Young Master Frederic

Young Master Frederic
Young Master Frederic

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

We have moved!

I have decided to move my blog to it's own site.  So thank you for following me, and please keep in touch through my new site,  I've also moved all the posts from this blog onto the new site.  Adios!

Monday, 3 September 2012

West Lakes and Dog Vegas, two 'new' shows

I've had a week off work (bliss), and taken in two shows that I've never been to before.

First of all West Lakes - we were there for the Saturday and Sunday. We did nothing on the Saturday, Miss Darcey found her speed button but unfortunately it seems to disengage the control button. So we still have a bit of work to do there... And Freddie picked up faults all day, although he did manage a 10th place with a pole down, so not too bad.

Darcey lost some of her speed again on the Sunday, but regained the control, and did three runs and three clears. At most shows she would have been unplaced, but thanks to West Lakes' very generous prizes she took home an 8th and a 9th. And Freddie managed a clear round, although out of the places.

Then the following weekend we went to Dog Vegas at Winterton. I only had one day competing, and yet again Darcey had speed but not control. If only I can persuade her to do both she'll be fab!! But Freddie decided it was his turn to be on form, he managed three clears out of four runs, and it would have been four clears if not for his handler losing the way! He came 4th in the 3-5 agility, and unplaced in the others but only just.

And on the Monday I judged agility, 5-7 small/medium, 6-7 large, then 1-4 small/medium. I thoroughly enjoyed the day. We got through 300 dogs to finish by 3pm so not bad at all, my fab ring party really helped.

I've a few weeks off competing now, until Hare n Hounds at the end of September, but I am looking forward to the Cockapoo Games before then!

Sunday, 29 July 2012


We've had a bit of a rubbish spell with agility recently. What with shows cancelled, and missing training with the appalling weather, then when I have made it to shows we've done nothing. I haven't had a place since Stanhope at the end of May - Darcey's doing some decent work but not fast enough, Freddie is more focused on what's happening outside of the ring than in, and I need to re-think things with Jasper because he loves training but I just can't get things to work in the show ring. So yesterday, I was supposed to be at Cornforth. It woke up with terrible sinus pain so stayed in bed. But by 12 I'd had a hot bath, lemsip and a good breakfast so decided to go over with just Freddie and Darcey to get some late runs in. First up was Freddie in graded 4-5 agility. Same old story - he waited fine, but did two jumps the went for a wander so E'd. But when I got him back he did some great work. Next Darcey, her agility run was in Michelle Elder's ring who we train with so added pressure! She got E'd at the second jump as she went past it then back jumped. Then did the rest of the run a bit slow, shooting glances at Michelle probably wondering why she was on the middle of the ring. By this stage I was thinking I shouldn't have bothered. I then had to take Darcey straight into her jumping, so said to a club-mate on the way past that we had no chance as D normally needs a rest between runs. It was a fairly tricky 1-4 combined course, 12 weaves, lots of flick flacks that we've not really practised, and a pull through that we haven't done before. But bless her, she ran her socks off (for Darcey), listened well and came out with a lovely clear round. And even better, 1st place! Then Freddie's second run, 3-5 combined agility. This time I did a running start and worked really hard at being super motivating and cueing early. And it worked - a clear round for the first time in ages I didn't expect to get placed with it being 3-5 combined, but guess what, we ended up 6th (out of 120). Not bad at all :-) Let's hope we've turned a corner, looking forward to Hare n Hounds summer show now.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Northern Festival

May means one thing - lots and lots of agility! Starting with the Northern Festival of Agility, this year hosted by Hare n Hounds on the first weekend and Easington on the second. The first two days I spent competing, and we did ok, coming home with a rosette for each dog. Freddie got placed in a 4-7 graded class for the first time, a lovely clear round that gained 4th place, his highest yet in grade 4. Jasper Doodle got placed for the first time - 20th place in grade 3 agility. And Darcey had a fab clear round, but in a 1-7 combined so remained unplaced. On Monday I judged, and had a very enjoyable day with some lovely runs. I had to take the dog walk out of my planned courses, but that was easy to manage and I was happy with how the courses ran. For the second weekend, I'd also been asked to judge, this time on the Saturday. And what a different day! The rain had come, and when I arrived my ring was full of boggy puddles! So I dispensed with my prepared course plans and put up what I could, avoiding the puddles. I wasn't 100% happy with the courses, but they ran ok and I got some lovely comments from competitors who appreciated the effort I'd made to at least put up safe courses that could be run in the conditions. Sunday I was back competing, and thankfully by them the rain had stopped. Freddie and Jasper both did some nice work and had a clear round each, but not quick enough to be placed. Darcey however eclipsed them both, with two fabby agility runs, each getting her 2nd place. Since she's never managed to even be placed before I was over the moon, and so proud of my little curly girlie. And thank you Easington for your generous prizes, she even came home with a trophy! I understand we may not be back at Redcar next year which is a shame because the ground is lovely to run on and held up well even in the appalling conditions. But I'm sure Chris will find us somewhere equally good. And May agility continues - off to Stanhope for the next two weekends. Fingers crossed for some more shiny rosies!

