Happy Birthday Raven!

Been back in Perth nearly a week now and have finally found the time to update my blog. I forewarn of much euphoric happiness in this post because yes, our trip was just that good. Better even than the Victorian Nationals last year (Even better than winning three events and making three finals!).
We left Perth around 4.30pm on a Thursday afternoon and the flight was pretty smooth and uneventful (apart from a guy falling unconscious momentarily and a concern that we might have to divert – no chest pains though so he survived just fine) and we landed in Canberra around ten past ten at night. I had ordered a Ford station wagon from the hire company which apparently translated to a Toyota Kluger 4wd. *Shrugs* No extra charge but not quite as roomy in the back as the station wagon so Spryte’s kennel travelled on a slant which was no problem for her – just annoyed me. But the superior driving experience of a nearly brand new Kluger made up for it. Took us around 45 minutes to follow Glenn and Robyn back to our accommodation which was about 35 minutes out of the Canberra CBD (and therefore in another state! We crossed over into NSW on the way!). The Christmas Cottage was great and is probably one of the best places to stay when you have dogs. Between the 8 of us we had 18 Border Collies and 1 German Pinscher and there was plenty of room for them to run around in.

Friday was a fairly laid back day – we trooped down to EPIC (Exhibition Park Showgrounds Canberra) to watch a bit of the herding, scope out the grounds, put up shade and collect numbers. That was all good and then we (Rosanna, myself and the three dogs) took off for a drive towards the Snowy Mountains and visited a very pretty little town called Cooma. I really wish I had taken my camera and taken pictures but it just got forgotten. Anyway this town was gorgeous and we had lunch there and the dogs got to run around a bit before we checked out a few spots for look outs and had some spectacular views. Stopped in at EPIC on the way back after stopping off at the grocery store to pick up a few items to give the dogs another opportunity to stretch their legs. Spryte was the only one going in the show and I soon realised the Canberra red dust was going to mean her bath on Thursday just wasn’t going to cut it for the whole weekend. Canberra grounds are very dry, red, caked and baked clay and dusty. We came home and had a BBQ with some decent scotch filet steak that I filled up on knowing I had 15 runs ahead of me the next day and knowing that I rarely have the time or the inclination to eat anything at trials.
Next day we were up at 6am in order to get our asses into gear quick enough to get down there for 7.30am given the first showing event was on at 8.30 and that people would be walking the first course in agility then. I also had to give Spryte’s legs a clean up with some spray on water and soap, the soap ended up a lovely caramel colour by the time I’d finished but with a bit of talcum powder she was looking freshly bathed again so all was good! Novice Agility was first and none of us were in that but next up was Excellent Agility and it was a nice flowing course that didn’t look to have too many possible problems. Spryte found one though! Deciding to self release on the a frame because apparently she knew where the course was going next, she cut across the front of my feet and took a spread jump backwards instead of heading to her left and onto the seesaw! Instant DQ but I was happy with her run apart from that. Next up was Open Agility and this was nested with Excellent so it was no time before we were walking this one with the distance being a number of jumps on a pinwheel. They started with the 400 height and so Spryte was up pretty quick and I am pleased to say she did this one perfectly, held her seesaw and handled very nicely to go clear and eventually win the class! This is awesome because Raven won this class back at the first BC National in Sydney 2006. Raven also did the course beautifully but I think the first run of the day and she was feeling a touch punchy and decided to apply her brakes a little late on the seesaw the first time and came off it when it was still in the air! After we redid that though she had no issues with any other contacts all day. Cypher was going very well till about 5 obstacles from the end when he hit the weavers for the first time and didn’t quite cope with how springy they were as they were nowhere near as pegged as we have them here and he kinda bounced off the first two poles more than usual and it literally looked like he got sling shotted out of them and missed a gap! He kept weaving completely oblivious! The dag! Took him back and redid them after realising he needs more of a stride check before entering these poles. Apart from the weavers his run was very smooth.
