now picking up the ball, she is only holding it for a second but still progress. We've also seen improvements in Charlies box and he is driving better to the box, he is certainly now ready for atleast starter competition but his handler still requires some training! Chez and Abby have stopped training, quite annoying when you put so much time in to them! But we have 2 newbies to fill the spaces. Dylan a lovely Staffie cross who is loving every minute and doing really well. And Freya a Large Munsterlander who has an amazing natural box turn.

Pups are about 8months now. They get faster and more focused every week. The beginnings of box work will start soon, but we will take it slowly and I will be setting homework as this lot have absolutely no excuse not to be brilliant lol!

So so looking forward to this weekend, really need a good flyballing weekend, it's been too long!

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Back to Agility

Well 1st time at agility class since before Christmas. I was expecting him to be a raving lunatic. He was actually very focused and easy to handle. He only did medium height which of course wasn't a problem for him although I don't think he was too sure what to do with his striding. His weaves were quite rusty, he missed one entry and on another course just ran past them. He also came out at number 10 the next time so got him to do them right and didn't do anymore for the night, didn't want him to get in to a habit.

Contacts were fab, had the target at the end of all of them (no food) and he was really driving and stopping perfectly. He is really good at still stopping if I run past but need to work on crossing behind him on contacts as this does tend to slow him up.

I was actually most pleased with his jumping and responsiveness. I think I went in to the class with the attitude that I didn't care if he did every course wrong I just wanted to try out my handling and commands as I've been working on his wing wraps and directionals out on walks. It worked well, I felt like I was clearer and less naggy and he was much quieter. He barks most when he's frustrated with what you're asking him but because I was commanding him earlier he was able to prepare himself more.

So overall very pleased with him after 4months of no agility. He will definitely do medium again next week and then we'll be back at smart so they can let me know if he can move up to full height.

Monday, 5 April 2010

This and That

Just a general update really.

We were supposed to be competing at Stockbridge this weekend. I was planning to go Saturday morning to help out with the teams and watch div 1 but I phoned just before I was due to leave and was told of the horrific conditions, we weren't sure how long racing would continue for so it seemed a bit silly to go all the way down when I wasn't even running my dog. Luckily I didn't as Sunday and Monday of the show were cancelled.

Piper did get to run a few races in starters on Friday with the Bassetts and apparently did really well running as start dog so he'll now come straight out in to open at Acremead in 2 weeks time.

Missiles also got to run. From what I've been told the star of the day was Fraggle who ran faultlessly all day and was single striding :-). I'm not sure where they came though!

Both are other teams were supposed to run Sunday and although I think everyone was a bit disappointed they were also a bit relieved about not having to run in the mud! Lets hope for better weather at Acremead!

Asher continues to improve. I rarely see him favouring the leg now and his exercise is increasing more and more. I've been taking him out for about 1hr 20mins with him doing 25mins free running, 15 mins lead walking, 25 mins run and finish with 15mins walk. He is certainly quite unfit by his standards (but not by most dogs standards lol!) and his leg seems tired after but he's not lame on it which suggests to me he is using it properly so hopefully it will build up quickly. He went back to flyball for the 1st time on Sunday and just did runbacks, he was very happy, he didn't look all that fast but then he was running on his own and not being wound up. He was desperate to get back on the box (he looovessss boxwork!) but we'll save that for next Sunday. The important thing is that he was fine afterwards. And I don't think I've ever seen him so contented when we got home, bless him! We're hopefully back at agility on Wednesday to do a few bits over medium height and some weaves.

His physio exercises have increased again, he now has a wobble cushion and has to do all his weight shifting and balance exercises blindfolded to really get him to use his muscles correctly. I'm lucky I have such a amiable dog!

Think thats it for now so I'll just leave you with the boy.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Flyball AGM

It was good to be back at the AGM, missed it last year as we were desperately trying to get the teams prepared for Easter and were running out of time!

I won't go through all the proposals as i'm sure the minutes will be up soon. But basically most of the things I agreed with went through and most that I didn't didn't! The biggest change to racing is that their is now a divisional breakout which means if you're seeded in a division you cannot go more than 1 second faster than the top seed in the divisions seed time. This is to stop teams running faster dogs on a slower seed time and annihilating a division which unfortunately you do see from time to time. I'm not sure how much difference it will make as to be honest if you're running 0.5secs faster than the top seed in a division you're probably still going to comfortably win it. But hopefully it will atleast make teams think a bit more about the dogs they are running.