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Easter faults!

We spent Easter at the beautiful Duncombe Park for the second year, enjoying Hare n Hounds Easter Show.  And the story of the weekend was faults, faults and more faults!  I couldn't seem to get anything right with Freddie on Friday.  His eye seemed to be really off the ball.  He was focused in the queue but seemed very distracted in the ring.  But really thinking about it, I reckon I just wasn't working hard enough to keep him to task, so we picked up Es all round. 

Darcey was at her first outdoor show, and was still a little nervous since being attacked, but for the most part was a very good girlie.  She kept with me, did everything I asked, just very very slowly.  We had lots of clean runs, but her best performance of the weekend picked up 11 time faults, which I think says it all!  Lots of 'aaahs' at her cuteness toddling around the ring though.

And I am very pleased to report that Jasper Doodle, my goofy babyish big lad, had his first big boy clear round in his jumping.  Not fast enough for a place, but the fact that he concentrated and got round a whole course was amazing.  Now we just have to do the same at agility, as he seems to have developed an aversion to the dog-walk.  We will train this weekend with it on full height and see if we can make it fun again.

Freddie's (or rather my) performance picked up as the weekend progressed.  On Sunday we came very close to a clear round, but picked up what I thought was a very harsh refusal so ended up with five faults.  But on Monday morning we finally had a Freddie-worthy clear round performance and picked up 9th place in Grade 4 agility.  At least we had one rosette to bring home.

And of course on Saturday I judged.  I enjoyed this immensely, and really loved watching all the dogs.  The small and medium classes were slower than I would have liked, and I will remember this when designing courses in future, but my courses got a very good reception and I was pleased with how they ran.  I had small and medium agility graded 1-7, large agility combined 1-7 and large jumping graded 4-5.  The last class was my favourite, fast and furious with some brilliant runs.  This was my course plan:

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Darcey's first clear round

We were at the Hare n Hounds Valentine Show today. A great show again. Freddie had some nice runs, but I got him E'd twice, and he had the last pole down on an otherwise lovely run.

Jasper was his usual self, some beautiful moments but some truly la la moments to go with them!

And it was Darcey who excelled herself today, bagging her first clear round at just her third show. I'm so proud of her little loveliness! She was a little slow over the dogwalk so didn't get placed but I am still so proud of her. A little more confidence and I'm sure those rosettes will start rolling in. Heres her run from today:

Saturday, 28 January 2012

First judging appointment :-)

I've done my first judging appointment today, and thoroughly enjoyed it too.  It went pretty smoothly, I loved watching all the dogs and seeing how the handlers decided to tackle various elements; I couldn't have asked for a better ring party, and had lots of compliments on my courses.  If anything bad was said it didn't reach me.  So a really positive experience, and I'm very grateful to Hare n Hounds for asking me and everyone for being so supportive today.

I judged 300 dogs in all, in the following classes:
Small jumping 1-7 combined
Medium jumping 1-7 combined
ABC jumping 1-7 combined
Large jumping 4-7 graded
Medium jumping 5-7 combined
Small jumping 5-7 combined

Here's my course plans:

Monday, 14 November 2011


I spent this weekend up at the fabulous Laverock Hall doing my KC judging seminars. And I'm very pleased to say I passed both! I'm looking forward to taking upy first judging appointment in the New Year.

Grade 4

Freddie and I have had three shows competing in Grade 4 now. Firstly the HnH Autumn Show. The panic set in and it showed! E's all day until a very scrappy jumping clear at the end of the day. Next was South Durham on a beautiful sunny October day. We had a couple of E's but then two clears, one jumping and one agility. Unfortunately too slow for a place.

That finished the summer season but it wasn't long before we found ourselves back at Richmond Equestrian Centre for the HnH Halloween show. Saturday - we got 3 clears out of 4 runs but STILL no place. I was starting to lose heart but then our one clear on the Sunday was good and fast, and we came 6th. We can do grade 4!

