Thursday, 25 February 2010

Likely Lad of Valgray

Likely Lad of Valgray
August – ish 1996 14 years ago – February 25th 2010

It’s with great sadness, through tears and heavy heart that I am writing this to let you know that Elaine’s List “Laddy” has gone to join My Cass over the Rainbow Bridge.
He was rescued by John Omlo (down in Cornwall) He had been abused by humans, yet this chap never showed any malice towards anyone, he was a dog you would have always wanted your new pup to meet, he had the best “doggie” skills I’ve ever seen in any dog.

He was a great ambassador to the agility world, he retired from agility with Spondylosis, having had two agility wins to Advance (G7) and countless occasions taking Bethany to Crufts.
Valgray Junior Dog of the Year 1999 and 2000. Burgess Supa Dog Final Winner 2001, Qualified for Agility Dog of the Year Final at Crufts 2002, this is just a small selection of his achievements that I can remember!
But apart from all that, he had amazing soft, long nose, and was a fab guy to live with………
Now Laddy NooNoo, you can go and chew in half as many leads and toys as you like, you can bark as loud as you like, where ever you like (I’m sure he taught “Red” that one!)
And run as fast as you like, chasing all the deer and those darn pesky cows, as you like!
He taught us all so much, Thank you Laddy.
Till we meet again Laddy NooNoo.

Angela, Ian, Red Buzz, Harry and Mindy xxxxxx

Monday, 22 February 2010

...Has Spring Sprung?

Well the "daffs" are starting to pop their heads out, if you drive 4 miles nearer to the sea they have been out for a week now!

The Primroses have been out for a while, but this years display wasn't as good as last year, may be because of the deep snow we had....

Sounds like we are due for some more snow or for us down here, no doubt it will be rain instead.
Snow I can cope with, but rain is horrid, everything and everyone, just stays wet for so long, gets to your bones!

Ian has fitted his snorkel and steering guard to his Discovery, I cant take a photo of the end result as he's at work!

We (Harry, Mindy and I) had a limit show at the weekend, Aly and I went together to do a little dumby run before our first camping show! She cooks a great bacon and egg bap! this is my last show, until Chippenham (yes I entered it!)

The idea was to proof all the hard work I had been doing with Harry on his dog walk, we had been having loads of fun with it, with tips from Dawn and wow the difference at home and at club was great, he has just been so happy!

Umm, what can I say, I don't use a word at club or at home for him to stop on the 2o20 position, he just does it until he hears me release him, so when we do a fast release, he just hears the release and that's it, but I think with all the excitement of the show I should have said something, as he was off down the dog walk and gone, I was so shocked, that we carried on! how silly was that! He missed it by a good margin and the Judge was letting everyone that wanted to redo it could.......I just need to be mental prepared for what I'm going to do, I'm so good at telling everyone else what they should do! Nothing I can do about it now, just learn from the lesson......

Harry did 3 runs another shock,he was as fast in the first fun as the last one, so maybe he can do 3 runs a day after all! .....So his agility he missed the dogwalk but his time was only 2 seconds behind the large G7 dog that won the class (without held contacts) and we had a really baggy turn back on our selves (yet again I forgot to use his tight turn command - WHY), His second run I've no idea what happened, I thought the set up line was very tight for a small dog let alone all the large dogs that did the same course, but apart from that, couldn't see why Harry went round the start jump!

Anyway here are his runs (well two of them)

... Mindy, is starting to feel alot better and did lots of nice bits on each of her 3 courses and we did manage to get a clear in the last class, winning it, which we didn't video! Hopefully by the time we go to Chippenham she will be back to her old self!....just hopeing she will be able to cope with the noise.

So here are Mindy's......

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Chapter Two!

If you are not interested in agility I shouldn't’t bother reading this post!
It's an Agility overload!

Anyway Chapter 2

What a journey, we’ve all learnt such a lot along the way and hopefully improved “agility” wise!
Red’s career has been amazing and I wouldn’t have changed anything, the tears of joy and frustration had to happen for me to learn and grow!

So this is a post of random and I mean Random “RED agility” Remembering moments!
A few “tears” to start with, as that seems so fresh in my mind!

