Sunday, 21 October 2012

Border Collie Collapse

I haven’t blogged for a while as I have been busy working with Rum.

Unfortunately I had some bad news.  On a couple of occasions recently he has collapsed, once after agility training and once after playing ball with Cas.  When I say collapse, he gets the wobbles and looks like he is drunk, the last time it happened he did eventually collapse on his back legs.

At the same time I had not long read an article on Agilitynet about a condition called Border Collie Collapse (BCC) which seemed to have exactly the same symptoms.  I videoed his ‘episodes’ and emailed them to the researchers in America who agreed it looked very much like the condition but unfortunately there is not yet a gene test for this, there is a similar condition in Labradors called Exercise Induced Collapse and there is a gene test for that, however they have discovered it is not the same gene in collies. 
He went into the vets to have all the standard tests to rule anything else out, they were very thorough and he had a full MOT – everything came back normal.  So it is assumed he is suffering from BCC – it is just a shame there is not a gene test yet so we definitely know, the videos were sent to a specialist neurologist who said it also looked like it and couldn’t think it could be anything else so there wasn’t any point referring him.
The vet gave me some information the neurologist had provided them with and suggested supplements being Co Enzyme Q10, L-Carnitine and Vitamin B2.  He is a right druggy.  The vet suggested I gradually increase his exercise to see if the supplements make a difference, there hasn’t been much research done so they don’t really know either way whether they do help at all. 

We were told his agility days are over but having now mentioned Rum’s condition in a public forum it seems there are a fair number of agility dogs suffering from this who continue to compete as long as they are kept a close eye on.  With Rum this means not queuing (as queues stress him out and stress can trigger an episode) and not competing in the blazing heat (doesn't happen much in this country and he always wears his swampie).  So, over winter I am going to gradually increase what he does and see how he goes, we never compete anyway over winter as he can’t cope with indoor venues.  He has never had an episode at a show, it has only ever happened when he has done a lot of agility training so I am 99% sure competing wouldn't hurt him, it is just whether I can train with him and keep him ‘agility fit.’ 

I love my boy so much, he is my shadow.  When I take them for a run he will literally bounce by my side with a toy in his mouth like Tigger, it doesn't matter what the others are doing he won’t leave my side.  If he can’t cope with agility then at least I still have my shadow and we can still enjoy many happy years together :)

On another note Ember is 9 ½ now, she has had a really good year, qualifying for the Circular Knockout at the UKA Grand Finals, Dovedale Speed & Power 2013 and also TAG Brace 2013 (with Cas).  Although we started the year having nailed the contacts a bit better, they seemed to slip towards the end of the year so again they need more work!
Cas will be 13 the beginning of 2013, she’s still quite fit and active, she has been a little arthritic in this colder weather but once she’s moving she’s fine.  I hope she can still enjoy veterans for a little longer as she loves it, although she isn't up to medium height so will only be running in shows where she can run over small – I was a little surprised at Dashin Dogs where the large dogs had to run over medium and it was then I realised it was too much – at the beginning of the year medium had been okay for her.

Saturday, 25 August 2012


Yeah finally we felt like we were all getting together today.

Cas was a star getting a 5th in Anysize, just had a refusal in Veterans.

Ember was on fire with a 2nd in Dovedale Speed & Power and a messy jumping round ending up 4th, she was having a fab agility round but I ran out of puff & she messed up just before the end - she was really working well!!

Rum was sooo good, we were on our own and had to queue, he was a really good boy, gone up a bit of a gear though so I struggled a little and I did end up taking him out of a jumping class as he lost it a bit.  However we had a lovely round in Grade 6 agility and ended up 3rd despite him stopping on the a-frame and worrying about getting his contact, we were only a second off 1st so with that stop I am really pleased :)

We had a good day and can't wait till Monday :)

Sunday, 19 August 2012


I was a little bit worried about the show today as I wasn't sure how Rum would be.  I needn't have worried as he was a lot calmer.

We started off with a run in 6-7 Agility, he missed a weave entry after the flat tunnel so I trained the rest of the round, he worked lovely and his contacts were spot on.  In 6-7 Jumping he was working so nicely but he then decided to do the tunnel no matter what I said which was a bit naughty!  Last 6-7 Agility and he ran sooo nicely again but just refused the tunnel - something to do with that last round?  His contacts were a bit creepy but not as bad as they have been, I was really please, he worked really fluidly and wasn't stressed at all.