Halloween was also Darcey's first show. My little princess did great! She needs a bit more confidence but stayed with me and worked hard. A little star :-)

Sunday, 28 August 2011

A win and a bronze warrant

We were at Northern Week yesterday, a very small show compared to some for reasons I won't go into. As we arrived I got talking to a club mate who said it would be embarrassing to win out there. I disagreed, a win is still a win. You have the course to beat first, then you can worry about the competition and so what if the competition is 80 dogs rather than 150? Little did I know what was to come...

First up 1-3 graded jumping. I had Jasper in first, who did the beginning of the course beautifully including jumping a wall which new for him. But then he seemed to lose concentration and refused to weave at all. Then I took Freddie in for a bit of a hyper round, we had a pole down then he came out at the tenth weave and soared over the last jump.

I'd entered Freddie in 1-7 agility, and what a course, not in a good way! Lots of grumblings from pretty much everyone I spoke to. It was just a bit much - you had to send your dog round the back of a jump 5 times!!! I decided I'd use it to train Freddie's wait and appeared to achieve something...

So 1-3 agility came up. Jasper first again. He refused to weave again (must work on that) but did all his contacts with not a glimmer of hesitation. I was so pleased with him.

Then Freddie. He did a beautiful start line wait, followed by a brilliant clear round. Nice tight turns, a good weave entry, I couldn't have asked for more. The scorers seemed to take forever to do their job, but finally the list was ready. I started reading from the bottom and my heart sank, we weren't there, surely we had got a place? My eye carried on up the list and then... Oh My Goodness... 1st place!!! You could have scraped me off the floor. So after just seven weeks in grade 3, somewhere I thought we'd stay for a year at least, we are into grade 4. And it gives Freddie the last few points he needs for that coveted Bronze Warrant. There's no stopping my boy, what a little star! Well done my super gorgeous wonderful Young Master Frederic AW(B) xxx

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Hare n Hounds Summer Show

We've just finished a very wet, very muddy summer show.  I thought August weather was supposed to be good!!!  But the people and the dogs got on with the show with the usual good Northern humour and had a great time.

Freddie was running really well and had at least one clear round every day apart from one, and came home with some lovely rosies.  He collected a 20th place, 2 x 14th, 12th and 11th as well as two unplaced clears.  We are still frustratingly close to our Bronze warrant, just 11 more points to get.  And Jasper did some nice jumping in the anysize, we got E'd every time but he is getting better and better, watching more and getting faster too.

Freddie impressed me most with his 20th place.  It was a real speed agility course, very helter-skelter like and all on one side.  I never thought we would be in the places even with a clear round, but I really encouraged him on and we managed to go clear in just 30 seconds.  This was 5 seconds off the winner but I was so proud that we made the placings. 

On the same day we also had a lovely clear round in the grade 3 agility class.  It was more complicated than we are used to, and there weren't many dogs going clear, so I was very proud of our achievement.  And to top it off we came 11th.  A friend captured it all on camera (and a few ringparty to boot):

Our next outing is to Northern Agility Week, where Jasper has his first 'proper' runs.  Watch this space...

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

One year on...

Weardale Show on Saturday will be mine and Freddie's anniversary of competing, so I have been reflecting on our first year in agility.  By way of numbers, in the last year Freddie and I (and Jasper in the last couple of weeks) have achieved/experienced the following...

31 days competing at 18 shows
3 grades
140 runs
19 placings including 7 firsts
177 agility warrant points
22 clear rounds
77 eliminations
211.339 faults
9 trophies
27 rosettes

Not bad!

Here's Freddie with his haul for the year:

Jasper Doodle :-)

I know this is Freddie's blog, but it may well turn into Freddie and Jasper's.  My little (big) puppy is doing so well.  He has come on leaps and bounds in the last few weeks with his agility, growing in confidence and getting faster and braver with it.

He has had two 'anysize' runs now.  The first was at Otley Show, and my only aim was to keep him in the ring.  However, he surprised me by really concentrating and staying with me for a lovely first clear round.  No placing as he only trotted round so we were well down on time, but I was beaming with pride all the same.

We had more umph at Barnard Castle, but slightly too much perhaps.  Jasper took the first jump then headed straight for the tunnel, and an E.  However, I called him back and we did 2 to the end perfectly, and (new for Jasper), fast!  I wonder when we'll get it together for fast and clear - we are entered for more anysize runs at the Hare n Hounds summer show so fingers crossed for then.