The thing I was most disappointed with was the reaction to the idea of making the dogs in the winning team of div 1 at the Champs a flyball champion and having FbCh proceed it's name. I couldn't believe how negative and to be honest rude people were about this proposal. I personally think that winning div 1 at the Champs is the ultimate achievement and that the dogs that do it should be honoured.

People argued that it was pompus and vain to want this title, even though the people arguing are very happy to accept awards for points gained. Which to me tell you nothing about the ability of the dog, only about how many competitions you've been to. The other argument was that why should a 4sec dog be able to achieve something that a 6sec dog can't when they both put the same amount of effort in to racing. My simple answer, because flyball is a race, faster teams win so faster dogs should get a bigger reward. And I know what you're thinking, it's ok for me to say that because I have a fast dog. But I ran a 5sec dog for 10years and I still had the same opinion then which is what motivated me to train Asher to the standard he is at. Also we already have a lot of equality in flyball. All dogs get to run in a competitive division and have a good chance of winning. And dogs running in a 20/21sec team get the opportunity to earn the same (and usually more) points as dogs in a 16/17sec team. So why shouldn't the elite get a little extra reward?

My other problem is that you can look on the BFA website and find all the dogs that have reached a certain points award but you can't find anywhere which dogs were running on the Championship winning team for a given year. I find something very wrong with that!

Now the only argument I see sticking is the fact that the KC might have something to say as people may try and use it in conjunction with KC names which I agree would be wrong. So maybe you don't use it to proceed the name, and to make it individual you could include the dogs BFA number so it could be e.g 0734b Asher FbCH. And it's not like you would use it much, it would only be on future award certificates and on the dogs stat page on the website. I personally don't see the problem and I think it would be a nice touch.

If people are really very against it then I think at the very least a section should be added to the BFA website for the Champs and it should detail the teams that have won it each year and a link to the dogs that ran in that team with maybe a picture. That way winning the Champs gives you more of something to look back on and a way of people seeing what you have achieved.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Asher and Smart

Thought it was about time I updated about the special. He is doing ok. I took him to the Smart clinic in Wales which is a referral clinic. They have been absolutely fantastic. They identified his injury as damage to the hip abductor muscles. They could tell this because the muscle wastage in surrounding areas was so specific. So he had ultrasound to kick start the healing process and also had accupuncture to reduce inflammation. Along with his injury they identified other areas of muscle tightness, some possibly caused by trying to compensate for the injury. He also had analysis on the water treadmill, which he has done really well on!

So we were set tons of physio exercises including stretching out his neck and back as some of the muscles in his back are over developed, he runs and jumps with a high head carriage which causes him to pull from the front legs rather than push from behind and they believe this could be part of the reason for him knocking poles in agility. So he started off on 3 x 15min slow lead walks a day (so that he had to distribute weight properly) and after 3 weeks is now up to 3 x 30min lead walks a day plus 2 x 10min off lead. It would be longer than this but he is such a nutter we didn't want him to do too much too soon.

Smart are really pleased with his progress, the inflammation around the injury has gone, as has the tightness in his diaphragm caused by overcompensating and trying to transfer his weight to his front end. I can tell that the leg still isn't 100%, he's still not weight bearing fully but it is much better than it was and it's only occasionally or very slightly that I see him favouring now. It clicks quite a bit at the moment but I read somewhere that this is a sign of healing.

Because of this progress he had to start a little bit of jumping this week, but I had to encourage him to jump properly with the right take off point and with his head lower. He coped with this well and has showed no adverse effects after so I'm feeling hopeful that he will be better soon.

We're back at Smart on Monday and providing he has continued to progress will be allowed to go back to flyball training. They said he could do full runs but I think I will just let him do runbacks because lets face it, Asher is not your ordinary dog! All being well we will continue to build him up from that and he will be back competing at Acremead at the start of May.

I've been very impressed with Asher through this time, he has been an angel at the Smart clinic with everything they have done to him. Everyone there loves him! They were also amazed by the amount of muscle and muscle tone he has especially considering the amount of time he had off exercise, apparently he must have good genes! So, feeling a bit more optimistic although still haven't entered any competitions for fear of jinxing it! Fingers crossed please, and i'll update on him again soon.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Flyball Training 07/03/10

We ran the dogs as proper teams for the 1st time since October, I think they all looked really good and seemed really up for it.