Ember started with tunnel Exchange with my mum running her for the first half, mum thought she could get a wait and she didn't so it didn't start well, I could see Ember looking out of the corner of her eye at me and she was a bit hesitant but they didn't do too badly and I had a clear on my half of the course.  In her first agility she worked fab but went to tunnel instead of weaves then went to weaves instead of tunnel, her a-frame contact was spot on though!  In Jumping she worked well just missing a tricky weave entry.  Finally in her last agility she was naughty on her contacts and walked out of the ring! 

Cas was a little star having 3rd in Veteran Jumping, clear in anysize (which was the same course?).  Having a ball in Veteran Agility, we won't talk anymore about that lol!!

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Social ‘Petworking’ on the rise

Social ‘Petworking’ on the rise
- Hounds are ‘top dog’ on social media compared to cats -
Andy Murray’s dog Maggie May has posed with his Olympic medal on Twitter and Karl Lagerfeld’s cat Choupette gives fashion advice to her followers. It’s 2012 and pets on the net are bigger, better and fluffier than ever; the nation’s obsession with their pets means we are increasingly likely to give pets their own social media status from sharing photos to tweeting their thoughts.

Research from Petplan, the UK’s largest pet insurer, and host to one of the most engaged Facebook pages in the UK,[1]  reveals a 36% annual increase of pets with their own social media profile, as well as a 25% rise of pet owners sharing photos of their pets online.

Cats have traditionally dominated the World Wide Web but now it’s the socially savvy hounds who are the true social ‘petworkers’ as 7% of pooches have their own Facebook page, compared to only 4% of felines. Boo, nicknamed ‘the world’s cutest dog’ started and still leads the online trend. Currently Facebook’s most popular pet, this adorable Pomeranian has more fans than the Dalai Lama.[2] Along with Boo, four out of the top five most popular pets on Facebook are dogs including Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s pooch Beast. Since the explosion in popularity of Britain’s Got Talent winner Pudsey, dogs are now 12 times more talked about on Twitter than cats.[3] Dogs also dominate YouTube with ‘the ultimate dog tease’ being the most popular pet video with over 100 million views.[4]

Despite dogs’ dominance online, cats are still strongly represented. 83% of cat owners who put their pets online also regularly share photos of their felines compared to 69% of dog owners.  Although it seems that pup parents demonstrate a greater sense of humour with 42% posting status updates on behalf of their dog.

Francesca Keefe, Petplan Social Media Executive comments: “We’ve long known that animals are the stars of the internet, but in the last year since we started tracking pets’ presence online there has been an explosion in ‘pet pride.’ Increasingly pet owners are giving their pets a more active role in their life and spreading the joy that having a pet can bring. As well as the fun side of social media, we’re also seeing more and more pet owners take to Twitter as an effective way to look for lost pets.”

Jan Rezab CEO at Social Bakers comments: “As a global social media and digital analytics company we track online engagement levels across Facebook and Twitter and over the last year we have seen a significant rise in the interaction with pets on social media. There are many social media profiles dedicated to pets, but at the top of our Facebook pages, in the animals category, are dogs with cats coming in fifth.”

Case Study
Denver the dog, owned by Morgan Taylor
Someone who has experienced the phenomenon of social petworking first hand is Morgan Taylor, owner of Denver, a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever. Morgan started taking photos of Denver because he was his first puppy, and he wanted to capture those moments before they disappeared into memories.  He added the photos to his Flickr account under his "Littlest Duder" set.

There was an instant interest in Denver and a picture of him in the
park made it to number 11 on Flickr’s Explore page. As page views of Denver went up, new people added him to their contacts, and Denver's fame train was solidly in motion. After that a number of people contacted Morgan asking if they could post his photos on their blogs, requests he always granted. was one of these blogs, and he regularly sees traffic coming through from that post. Another surge in popularity occurred when a friend posted one of Denver's photos to, resulting in 73,000 views to that photo in a single day and 147,000 total views to his Flickr stream.

The most recent surge came from the UK’s Daily Mail posting
an article on its website. Following this publication, The Huffington Post ran a similar piece, with further information about Denver; as a result Morgan received 248,000 page views of his Flickr page in a 24 hour period.

