Northern Festival of Agility: Part Two

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Beach.

The beach at Redcar is gorgeous, all endless miles of sand and sea. Dylan and I spent a couple of hours there by ourselves earlier in the week, but the girls arrived on Thursday and Dylan was ridiculously excited to see them again so we spent all afternoon there.

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Probably one of the few times you’ll spot me on camera; Mum took over camera duties whilst I tried to persuade Kim to swim. She didn’t, but she went much deeper than normal and didn’t flail like an idiot, so maybe her one and only hydro session did her some good.

Also, have I mentioned the weather? Because the weather. Wow. Every single picture looks bright and sunny and warm because it was.

Beach ShakeKim and Dylan on the Stray at RedcarHappy on the beach

Honley Woods

I shouldn’t have even bothered taking my camera; the lighting was awful! Overcast skies + twilight = not good for photos of moving dogs.

Still, look at Mollie’s smiley face!

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Dylan is getting really irritating on walks, I keep wanting to smack him round the head! He is generally pretty independent when we’re out and about, not so much as the girls’ but happy to go off and do his own thing. But as soon as I take off the lens cap, he’s right there in front of me. Almost touching.

Ever played that “not touching” game when you’re a kid? That’s what it’s like.

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You can’t tell, but in all these photos, he’s about 2 inches away from the lens, giving me the Eye. Incidentally, this is why I’m never getting another Border Collie. They drive you insane, like they are.

LopeKim is thoroughly enjoying being out and about again, she’s off-lead 95% of the time at the moment. We’re slowly starting to put some real muscle back onto her, but it’s taking time. I’d like to do some hydrotherapy with her but the pool we used to go to isn’t available at the moment, and she hates swimming. Maybe I can throw her in the sea at Redcar?

We set off on Sunday morning for Hare’n’Hounds, Dylan and I are competing all week and the girls are coming up for Waldridge Fell. Kim is running with Cat, which should be fun!

Birthday Boy

Dylan is a whole four years old today.

We celebrated by going for a nice long walk, on which I failed to get any good photos of Dylan at all.

Dylan is a whole four years old! Thankfully, there is this magical editing program, Photoshop. It’s amazing what can be salvaged! Most things can’t though. Imagine lots of blurred/overexposed/splashes of water where the dog isn’t actually visible kind of non-salvagable photos, and you’ll get the idea.

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Birthday treat was that he was allowed to go swimming in Digley Res. He swims like a speedboat, and leaves a wake behind him. People could waterski on that.

The girls insisted on coming too of course.

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Hey, remember that incision wound that just got the stitches removed and everyone said I had to absolutely not get wet or dirty under any circumstances? Yeah, I’m digging through the lake now.

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Mol says nothing, she’s got some fluff to dry.

15/52

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No theme this week.

I am happy with this picture. It’s in focus, the framing is good, the background is clean, the exposure is right, and Mol’s expression is perfect. It’s the first photo in the whole 52 Weeks series where I feel like I’ve done Mollie and the camera justice. Although the project is about Mollie, it’s also about me learning to take advantage of the capabilities of the K-x, and hopefully getting better photos as a result. I feel like I’m getting there!

Snap Happy

Had so much fun with this. I was after Mollie’s 52 Weeks shot, and I’d seen someone else try this idea with their dogs.

Some dogs got the idea quicker than others …

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… others were under the mistaken impression that I would just drop the kibble into any open mouth.

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Eventually everyone got the hang of the game, but some were more successful than others. For some dogs, every catch was a triumph.

TRIUMPH!Caught it

For some dogs, who may or may not be practically perfect in every way, every catch was a success and a chance to show off their photogenic athleticism and elegance.

NomPerfect

For some dogs, it’s not about looks or triumph. It’s about 100% dedication to food.

HooverThanks.

Since Kim’s quite the bitch about sharing (she’s the first child), I do have a few pictures which probably would include quite a lot of extremely bad language if Kim could speak English. I’ll leave you to interpret what she’s saying …

Patience is a virtue, Kim!Just **** off!About to snap

14/52

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Theme was NOSES.

I toyed with this idea all week, but only got around to trying it on Sunday evening. I wish I’d had some more hands on deck to assist, because it was really hard to focus the camera/take pictures, and position Mollie! She’s not abused, by the way, just clumsy. The pink mark on her nose is either a graze, or possibly a little burn mark from sniffing candles (she never learns!)

Katie will be thrilled to know that the only thing that she would behave for was her Yumove tablet.

Smile

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This is the kind of picture I want printed on canvas and then maybe hung on a giant banner in the middle of a city. How can you not look at my lovely smiling Kim and feel warm in your heart?

Digley

We had a lovely walk around Digley Resevoir on Sunday, couldn’t believe it was March, I was walking in my t-shirt!

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The dogs ambled (and sprinted, and swum!) their way around, they’ve been so many times they know the path just as well as me. This is another resevoir my parents used to take us walking around as children, and all of it is filled with those wonderful childhood memories; there’s a section involved very steep stepping stone stairs, only for about 60m but when the stair is as tall as your leg, it becomes traumatic pretty quick. It becomes even more traumatic when your sister slams your fingers in an iron gate and chops three fingernails off in the middle of nowhere, and has never yet apologised … I’m not bitter, no, why do you ask?