We ran missiles as Tyne, Sky, Chelsey, Molly, Guiness and Fraggle. They all seemed to be running quicker than last year. Chelsey, Molly and Guiness' boxes looked really good. Fraggle did the best run I have ever seen him do, proves he is capable, just got to get him more consistent now!

Rockets we ran as Lacy, Sonny, Elliot and Jamie (Bonnie and Smartie weren't at training). This team looked amazing, all the box turns were stunning. Jamie's still needs speeding up a bit but is much better than it was. The others were pretty near perfect, I just hope the turns hold up in competition, I've included a short video of these dogs.

Ballistics were ran as Diefer, Luna, Rosie and Bunty. Diefer looks fast, his box is much improved, he still needs me to stand in slightly, it doesn't aid his turn it just makes him curve out the touch that he needs to get the right approach on the box, I think it is gradually sinking in though! Luna is so much better with a left turn, she is more consistent and only fumbled the ball once at training. Rosie and Bunty also looked good. Just a shame Asher can't run with the team at the moment.

Jemma ran in a lane on her own against the ballistics. She got a hell of a shock when on the 1st leg she tried to run across but happened to run straight past me. I grabbed her, picked her up and put her back in her lane to make her complete the run. She didn't mess up again! She's still trying to look at the other lane but hopefully a few more sessions like that and she will realise she can't go across. What was also good is that she was maintaining her box turn which shows an improvement in her focus.

Moss was the most focused I have seen him, he was very well behaved. Still struggling with the box turn but we did get 1 half decent turn with a ball so i guess that is progress! Ruby the terrier also looked more focused and is now doing a nice turn with no ball and getting used to the sound of the trigger. She will now follow a ball and nose touch it but we're still struggling to get her to pick it up although she is now apparently doing so at home so we just need to transfer it. Her confidence is definitely improving and she is starting to single stride on the runbacks.

A very good session, I am a very proud trainer watching the video below :-) Just 2 more sessions before Easter.

Thursday, 25 February 2010

More Flyball

We had to train outside on Sunday, long story! But it actually turned out to be quite good, luckily the weather held out. We set up 2 full lanes for the 1st time since October. Kept the props in by the box but all in all the dogs maintained there turns and everyone looked really speedy. Had a couple of duff turns from some of them as they adjusted to the increase of speed on approach to the box but they sorted themselves out.

Still having some problems with Bonnie, she just doesn't check her stride on approach to the box and seems to fumble quite alot. She does have a bit of an overshot jaw so I wonder if that is part of the reason? The cone seems to be helping her approach and her position is better on the box but it still not as fluid or consistent as I would like. We have tried the 'toshy thing' which does make her come off the box quicker but she tends to run out and just chase her handler so i think we will have to try it in a netted lane.

Luna is looking really good over her 12" jump height, really nice left turn, looking like it was the right decision to retrain her turn. Diefer is also looking fast and comfortable over 12" and his turn is looking faster aswell.

Piper did full runs for the 1st time and was fantastic, he makes me smile. Turn looks excellent, he is hanging very slightly (me being super picky) but I think this will resolve when he gets a bit more confidence. Running literally from the start gate he was at 4.5-4.6s which I'm VERY pleased with, so once we get him back running from 40ft he should do some very good times :-).

Charlie also did full runs and was good, still needs some boxwork as he missed a few weeks training due to an injury but he improved over the session so it should be ok!

Moss is starting to look more focused but still needs alot of work. Box is excellent with no ball but having real problems transitioning to a turn with a ball. As soon as it is loaded he just tries to do 2-foot turns, i think part of the problem is that as soon as he has the ball he is not interested in his tuggy or anything else. We'll just have to take it really slowly and see how we get on.

Asher is still lame :-(, it's really getting me down now. Were going to the SMART clinic on Monday so hopefully they can tell me whats wrong and fix him! Fingers crossed!

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Things keep going...

Well it's been a pretty tough start to 2010 for obvious reasons but Asher is lame aswell so that has added extra stress. Looks like it'll be xrays next week and if they don't show anything then he'll be off to a physio.