Grade 3

Freddie and I started our grade 3 'career' at Otley show on 9/10 July.  I walked the first course chuntering about how hard it was, but realised my mistake of thinking it was g1-3 when actually it was g3-5 (Julie Buchanan's course).  Well... it was a challenge!  We were e'd on jump 5, and spent quite a while failing to persuade Freddie to take the tunnel under the A-frame.  Contact equipment trump tunnels every time for Fred.

But we did a bit better later on with the graded agility class.  A nice clear round, and an even better 10th place.  Maybe we can hold our own in G3.

Our jumping continued to be a bit rubbish though, picking up faults.

Our second grade 3 show was at Barnard Castle, and the biggest thing anyone will moan about there was the weather!  Rain, rain, rain and more rain.  I was going to a very nice indoor fun show on the Saturday, so only stayed at BC long enough for two jumping runs, both of which we got faults on.  One pole, and one refusal.  We went again on Sunday to get even wetter, and managed just one clear round all day which was a sppedy jumping course so no place for Fred, we were about 2 seconds out of the places. 

I've started to get a little demoralised but hopefully our next show we will do better.  Reality bites in G3!

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Waldridge Fell - first day in Grade 2

Saturday was the final day of the 'Northern Agility Festival', but hosted on this day by Waldridge Fell DTS rather than Hare n Hounds.

I was a wee bit nervous, silly really, but grade 2 felt different!  I had a good chat to Freddie in the queue for our first of 2 1-2 graded agility classes.  It went along the lines of "Freddie, do good and run clear, but don't win, I'm not sure we're ready for grade 3".  Well, Freddie only listened to the first bit.  Helen Nicholson's course was just right for him, and he pulled a stunning clear round out of the bag and WON!!  One run in grade 2 and grade 3 here we come...

No luck in our jumping classes again, but then in Doc's ring for the second of our agility classes Freddie did it again, another nice clear (although he only just got his A-frame contact).  12 superb weaves and skillful negotiation of the one or two traps in the course, and Freddie had his second win for the day.  Well and truely into grade 3!

Over the course of the week we managed 8 rosettes and 5 trophies.  Not bad at all!

Freddie also now has 143 points towards his bronze agility warrant.  Lets hope he tots up a few more at Stanhope before we start in grade 3 and it all gets a whole lot harder...

Northern Festival of Agility

Our 'home' for the last week has been a very windy Redcar, at the Hare n Hounds Northern Festival of Agility.  And what a week it has been!  Our last four days in Grade 1 before moving up to Grade 2 for Waldridge Fell.

First Saturday - after deciding he did know what all this agility business is about at Helmsley over Easter, Freddie settled into some great running again.  He managed three clear rounds out of five runs and only one E, our best performance yet.  He didn't get placed in the 1-2 combined jumping as he took just too long through the weaves, not missing any but pausing to gaze at the people outside the ring in between ever other pole.  But he did pick up two fabulous places, a 3rd and a 4th, both in his graded agility classes.

We were back for more runs on Monday, and had another good day.  Our first run was 1-3 graded agility.  Freddie picked up 5 faults for a refusal after just nudging his nose past a jump, but that was enough for second place.  Our jumping rounds were more scrappy and we ended up with Es, in one because Freddie got spooked by someone watching from the stand!  But we finished the day with a wonderful clear round in 1-2 graded agility, and another 1st place.

A couple of days at work, then we were back for the final Friday.  We didn't manage any clear rounds that day, but doe to the small classes and less than simple course Freddie finished his grade 1 career with another agility win.  And what a beautiful rosette and cup, I know Chris was very proud of the blue and gold combination!

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

HnH Easter - First camping and first win!

We spent Easter at the beautiful Duncombe Park in Helmsley, the location for the Hare n Hounds Easter Show. 

What a fabulous venue, simply stunning surroundings, Helmsley village had all you could wish for, and the brilliant atmosphere that Chris creates at all the HnH shows.

It was our first trip out in the caravan and thankfully we all enjoyed it.  The only modification we do need to make is to our fencing, after it became apparent that Jasper can jump much higher than he lets on at agility practice, and can clear the fence to follow me or play with another dog any time he likes!

And of course the agility...

Freddie's first run was a bit of a joke, a run that only a doodle could come up with.  He managed one jump correctly before crossing to do the tunnel, then running past me to jump up at the (thankfully lovely) judge.  He knocked her rosette off, picked it up and ran off with it.  Embarrassed isn't the word!  But she was very nice, and let me get control of Fred and bring him back in to do a few jumps.

