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…......