Notes to editors:

Pick of the best social media pets

Number of likes
Celebrity comparison
Number of likes
Dalai Lama
Gisele Bundchen
846, 086
310, 767
Stewie Griffin
306, 483
Mishka the talking husky
286, 450
Richard Branson
249, 964
Professor Meowingtons pHd
101, 870
Al Gore
81, 194

Number of followers
Maggie May
Choupette Lagerfeld

Number of views
The Ultimate Dog Tease

Statistics from a survey conducted by Vision Critical July 2012 and the Petplan Pet Census March 2011 both surveying over 1,000 respondents

*Facebook and Twitter statistics taken from August 2012
**YouTube statistics taken from June 2012

[2] Social Bakers figures taken August 2012 
[3] Radian6 figures taken between 1st April – 20th June 2012
[4] YouTube figures taken June 2012

Saturday, 11 August 2012


Adams was a lovely show so relaxed however the rings weren’t very well organised and Rum didn’t have his first run till after lunch and three of his classes were running at the same time.

Rum didn’t cope very well and I am hoping it was down to the fact he didn’t do anything till later on. His first run we hadn’t prepared and felt rushed into the ring, we were all over the shop in the agility. Followed by a run in the other agility where we actually went clear but really should have had a 5 on the seesaw and a 5R, I assumed we had and held his a-frame virtually walking the rest of the course – that will teach me to not work a course right till the end as it was tricky and there weren’t many clears. His next jumping and he was loopy, he had worked himself up and I am not sure why, so I ended up bringing him out. Finally another jumping and he really didn’t have his heart in it, he seemed to be so tired as he had been working himself up all day, he was clear but steady and out of the placings.

Ember on the other hand was on fire, she was running so well, the one agility she was naughty and missed her dogwalk, the other I just didn’t hold my position and flicked her the wrong way over the jump. Then two fab jumping clears in combined 4-7 and combined 5-7 jumping resulting in a 3rd and 4th.

Cas was so happy to be out today she bounced out of her bed in the morning and was raring to go in her first class at 8:30am, she flew round veterans resulting in a 4th and last thing flew round anysize resulting in a 3rd. She was so funny first thing though as she sort of growled round veterans she was so happy to be out and doing agility, most mornings she takes a while to get out of bed but today she was really raring to go!

So the girls worked really well, I am really disappointed and upset about Rum as he was high as a kite and crashing rapidly throughout the day. At home he was so depressed. I really hope it was a blip as I don’t want him doing agility if he is going to be like this it’s not fair on him. So we’ll see what he is like next weekend. He’s been doing so well and maintaining his levels really well but today he was up and down like a yoyo.

Sunday, 5 August 2012


I enjoyed WBSDS show last year so was looking forward to it, I love having a proper cafĂ© on site and the ground is lovely to run on. I only entered Sunday as was abseiling on the Saturday, shame as the show is only 30mins away so it’s great.
Rum started off in Graded 6-7 Agility and I pushed his contacts, he didn’t feel as sluggish as he has been but still wasn’t overly drivey, we messed up the weave entry as I let him try and take it too early. Just as well though as his dogwalk was marked, despite him getting it with his two back feet, so would have been a little annoyed if he had been clear. He worked a really tricky course very nicely. Combined 6-7 Agility followed and I don’t know where his head was at, he picked up a tricky weave entry on his own and had lovely contacts (which I held) but that was about it, he was all over the shop, goodness knows why! Graded 5-7 Jumping was a Rum course, I knew it when I walked it, big open spacey course, I have to say he ran it lovely and really enjoyed it, I wasn’t clear on my signals and we had a couple of wobbles where he was turning the opposite way to where I wanted but otherwise he finished 3rd which I was pleased with. Finally Combined 1-7 Collie Jumping and it was a helter skelter type course which again was great for Rum and he flew round it and had an absolute ball, he finished 4th.
Ember was in combined 1-7 jumping first which was helter skelter type so I had to run, she had a lovely round (if a little steady, showing her age!) but knocked a pole. Then graded 6-7 agility and she was taken out of the ring for naughty contacts! In 5-7 Jumping we were flying, she was running really quickly until almost at the end she took a jump instead of the weaves – gutted!! Finally 1-7 Agility and she had a lovely round with lovely contacts, just missed a weave entry – real shame!
Cas only had one run in Veteran Jumping and flew round finishing 4th :) which I was super pleased with as I didn’t think she would ever get a veteran placing. Clever girlie.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Adams & Derby

We competed on the Saturday & Sunday at Adams and just the Saturday at Derby.