It could only get better after that, and thankfully it did.  We got an unplaced clear round to finish off Friday, managed a 7th place on Saturday, a 3rd place on Sunday then a 5th place and a brilliant 1st place on Monday.  All in agility too, so Young Master Frederic won out and hits the heady heights of Grade 2!

Our next show is Northern Agility Week, Freddie will be in Grade 1 for the HnH days, then grade 2 for the Waldridge Fell day on the last Saturday.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

2011 Season starts...

A long post to provide an update on our start to the 2011 season.

Our first show this year was the Hare n Hounds valentine show, indoor at the Richmond Equestrian Centre.  For the first show of the season we did ok, Freddie was jumping really well and would have done better with a better handler!

On the Saturday we clocked up a few Es, which were all my fault.  Most of them were very good runs spoilt by me making silly mistakes and getting us E'd.  But we did manage a lovely clear in the Redmills-sponsored 1-7 combined jumping, but were a long way out of the placings.

Sunday was a bit better, still making silly mistakes but we managed to come 6th in grade 1 agility even with 5 faults for a refusal at the weaves.  And in our final run we had a superb clear in ABC jumping which was complimented by the judge, but was just out of the placings.  Damn those fast kelpies!!!  So we came home with 3 rosettes to add to the board which felt really good.

And at the beginning of March we had another weekend's competing.  First at the Doghouse in Seaham - a great indoor venue.  This was a fun show, being judged by Doc Docherty.  Though we did a bit rubbish, not managing a clear round all day!  It was good fun, and good training.
Sunday was the Hare n Hounds Mad March Show.  Again we had some very scrappy runs, but also some good runs with minor mistakes that picked up faults.  Our first run of the day had 5 faults which would have been good enough for a place, but unfortunately the scribe forgot to write our time down, we re-ran and got eliminated.  Very frustrating, but it could easily have gone the other way.  So no rosettes to add to the board this time.

But I did manage to get OH to come to the fun day and take some video footage.  Here's Freddie in action (we got 5 faults for a refusal and the weaves are very scrappy, but otherwise a nice run).

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Hare n Hounds Christmas Show

Freddie and I went to the Hare n Hounds Christmas Show yesterday, our last show of the year.  Quite a few hadn't made it because of the snow, but there was still a good turn out.

Freddie's first run (graded 1-2 agility) had both me and the judge stood laughing in the ring.  I was a little worried as there was a brush fence and a wall, both of which Freddie hadn't seen before, so maybe I was a little distracted because after the first 2 fences Freddie decided just to do his own thing - went for wander through the tunnel and over a fence or two before coming back to me!  But once he was concentrating he did the rest of the course fine including jumping the brush and the wall without hesitating.

We picked up another couple of E's, but close ones with only small mistakes.  Then in graded 1-3 jumping he did a fabulous clear round.  It wasn't an easy course but Fred really concentrated and he was fast too!  His clear round earned 2nd place, our best yet, and only 1.5 seconds slower than the winner!  Well done Freddie Bear.

Hare n Hounds, Halloween Show

I realise I didn't post about the Halloween Show.  Hmmm, maybe because it's one I'd rather forget!  It was Freddie's first indoor show, and I hadn't anticipated his cocker spaniel nose coming to the fore in amongst the horse muck layden floor.  So on the first day we managed 4 runs and 4 Es.

I was determined to do better on the second day, and filled my pockets with Freddie's favourite treats.  On his first run he went of sniffing again, and another E.

But I was full of optimism on his second run - there were no weaves so I was very hopeful of a good fast run with no sniffing.  And it was, but unfortunately half way round I felt a 'pop' in my left calf and instant pain.  I hobbled round the rest of the course, sending Freddie wide of a jump and picking up 5 faults.  Then hobbled to the car to put Freddie in and went to find the first aider...  And what a lovely lady she is though I can't remember her name.  She sorted me out with an ice pack for my leg and a cup of tea for me and I sat a while before heading home and for the hospital.  The hospital confirmed I had a torn calf muscle with the only treatment being rest.  How long would I be out???

I limped badly for the next couple of weeks, with poor Freddie sat crying at the door on training nights.  But thankfully it mustn't have been a bad tear as we were back at training two weeks later, and ok for the Christmas show.

So at least this show taught me a lesson - warm up!  I will always make sure to stretch out before setting off in future.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

South Durham Show, and a wet Wilton

Two shows in two days this weekend.  First our club show - a great turnout, six rings and pretty decent weather for October.  The rain stayed away and the sun came out for a fair bit of it.

