Wednesday, 7 December 2011

It's Been a While!

It’s been a while. I made the decision not to do any shows over winter:

1) Rum doesn’t cope with indoor venues, I don’t want the stress behaviour to return so it would be long journeys for just Ember to compete.
2) I have a wedding to pay for!
3) It’s cold and dark and miserable.
4) I only have a normal car so wet muddy, indoor school surface covered dogs aren’t really suited to it!
5) I want to get the dogs (and me) up to a better standard.

So we are training every other Sunday to see if we can better our standard as we were all over the shop this year, having too much fun and not concentrating enough! Next year I want the dogs back up to a competitive standard but still enjoying it and I still think we will stick to smaller shows as I just can’t ever see with Rum ever coping with the bigger shows. My fiancĂ© has said I could use a caravan next year but the trouble is this would cause Rum even more stress and we would be back to square one so we will just be sticking to local shows as well.

Training is going well especially with Ember, I have always struggled with things like pulling off jumps, pull throughs when she’s ahead of me and allowing me to cross behind so these are the things we have been working on and she is picking it up well this time round, before I have never seemed to get her to really do it. Also she didn’t like the wider spaced weaves so we have been working on those along with entries and of course the usual contacts!

With Rum he is starting to push me a little in terms of contacts and waits, he is self releasing off contacts and pushing his waits a bit. So I think we might start with some UKA shows and take a toy in. His control, jumping etc is still fab and he listens every step of the way.

This weekend we hadn’t trained for long when the wind and rain set in so we had to call it a day which was a shame.

Cas will be 12 soon, she’s still fit as a fiddle and very healthy, to look at her you wouldn’t think she was that old! Her only problem is she can’t eat dry food without almost choking and the vet can’t see anything wrong so it’s a bit worrying but when we soak her food she is fine and she’s been like this almost a year now and it hasn’t worsened.

Dizzy is 13 next year and she has her good and bad days, her back legs can be very wobbly and her one front shoulder does cause her some pain however she recently had an MOT at the vets who said she was very good considering and she had a blood test which just showed her kidneys are slowing down a bit due to old age but other than that she is fine.

Mum and I have tickets to Olympia on the Saturday for the evening performance so am looking forward to seeing the agility. I was always a bit disappointed Rum never qualified for the Novice Olympia, we never seemed to get clears always 5f here and there, two runs stand out where he had the fastest time and I could have kicked myself for making silly mistakes. He would be fab powering round that course however looking back it is a good thing he didn’t as he just would not have coped with the atmosphere at all, it would have completely blown his brains! I am a great believer in that everything happens for a reason.

Wow that’s a long post! We’re in New York over Christmas so I probably won’t blog again, Happy Christmas to you all!

Sunday, 16 October 2011

It's a fine line

It's a fine line between a dog not worrying about doing their agility round right and a dog that just isnt worrying at all!

Rum yesterday at shrewsbury had a lovely couple of rounds in agility, one being an unplaced clear but you could tell he was going steady and making sure he did everything right, worrying about getting it wrong. This morning (back at shrewsbury show) he's gone it to the ring and flown round like a demon possessed, he was relaxed & not stressing at all but he flew round, missed contacts (normally unheard of) and missed his weave he was going too fast. It's a fine line, especially with him as I don't want to knock his enthusiasm & I know full well if I had corrected his contacts he would have then turned into Mr super creepy I am making sure I get that contact. It's very hard to know what to do with him, hmmmmm. Only jumping classes left now though & no more shows over winter so I guess am going to have to really get some drivey contacts going in training.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Ember Update

Back at the vets for a progress check.  Vet was really happy with her progress, the infection has gone and therefore her toe wasn't as swollen so he could get a good feel of it & found  that it is not actually broken all the way through & is just split the nail a little.  He said she has done really well and can return to normal activity including agility & just watch how she goes, so fingers crossed she's sorted.  We'll see how she goes off the medication and if she is still okay she can compete at the weekend :)

Tuesday, 4 October 2011


So Ember had a trip to the vets today, he has said she has broken her nail in her toe and got an infection - nail bed infection.  He's worried me a little as has said sometimes the nail needs removing which can damage the bone in the toe meaning the toe needs amputating!!  So she's on metacam & antibiotics for a week - poor girlie, I feel so sorry for her!

