Sunday, 11 October 2009
Saturday, 19 September 2009
Last weekend saw the first tournament at Sutton Fields after they came out of season. Sleet wasn't running but I took Wren to run in an NFC team to fill an empty lane due to a pull out. As she has just turned 18 months old, she is now technically an open dog so it was good to get the experience. She was only running over 12" rather than full height that day but good to work up gradually anyway and get a taste of running over higher than 7". It was a hot day and I was definitely feeling a bit under the weather that day and Wren didn't seem on top form either...looking a little slow on the way back as normally she thrashes back for tuggy. I've been working on her fitness at home each day throwing a rope ball and getting her huffing and puffing. She tends to be a little lazy with the full speed running as she is so laid back. Sleet on the other hand seems to manage with chasing a ball full pelt for a lot longer but she's a neurotic fruitcake who always liked to run around full speed for the sheer hell of it. Wren seems more bothered by the heat than Sleet too.
Other than a bit of sluggishness, she ran fine. Still not great on the box but no fumbles and no running out at all. I suppose I get enough heart attacks with sleets unpredictable nature and habit of the odd running out so I'm glad that Wren sticks to doing the hurdles at least.
It's a pity that the team was NFC anyway because we turned out to be a good team and would have been winnng otherwise, lol. Ah well, I was just glad that Wren did as she was supposed to which makes me feel much better about when she runs her first open races for real.
Sleet also finally recieved her flyball dog award certificate which she gained the points for back in June. It turns out the certificate has to be reprinted because it has the wrong BFA number on it...oh well. As soon as sleet sees a camera pointing at her, she's sure to pose herself as much as possible as evident in the photo below. Wren doing a hurdle. Her face looks full of drive even if she was a little sluggish which is good.
Hopping over a horse jump in a nearby field.
Back to training tomorrow..
Wednesday, 2 September 2009
Meanwhile 'Knightshade' has been awarded 1st place in the Grainthorpe Festival of Arts which ran over the bank holiday weekend. A very nice surprise for me anyway. Very pleased. I had a little feeling that 'Knightshade' would have the ability to appeal in a way that would make it successful in that type of situation.
I also need to pull my finger out updating about the dogs and such too.
Tuesday, 11 August 2009
Wednesday, 5 August 2009
The starters team consisted of my sisters dog Storm, then Wren, a younger dog Mackley and then a dog from Tyne Tailwaggers to make it 4 dogs. They were all running great that morning and won all the races. So far so good.
A little later and Sleets team were in which consisted of 5 dogs including my sisters dog Monty, Nell, Max, Libby and Sleet running last so there was a little swapping around between dogs. Sleet was also running great that day and I was quite proud. She didn't try the usual running out in warm up and seems to be gradually getting faster with experience. Her only real issue now is not doing a little detour around the dog she's changing over with. Something we'll have to work on in training. Her team also won all their races that Morning.
Afternoon racing came around and, again, Wren ran great...just missed the ball on the box a couple of times but has got it off to a fine art in grabbing it as soon as possible before returning back so didn't lose much time at all. Her boxwork is pathetic anyway with a two paw slam when there's nothing there to make her turn...more work at home will be needed for her. We won each race again until the very last one when the dog from Tyne started dropping the ball a bit too early a couple of times and Mackley also started to lose his focus...seeing a guy at the side of the ring that looked like his dad and running over to him rather than going down the lane to the box. He was sent again and did it right that time but we'd lost the race already. He's got plenty of time to improve his attention span as he is only 13 months old and considering what it was like a few months ago..there's massive improvement anyway.
Sleets team came up again for their afternoon racing. We won all the races again although in the last races, the whole team went to pot a little and gave the other team a head start. On the second run, a ball from the other team rolled right into sleets path from nowhere and stopped...and me knowing that Sleet would probably just go and grab that rather than going down the lane tried leading her past it and ended up letting her go way too late and also throwing her off and she tried running out. She came straight back and did a correct run but was too late to win the leg. Sleet was pulled even though it wasn't really our fault about that damned stupid ball and they managed to win the rest of the races to get us first place in that Div. Sleet getting her first rosette and it being a 1st made up for having to miss the last races.
Wrens team got a second....her team always seems to come second, it must be her number, lol....so, overall, it was quite a successful day for once especially regarding Sleet who's team haven't really stood a chance before now due to being stuck in the wrong division.
Monday, 13 July 2009
Of course, we didn't get anywhere but nevermind.