Freddie and I had a great start to the day, running our first clear agility round in graded 1-2 agility.  Didn't do quite as well after that with 5 faults in ABC agility and 3 Es in our other classes, though most of them were my fault.

As it was our club show I spent most of the morning pole-picking, and a good part of the afternoon on tickets.  It was lovely to run for Gill Crawford too, who we started our training with.  It was a good, if a little twisty, grade 1-3 jumping course.  We failed at the second jump - for some reason Freddie had got himself a little worried about something in the queue and wasn't quite concentrating when we started.  But once I had convinced him it was fun and we started again from jump 2 (with an E already in the bag), he ran brilliantly proving again we are so close to those clears.  Freddie had one eye on Gill the whole way round though - must have been a little confusing for him!

And the day finished off on a real high - being presented with a lovely yellow 3rd rosette for Freddie's clear round in the morning, what a good dog!

Sunday unfortunately was a different kettle of fish - under torrential rain I'm afraid it was 'Wilton wash-out'.  We went and did our three runs but with no success, 2 Es and 5 faults.  And what I did learn was that agility in the rain doesn't do it for me or Freddie - he pulled me all the way back to the car.  And a real shame for Wilton Club.  Hope next year's is better.

So only 2 shows left for this year, and both indoors thank goodness, the HnH Halloween Show at the end of this month and the HnH Christmas show at the end of November.  Wonder if we'll finish the year still in Grade 1?...

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Hare n Hounds, and 2 clear rounds!!

We were at the Hare n Hounds Autumn Show on Saturday and Sunday and had a great time!  We were entered in 9 classes over the weekend so could really get stuck in.

First class on Saturday was grade 1-2 agility, and a quick elimination.  But a bit later we managed grade 1-3 agility with just 10 faults and a nice quick time, and grade 1-3 jumping with 20 faults.  We then had a looong wait, and a snooze in the van before our last two classes.  I wasn't too optimistic because by this time Freddie was a bit tired, but we gave it our best shot and Freddie ran his first clear round in G1-2 jumping!  I was sooo proud of him.  Ok we then got E'd from ABC agility but nothing was wiping the smile off my face, especially when we found out that his clear round had earned us 8th place.  Here's my boy sporting his HUGE rosette

Sunday started with two E's - Freddie was all a bit excited in his agility rounds and ran under a few jumps oops!  I then went to pick Paul, Jasper and Darcey up to have a wander round the show, and did a bit of pole-picking before Freddie's last two runs.  First G1-2 jumping again, and another clear round yey!  This time earning 6th place.  And G1-3 jumping where we had a fantastic run but unfortunately I turned Freddie too early for one jump so he ran past it then backjumped.

All in all a great weekend, another goal achieved, two places and our first 8 points.   I think we really can do this!  Next goal is an agility clear round, and this weekend is South Durham show on Saturday and Wilton Show on Sunday.

Monday, 20 September 2010

First goal achieved!

Freddie and I went to Easington Agility show this Saturday, held at Witton Castle.  We were entered into G1-2 agility combined and graded and 1-2 graded jumping.  I was a bit nervous when I saw the courses though, all the same judge and all, in my and others' opinions, were a bit tough for grade 1 and 2.  But I suppose a challenge is good!

First agility round - we were eliminated (again!).  My fault - I should have sprinted to the far side of the dogwalk to get in the right place to guide Freddie round the next jumps, but took the shortest line and didn't have a chance when Freddie just took his own line!

Second agility round - eliminated again, for a very similar mistake to the first.  This time I anticipated and turned too early sending Freddie past a jump, and he backjumped when I called him back.  But having said that, Freddie was running really well and the mistakes were mine rather than his.

But jumping was a lot better.  A very tricky, twisty course with nothing straightforward.  And we got round with just 10 faults - a refusal at the weaves but he went through second time, and one pole down.  Our first KC round without being eliminated - my first goal!  Good, clever Freddie, I am so proud.

Next weekend is Hare n Hounds Autumn show - we have 9 runs over 2 days.  See if we can't progress a bit further.  My next goal is a clear round...

Friday, 3 September 2010

K9 Fun Agility Week

Freddie and I took part in a fun agility week this week at K9 Pursuits and had a great time!  I would recommend this for anyone who is starting out in agility, or if you fancy giving it a go and having a good laugh at the same time.  We were competing in teams and as individuals, with a mixed bag of dogs including crossbreeds, cocker spaniels, a labrador, a collie and a beagle.  We did timed races, mini agility courses and a few silly games too.  Sinade and Finn came out as overall winners, fantastic as they hadn't really done any agility before.  I think Finn should be renamed 'speedy gonzales'.  I think they caught the agility bug and hope to see them at classes soon.  Many thanks Gill, Andrea and Jake for a great week.