Rum has progressed well, he's never going to be the fastest agility dog in the world but I love running him.  At Adams we had a 13th in Grade 6 Jumping where we lost a second or so as we had a bit of a wobble before the tunnel entrance where I didn't hold my position, we had a clear in combined 6-7 agility on the Sunday where I held his contacts.  At Derby we had a 14th in Grade 6 Jumping.  What I am finding with him is his first couple of runs he is quite steady and cautious, in agility this results in creepy contacts!  However after that he seems to get his confidence back and is a lot more drivey.  He worries about doing things wrong so much!  We had an awesome run in the last class at Derby, I made a right mess of it but Rum felt so confident, it felt great, much better than our clear in the jumping.

Ember at Adams was a nightmare and fought me all day Saturday, on Sunday we started off with what I thought was an amazing clear in jumping but stupid me had missed a jump out!!  She started being naughty on contacts so I was taking her out of the ring.  At Derby her first class she missed her a-frame so I put her back over then in the next class she got her a-frame, was running lovely then turned around on the see-saw?!?!  Ember always does something random!  In jumping she had a clear but was turning like the titanic, I struggle to get her turns tight, always have done and she ended up just outside the placings but was nice to finally get a clear!!!

Cas was a star and had several clears, the others she had just five faultitis.  She's not quick enough as a veteran to be in the placings though but she has a whale of a time :)

I am enjoying running them, I wish Rum could be confident all the time but he's better than he was and isn't stressing out at all so that's a big plus.  Ember can be amazing one minute and a nightmare the next - nothing changes!  And Cas as long as she's fit and healthy enough to enjoy her agility still I will continue to run her in veterans/anysize.  Some candid shots taken inbetween classes.

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Dig It Dogs

I was in two minds as to whether to go to this show as we have had awful weather all week.  However they changed venue and it was the same as last time so I knew parking was on hardstanding and it wasn't far to travel so we could always come home early.  I am glad I went as we had a lovely dry day, fantastic running conditions, we even saw the sun for the afternoon.
Rum struggled a little in the jumping ring as it was quite small, he ran lovely but had a couple of poles in both Champ Jumping and Senior Steeplechase 1, in Senior Steeplechase 2 he had a fab clear and won it.  We're now 6 points away from Champ Steeplechase.  In Champ Agility he worked lovely picking up a fairly tricky (for him) weave entry, a month ago he would have not turned to take the second pole but he did and surprised me!  Unfortunately he saw his lead and ran round the last jump!!  Then Champ Snakes & Ladder and I felt I didn't plan it well, was very hesitant and he picked up on that, we sort of made a right hash!  Finished the day entering a pay on the day agility but I trained his contacts, he worked lovely.
Rum's Steeplechase Win & Agility Training Round
Ember was being a nightmare today and insisting on backchatting!!  Novice Jumping she missed the last 2 weaves, I think perhaps because I was moving away but no excuse.  Agility and she missed her a-frame contact grr, naughty sheltie!  Senior Steeplechase 1 she backjumped, 2 she did a similar thing taking a more awkward than easy route.  Finally Snakes & Ladders and I had missed the fact you could only do contacts one way so we messed that up.
It was a lovely show and I really feel together with Rum but Ember, we're fighting again at the minute!!
On another point it was interesting for me as there was the usual stall selling dog toys and treats etc.  They had a lifesize cuddly dog sitting upright at the edge of the stall, I wondered what Rum would do if I tried to introduce him as I remembered us taking Cas to Marie for TTouch and she did similar with Cas.  Rum would not go near it, even if I held a treat near he backed away and wouldn't look at it at, poor lad.  I just don't know what happened with him as a youngster he would be fine socialising with other dogs.

Monday, 2 July 2012

GT Agility

I had got a little disheartened at our last show - Bitz n Bobz in Daventry as I just felt I couldn't keep up with the dogs and my handling was all over the shop.  Having had a nice relaxing couple of weeks in Spain I was feeling refreshed and ready to pick my agility back up, I have been working on my fitness and Rum's fitness all week since we've been back.