We did take advantage of some of the other stuff going on that day too. Wren did some flybgall runs on the 'have a go', without netting. She was fumbling a lot on the box but her quickest time was 4.9...sort out her box work and she'll be getting low 4s at least. She did also seem to be affected by the heat so I didn't run her too much.
Sleet got to play in the paddling pool. After waiting for a couple of other dogs to have a turn first, of which she made a complete racket in protest throughout, her turn finally came and everyone round and about finally got a rest from her yapping and shouting impatiently. She really enjoyed her time in the pool, bringing out a bunch of toys but also wanting to stop just to have a dig and bite the water. Great way to have fun on a hot day.
After that, she went on the 'have a go' agility course. She has seen some agility equipment before but months ago. She seemed fine with everything and loves the seesaw. The only thing she wasn't keen on was the tunnel. It took some effort convincing her to go through there. We were just about to give up when she just came through...little bugger.
On the seesaw, she went rushing up it on her own and I had to leg it up and grab her quick before it went down on the other side and caught her off guard. She had a second go on the seesaw, this time with me holding her harness to keep her more under control. I think the seesaw must be her favourite part at the moment.
Wren had a go on the agility earlier in the day. She's never seen anything to do with agility before. Still, she did every piece of equipment without trouble. I didn't try her on the weave which sleet did pretty well at.
Wren came through the tunnel without problems mind. The woman in the ring held the seesaw steady for her and I also kept hold of her but she didn't seem at all freaked out by it. I was quite impressed at her very first try. What a clever girl?
Sleet enjoys the paddling pool. Doing the dog walk.
Me having to grab her quick as she rushes confidently up the seesaw.
Doing a hurdle
Tuesday, 23 June 2009
Here is 'A Glimpse of Youth' completed anyway.
Thursday, 18 June 2009
The subject is a NSH colt hence the title of the piece. I changed the background completely from the ref photo.
Better leave it at that...the painting needs finishing...lol.
Monday, 15 June 2009
I wasn't able to be there on Saturday because of a long shift at work and I couldn't be there Sunday morning either as I had my Martial Arts assessments so I went on Friday to help set up and then went on Sunday afternoon after the wing chun assessments.
Wren was running in starters on Saturday so my sister had to run her. I just sent messages from work asking how she was doing. It turned out she ran with Kellingtons starter team instead of Rotherham one as she would be sharing a space with my sisters dog that way. Our team uses Canadian boxes and Kellington had a Boomerang box. Kath said that she ran great but had a few fumbles for the ball. The last time she ran on a boomerang box was at Markfield with the Chaos Krew and she had the same issue there due to wanting to turn the opposite way to what she does on a Canadian. She was fine once the ball was put in the other side. This time, it wasn't. My sister didn't think of it but, nevermind. Her team came 5th but she ran well which is the main thing. She really trams it down and back again. No slow return problems with her. Just needs more boxwork.
Sleet had her open debut on Sunday. Again, my sister had to run her that morning as I wasn't there. We've had a couple of training sessions at home with my sisters hurdles to try and proof that and she seems to be doing ok now she realises, no hurdles, no ball. I don't think that netting or wings will help with her anymore. You could run her in those for 5 years and she'd still run out if you removed them. The only way to keep her in the hurdles is to get the message that YOU require her to do them rather than just relying on a habit forming. For this reason, I am using hurdles without wings or netting and only letting her have a ball when she does them correctly.
We do a lot of restrained recalls at first which helped as she didn't already have a ball in her mouth when coming to me. I also use her "Clicker training", language to help send the message across more clearly. I use the word "Yessssss" in place of the clicker sometimes but I also have an intermediate word "Good", what I use mid exercise to let them know they are doing it right. They know that "Goods" lead to a click or a "Yesss". I shout "Good", as she jumps each hurdle..not before, then say "Yess" as she comes through where the start gate would be with the ball in her mouth and then I drop another one for her to dive on. Sleet won't drop the first ball until last split second anyway so I have no issues with her spitting or anything.
On the morning of the tournament, Sleet decided she wasn't going to do the hurdles at all. I was quite disappointed when I got the text saying she hadn't raced as she wouldn't do the hurdles.
In the meantime when one of the rings was empty and not in use with starter netting, my sister took her in there and let her do some runs in netting.
That afternoon, I turned up and Sleets team were due to run again. I found out that, as a newly formed team who's time wasn't really known, they had broken out of their division..being way too fast...so we couldn't win anything regardless.
