Last weekend some friends and I rented a cottage in Shropshire so we could go to Shrewsbury show and have a few days away at the same time.
I wont go into the journeys to and from the cottage but the rest of the weekend was great. The cottage was small but big enough for 4 adults and 7 dogs, luckily the dogs were all small ones though.
Saturday was show day but I'll come back to that.
On Sunday we decided to take the dogs for a walk and then go on to Powys Castle so set off on a very windy day with Tania map reading and found our way to wind blasted hill top with a stone circle. The dogs had a whale of a time and didn't seem to notice the wind even when we climbed up to a stone cairn for a photo shoot except Tom who I think regretted that he hadn't used extra hold hair gel.
After the walk we went on into Wales and Powys Castle where we wandered round the gardens which looked lovely with all the autumn colours but stupidly I left my camera in the car.
By Monday the wind had dropped and Tania and I looked a the map, while her hubby Steve wasn't looking, and decided to walk in a wood that had mountain bike tracks running though it. When we got there we looked at the map on the board and choice the yellow route which was supposed to be the one for cyclists that hadn't done much and 5kms in length. We set off with all 7 dogs, including Bracken who is 85 years old in human terms, and climbed and climbed and climbed until we started to wonder if we would ever go down hill again. The views were amazing and the track well signposted but I think it could have been a bit more than 5kms and we seemed to go up hill more than down and towards the end we decided to take our own route as even the dogs were starting to flag an poor Bracken had to be carried up the steepest bits :)
The weekend was very relaxing and enjoyable even if a bit hilly with good food, good wine and good company.
Saturday dawned wet and windy but mild and off we set to the showground at Oswestry for the Shrewsbury Small and Medium Show which was about 45 minutes away. I really enjoyed the show and not just because there were only very few large dogs there and even with the huge sheltie contingency it wasn't very noisy. Tom's first class was combined 1-3 jumping and I was able to get into the queue early and run him without hanging around for too long. The course wasn't tricky so I was quite relaxed and was very pleased to get a clear round but as I thought the scoring was being done somewhere else I didn't check his time or anything and thought it felt quite slow it wasn't until I went to run his graded jumping that I realised they were scoring at the ring. This round went completely tits up with Tom sniffing in the weaves and then doing his own thing in the middle of the course but there were some really good bits that encouraged me to think that we might do better in the agility. I decided to check Tom's time in the jumping and after checking the score sheet I realised that he was on top of the clear round pile but as I thought it wasn't very fast I thought it was the out of the places one but the scorer pointed out that he was winning by 2 seconds which was a bit of a shock.
All three of Suzi's classes happened at the same time so I was rushing about like a loony and missed my presentation for Tom's class but ran across the whole of the showground with poor Suz dragging behind and arrived puffing and panting just in time to get my rosette from the judge. As it was wet Suzi was not overly keen on running but after getting an E in the pairs she got 2 clears in her jumping classes but agility proved too much and after getting her dog walk contact she suddenly started choking and retching, she sometimes gets a soft pallette thing so I wasn't overly worried and after picking her up and carrying her out she was fine.
Lunchtime came and the wind and rain picked up to such an extent that I was seriously thinking of not doing Tom's final run but I'm really glad I did as he flew round without creeping his dog walk contact or sniffing in the weaves and went into the lead of the grade 3s then I had to wait until the end of the class which was a bit nerve racking to say the least but he stayed there and will start next season as a grade 4.
Over the last fews weeks I've done 2 training days, one at Colchester with Lee Windeatt where we worked on obstacle discrimination and one today with Nancy and Andy (or should I say Anton du) Hudson. Both were really enjoyable and very informative and I know that I've picked up some good tips from all the instructors and hope that I haven't frustrated them too much.
At Colchester Tom struggled a bit with his weaves but there was a tunnel mouth right at the start of them, he didn't go into the tunnel but would only go in the 3rd/4th weave but once the tunnel was moved he went straight in, not sure what was going through his mind there but the rest of the course was good and he didn't falter with the tunnel under the A frame. I really enjoy Lee's courses as he makes them such fun and has a wicked sense of humour.
Today's course was just for small dogs and except for when the border terriers were running it was quite quiet. Nancy was doing the agility side and really made us realise the importance of consistency when training and working our contacts. All of the dogs in my group had the same sort of problems with contacts so we all got loads out of watching the others and I'm really going to try and be consistent with what I do with Tom, honest.
We did jumping and weave entries with Andy and although Tom was very sniffy during this session when he did work he achieved some stuff that I didn't think he would but it made me realise that I really have to work on pull throughs and not just hope he gets them so this winter it will be contacts and pull throughs. I would like to get him doing the without me having to actually go through the gap to get him through, Oh that he would do pull throughs like Wendy Card's Gem.
Everyone seemed to enjoy the course and I'm sure they all went home with something to think about.