Masters Agility up next and just Raven and Cypher in this one. Raven handled like a dream even with her handler interrupting her flow a little when she pulled her off the right jump and had to bring her round! Raven was heading straight for the spread and for some reason in my head I had “No no! We pull right hard here Rave!” Well yes Simone you pull hard AFTER the spread you idiot! Anyway we ran clear in that one with her doing everything perfectly and it was good enough to win the Masters Agility class at the 2nd BC National! Onya Rave! And on your 9th birthday too! How cool is that?
Cypher did everything I asked and I couldn’t have wanted anything else from him but I think I must have overcompensated (read: got a little paranoid) about the weavers thing because I ended up getting a refusal at the weavers with my dithering about getting him to stride check more – he just ended up barking in my face as though asking what my problem was and are we doing the weavers or not?? Ooops. Oh well you get that…his run was very nice apart from that little glitch.
From there we started the Masters Gamblers class and in the meantime the judges went for lunch and we could walk it as much as we needed to. Spryte was busy up in the showring by then with Robyn and I am pleased to say that from about 42 Intermediate females in that show class she got cut to the top 11. I was just chuffed she made the shortlist! Then I was back down planning for Raven’s course in Masters Gamblers. I was grateful to see no pissy little weave points – so no 4 poles or 6 or 8 poles….there was just the 12. And they were in the gamble with the dogwalk between you and your dog. The trickiest part was getting them on the right angle going into the gamble so that their momentum would take them out to the weave poles. I actually finished my opening sequence quicker than I thought (I had anticipated Raven tiring fairly quickly as 45 seconds is longer than she spends on any course usually) so getting the angle wasn’t a problem in the end and she completed the Masters Gamblers class clear and with enough points and a fast enough time to win! So that’s her second National Masters Gamblers win after taking out the Victorian ones last year.
Excellent Gamblers next and the gamble nowhere near as hard this time so I tried to make sure we got the weavers in twice and did all the contacts twice, Cypher gave me everything and I was absolutely thrilled with it despite a nail biting moment in the gamble section where he nearly didn’t find the dogwalk due to the less than ideal angle I’d put him onto the gamble with! But I just kept up my verbal cues (read:yelling) and he eventually got the message….luckily fast enough to complete the gamble, make enough points go clear and win it! What an awesome day it was turning out to be! Raven had completed two winning runs so far, Spryte had Open Agility and now Cypher had Excellent Gamblers.
Novice Gamblers was next and the gamble this time was completely different – four simple jumps made much less simple by having them span across the middle of the course virtually! It would be a challenge to make sure that A. The dogs didn’t take more than one of them in a row in the opening and B. To make sure that none of those bars got knocked! I came up with a plan for Spryte that steered most of her opening sequence as far away from those jumps as possible but that still accumulated enough points – I didn’t quite get through all of my opening sequence plan (seems the contacts were not quite what they were at the start of the day funnily enough and we had to redo an aframe) however we garnered enough points to pass and just had a minor hiccup with the last jump of the gamble, she’d thought we’d finished but then realised when I was still frantically running the gamble line and arm signalling the last jump that perhaps she had one more jump to do! The last jump was at a different angle so she just didn’t see it in her path. Thankfully she did it in time and surprisingly for me (since we didn’t get all the points we could have) she won this class too! The last half of the day was dedicated to jumping