Saturday, 1 October 2011

UKA Top Barn

Wow what gorgeous weather, can't get over it, yet it's not too humid so it's just nice.

Well Rum was up first with his senior agility class, he was a bit creepy on his dogwalk and I pulled him in too tight on a left turn causing him to knock a pole, otherwise he ran nicely and did an awkward bit at the end lovely, he would have won the class without the pole knock.  Then was senior steeplechase 2 and he was flying round this, we messed up in the middle as he turned the opposite way out of the tunnel and whilst I corrected him I sent him into another tunnel!  Oops!  Senior Steeplechase 1 I got him there to go in first and had calmed him down, we were virtually on the start line when someone came along telling me she was helping so had to go first, I told her no she couldn't, I had Rum off his lead and ready to go.  I don't mind letting helpers push in but when I am virtually running my dog, sorry but I wasn't having it and Rum was in a perfect frame of mind.  So I got to go first and he had a lovely round and won the class.  Finally another senior agility and we made a right mess of one part, I was trying to flick him over a jump with the wrong arm! Goodness knows why!!

Ember had her two steeplechases and she just felt a little sluggish and flat, I got her back to the car and she was starting to develop some lameness in her one back leg, I couldn't see or feel anything wrong.  Anyway she starting biting her inside toe so I looked at it and my god it's double the size it should be!  So a trip to the vet is in order, I am no vet but it does actually feel broken and I wonder if she did it at Blenheim when she really knocked that wooden pole in her agility and pulled up - but she hasn't been lame at all in the meantime?  Just seems funny she pulled up at Blenheim after that class.

Finally Cas who just had Casual Steeplechase, she bombed round it and won it, I love that dog she is fabby :)

Rum is doing really well and not stressing at all, am really pleased with his progress.  Here's a piccie taken at the show.  We're supposed to be at Shrewsbury but I don't think we will now, so next show is TAG.

Saturday, 10 September 2011


Oh I was a little bit stressed first thing as I had 3 runs first in the ring all fairly small classes so I warmed Cas up and took her in veterans, she had a messy clear. Then Emz into her agility and she proceeded to go jump and fly off the down dogwalk plank from the top so I picked her up and took her out – I am not having that!! Then Rum in his G6 Agility – oh he was stressed going to the ring I could feel him winding up, there were only 2 dogs in the queue and I couldn’t seem to wind him down. I didn’t have mum with me to queue so I had to try my best in the queue, he did a lovely round on a fairly tricky course just backing out of a tunnel as he wasn’t sure. Then I was back in the ring for Cas in anysize and she had a 5th .

I was grateful for the break but a little concerned as to how stressed Rum had got I was almost ready to go home then I thought for his comb 6-7 agility I would get to the ring and sit with him outside to calm him down and go when the queue was very small. You could see him relaxing as we sat and chilled so I took him when there was 1 dog in the queue, he was loads better, no stress! I held his contacts in this class, I think he had a pole down but that was it, I love Rum and his contacts, he’s a good boy. In his grade 6 jumping I admit I let him break a wait, wasn’t in the right place and completely messed up the whole of the course – it was awful but all my fault!!

Ember had another agility and actually got her contacts which I held a bit (not great position but better than her flying!!) but she slowed down loads and when she finished she just sat (not like her she’s normally running round barking) and although she walked back to the car occasionally she would stop and sit. I think she must have pulled something in her back so I didn’t run her jumping although she seemed okay later on I didn’t want to risk it.

So I know now not to take Rum straight into the ring and to get him to chill before we go in and Ember seems okay now as well. We have quite a few shows planned for October, I got a bit carried away I don’t know why I hate the cold and rain lol!! I missed Bromsgrove’s closing date.

Mark and I had THE most amazing time in Vegas and he asked me to marry him, I said yes of course and we are hoping to be married February next year – somewhere hot!!! He proposed when we were stopping on the Grand Canyon Ranch, we were out on the sunset horseback ride and asked me, giving me the ring. It was perfect, I couldn’t have wished for anything more, I’ve always fancied life as a cowgirl so I was enjoying being one lol!!