Ember, well Ember is Ember and will always do something unexpected!  In Novice Jumping she really flew, I felt so in tune with her, she just knocked a pole.  Then Senior Steeplechase and she tripped me up knocking me flying!  Followed by Novice Agility and silly me sent her off over a jump I shouldn't have done, a shame as her contacts were spot on.  I then trained Novice Gamblers as I know she misses her contacts on the second run - lo and behold she did!  I don't know why she's doing that, the last few shows it's been a case of perfect contacts in the first run but after that - no hope!  Finally Senior Steeplechase - hoorah a fab clear and she won the class :)

Rum, well for ages I have been on about always wanting consistency and today I got it!  Five runs and five clears :)  Started with Senior Steeplechase which I hadn't walked as got there a little late, it was a bit messy but still fairly quick and we won.  Then Senior Jumping, lovely run, a wide turn on the first flick flack and out of the tunnel but otherwise he worked lovely and won.  Followed by Senior Gamblers (now I hate gamblers and have never ever done well) which he worked lovely, however he got a bit worried when I put him back over the dogwalk as he was wondering if he did it wrong the first time, poor lad his little face when he crept down the down plank!  I wasn't sure whether we got the gamble as it was a bit messy, but we did and won it!  Senior agility I wanted to push his contacts as I wanted the points (getting too competitive lol!) and although the dogwalk was creepy we had a nice run and another win!  Finally senior steeplechase and I stupidly tried to overcorrect him and he had a big twizzle, otherwise lovely and finished 2nd, 0.5s off the winner.  

There was a time where I would have dwelled on that mistake but now I think well I could have lost it completely and got an E or a 5R so we did well to recover, I need to focus more on what we have done well.  We never analyse why we have done well, only when we don't do so well.  Why?  If we do well we want to try and replicate that so we need to focus on why we have done well.

So Rum had already had 12 points at Dig It and today he got the remaining points to take him up to Championship - yeah, but I need to train those contacts next time!  Lol.  I am most happy with the consistency as I hate being so inconsistent, a lot of that is to do with my fitness (I could almost keep up with them!) and also how happy Rum is.  Today we even queued and he stayed calm.  I am just so pleased with him!!

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Petplan Pet Toy Test

Petplan has provided me with these toys as part of their Pet Toy Test review programme. Visit the Petplan UK Facebook page for more information and a chance to win the winning toy!

 This comes in a handy carry bag and easily fits together.  There are two uprights which have a spike in the ground enabling it to stand up, the spikes are a decent length so are quite sturdy.  There are four connectors which the frame sits in, these can also be used as jump cups if you didn't want to have the tyre jump in place.  The corrugated piping then just velcros onto the frame.  
It is a great piece of kit, it can't go very high as the top of the frame is only about waist high, but if you just want to have a go at agility then it is ideal or if you have a competing 'small' dog (ie under 35cm) then it is also fine.  
The frame sits into the jump cups so can't be dislodged however when using the equipment as a jump you can rest the poles on the jump cups enabling them to be easily knocked for safety.


These come in a set of 12 (6 orange & 6 blue), they have a long spike on the bottom to enable you to put them in the ground.  The poles themselves are probably about half the width of regular competition weave poles.  They also come with a handy measuring tape which has standard KC competition widths marked on it, this is brilliant as it helps you keep the weaves straight and evenly spaced when putting them in the ground.  You then just take the measuring tape out to use.

All sounds great, however the major flaw which I find with these is the colour of them, I think they need to be white.  My dogs are experienced competition agility dogs and compete at grade 6 (out of 7 grades) and struggled with them.  I am not sure whether it could be due to them being thinner than normal or whether it is due to the colour, I personally think it's colour.  My sheltie seemed to skip the orange ones when they were at the end of the set.  So my solution was to put some white PVC piping over the poles and then then completed them fine every time.  The spikes were long enough to keep the weaves quite sturdy however there were a couple that ended up a little bent.  

I found it useful as you can change the weaves into a V formation or a channel which is great for teaching new dogs to weave and there are full instructions on how to do these on the case for them.  
The tunnel comes flat packed but easily folds back flat as it just collapses and is held closed with velcro.  There are 2 points either end of the rigid tunnel which allow you to peg into place.  There is then an attachment which allows you to attach a floppy chute to the main tunnel, this just attaches around the rigid part as it is elasticated and has veclro attachments.  