The biggest one being at Rugby Agility summer show having not long won into Novice, our first year competing, well now come to think about it, Supa dogs that year was only her third show, so that’s how young at agility we where, elementary to novice in 5 shows, same year as foot and mouth…….anyway back to the Rugby show, we had had 15 plus straight E’s before this show, Red was wild and I had trouble containing any of that sheer excitement!
Those where the days when Ian came to the shows and he would watch from the side lines, before Elaine suggested someone else held Red out of the queue, poor dog by the time both of us had reached the start line, we where both stressed, she screamed and launched at anyone that got too close, people or dogs, she would have not passed the queuing test, we learnt pretty quick, how to help this and Ian would often be seen standing away from the queue, waiting for me to wave at him, to return her! 10 years on she can queue if needed but I can also lie her down out of the queue and she will just stay in the down and watch.
….Anyway I lined her up for a jumping round, I was happy with the course, Ian had held her out of the queue and brought her to me and put her in a down, took off her lead and she was gone, she had never broken her wait up till then! Another E after the 2nd jump, she came back I put the lead on and we left the ring, I handed her to Ian and we walk back to the camper, as we where walking back into the camping area, there was a camper parked close to the edge of the field and I stood behind it and burst into tears, Ian took Red back to the camper, whilst I balled my eyes out with frustration in not knowing what to do, how to handle this manic high drive dog! Once I had stopped crying, I came out from behind the camper only to see this poor bloke sat in the driver seat, trying not to notice me behind his camper crying! I Haven’t a clue who he was to this day……
Elaine ran her in the next class, she managed a wait from her, Red always listened to Elaine and would instantly calm her antics down. Yes, I do think I let her get away with a lot, but after having Cass who you had to be so very soft with, who used to leave the ring at any chance she could get, when we look back at the videos of Cass, she really didn’t enjoy it at all and I wish to God that someone had the guts to come and tell me, but then maybe I wouldn’t be here now!........So how lucky for me to have a dog like Red for my second agility dog (although she was Ian’s to start with, he did all the training and club nights, but he handed her over, just before she started competing, actually it was Valentine’s day, best Valentine’s day I’ve ever had.)

We learnt over time, that doing 3 classes a day sent her over the edge in excitement. Elaine or Andy where often called in to run her third run! She loved running with Andy because he could run and she loved to chase him most of the time, although if Andy wasn’t quick enough to get her attention she was off down a tunnel somewhere, oh yes tunnel mad she was, we even did a course once that the tunnel was right over the other side of the ring but she had spotted it on the start line and did three jumps and veered off to do it on three occasions on the same course! Poor judge I got my monies worth on that run!

Then there was the time she had finished a course and Ian wasn’t ready to catch her at the end and the dog in the next ring was screaming it’s way round and Red caught sight of it, she off around the course with it…..…yes I said “sorry” and "no" I don’t remember who it was and no doubt it would have been this dogs winning round!

Elaine and I tried to do pairs with Red and Laddy ONCE, but we soon realized, it wasn’t to be, Laddy’s barking just sent her way over the edge, if we could have controlled their excitement, we would have a great pairing, it was just too much for both of them, so Leaping Leo of Valgray became Red’s pairs partner, we had great fun with those two Leo loved Reds excitement and Leo would often be seen bouncing up and down with sheer joy of doing a pairs run.

Ian and I did a pairs once with, Red and Buzz, now that was a hoot (“Hoot” love that name for a dog) Buzz had finished his round and Ian had caught him and I was off with Red at screaming pitch, which was just a little too much for Buzz and Ian was left standing in the box with a handful of scruff hair in his hand (in the days no collars where allowed) I managed to work them both all the way around to the weaves and got them both in the weaves Red in front Buzz behind, Red finished the weaves, buzz missed the last weave….I was laughing so much, Poor Ian was mortified, whether that was the last straw for Ian working his dog, I’m not sure, but I loved it……………Ha ha.
See, I will only do pairs with people I know don’t mind if it goes belly up, whether it be me or them, I just don’t take it seriously… So don’t ask me to do pairs with you unless you just want to have FUN!

Red wasn’t used much as a team dog, she would have had to have been the last dog, catching her was always a struggle! And the 3rd dog had to make sure they where facing the other way etc etc……

Young Bethany (Elaine and Andy’s daughter, 10 years old at the time) thought she would have ago at running Red in Junior class’s, boy where they both natural at it, they looked like they put in hours of work together, but it was really down to the fact Bethany was a natural dog handler and knew what to do even at 10 years old, mind you Beth had been running dogs for many years before Red came on the seen, she even ran Auntie Freda, when Freda was taller than she was. Red’s first run with Bethany, was a tricky course up at Holt farm (Golden Valley) she had a beautifully lie down wait and Bethany released her with an “okay”, but Red just stayed there, I started to laugh, Elaine was laughing, Red looked back at us and back at Bethany, Bethany repeated the Okay, by which time Red’s bum was in the air in anticipation of her release command, so I had to shout at Bethany to say it with a grown up voice, Bethany stuck her chin into her chest and said “OK” and they where off, so we had to train her release command so Red understood her and that was the start of their FUN junior career.