We’re looking after Diz while mum is away, she’s 12 now and is very wobbly on her back legs and struggles to climb or go down steps, and falls over a few times a day – poor old girl, but she is so happy and still charges about wanting to play like she’s a 2 year old! She isn’t too impressed that Clee keeps stealing her bed though, there’s not really room for two of them!!

Friday, 19 August 2011

Shows Video

I realised when I made a note of Rum’s result that actually he only ever had one show at grade 6 in 2009 so we really haven’t had much experience in grade 6 together so he really has done well this last weekend.

 Here are a few snapshots from the last couple of shows:

Whilst you're on, check out my new photography blog:
Photos By Gina

Monday, 15 August 2011

First KC Show Back

I had enter WBSDS knowing it would be a small KC so being ideal for Rum. I entered both days as it’s only 30 minutes away but I now know I just can’t cope with 2 days of agility any more, perhaps I need to build myself back up to two days – I was completely away with the fairies on Sunday, just couldn’t concentrate at all!

Anyway onto Rum, my boy, he is such a good boy. He tries his best for me always, always listens and is just so genuine. I managed to keep stress to a minimum, I can tell when he’s stressed as his nose starts to get pinker and pinker! And this only happened just before he ran, a couple of occasions I felt him winding up so I just took him away and calmed him down and took him back – before I hadn’t been able to get him to come down once he was wound up but he was coming down really quickly. Progress!!

I was worried that I might have been throwing myself into the deep end seeing as they were 6-7 classes so had had a lesson with Lee on Wednesday, our first training for a couple of years! I needed oxygen, am so unfit! I needn’t have worried as Rum coped fine. His jumping was first and I just didn’t collect him in for a weave entry, followed by 1-7 agility, his A-frame was a bit creepy (I must admit his contacts have been like this since he came back but I’ve not bothered too much) then I flicked him out for a jump telling him left when it was really straight for him so he spun round and ended up in the wrong direction, he then did a lovely speedy dogwalk into his stop before the last jump. Next was graded 6-7 agility and his a-frame was a lot better, our turns were quite wide and messy and his dogwalk was very creepy, but we were clear and ended up 2nd just 1.5s off the winner – very happy! Finally 6-7 jumping and he was flying, running lovely and again I just didn’t collect him into the weaves, but wowsers he felt so smooth in that class. On Sunday we had 6-7 agility and his contacts were sooo much better, really tricky course which we got round quite neatly apart from stupid me pushing him too far out for the weaves! Then 5-7 agility I thought I would really push his contacts and as it happened we were E’d at jump 3 so I really pushed and held them and they were lovely, he’s so good he tried to turn right out of the flat tunnel when I told him but he just couldn’t brake quickly enough. Finally jumping and I messed up at the start again and I continued to mess up throughout but he was good!

Cas had a 3rd in Veterans on Saturday and had a pole down on Sunday – me commanding over a jump!

Ember well, Ember, she back to testing me and pushing me again. I really don’t know what to do with that dog, on Saturday she missed her contacts so I put her back on them then she still continued to miss them throughout, the one course when I corrected her she jumped up and bit me on the thigh – she was carried out of the ring. That dog is always fighting with me and she always things she knows best, well to start with she was doing really well and listening but now I feel like it’s back to square one. It doesn’t bother me that we’re not getting clears, it bothers me she’s not listening at all!

So anyway Carol and I have found somewhere locally we can do a bit of training so we are going to do that which will be good as I need to work on weave entries with Rum. Am really enjoying running Rum as he just wants to do it right for me and listens, I suppose he’s like a breath of fresh air as Ember has always fought me and Cas used to sometimes think she knew best. I am also loving putting Cas round the veteran courses as she just thinks it’s the best thing ever and I love to run her, my little old white dog has given me so much over the years it’s heart warming to see her running round veteran classes  .

So am hoping Rum is going to be okay with small-medium shows as he coped fine at WBSDS – I don’t know if we’ll ever get to KCI sort of size shows but I am happy sticking with small KC/UKA/BAA anyway – my dogs are enjoying it and so am I, so what if we’re not chasing qualifiers etc. Although it would be nice to think I could get Emz up to G7 (need 1 agility win) before she retires but I think that would need a miracle!