However there aren't any points at the end of this 'floppy' section to peg into the ground, therefore it moves around a lot, I ran my sheltie through and she almost got stuck.  I therefore didn't use it further as I felt this could be dangerous especially with a bigger, more powerful dog, I wouldn't run my collie through as he could have broken his neck.  I therefore just used as a rigid tunnel which is quite short, if the 'floppy' section had some peg points at the end it would be perfectly fine.

All in all these are fantastic for anyone wanting to teach their dogs a bit of fun agility, there could be some amends made to the equipment which would make it a lot better.  I would also use some myself for competition practice, I just would add some piping over the weaves and wouldn't use the floppy material attachment to the tunnel.  Therefore my favourite out of the three would be the tyre.  I also reviewed on video - below.

Friday, 1 June 2012

Dizzy is 13!!

Dizzy is 13 today, well around about now, we gave her 1st June as her birthday as we rescued her in December 1999 when she was approximately 6 months old.

She is doing okay but she recently had a health check and the vet said she has fluid on her lungs, a weak heart and cataracts. She is very weak on her back legs and does fall over on them a fair bit now, but she’s not in any pain and still enjoying life.

Dizzy taught me so much, she was such an easy dog to train. She enjoyed her agility but was a bit of a plod, obedience was more her thing. Once I got her motivational heelwork training on the go she loved it, I remember a training round I did and she was howling with enjoyment! Lol. She won me out of pre-beginners and beginners but once she had her op she couldn’t do obedience either as she couldn’t sit up for long enough.

So happy birthday to my brown eyed girl, she has spent the week thoroughly spoilt with mum in Wales and a family friend. Here’s her life video:

Thursday, 31 May 2012

Dogs Today

As you may know a few years ago I wrote a series of articles for Dogs Today on how to dance with your dog.  Well in the wake of Ashleigh & Pudsey winning Britain’s Got Talent they are being run again from the July edition (out in shops June 14th). 

I had a look at some of the drafts and my gosh I have lost some weight since then, wow!!

Thursday, 24 May 2012

UK's Fastest Blogger

I was invited to take part in the UK’s Fastest Blogger Competition through Buy a Gift. My husband was also lucky enough to get invited ( so we got to spend a day together too, bonus!  I was really looking forward to the day and keen to do well. As you may know I love my cars and I love speed and adrenaline!

 We arrived at 8:30am for our Silverstone Driving Day to get signed on ready, the cars were all there waiting to go, so quiet and still, later in the day they would be whining with exhaustion! The briefing explained that we were taking part in the Caterham 7 Drift Experience. We had a demonstration by the instructors round a simple course which consisted of a large sweeping corner and a doughnut round a cone. I was so excited, I have always wanted to drift properly having seen them do it on Fast and Furious.
The caterham 7 is ideal for drifting. Rear wheel drive, 1.6litre, 150bhp and weighing in at around 500kg. The tyres on the back were designed so that they don’t get hot and sticky and the front tyres the opposite making drifts quite easy as the back end gets really loose.
I started off the day really well and found the Caterham an easy drive. My doughnuts were fab and I got out of the car on each occasion buzzing with adrenaline! The instructors at Caterham were really helpful, we would have two laps at a time and the instructors would give us hints and tips after each lap. Once everyone had started to get the hang of it, the course was changed to two sweeping corners and the ‘doughnut cone’ was removed. I did struggle with the longer drifts and this gave us a really good opportunity to really practice getting the car going sideways!
 Drifting can be so tricky as it’s all about forgetting what you have always been taught – keeping the acceleration when you start to slide, normally your instinct is to brake and stop a skid not apply more acceleration! So it can be quite tricky.
After a yummy buffet lunch we were re-fuelled up and raring to go again! Caterham set up their “Uber Drift Course” which consisted of a slalom, doughnut, another slalom and a 1 ½ doughnut. I was struggling with the doughnuts, just couldn’t seem to get the car sliding all the way round, I seemed to manage about ¾ and then lose it. We had a few practice runs and then our final two runs consisted of another practice and an assessed run. My last practice run was awful so I really had to step up my game for the final run. I am a competitive person and when it comes to cars I do always want to show that women can drive too and it’s not just men that can!
They assessed our last run by giving us a score of 100 as we left the starting gates, they knocked points off for things like spinning, knocking cones etc. I drove round and didn’t think I got the car drifting overly well but I didn’t lose control at all, it was probably the best run of the afternoon for me though. Everyone else did really well and I waited with baited breath to see what my score was.
The results were announced and Mark and I were both in the top three! Wow what a team! I ended up 3rd with 90 points, 2nd place had 91 points and Mark won with 95 points, he did a flawless practice lap but on his assessed lap just didn’t continue his drift round the second doughnut so was docked 5 points.
We had an absolutely fantastic day, it was a great adrenaline buzz. The Caterham team were so patient, encouraging and helpful. I was really pleased with a podium place, think I would have been a bit gutted if I hadn’t been up there and to top it off I came away with a suntan (okay a bit of sunburn then)!