and we started with Masters Jumping. Brian Hillier designed a fast flowing course with a couple of subtle challenges. Raven and I got on the start line and it turned out to be one of those runs that you just want to bottle. She and I were totally in sync and the run was one of the smoothest, tightest MJ runs we’ve done in a while. I knew when we finished that it was a good time and she was more than ten seconds under the SCT. I was kind of grinning like an idiot by that stage, not quite believing the day could go any better. And then Cypher surprises me…I ran hard, really hard and he was with me the whole time on that course never letting me get to far in front of him, his ground speed will never be as fast as Raven’s but with closer handling his turns can be tighter and as a result he finished that run less than a second and a half behind Raven which for him is something special. Ultimately Raven and Cypher ended up in 1st and 2nd place respectively and really? Can’t do better than that. *Is still beaming*
Open Jumping was next and Spryte was first up in that and she felt a little slow through the weavers so I was wondering if she was feeling tired. Anyway she pointed out a challenge to me that I hadn’t recognised when I was walking it and couldn’t see a jump in a side by side jump tunnel discrimination. So I fixed that with Raven but by then I could see the efforts of the previous four runs had taken their toll and she dropped a bar. We finished that course with the one fault and I had never been more pleased with her than that day – she’d had a ball and had worked really hard to give me everything she had. That bar only came down because of a lack of confidence in my directional cues so for a dog who I have spent vast amounts of time on working on her bar knocking this effort today was just absolutely brilliant. Cypher came the closest to a clear on this one, he was four obstacles from home and shot out of a straight flexi tunnel so fast that I was unable to redirect his trajectory quick enough to avoid a refusal on a jump set slightly offside before the last line of jumps to the finish line. Think I must have been feeling tired by then too. It didn’t bother me in the slightest though I must admit…the day had been brilliant enough!
Last run of the day was about 5pm in the afternoon and they were hurrying to get through the runs before the light went. Spryte was in Excellent Jumping. And given her run in Open Jumping I decided she must be feeling as tired as I was by that stage (I had had little sleep the night before and had even consumed a V energy drink during the day which I normally avoid) and so I had given her a small handful of Advance biccies in some water after Open Jumping, hoping that might pep her up for Excellent Jumping. I don’t know if those helped or if she’d just managed to sneak in a super power nap between OJ and EJ but she was firing! We had about 18 obstacles and we finished that course clean and in 20.23 seconds! I think adrenaline was the only thing powering me by that stage and somehow I managed to keep up and a little ahead (the course design did help that – plus a dog happy to run straight out to a tunnel whilst you got your own ass in a better position) and we finished our last run of the day off with a win! Yes, I’m still beaming.
I was a little shell shocked by our successes that day I must admit. I’ve been playing this sport for nearly 14 years now and never has anything gone quite that well all day for me. I’ve had great days for sure and I can recall them just as vividly but this? This was just amazing…and all on Raven’s 9th birthday. A dog currently in remission from Canine Lymphoma and still receiving chemo. Out of the nine events I had entered that day, between the three of them they managed to carry off the first places from seven of them! I’m so happy I got to take them all. Spryte’s improvement from her first trip east back in August last year to now is really quite noticeable and I have to admit that whilst I know she will never be another Raven (honestly I don’t think there ever could be no matter how fast they were) she is proving to be just as much fun to run in her own right as Raven is. When the time comes for Raven to retire I just know Spryte is going to be just as much of a thrill to run as Raven was.
I managed to get some photos of the dogs – thanks to Lara Sedgeman, one of the National photographers and I post them here. For all her agility photos of the Nationals go here:

