Monday, 23 July 2012

Everything happens for a reason

It always seems that however bad things appear for me they always work out for the best.

The bad weather and our policy of not going to as many shows has resulted in no shows for us since the Saturday of Lansdown. It seems an age away and loads of missed opportunities.

The upshot of it is that we have been able to spend time with family and friends and paint our equipment up the field and most importantly I have now got my contacts sorted with Rhyme :)

I had entered agility classes thinking that if I wasn't ready I wouldn't do them but then because I had entered we did them even though we weren't really doing them consistently :(

Having the time off has enabled us to develop a contact method that we both understand reliably so we're now set to go.

With Agility Club this weekend, KC Festival in 3 weeks and then off to The Border Collie Classic in Germany we have some exciting times ahead :)

Meanwhile UpAndOver members that have managed to get to some shows have had some brilliant results the most notable in terms of places is Emma & Star winning up to Grade 4 and Linda & Pip winning up to Grade 2. 

Great achievement too for Dee & Maloney getting 3rd in Grade 1-2 combined and Sandra with Kip getting a 3rd in Grade 3 having just moved up. Sue & Poppy is continuing to do well in Grade 5 having had inspiration from beating myself and Torro is the circular KO at the Hawk Conservancy Demo (I'm not sore about it or anything LOL). I'm sure I've forgotten some others - they really are a great bunch and do very well while having a great time and supporting each other. 

Quite a few of UpAndOver members will be at the UKA Nationals and we wish them loads of luck.

Our dogs are having a real relaxing time in between training - Devo can be a little bit mischievous during the week when Mark is away and I think he misses him.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

What is Wag & Tone?

Wag & Tone has been keeping me very busy lately and it is certainly a labour of love.

My friend Sue Holstead who runs funfordogs at Pitton near Salisbury told me she thought it would be great fun to have an exercise class for dogs and owners similar to Zumba. By the time I got home I'd thought of the name, written the book and made the DVD (well the book & DVD are only in imagination at the moment but ......)

We enlisted Ruthless Ruth our fitness coach to help with development and also persuaded Amanda Sutton Animal Physio to check out the exercises.

Hours of fun have been spent coming up with exercises that would work the dog and handler to keep them toned. Our own dogs love it. Torro is jumping better and looks more agile. Rhyme likes ad libbing and creating his own bit to get more limelight LOL.

We had our first trial class a couple of weeks ago and the hour flew by. Everything ran smoothly - it is so good that it felt we had been doing it for years. We had a range of dogs from pet dogs to hard drive not easily focussed young dogs and had complete attention from them throughout the whole session.

As it was in the Equestrian Centre we were unable to do any exercises that involve lying down. That may be a good idea initially as some of the dogs may find that a bit too tempting or exciting. Dee with Maloney has enough problem with excitement issues when she's stood up :)

So next step is to document the exercises in such a way that we can pass on to others and maybe that book......

Meanwhile we are going to run 4 more classes on Thursday 6, 13, 20, & 27 September at Cholderton Equestrian Centre from 8:30 to 9:30.

We will advertise locally first then maybe Facebook and agilitynet. If you are interested let me know.

This is Rhyme showing off sit ups - not included in current circuits but you can see the fun he is having. Trail video so don't worry about the talking.

This is Sue & Dexie with another trial exercise using Toning Bones :)

And lastly Ruth - showing the professional finish to come with the lovely Zan

Monday, 2 July 2012

What about if.......?

I am known for enjoying a more technical course & my old boy Flint would be sweeping the board at the moment. Torro Laker although stunning is not as accurate and even I am starting to get a bit demoralised by regular appearances of very testing courses.

Reading a thread on the subject got me trying to think of a way forward, after all judges put time & effort into setting courses for us and in a way it is flattering that they think we can achieve something out of the complicated ones. The comments made include various thoughts about us needing to do more complex courses day to day in order to do better in International competitions and on the other hand people who just want an enjoyable weekend away with friends & dogs and only train once a week. Plus thoughts that progression through the grades is too easy so lesser capable dogs/handlers are then being destroyed by working at a level too hard for them.  

My interest is also how putting a dog in a situation it (or the handler) hasn't got the skills to cope with could effect them physically and a young dog mentally leading to injury or loss of motivation. 

 Ok what is my solution - the judges publish their courses with the schedule. 

 That way those that don't like the course style don't need to enter. Those that are challenged by it can set it up and train the dog to achieve it. Somebody mentioned we don't all have time to do loads of training so what better than to spend time training what you will be doing instead of spending time planning training around something you may never meet in a course this year. The best dogs will still win and at least we will know when we enter what kind of course we will be facing. 

This would only apply to regular classes. Courses for qualifiers or champ classes would only be put up on the day of the show. 

Some thoughts of reasons people would have doubts about this and my responses 
It would not be fair as people with their own equipment can easily set up & run all courses. 
Those people often do very well anyway as they practise more. At least you & your dog will have had a chance to know what to practice if practice time is more limited to you. 

Weather conditions etc could change in the time the schedule is published to when show is run or ring is smaller etc so judge has to change course to suit. 
These things happen & at least you've worked on things that are that judges style and it'll apply to everyone. 

I'm happy to comment on any other reasons why this wouldn't work and don't really think it would be adopted just a fun discussion to try to think of a solution. We have some great and developing judges out there who need a break but also I want to help our dogs and us get things right more often.