As far as training goes, flyball is going well. Sunday was really good. With the team dogs were now doing box and 2 jumps racing against another dog. It's really interesting to see how the extra speed and competition affects the box turn and it's very easy to see how quickly the turn deteriorates in a competition. What is good is that although we've had some dogs regress slightly during this time they are all adjusting and getting the turns back up to level we expect whilst learning to race at the same time. I'm hoping this will stand them in good stead once the competition season starts. I'm not expecting perfection when we start competing as most of these dogs have been retrained and were not taught this method right from the start therefore you would expect some level of regression. What I'm hoping for is a noticeable improvement in the experienced dogs and as close to perfection as we can get from the new starters! I am really pleased with how Luna is progressing, she is now doing 4feet left turns with ball and is looking alot more natural, she is also really driving of the box so I have high hopes for our 12" height dog! Diefer gets better every week, I would love him to maintain his turn in competition because when he does it right it is sooo fast! Bonnie has got me a bit stumped at the moment, she is sooo inconsistent. She can do the most beautiful 4 feet turns and then the next one she literally crashes the box. I've started standing in on her to encourage her to curve out which does help but she fumbles the ball alot and as soon as I'm not there she goes straight again. The annoying thing is that she totally understands the jump and that she must get 4feet over it but her movement tends to be more vertical than lateral. The plan now is to teach her to run round a cone and put it infront of the box so that she can still see the box properly and prepare herself but stop her from going straight, we will see if it works!

Starters are doing really well. Piper is doing 4feet turns with ball and has a really good natural rotation which means he is coming off straight :-) and he has tons of drive, high hopes! Charlie and Chez haven't been for a couple of weeks so we are still introducing the ball in to the box but they won't be long. We also have a new Collie called Abby who has been for 3wks now, she is very enthusiastic and is already doing 4feet turns with no ball so we are hoping all 4 will be ready for starters at Easter. Moss is now working with the other dogs, he still gets very distracted but is chasing less and less and is starting to learn changeovers. His box looks really good, we still haven't added a ball but his position is brilliant! Then their is Ruby a little terrier who is not interested in balls, she is also quite dog focused so we are teaching her runbacks and boxwork with food and tuggy which is working well to get her focused and trying to work on the ball drive separately.

Finally we now have a whole team of ballistic puppies :-) and they are all the same age literally within about 2 weeks of each other! Along with Loki and Shani we now have Carol's mums pup Merlin who is a Collie cross Cocker and Helen's pup Olly who is a Whippet :-) I am very excited about training a Whippet! They are 6months old and have just started some pretraining. They are doing some runbacks through a netted lane (no jumps) to a ball or a tuggy just to get them to focus on their owners and their rewards whilst other dogs are around and to encourage speed and drive at a young age without putting pressure on their joints. I am totally in love with Shani, she is fab, so focused and fast, can't wait to see how she turns out!

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Tess 02/05/97 - 13/01/10


It was with great sadness... actually sadness doesn't quite cover it... with my heart actually breaking in two that I had to say goodbye to my Tess. She hadn't been well just before Christmas but had seemed to bounce back even though she somehow didn't seem the same as before. Unfortunately she suddenly became very ill again and on the vets advice I had to make the hardest decision of my life to let her go. She was a very tough little girly, she refused to show anything was wrong until she just couldn't hide it. She left in my arms, rest in peace my beautiful.

When I think of her I just feel so grateful to have had her as a part of my life and I can't believe she's gone. She taught me so much. I got her for my 10th birthday, she went through everything with me, I don't know what I would of done without her and now I have to somehow manage. I've spent the last week or so going through old photos, they have brought back so many memories. We did so much together, she went everwhere with me, no wonder nothing ever fazed her! I thought I might write a blog post 'the life of Tess' as there are so many funny stories surrounding the two of us but I have a feeling it would turn in to more of a book! Those stories are keeping me going right now with the downside being the realisation that this incredible dog is no longer with me. I've got so much to thank her for. Putting up with me, pushing me to become a better trainer... probably a better person, always knowing when I was upset (she hated it when I cried), always making me feel better, getting me in to flyball, taking Asher under her wing after being an only dog for 9yrs and the list goes on... I just hope she knew how much I appreciated her and loved her.

Now she's at rainbow bridge waiting for me. Playing with the love of her life Jack, chasing shadows, probably doing a bit of flyball which she always loved but more likely doing her favourite favourite thing in the whole world... running in huge circles doing her comebye and away at full speed. Love you forever my girl xxxxxxxxxx