I remember Neil and Charlotte picking us up at our house at “far too early O’clock” in the morning! Taking Red, Buzz and I all the way down to Cornwall for a day show 3.5 hours each way, Charlotte and I slept most of it, waking up just in time, for us to get excited, I used to think I got excited but Charlotte could teach you all a thing about excitement, I thought she was going explode at one point, I realize now how hard that must have been driving us “Girlys” 7 hours, for us to run our dogs for a minute worth of agility with each of our dogs.
That was Buzz and mines first show (we got a clear, remember that and thinking what a great career we both had in front us, little did I know Buzz had other ideas!)
Can’t remember what Charlotte did with her two woofers that day but I remember her saying to me “I looked good” not quite like that, but I knew what she meant (well I had just lost 3.5 stones in weight and had bought some new agility gear) funny what things we remember from conversations with people…………

I really haven’t a clue why I telling you all this, I just felt the need! So what the heck your all family and friends RIGHT!.....May be I wont tell you everything though!!!

Tear alert-Well for me……
I can’t remember my Dad taking me to any horse shows when I was younger, Mum always did and I’m sure I never said THANK YOU enough, if at all. So thanks Mum, for getting up at silly O’clock and helping me get my horse ready, driving me there and home again……..actually I cant remember Dad coming to watch me at any of the shows, Did he come to any Mum? But I do remember a photo of Dad and Brother Adrian standing next to our horse box at a show, so maybe he did come along …….

Back to Red and Agility

Do you remember the agility show which started at 9 - 9.30, any more than 2 rings was huge and more than 5 was unheard off, thumb timing (stop watch) was the norm and elementary rounds where courses, that you could run all the way around with the dog on the left!

Do you remember your “best” runs?
with Red, there are so many, that I would be boring you all to death, it’s not necessary a clear round or a win, we had some stonking E’s.
I remember runs, where I couldn't’t have done any more, smooth and easy and they where the ones we won, those people that run dogs will know what I mean.
I remember runs where, I blew it for her, my handling was dreadful and she would be so frustrated at the end of it, she would turn in mid air over the finish jump and bite my arm! Still have the scars!
I remember lots of runs, where I saw her sailing over jumps and thinking, wow she looks beautiful against the dark sky line, oh bugger that’s the wrong jump! Ha ha.

We had a great run last week, at Aly’s, we had set up a big circle on any size height, she looked so beautiful and loved every minute, well 13 seconds actually and I think if Aly had spoken to me I’d burst into tears – AGAIN

Red was a real escape artist, I remember the time that we where at a prize giving, Gary Woodham was doing the presentation and we where waiting for Andy's presentation, he had just won an agility class with the lovely, Odd Todd of Valgray, (Lesley Olden was 2nd) taking him into Senior, when Gary said, who owns a red and white collie, Ian and I looked up to see Red wandering along the crowds looking for us, she had climbed out through the back of the motor home, in between the bikerike and the window, breaking the fly screen in the process!
Her second big escape was at Longleat, (God I so wanted one of those "Lions") Ian was looking after her and I went to walk the courses, when over the loud speaker came the announcement that there was a collie running through the rings and could every one check they had their dogs, she did find me, she managed to run through three rings and find me at the fourth one………
Bless her.

I remember Barrie James (I didn’t know that’s who it was, until Elaine told me, once you meet him, you'll never forget him) coming up to me after a “wild Red Run” and saying, “that was cracking, your going to be a cracking team” wow what a feeling! when someone says that to you. What a lovely thing to say to someone you don’t know, that one statement, has made me on numerous occasions go and say the same to someone else, whether they where clear or not, G1 or G7….…..

So thank you Barrie.

....and on that note, I'll stop!

...and here's the "Girl" her self, learning a new trick, "slam that door!"

Monday, 15 February 2010

In the begining!

This is the second time I’ve attempted to write this, the first one took 3 days of writing and editing and then for some unknown reason, I pressed delete instead of save, I was well and truly cheesed off that day, that was back in September, the weekend after “Red’s” last full height show career.
I was telling Elaine all about it, that made us both laugh, remembering the “old” days and the ways we tried working things out, to achieve our own personal goals with our dogs, I include Elaine, as, well that’s where it all started, our friendship and dog stories, we have had so many laughs and tears along the way.

