Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Border Collie Classic - Day 1

Well our first day competiting at the Border Collie Classic was interesting. It's fair to say we started off slowly and improved as the day went on.

The venue is lovely. Three rings today, everyone sat around them with their tents and shade. The actual venue is a greyhound track in the middle of no-where. It has a large grass area in the middle which the agility rings are on. It's set up just for dog sports including a bar, food tent, dog cooling down area and secretary chalet.

The courses are tough, we later found out that many other competitors thought they were tougher than usual too.

Imagine a whole show of very challenging champ classes although in a different way. There are no crazy round the back of obstacles everywhere and very few pull-Throughs. Why? Well my guess is, these manoeuvres are not physically good for dogs and they slow dogs down, why would you want to do that when it's all about speed. 

There are plenty of obstacle discrimination tests and running past the face of obstacles. To my mind these are clever courses and much fairer on the dogs. The net result is much faster dogs and much quicker handling required.

Generally in europe judges have to train for two years before they are let lose in a ring. Their training includes knowledge of dogs movement, anatomy and physical capabilities. As a result you get a high standard of judging and challenging courses that are fair on dogs and handlers - my view.

Our first run was at 7:50 and our 4th at 4:30, so a long day and it was extremely hot. At 3:00 it was over 34 degrees in the shade. However after our summer, who's complaining. Seriously though by 5pm even I'd had enough of the heat.

At the end of day 1 I had four runs, three eliminations and a 15 fault run. All the eliminations were handler error, lack of handling speed and tough sequences - I think I was in holiday mode.

The competition is tough too. Lisa Frick (2 times FCI World Champion), Roy Fontane (current FCI World Champion) and Nina Lina Lina from Finland another top handler. It was impressive watching them tackle these courses.

As usual our dogs were great. Dealing with the heat, different equipment [they have a break-away tyre in a frame, lower dog walk and longer tunnels] and young Rhyme was brilliant tackling these courses -great preparation for him.

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