Cypher looks rather pleased to be free of those weavers!

A four shot Cy On Seesaw sequence – he’s really quite polite
waiting for the cue to leave – either that or he’s just making
sure we can all see his best side.

I think this was Open Jumping – so not the pretty
jumping style Cypher!

Performing the difficult distance challenge with style!

Cy on the Masters Jumping course – on his way to second place!
Note the improved jumping style on this one!

Cy on the Excellent Gamblers course having fun!

Raven’s first run of the day – seems her ABS was not quite
up to par!

So we did that one again – and this time did it right!

Lara took good shots of Raven weaving!

Mandatory dog running photo – complete with shaved hock!
Having a ball on the Masters Gamblers course.

On her way to first place in Masters Agility!

Same jump two different courses! Top one Open Jumping
bottom one Masters Jumping!
Last run of the day and looking a little tired on the
Open Jumping course.

Two shot sequence of Spryte’s winning Open Agility
seesaw! She totally looks like one of those frou frou showdogs here!

Spryte weaving!

See what I mean about the Open Jumping feeling a bit slower?

Great tunnel photos – thanks Lara!!

And our last run of the day – no more feeling tired we were
hooning round this one!

So the upshot of this trial is that we came home with a seven brand new Silver Eagle Cool Coats, embroidered with the Nationals logo, a brand new Black Dog trialling gear bag (thanks to Cypher’s 2nd place in MJ) and seven 9kg bags of Purina Pro Plan. No I didn’t bring those back on that plane with me. I managed to sell four thank goodness and bring one bag home (along with a 2kg bag) and only ended up having to give away two of the bags. I’ve sold two of the Cool Coats, I’m keeping three so still have two available for sale if anyone is interested. They retail between $105 and $120 and I’m selling these for $100 each. The National logo on it is quite nice if anyone is interested let me know. Of course I need to show what the coats look like. 🙂



The Three Amigos

Now I’m pretty sure that Spryte has her JDX title but it seems I cannot find her cards for it. The cards I’ve found add up to four passes so far. I am going to have to go back through her results to see if I can find them and see if I can find the cards. Or maybe I’m wrong. Either way she has picked up her fourth pass for ADO so only one more to go on that one and she is now into Excellent Gamblers. She has also one more pass to go for ADX. Cypher has one more pass to go for his SPDM title and one more to go for SDX. Raven is now sitting on one pass left for SPDM, three for GDM still (that seems a lot to me but again I can’t seem to locate any more cards) and four for Masters Snooker. The next trial up is another games trial so that will be good to try and finish off some titles. As soon as Raven has her GDM title though I’ll only enter her at big events for that one – 60 seconds non stop at that level of intensity definitely takes it out of her energy wise (not to mention my obvious need for oxygen at the end of those runs and I’m not even doing any obstacles!) so really unless it’s a National or a Royal or a Classic we won’t be doing the GDM class too often.
Since being back the most I’ve done is take the dogs for a run around the Canine grounds so it will be back to training next week, our next big event being the State Agility trial I guess, Friday and Saturday April 17th and 18th. Spryte will need much more repetition on her contacts and further proofing. There are lots of smaller less used skills that we need to work on too. I was very pleased with her start lines all day Saturday, she was in a rock solid sit on all of them and I should remember not to let up on the reinforcement of that during our training sessions. The next Border Collie National is being hosted by the Tasmanian Border Collie club – hopefully in 2012. I just hope it’s in the latter half of 2012 because I’ll need some financial recovery time after doing a trip of around 5 months at the end of 2011, early 2012 to the US, Canada and Alaska. But I must admit I’ve always wanted to visit Tassie and really – what a perfect reason to do so. I’d definitely make it a two week trip at least I’d think. It would be fantastic if they could organise it in school holiday time but that could be just me.

In non-agility related news caught a horror flick last night at the cinemas – Friday the 13th and have to say, for a person who never does horror films usually, I was entertained.
One might suggest I’m easily entertained these days but I beg to differ, I am pretty sure the older you get the harder it is to be entertained by things whether they be people, books, movies, tv or various other past times. Perhaps it is because the genre is quite new to me, cinematically speaking that is. Anyway as far as horror movies go I can see why it broke opening box office records for the horror genre in the US. It did help that it had one of the Supernatural boys in it I suppose but still….worth the $8 voucher tickets we used.
Probably better than My Bloody Valentine as well (sorry Jensen) because there was a definitely much more on the edge of your seat kind of feel to it.