Take a look ay Buyagift’s website for more experience days, perhaps with Father’s Day coming up this may be an ideal present? Or just a treat for yourself, I know Mark and I have both got that racing bug and we want to do more!! I think a track day in one of these would also be great fun, perhaps a birthday present for me, anyone?

Here's a video from the day:

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Adams Agility Show

I was really looking forward to this show as I had a decent amount of runs with the dogs.

Ember started off in graded 6-7 agility and when I walked the course I thought it was lovely and really wanted to push her on round it.  She worked it lovely, I just pushed her over her contacts without any stop command and they were fab, it was only when I realised I was pushing her too fast down the finish straight and the seesaw was in that straight that I needed a steady but I was too late and 5f on her seesaw.  I was absolutely gutted, really wanted a clear in the graded class, we’re still just one win from grade 7 and I would love to get her there before she retires. Graded 6-7  Jumping was next and it was impossible without a wait so were eliminated straight off lol, she worked the rest lovely though, I pushed her into her second weave too far and had done exactly the same with rum – BAD HANDLER!  Combined 4-7 jumping followed and she was awesome, just knocked first pole, it really wasn’t her type of course, flick flacks turning into pull ins (we’ve been working hard at training on those, really teaching her in and out commands) and lots of flicks away from me so I was really chuffed with how she worked it.  Last run was combined 6-7 agility and Ember was naughty on her a-frame and I commanded her wrongly on the see-saw but otherwise worked really well.  We’re working together and not against each other again, I am playing with her lots in the queue rather than telling her to sit and be quiet, it really makes a difference to how she runs.

Rum, well I started the show off wondering whether we were going to have to stop agility again, he was so stressed out, he had a fight with ember, pulling faces in the car and his first two runs –combined 4-7 jumping and combined 6-7 agility he was just loopy!  He really wasn’t coping.  Thankfully though when it came to graded 6-7 jumping he was a lot better, unfortunately I lost him to a tunnel, it was a start jump then a through a gap and round the back of number two which we did but I didn’t notice the tunnel entry was close and he went through the gap into the tunnel!  Combined 6-7 Jumping and he worked it really nicely, just knocked a pole because I didn’t give him enough room to jump after a pull through!  Finally Graded 6-7 Agility and he was fab, he worked beautifully, I just messed up his weave entry and pulled him off a jump too early but otherwise his contacts were lovely and quick and he really worked well.  So I think I need to do a lot with him when we get to a show, just walk him round the rings, do some training with him, put him away then run him.  Hopefully I won’t see that level of stress again.  I can always tell when he’s really stressed as his nose goes bright pink!!

Finally my fabulous little crazy little white dog, we messed up in the veteran class as she thought she had finished when she hadn’t but had a clear in Anysize and came 5th J.  I love my little white dog, she loves to come out and play, she’s so funny, I took this pic of her while she was waiting in line for anysize – just how does she bend her front legs underneath her like that?

Although we only came away with one rosette I was really pleased with how the dogs worked in the end.

Sunday, 13 May 2012


On Sunday at Beacon we got there a bit late and had missed walking the Combined 6-7 agility, which we then made a right hash off, we looked as though we had never done agility before, it was a course that needed walking!  I took him in the training ring and realised his contacts were awful, he was back on rubber and was struggling to cope, he was going so slow and stopping short, so I got his toy out and worked on some encouragement.  