Ooh and in other news - I had a dream this week that me and Freddie got a clear jumping round and came 3rd.  Let's hope that our next competition is a dream come true!

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Fun Day at Prissick and Hare n Hounds Summer Show

Sunday 1 August saw us heading for Prissick Base in Middlesbrough for the Hare n Hounds fun day.  These are great fun competitions arranged by Chris Hare, suitable for any level, you can run any height and even run on lead if you want.  There was one jumping ring and one agility ring with the courses and judges changing at lunchtime.

We arrived too late to walk the first courses - big mistake on the agility!  I watched for a bit and thought I had the course in my head, but got to the complicated jump sequence and got completely lost.  We picked up and got to the end but with a big fat E! 

So on to the jumping - again, I hadn't walked it but it wasn't too complicated, a nice run though some awkward corners... but the real benefit was no weaves yey!  So with OH and our other poochies keeping watch we set off, Freddie ran like a dream, never took his eyes off me and we got our first clear round. Woop woop!!!  I was so happy, clever little Freddie.  But no rosette - prizes were awarded to 3rd place but our time put us 4th.

In the afternoon we had a terrible jumping round, but it was pretty hard.  I was very nervous about the agility - it was a nice course but started with a really tricky jump sequence.  I thought there was no way I would get Freddie round, but gave it a go.  To my delight he concentrated again, and did fantastic over the jumps, carrying on to a great round with only 5 faults for cornering too fast and slipping off the dog walk.  We would have got time faults too but not a bad round, we came away very happy.

The next weekend had no agility in it as I went off to be a bridesmaid for my little sister, but we headed to Gainford on 14th August for the Hare n Hounds Summer Show.  I learnt a lot at this show.  Our club was running a ring so I spent the morning pole-picking and watching some great grade 4-7 dogs, and handed tickets out on the afternoon so got to say hi to some lovely people and dogs, and get harrassed by some not-quite-as-nice people who seemed to think they were very special and could dispense with the rules.  Thankfully my club mates kept me right and I got some good advice from some more experienced people.  I guess the agility world is like every other and has all types of characters in it...

However... our runs weren't good!  I wasn't good, and Freddie wasn't really on the ball.  We only had two runs - the first was graded 1-2 agility.  We got a good start but Freddie got so far ahead of me on the dog walk that he carried on and did the jumps however he fancied, and back-jumped when I called him back to me.  Our second run was combined 1-3 agility.  This time he did the first two jumps ok, but in my haste to get him to pull through to jump 3 rather than go into the tunnel facing him he back-jumped again, but again the rest of the run wasn't too bad.

So our KC record so far - 5 runs and 5 eliminations!  Still waiting to get round with a few faults never mind that elusive clear round.  But I think this is quite normal for beginners, we won't give up!

First competition

Freddie's first agility competition was at Weardale DAC Show at Wolsingham Showground, on Saturday 24 July.  We got there nice and early as Freddie needed to be officially measured before we could compete.  And after standing around for half an hour and missing the briefing for our first class, we finally got measured.  As suspected, Freddie just measured large - the cut off is 43cm, and Freddie is about 46cm!  So guess what, we have to compete against all the super-fast collies!

Our first run was an Olympia qualifier, grade 1-7 combined ABC.  Oops!!!  I really should have never entered, and on the drive up to Wolsingham had pretty much decided not to run it.  But... I walked the course and thought that with a fair wind I could get Freddie round it so decided to give it a go.

First hurdle (and not the jumping kind) - I knew I had to get my ticket once they were calling up to my running order number, but thought (as you would) that you had to run IN ORDER.  Well, I felt slightly silly but thankfully the person in the queue was perfectly nice and explained that once you have your ticket you queue to run! 

Well eventually it was our turn.  The start was ok, a jump sequence and onto the dog walk, after that Freddie ran past a couple of things but I managed to get him back, over things and through things in the right order, and even managed to get him through the weaves on the second try.  We clocked up about 25 faults until the next to last obstacle which was the tunnel, I anticipated too much, Freddie ran past it then when I called him back he went in the wrong end - elimination!  But to be quite honest, I was elated for our first run that I had managed to get him round the course!