Kim really enjoyed herself, it’s her first real run since she had the paw injury. It’s been healing well, but it’s not yet perfect and I daren’t risk letting her play in the res itself, so she had a minor tantrum whilst Mollie and Dylan went swimming. I got back in her good books by letting her pose for a while in various spots. It’s hard to be angry when you’re this beautiful.

Such a poser ...Another pose ...It's tiring being stunningly gorgeous

She even matches the landscape!

Not many photos of Dylan, sadly, because he spent most of the walk with his head in a bush, or herding the 300 other people who thought it would be a nice day to walk around Digley. He was very well behaved though, and only did the stiff-legged barking thing at one dog. He has impeccable manners with on-lead dogs (ie. ignores them completely), even the disruptive and out-of-control ones who lunge at him. He looked mildly concerned about a few of the off-lead dogs, but checked in with me and then continued. He was also flattened by two extremely exuberant Boxers (possibly Boxer/Staffie crosses?!), but didn’t bother a bit. So … interesting. Still thinking about this one, will get back to it at a later date.

(I actually remembered for this blog post that you are, sometimes, allowed to edit photos using this magical program called Photoshop! I’ve been so focussed on the 52 Weeks project that I keep forgetting it’s ok to edit the rest of the shots.)

Another section of the Kirklees Way walked … or so I thought, until I went and looked it up and realised it’s just kind of the same section as the last section we walked. Walking is apparently harder than I thought.

Agility at Crufts 2010

Lots and lots of agility, there was no way we could watch all of it and do everything else we planned, sadly! We chose to miss most of Thursday and Friday, but earmarked the International and the Championship on Saturday and Sunday as definites. We did manage to catch some of the other competitions, like the Mini/Mixi pairs and the Mini Circular Knockout, but it was a little bit hit-and-miss.

One of my favourite competitions is the International event on Saturday, so that had a very big tick next to the Must See box. I love seeing the different handling techniques, and the difference between the dogs. I have a particular soft spot for the Polish dog, it’s been for the last couple of years and is just absolutely stunning. But of course, we were rooting for Lucy and Ben! Videos below …

International Jumping

WALES: Mark Douglas and Ag.Ch. Cories Ruby Tuesday

ENGLAND: Lucy Osborne and Ben Bombastic Mr Fantastic

International Agility

POLAND: Magdelena Ziolkowska and Leck Bohemia Alke

NETHERLANDS: Roy Fonteijn and Flynn

FINLAND: Niina Liina Linna and Tending Chimera

International Agility Final

CZECH REPUBLIC: Radovan Liska and Amulet for Luck

Sadly the camera battery died at this stage, oops! Apologies for the quality too, the Olympus is pretty old now and the videos don’t handle compression well.

The Championships on Sunday were fantastic, thoroughly enjoyed all of it! Really chuffed for Nicola Garrett and Indiana (Ag.Ch. Obay Truly Driven), this is the 3rd time they’ve won the small Championship and I genuinely don’t think I’ve ever seen him move so fast. Toni Dawkins and Kite stormed home for the Medium (second year running!) and I was rooting for Kite in the Large, but she finished up with the Reserve to Mark Laker and Kodi. I really like watching Mark Laker run, he’s super quiet and understated and it works so well, very deserving winner.

I’ve included photos of the courses we watched, both with and without numbers. The numbered courses are a larger image size.

ABC Jumping (I think?!) (Natasha Wise)
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International Agility (Natasha Wise)
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Championship Agility (Round 2) (Andy Hudson)
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Apologies if anything is wrong, I am working from memory!

Flyball at Crufts 2010

Saturday's DrawFlyball gets its own post; we spent a lot of time watching it! Katie was busy reporting for Flyball Fever and as pretty much all the teams this year were BFA teams, just under different names, we knew a lot of the dogs and people competing. Thankfully they knew us too so didn’t mind us visiting their benching from time to time for updates and the latest draw.

We watched all the heats and finals; personally, it looked to me as though experience paid off for a lot of the teams. Those that had been to Crufts before with the old box generally got through, whereas those on their first visit generally didn’t. That’s not true for everyone though! I have to say that all the teams looked great, although I’m not sure how much faster than the old-pedal-box this really was. There were some super dogs doing some super turns, but it was very difficult for the dogs to really get any speed up without having to break on a bad surface.

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Major congrats to Nuneaton (or Nuneaton x Marnicks!) for winning; we spoke to them on Saturday morning and they were convinced they were going to be watching the flyball on TV at home! I think it’s fair to say that very few people were looking at them as potential winners after the morning session, they just didn’t look that good and I think Wellingborough (Molten Magnets, to the BFA’ers!) won overall and Nuneaton were 3rd or 4th. Exactly the same teams go through to the evening Final but it definitely played out differently, the Nuns just stepped up to the pressure, fantastic to watch and they really deserved to win.

flyballlightsWe were sat just behind the madcap Broxburn supporters in the stands, I wonder if they had something to do with Nuneaton’s win?! The Nuns knocked Broxburn out in the morning session, so the Scots all donned Nuneaton jackets, borrowed a flag to support them for the evening, and made even more noise than they had for their own team. That’s flyball all over!