Another hobby I am currently trying to cram into my somewhat bursting schedule is learning the piano. I came home from Canberra to a Casio piano keyboard (yay for Mr Tim! *mwha*) and I am determined to learn how to play my favourite pieces of music.
It could be a challenge because I am not that keen on the actually learning how to read music part but god bless the internet and Youtube for wonderful How To Play videos that show you where to put your hands and fingers. In the back of my mind I’ve always had the impression that it’s a pretty special talent to be able to play the piano but in just these past few days I have come to be just in awe of those world renowned piano players because who knew how hard it is to have your left and right hand doing totally different things AT THE SAME TIME!!!! Honestly you’d think having the whole Gemini thing going on, split or twin personalities that I’d be able to just flounce on in and start playing but no…it would seem something like playing a beautiful classical piece takes practice and a helluva lot of concentration! Who knew!?!! No matter, I shall persevere and probably drive Tim mad playing the same thing over and over but in the end I and my piano playing skills (once I acquire some) shall prevail!


March and musings

I can’t believe it’s March already. See this is another thing wrong with the whole human time framing system. (In addition to the whole childhood/teenage education thing). Time should feel like it is passing slower the older you get – but seriously when you’re little everything takes sooo long and yet when you’re an adult and getting older years seem to go by even faster. There’s just something wrong with that!

Irrespective of my grumbles about the rapid passing of time I am here to update and update I will. Although it is barely March really and I will probably be breaking with tradition and posting more than once this month. Staggering I know but there you have it, call me my own rule breaker.
First off – news about the 2010 National. I have none. As in I am not involved with the committee this time except to offer my services as website maker/manager etc. I am still on the Agility Committee so I will kind of be kept in the loop about what is going on however there has been no schedule finalised yet, all I can tell people is that it will go for four days and runs from the Thursday the 29th of April to the Sunday May 2nd next year. And the Agility committee is currently training up stewards for it so we shall have plenty. I have managed to combine my work place with agility by asking students at my school if they would like to help us out. Now yes they get a small fee and given dinner and refreshments but most of these kids are now attending because they enjoy it and it gives them something to do. It’s weird though – having the kids call me Miss in front of everyone at agility who just knows me as Simone. But so far the feedback has been great and they are certainly conducting themselves well. Their enthusiasm and energy is good for the sport and who knows maybe some of them will want to try it out with their dogs so it works out for everyone all round especially with year 10 students having to complete 20 hours of community service each year.

So onto the first trial for March. Last night it was held as a Games trial fundraiser for the Obedience committee who are hosting the October 10th Obedience National here this year. I faired fairly well in this one gaining six passes out of nine runs and finishing a few titles off. Spryte ran with partner Guirmere Snazzy and gained a quallie and 2nd place to finish off their titles. We were a couple of seconds behind the first place getters and I am blaming Cathy entirely for that one because her idea of yelling and my idea of yelling are probably about ten decibels in difference. But YAY title! Then Nifty and Raven won Masters Strategic Pairs despite Raven always managing to fit in extra obstacles. Can only find six cards though so yeah still waiting on one more leg there! Cypher and Smudge also ran clear in Masters Strat Pairs and finished 4th or 5th I can’t remember except to say we must have had some seconds wasted somewhere – probably when Cypher decided barking and jumping all over me between sequences is the best fun ever.

Snooker and Cypher won Excellent Snooker and I am feeling very virtuous by saying that I held his criteria throughout the whole game his four on the floor contacts were held before I gave the release word each time. Masters Snooker Raven came second in to Terra – the girls had the same points but the four year age difference definitely came into play with the speed as Terra beat Raven by about 5 seconds! I can’t believe Raven is going to be nine years old next week! Spryte and Snooker Novice was going great guns till the closing when she decided to do her trick on the dogwalk contact and I picked her up and walked out.