We decided to try Sleet again in the two minutes, first doing a restrained recall. She came down all the hurdles just fine. Andy, our team captain, told me to try her with a full run so I did. Again, she did it perfectly...then as we still had enough time, let her do a second run...which was also perfect. She goes down the hurdles a bit like bambi with her strange springy action, lol...but she was doing it.
In the first race, she didn't run but then Andy put her in as last dog. Again, she ran great. During the rest of the afternoon races, she was allowed two more legs and never put a paw wrong and so earning her first 75 points. Natalie Holtappel was judging the devision and was putting the other teams down as winning even though we got the faster time and finished first and made a comment to me about how frustrating it is. At the time, I was just happy that Sleet was doing the bloody hurdles, lol. I'm thinking that she decided she had to do them because MUM was now here. Still, as I can't attend a lot of tournaments due to crappy work, she'll have to learn to run reliably for Kath too.
Here is a photo of part of the showground. The weather was fantastic all weekend....lucky mind as we've had thunder and lightening and heavy rain today, lol. Here is Sleet and Wren having a run after the tournament had finished Sunday evening. Wren has blown her coat and is looking particularly scrawny.
Friday, 5 June 2009
Wednesday, 3 June 2009
Saturday, 23 May 2009
Sunday, 17 May 2009
Tuesday, 12 May 2009
I have to send entries off before the end of May so I'll have to decide quickly what I'm going to paint next and enter it before it even exists, haha.
Here, you can see more work done on the nearer side of the furthest barn and the gate and I also started putting in layers for the ground. Here, I've refined the gate etc..built up the layers on the ground and started putting in details.
Monday, 4 May 2009
You can see a photo stuck to one side with a border collie and terrier in it which shows a wooden kennel that I'll be using as a ref. The border collie is Monty, a dog we bred ourselves when I was a child. He died in 2002. He was also the father of one of my last bitches who died a few weeks before I got Sleet. The terrier we also bred ourselves. He was called Hyde and had a brother, who's in the photo but further over, called Jeckyll. They really were jeckyll and hyde characters and wanted to kill all other dogs. No more terriers after they died. Hyde was run over and killed by a car when he was 8.
Wednesday, 29 April 2009
At the moment, it is mainly rebutias, echinocereus, mammillarias and a steno that are starting to bloom. Rebutias always put on a good show.
I have tonnes of seeds I collected from hybrid cross matings last year but I haven't gotten around to sowing them yet. The seedlings from last year are growing like mad and looking very well. They are still in the proagator and I'll be taking them out and potting on soon enough. There's adult plants I also want to repot but can't because my back hasn't recovered properly since I pulled it so I'm still restricted as to what I can do.
I recently did a swap with another echinopsis grower in Italy. I sent them a pup of schick 'Candlelight', and they sent me Schick 'Celeste'. A new one to my collection of Schicks.
Those who already know about my cactus growing will know that I started my own breeding programme involving echinopsis hybrids and related types such as lobivia, chamaecereus and trichos. The oldest batch of crosses I produced are now reaching flowering size and I think there are one or two that are budding so I am excited about that. Here's hoping that they have decent flowers on them. If not, on ebay they go.
Here's a photo from today. Mainly rebutia and two echinocereus. The show is just getting going.
Wednesday, 22 April 2009
Here's Sleet. She looks weird in all of hers with her back legs tucked under her rather than spread out like all the other dogs seems to do. If you watch her in real life, it's like watching bambi going up and down to the box. She springs over the hurdles like a Gazelle. Very weird!!
She jumps far higher than the 7" hurdles and does better over higher ones.
Wren looks more normal when she jumps. Again, she jumps much higher than the small hurdles. She looks quite graceful to watch and rushes back quickly too for her tuggy. She had a naughty day on Sunday though where she decided to chase one of the other dogs and pinch the ball from their box in the next lane instead of going for the one she was supposed to go for. Little madame.
She'll need more practise with a dog running in an adjacent lane but she never bothered with dogs in the next lane at the two starters tournaments she's been to.
During her second batch of runs, I managed to badly pull my back and I'm still crippled now three days later with two weeks off work sick because of it. All I did was straighten up after releasing her.
Thursday, 9 April 2009
Double act: Never done this before because I normally teach them seperately but they just decided to do it. Wren jumps on my back and Sleet weaves between legs. I'll graduate to walking forward with Wren on my back and Sleet can do the walk weave.
Dual heelwork on the same side...they've never done this before either. We haven't done a whole lot of work on this but they seem to be quite good at it. I'll have to work more on it.