Monday, 25 July 2011

Thames Valley

I like this venue, it’s only just over an hour away and the ground is nice and flat to run on. My only gripe is the catering as my mum and I had food poisoning from there last time we went to the show, so we have to take our own lunch and I must admit I am not really a sandwich person but there you go.

Anyway onto the agility, I did wonder now Rum has moved into senior whether we would struggle a bit with not doing any training and there were a couple of points where I thought that if I trained I could have done it. Saying that his senior jumping was a fairly tricky course and he ran it lovely but the daft thing ran round the last jump to get his lead which was off to the side, I saw Greg Derretts youngster do the same. Otherwise I was really pleased with him, we made a mistake in the steeplechase class and I took him back to redo and he didn’t stress at all, he was so relaxed. He did seem more relaxed today other than his agility the dog in front screamed it’s way round the course and he did get quite wound up.

Ember was so naughty in her agility, she’s been so good with her contacts lately but yesterday she was NAUGHTY! She decided to fly on the seesaw, she didn’t even make it tip and just carried on like it was all part of the plan. She had a perfect round in Novice Jumping and the timer didn’t start – aargh! So I ran again and we had a major blip where she pulled off the tunnel then went in, we were still clear but wasted a lot of time, ended up 2nd. The steeplechases we messed up entirely – she was on one of her headstrong days today!

Cas is my little star and still lives for her agility, getting a 1st in Casual Jumping, love my little white dog :).

Clee Cat has his first job on Wednesday, he’s doing a photo shoot. He is a really clever little thing so am hoping he behaves himself as much as he does at home – am excited about that.

Sunday, 3 July 2011


We attended a UKA show last weekend and a BAA show this weekend. I was a bit concerned about doing two shows in a row with Rum and how he would cope but I needn’t have worried. He is doing so well, his stress levels are remaining at a normal level. I have entered a KC show in August which is normally a good show in terms of the rings are well spaced out and lots of room so we shall see how he copes with it, it might be too much for him so he will stick to smaller shows but I will continue to do some KC with Ember and Cas in veterans. All that matters is he is happy and I enjoy the classes at UKA and BAA so if we stick to those shows with him then so be it.

Anyway onto how they’ve have done, I am really pleased with how they’re doing considering they don’t get any training and I mean nothing. Cas had her first clear this weekend and won medium helter skelter, she is like a bat out of hell over medium height and I must admit I struggle to control her!

Ember is running really well to, she’s started testing me a little again (knew the angelic Ember wouldn’t last lol!) but otherwise she’s fab, there was one course at the weekend I was impressed at how we worked as it was very tricky. She had a 1st in Novice Snooker at UKA and a 1st in Jumping at BAA, she’s been getting 90% of her contacts so am pleased with that.

Then Rum, he’s fab, he’s my boy, he does as his told, doesn’t try and push the boundaries, he’s amazing. He had a 2nd in Senior Steeplecase and a 4th in Novice Agility (with held contacts but this has now taken him senior) at UKA and a 1st in Power & Speed and a 3rd in Agility (5F for a pole) at BAA. I have always loved running him, he’s just such a genuine, honest dog and he feels so smooth to run.

Ember turned 8 this week and Diz is now about 12 so Happy Birthday to the two non collies.
Emz @ 9weeks
Diz @ 6 months - shepherd ears!  Aww lol.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

UKA Phoenix

It’s been a while, I competed with Cas & Ember at an EMDAC show in Stoke in April as Cas comes into their medium height she can still enter competitive classes so it’s nice for her to have a couple of runs. Considering the dogs hadn’t had any agility training (I just have a couple of jumps I had been putting them over to make sure they are fit enough) they did really well. First class for each of them wasn’t brilliant but the second class went a lot better and they just knocked poles.

I really enjoyed the show so decided to enter a UKA show and entered Rum with the idea mum would come with me so she could queue for us and knowing UKA are smaller so not as stressful.