Gamblers and Raven was going great guns in Masters, the scribe telling me she was running out of room to write points down however I made the stupid error of trying to squeeze in another dogwalk just as the whistle blew and I couldn’t turn her around off the dogwalk and had to finish it and thus those fifteen seconds to get the gamble done was just too tight for her but I was absolutely thrilled with how she’d run as it’s a very taxing run the Masters gamblers and far more running than she’d do on any regular courses. Excellent Gamblers with Cypher ran just how I planned it and I was very pleased with everything he did, nailing his contacts, jumping well and just very in tune with me. We connected well on that course and even though I felt like I needed oxygen at the end of it I really enjoyed it. That was his GDX title finally and a third place. Spryte had issues in Novice Gamblers and not just with a dogwalk – for some reason doing 12 weavers was deemed too hard. We eventually got our points for them but she popped them at least three times that I remember. We left after doing (or not doing two on two off) the dogwalk. Needless to say dogwalks and weavers will be DRILLED this week.

And in my usual style of posting random real life thoughts at the end of my entries – I want to learn piano. As in the playing of it. Not so much the reading of sheet music thing. Surely the expression play it by ear evolved from doing just that with a piano? Besides YouTube is great for teaching me where to put my fingers on keys. Bizarre moment of the week at school – there’s this new energy drink out called Rock Star (clearly not aimed at any kind of market demographic with that labelling is it? *rolls eyes* – could have just called it Just For Egocentric Teens with Stars in the Eyes). A can was intercepted by one of the teachers at our school. A 750ml can. A can that has on it, in tiny letters – “not suitable for children and you should not consume more than 500 ml per day”. Did I mention the can contained 750 mls?? It was taken off a kid who bounces off the walls quite well without any kind of artificial help – the can contains 100GRAMS of sugar and a 120 mls of caffeine! *shudders* Seriously people should have to provide a driver’s license to buy this stuff and here we are with 12 to 14 years olds drinking it like it’s just your average soft drink! That’s just crazy.

If you squint hard I didn’t actually miss my February post

The new and improved monthly update style continues for the month of February. Ok yes I know it’s March already but I had a February update ready to go for a while now. It was just in my head instead of on the blog. I’m always told it’s the thought that counts. Anyway Feb was kind of a fairly quiet month by way of agility. I have probably entered Spryte in as many shows as trials in a bid to make sure she knows all about the show ring stuff by the time we fly to the BC Nationals in the first week of March.

I am not a huge fan of the showring scene. For one it all feels less productive, purposeful to me than say training for agility. I’m sure it’s all perspective really but showing requires more prep just prior to the show and it’s all so subjective it really feels like much more of a gamble on a lottery than agility ever does. But it has its purpose for the breeders and as Spryte will be being bred from I guess it’s important that she demonstrates she’s a good example of the breed. Although whether or not the showring is the place to adequately prove that is a topic of hot debate.

So far from around five or six shows she’s picked up about three reserve challenges and one challenge award, so at least she is on her way towards her Champion title with regards to points. I’m glad that when she titles eventually she’ll have titles at both ends – including herding titles so I feel it gives a little more credence to the claim of good example of the breed. If I can get out of actually showing her I will and Robyn shows her for me. She showed Raven to most of her points. I am far more relaxed walking onto an agility course than into a showring and all I can put that down to is lack of experience in the showring. I don’t do it all the time and therefore never become immune to that nervous feeling. Also the feeling that I may just do something that possibly means the judge decides not to pick my dog. As I said it’s all so arbitrary and subjective that I find the whole scene puzzling at the best of times and downright bizarre at the worst of times. So we’ll keep entering shows (that don’t clash with agility trials) and hope that she’ll get there. She’s a nicely put together bitch (and I mean that in all senses of the word) and can move like a dream and judges who are not too pedantic about size should like her.

So February I did the Albany trip and in terms of the trial it wasn’t a roaring success, barely simmering really with only one pass from twelve runs it clearly wasn’t our weekend in that department. I wasn’t disappointed by many of my runs though so that was good – there’s a difference between not passing and having disastrous runs to show for it and not passing and being very happy with the runs just having one unlucky fault each time. Raven and Spryte had a few of those. Cypher just couldn’t seem to keep his bars up this weekend.

After that it was all very quiet till just this weekend gone. Friday February 27th was a games trial hosted by the Agility Committee raising funds for the 2010 Nationals. Had the three of them in everything and did quite well – Raven won Masters Snooker, came second in Masters Strategic Pairs with her usual partner Guirmere Nifty Lad and in Masters Gamblers she just knocked the second last bar in the gamble section on the way home. It was a shame as she probably would have won that one having done everything well and truly twice. But I was mostly pleased with how well she’s running and trying really hard for me. She still has five more chemo treatments to go.

Cypher came second in Excellent Snooker and did a really smooth run for me so very happy with that, he paired up with Lexi (Hotnote Electri Cute) for Masters Strat Pairs and they finished with a quallie and third place. Of course after making me run like a mad thing for 45 seconds in Excellent
Gamblers he knocked a bar in the gamble so we didn’t pass that one.

Spryte’s first run was a cracker and I was wrapt with her contacts in Novice Gamblers. She nailed two beautiful contacts on both the dogwalk and the aframe. Did everything I asked and ended up with a quallie and 4th place overall. There was a bit of a mix up with how the obstacles in the actual gamble were scored so unbeknownst to me I missed out on boosting her opening points by not doing any of the obstacles in the gamble. But I was extremely happy with that run. She then let her evil twin out to play and decided that she didn’t know what two on two off on the dogwalk meant anymore in Novice Snooker so we left that ring without finishing. No passes in Novice Strat Pairs as a bar came down and we had decided not to rescue.

So then we were at Saturday and this was another fundraising trial for the Nationals in 2010. Just a normal trial this time and I entered my guys in everything as a prep for next Saturday in Canberra when they will each be doing five runs that day at the BC Nationals. So after the games I was quite prepared to blow off the entries for all of Spryte’s runs in order to maintain criteria in the ring. After doing gamblers where they do contacts several times without reward it is difficult to get those contacts back for newer dogs. So inevitably in both Excellent Agility and Open Agility Spryte was carried out the ring in both due to her let’s try the whole four in the colour of the dogwalk thing and see if she lets me keep going. I didn’t. I walked straight up to her, picked her up off the dogwalk and withdrew from the ring. I then went and found a spare dogwalk plank and drilled her two on two off again. Never missed one. Excellent Jumping we passed and I thought that was our title but I can’t seem to find the cards – so maybe not. But she ended up with a quallie and third place overall after we had a slight glitch in our run where I had to bring her around me to line her up properly for a jump after she curved in on a line. Open Jumping she missed the distance challenge but I didn’t feel disappointed about that since there was only one quallie for the entire class and neither Raven nor Cypher got the distance challenge either.

Raven came second in Masters Agility and did a lovely run I was very pleased with her given the course was quite technical and challenging. There were only about five or six passes. Cypher managed to knock the very first bar. Nothing like a first bar down to deflate your sails. Of the two I would rather have the last bar down because at least then you know you have run the rest of the course perfectly. He did a lovely run in Masters jumping though finishing about 6th out of 12 or 14 qualifications and it was a run that felt nicely in sync so that was good. He had a bar down in Open Agility and missed the distance in Open Jumping. Raven also had one bar down in Open Agility (the same one!) and she had a handler problem in Masters Jumping – me being slack and there was no reason to be I just thought I could cut a corner that I clearly had no right cutting!

So that concluded our February trialling month. In other news 600 litre fishtanks overflow if you leave hoses running in them (tiny baby fish get to go for wild rides), seeing horror movies in 3D (My Bloody Valentine) almost negates the squeamish factor of seeing an eyeball stuck on the point of a pickaxe as it goes through some guys head and comes out the screen towards you and Joe Satriani’s Satch Boogie is a track that makes your fingers ache on Guitar Hero World Tour.

More importantly though – my Dad is a match for my Mum and he is going to be donating his left kidney to her in the near future. That was the news that has kinda made this long weekend one of the best in a long time.