I remember meeting Elaine at Longleat September Agility Show, she had just won a couple of classes taking her and the Likely Lad of Valgray into senior, The “Glanville’s” and I found Elaine somewhere amongst the caravaners and asked for help with our training and would she come over and teach us! There she was surrounded (to me at the time) by loads of dogs but actually it was only 3 and a guinea pig! (Bethany’s)

…and so our training and friendship began, we managed a few sessions over at the Glanville’s farm and then winter came and Elaine and I carried on during the day, taking it in turns to choose where and when, I chuckle to myself whenever I hear, people say about not being able to train because they have nowhere, well we couldn't’t train at Elaine’s, she only had enough room for an ADW (a frame one side and dog walk the other) which she used to put up on blocks to make higher and steeper, but the dogs had to do it from a virtual stand still (lack of room either side) but she had contacts with her dogs, well most of the time! Auntie Freda’s (Forever Hopeful) were doubtful! (a very tall brown hairy lurcher with legs to die for) she was a senior dog, she had gone senior in the days when you only needed two wins and it didn’t matter whether it was agility or jumping, she was Andy’s mad hound, Andy also had Todd another Valgray rescue, actually all three of Elaine’s at the time where Valgray rescue dogs…….So we couldn’t train at Elaine’s.
Ian and I lived in a detached bungalow with a tarmac garden! So all I could do, was weaves on the drive or patio area, you could get some weird angles from around the trellis or water feature up the sides and into the weaves and if I angled it right, I could lead from there on to a patch of grass 3 x 3 mt, so I could place a stick in jump on edge of grass and have another jump to the right or left and that was it, I couldn't’t come back the other way as they then would be landing on the tarmac! But I could load the car up and drive ¼ mile down the road to the football ground and use that!

We would load our cars with our stick in jumps and I don’t mean the nice stick in jumps you can buy now, we used electric sheep fence stakes and used the clips you hold sheeting down on the cars at shows, as cups and the poles they were from old sewage/chimney poles (cleaned) and some water waste pipe, weaves where stick in the ground one, we would use our boot/feet as measurements to get the spacing (girly thing, just over1 ¾ of my welly boot)was right! Elaine had already got an old club ridged tunnel, I say ridged; you wouldn’t call it that now and certainly wouldn’t have put Buzz through it, so I don’t know how Auntie Freda managed to train with us, which she did. Elaine would bring all her three and I would take “bless her” Cassie, Cass loved training but hated competing and once Red was senior I stopped working her in competition, but she still came training coz she wanted to along with baby Red…..anyway we’d pack the cars and off we would go, we trained in many a playing field, Ashton Court, Parks, football grounds (yes we picked up!) we were sensible enough to do it on a rotation, so not to wind too many people up, with the barking! (But that’s another story) I’m sure Laddy taught Buzz how to do that …….

We eventually moved on and found a field, although it was a long way from Elaine’s it was not far for me, thanks to Neil H for that one, luckily for us the horses where fenced out of the area that we could use and Neil bless him would mow the area.

*Just in case Neil reads this.
When I look back you did so much for us and Charlotte, we were so lucky, thank you so much Neil……
Then Elaine moved house to where she is now and has a great big paddock to use…….wow how it’s all changed.

I have even used a wide verge to practice the weaves on.
You just find a way if you really want to do something badly enough!
I used to clean big houses and in my lunch hour I would go out and use my stick in weaves/jumps along their drives or on their lawns (I did ask them first mind!)

So that was the start of it all!

Thank You Elaine xx

Part two, will appear when I’ve managed to write through the tears! Weird how emotional this journey is…......

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Should have started this......

last year, but just didn't get around to it!

Anyway the green house got moved the day after Buzz ran into it! Hopefully he can't run in to it here.
I took some cutting last year to fill in areas in other parts of the garden, not that I'd a clue whether they would take, or whether I'd done it right, but they did, so I have lots of "Stuff" ready to go out, when it gets a little warmer!

We've made a start on the raised Veg area, 6 x 3 not very big, but we don't really know whether we will be successful at this veggie growing thing! But I've been taking notes from "Nellie-Beans" blog and their's always looks amazing.....mind you I've got to get Ian to eat them first! ......only kidding he will eat the basic veg's, runner beans, tom, spinach, pots, carrots, so we will start with that and "If" we really enjoy it, maybe we will add a few more raised bed areas.

So we have 2 raised beds 6 x 3, second one is just placed on top of the other until Ian moves the "Power fab" digger out the way, the soil has quite a lot of clay in it, so will be adding lots of horse manure and some of our own compost, which has been rotting away for the past three year (as if was here when we moved in, it looks great!)

...along the wall of the shed to the right, we planted in tyres a plum and pear tree, oh and strawberries, which last year never made it to the table as we ate them whilst we where working in the garden! hopefully we can train the plum and pear to go along the wall, it a lovely sunny spot, but a little on the windy side too.....

....any one want a Discovery!
I'm sure Ian would let it go and he tells me I'm a hoarder!

Friday, 5 February 2010

Gail - The BIG 50

"Wordless Friday"

as this post I felt, needed to be on it's own, just for you GAIL.
Happy Birthday

I Know it's not until Tuesday, but as your having a big "DO" tomorrow, I thought I'd do it today!!!

HA HA, see you tomorrow.......