That show was Phoenix on Saturday. Ember absolutely amazed me, she ran excellently, was absolutely fab – she won Senior Steeplechase I with a rather messy run as it was quite tricky and I wasn’t sure of my handling (very rusty & first run of the day!). Then we had Novice Jumping and I thought that the course looked like it needed a lot of running and with Ember she’s not normally one for going on by herself! But I was wrong she had another cracking run but knocked the last pole – gutted! Novice Agility, she was fab again but typically she missed her a-frame (I should have put her back on) and Novice Gamblers I won’t mention as we never ever get our heads round gamblers! Finally Senior Steeplechase II which I hadn’t walked as the rings were a long way from the parking and I was shattered! She had a near perfect run, I shaped her more into her turns so they were a lot tighter, I was getting back to knowing what I was doing, we just had a messy turn where I front crossed, she won that class too!

Rum was a good boy too, though I am so unfit I just couldn’t keep up and he has always been used to me being up there with him so he was a little unsure at times! Novice Steeplechase I he was flying and took me by surprise at how far ahead he was, he went into the wrong end of the tunnel and turned out of the box. Then onto Novice Jumping, I thought it was a nice course for him as he could really power on, he was running lovely but just jumped too long to get the second weave entry – I didn’t shape him into the turn, I took him back which I shouldn’t have done as it really stressed him out and I just felt him snap into Mr Stress at that point so I know if he goes wrong not to correct him as it really wasn’t his fault. Novice Agility and he sort of fell off his seesaw somehow which worried him so I held him on a perfect a-frame contact and told him it was okay, he then carried on fine, otherwise he ran lovely in that. Gamblers again we’ll say no more. Then finally Novice Steeplechase II, ahh we went clear bless him but it was very very messy as again I was just struggling to run, my legs were giving up lol! The last tunnel I told him right and he flew right out of the tunnel which surprised me that he actually did it so I didn’t then reinforce & he turned back as if to say – am I right lol. Anyway he ended up 2nd and I was pleased with that as it had been extremely messy!!

Cas had one Casual Jumping and although missed her weave (not sure why as she’s always always got her entries) she flew round like a spring chicken and won the class.

So it was a fab day, it was lovely to have my boy back as he always feels so smooth to run and with our system of mum queuing and it being a smaller show he didn’t seem to be stressing at all. Though I am so unfit, my legs almost gave up in the last run and I am just nowhere near my dogs, I haven’t been doing any exercise whatever though so it’s no surprise lol!

Were off to Paris next week, Mark and I will have been together two years :)

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Happy 11th Birthday Cas!

I can't believe Cas is now 11!!  She still acts like a 2 year old and I think as she's white, will never go grey so she never looks old. 

I moved in with my boyfriend a few months ago and brought Rum and Cas with me, mum has Emz & Diz as Diz has always been close to her when I have gone off to shows and Diz and Emz get on very well and to be honest Ember has always liked mum better anyway.  It makes life easier as neither of us are worrying about keeping Diz and Cas separate, they're happier too.

Rum is also a lot better as he is getitng more attention.  Though I started by taking them for a run with a frisbee daily (something we never did before as Diz wasn't up to it) but Rum just couldn't cope again with the adrenaline and he was stressing so much.  So now we just have gentle walks and sometimes some obedience training.  I had thought about trying agility with him again but if he can't cope with frisbee chasing there is no way he will cope with agility - it's such a shame that for a young dog I can't let him have good fun chasing a ball etc.  But if he's happier without then that's how it has to be.  He is so protective of Cas it's so funny to watch them, my boyfriend has a German Shepherd who Rum hates and he really protects Cas from her. 

We're picking up a kitten on Wednesday as we wanted something to do some ratting and I miss having a cat, I had thought about bringing Dixie with me as she is such a character and so pretty, but it's not fair to upset her and mum is attached to her and she absolutely adores Diz and Emz.  So we said we would look for something.  Unfortunately not a rescue as nobody came back to me on rescues so we had to go elsewhere. 

I haven't been very well during 2010 so am hoping 2011 will be a better year, I have turned a corner the last couple of weeks and long may it continue.  We have rebooked NYC for Christmas, this year we will get to go!!  And I am starting a city & guilds course in photography soon also!

This vid just sums my gorgeous girl up: