On 15th April we went to the Wallingford show at Newbury - it was huge with 12 rings, but being local it was great to see so many of my agility friends there. It was especially nice to spend the day with Karen and her beautiful cockapoo boys Rufus and Basil who we hadn't seen for far too long!
Our first run was a Combined 3-5 Agility. The course was really nice but Pepper jumped off the end of the dog walk - I should have stopped her but in my panic I carried on! She then missed the weave entry and although she got the other contacts she still didn't stop! This is not what I wanted at the beginning of the season.
Next was Grade 3 Jumping - quite a nice course but Pepper missed her weave entry again!
Finally, the Grade 3 Agility - I corrected her contacts as I didn't get a 2o2o position - the judge was a little unhelpful as he said 'she got her contact!' - surely the judge should have known what I was looking to achieve!
My agility trainer, and several of my experienced friends have been trying to help me understand how to overcome this issue and have urged me to remember that if we want to move through the grades we will need to have good, reliable contacts. It's going to be frustrating but I know the right thing to do is take their advice and have a zero tolerance rule on contacts!
So I went to the next show on 25th April, WBSDS at Thame, with my new attitude to contacts and ever hopeful that we'd have a good day! I had 2 agility runs - both with the same judge (John Gilbert) who I spoke to so that I could agree what would be acceptable if Pepper didn't stop on her contacts. Sadly he wasn't keen on the idea of any training in the ring and I was told firmly that if I put her back on the contact I was to leave the ring immediately! It seems so strange to me that judges make it so difficult for competitors to relax and get the best out of their dogs!
The first course started jump, tyre, A-frame - Pepper leapt off of the A-frame almost from the top! I'm sure she could have jumped over my head! I put her back on the bottom of the A-frame and then left the ring!
Next was the Brillo International Bounce Combined G3-5 Jumping qualifier. She was still really hyper and it wasn't the smoothest of runs, and we had a pole down too!
Third run was the Combined G3-5 Jumping - a nice course, and somehow managed to get bouncy Pepper round clear - not at all how I had walked the course or planned to run it, but it was still a clear and we were placed 4th!
Finally was the Graded 3-5 Agility back in the ring we had started at - and the course hadn't changed - and neither had the judge - so we did jump, tyre A-Frame, and then ran the A-Frame again, and left the ring!
Really quite depressing, but I'm going to have to stick with it and hope that Pepper starts to get the idea!