We then ran Graded 6-7 agility and I ‘quick released’ his contacts, I say quick release as his contacts were quite slow but once in position he was released.  We had a lovely round and a refusal at the second to last jump – gutted!  I just didn’t hold my position long enough.  

Finally Graded 6-7 Jumping and we made a right hash of that too!  I don’t know why but he just seemed really down today and a bit ploddy in the ring, very quiet, not his usual self.  Whether he missed not having another dog with him or whether he was tired from yesterday I am not sure, will have to see how he goes this week.

One thing I do think I am losing are his waits, I can see it happening, I really need to sort it but am a bit scared of taking the mick in the ring and don’t like to mess about keeping the judge waiting.  I don’t want to remove him from the ring as it will just knock his confidence completely so am not sure how I will tackle this one.  I am also really struggling with grade 6 with him, when we won out of grade 5 I only ever did a couple of grade 6 classes before I took a break, I am sure that we had a lot of 5-7 classes but now they seem to all be 6-7 and I am noticing courses are a lot harder, I don’t struggle as much with Ember so I think it’s a lot to do with his striding and how much longer he is jumping.  I need to work on tightening turns with him as I have done too much work powering him on he is.

Here's his graded 6-7 agility, slow I know!!

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Dig It Dogs

I decided to do the Dig it Dogs UKA on Saturday despite having entered Beacon, I wanted to be able to do some ring training.

The dogs were on fire, Ember had a win in Novice P&S & a win in Senior Steeplechase.  I am not talking to her on her contacts and she got them all in her agility and all in P&S – something of a first!  The Novice courses were the same as beginner so I must admit we struggled as she doesn’t do go ons down long lines of jumps lol!  Such a shame in her other senior steeplechase she just knocked a pole as I front crossed to early.

Rum was absolutely flying, I trained his Senior Agility and competed in Senior P&S which he won.  His contacts were soooo fast they were awesome, he was on non-rubber though so he did have a bit of a skid on the dog walk.  He also won Senior Jumping.  Unfortunately we didn’t do very well in either Steeplechase classes as I had to run and get him having just run Ember, so we didn’t have chance to settle by the ring, I ended up taking him out of the second steeplechase as he had just wound himself up too much.

Cas stayed at home but here's a lovely pic of her I took on my phone, she's much better than a pot of gold!!

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Pedigree JointCare+ Day 1

Dizzy was selected by Pedigree to take part in their JointCare+ trial.  I am looking forward to trialing it as Dizzy does suffer with quite a lot of stiffness in her hips and shoulders.  Today was day 1 and she happily munched her chew.

Monday, 9 April 2012

TAG Show

We entered two days of TAG show and I think we chose the best two days weather wise - Friday and Sunday.

Rum - he was a very good boy and we made silly mistakes all through our classes!  Mark came with me so he queued for me so I could keep him calm.  His contacts we spot on and I pushed them and was working them from a distance.  His waits went a little bit in the last class on Friday but I got them back on Sunday.  The one jumping class on Sunday was really tricky and we did it all lovely apart from him knocking poles which is not like him and I think it was just due to the small spacings as all his other classes had used up all of the ring and he was really having to extend.  I was a bit disappointed we didn't have a clear, we were so close to one on several occasions, however it was nothing he did and I was pleased with how he worked.

Ember - She had a clear coming 5th in Speed and Power.  Her contacts otherwise on the Friday were horrendous and the one agility class she made it look like we had never done agility before!  However when I looked back on her one agility class I realised that I don't think she actually understands her contact position.  Stop should mean her position at the end of the contact.  With Rum he knows that stop is 2on 2off and a nose dip, I will tell him wait if I want to hold the contact.  Ember I never trained the wait just the stop.  Looking at her on Friday I thought she looked like she understood 'stop' to mean wait where she was then leave the contact from there.  On Sunday I thought that I would try not saying anything to her on the contacts, low and behold she got them pretty solidly!  I couldn't believe it, unfortunately I had also stopped giving her a command to walk on so she had a refusal lol!  

Cas had fivefaultitis in her veteran and anysize on Friday.  On Sunday she had a pole again in anysize and a clear in veterans.

A few of the classes had 90 degree angle weave entries which Ember has never been able to do and Rum I had to take him into it, so that's something we need to work on.  With Ember's contacts as soon as I say anything to her on the contact sbe stops where she is so I am just going to try and train without saying anything and just giving a 'go' as a release.