After that was graded 1-2 jumping.  I was most worried about a run of 12 weaves (Freddie's worst thing).  Again, we had a decent start, but on one complicated bit Freddie ran past a jump, I called him back and he back-jumped it - eliminated again!  But we carried on and guess what - 12 perfect weaves first try! 

Our final run of the day was graded 1-2 agility.  This time we had a nightmare start, jump and A-frame ok, but I could not pursuade Freddie to weave at all and 3 bodges attempts earned us our 3rd elimination of the day.  But after that he did the rest of the course perfectly including a couple of tricky turns.  Even the judge shouted 'hard luck' as we finished.

Not a bad day's work for a first show, and Freddie got a big beefy bone as a reward for being such a good boy.

Liver cake recipe

I've tried a few recipes for liver cake, but the best has to be 'Nana Sue's' liver cake.  I hope Sue doesn't mind me sharing the recipe...

1lb of liver (we like lambs liver)
3 medium eggs
6oz wholemeal flour
Pinch of garlic powder

Blend all the ingredients (best to keep an old blender just for this job), spread onto a baking tray and cook at 200 degrees C for around 20-30 minutes, or until it is cooked through and no longer pink in the middle.  Once cool, cut into treat sized pieces.

This will keep in the fridge for about 3 days, and can be frozen.

Initial training

When Freddie was 14 weeks old we began his training at K9 Pursuits in Newton Aycliffe.  We did K9's foundation course, which includes the Kennel Club Good Citizen Puppy Foundation, and quickly found out that (a) we really enjoyed training, and (b) Freddie is a clever little pup!  The training we do is all reward-based, and for Freddie that reward has to be food every time - but he will do anything for a treat, particularly home-made liver cake.  Puppy foundation led on to drop in classes, then Kennel Club bronze, and we were then asked if we wanted to join the puppy agility class.

Now a lot of people in the agility world will tell you that you can't begin training until your dog is at least a year old.  But K9 thought long and hard, and decided to try a puppy class, using just the small equipment and importantly with NO jumping, and it turned out to be a great idea.  All the puppies in the class, Freddie included, learned really quickly, picking up the basic commands and building confidence.

Freddie absolutely adored agility, and still does.  Though the first time he went off-lead in class he did a doodle-dash round the room taking in every bit of equipment through sheer joy.  Not quite the control required but a sign of how much he loves it.

So we carried on going, and graduated to 'big boy' class rather than the puppies, learning the big equipment and started jumping.  And in July 2010 we joined South Durham Dog Agility Club.  They are a great club, with chance to practice on full courses.  We practice Saturday mornings and Tuesday nights at Hurworth Moor.

Here's some pictures of Freddie's first ever taste of agility:

Read on to hear about Freddie's first competition...

First post!

I've never written a blog before, but feel inspired to keep a record of the trials and tribulations as I try to get started in the field of dog agility with Freddie, my gorgeous cockerpoo.  So... where to start.  Maybe with a bit about me and my doggies.

I'm Jo, currently 33, and work as a civil servant.  Two years ago I went for my singing lesson (another hobby of mine), and was greeted at my teacher's house with the cutest little bundle of brown fluff I had ever seen.  This turned out to be Rosie, a cockerpoo puppy and the sweetest thing I had ever seen.  I rushed home to OH and somehow managed to convince him that it would be a good idea for us to get a dog.  So off I went on the internet searching for a litter, and found Foxisle Gundogs who had one puppy left in a litter.  It was meant to be!  And on 6 October 2008 we set off to Doncaster to pick up our puppy.  At the time I was rehearsing for 'The Pirates of Penzance' playing Mabel (the female lead) and so we named our puppy Freddie, after the lead male character in Pirates - 'Frederic'.

Freddie is a cross between an English Cocker Spaniel and a Miniature Poodle, both black, and Freddie is black with a bit of white on his chest and bottom lip.  He is quite a little character, very loving and sooo sensitive.  This is Freddie as a youngster:

And this is him last week, on his 2nd birthday:

This blog is about Freddie, but I should also introduce our other dogs - yes Freddie only stayed an 'only dog' until he was eight months!  We then spotted a tiny cockerpoo baby on the site for Many Tears Animal Rescue, and adopted our little girlie in April 2009.  She is called Darcey, and is a tiny 12" tall apricot toy cockerpoo.  She is a little Diva girl who gets away with murder and rules the roost in our house!

And in March this year we brought home Jasper, our chocolate F2 labradoodle.  He is one huge puppy, but the happiest dog I have ever met, and fitted in with our little pack really well.  This is the three of them together: