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2012 - Charlotte Harding's review!

Published: Thursday, January 3, 2013

The end of the year and a week’s holiday always signals a time for reflection on my part. I’ve had an amazing year! Probably the best year of my life.

The start of the year got off to a great start as Honey (Ochtertyre Bonnie Heather) a spaniel that I initially just started off running but now co-own, was competing with me in the Singles Agility competition at Crufts. This was our first time in this competition, and much to my delight we finished in the top 4 of the semi final at Crufts, so got to go back for the evening finals, where we had 5R for a refusal, but still finished off 3rd. I was determined to try and qualify Honey for this competition again for 2013, and I wanted to see if I could qualify Scandal my young border collie too. More on that later.

So that was March… April seemed to come and go very quickly, with Honey getting a couple of wins in KC agility classes in her height category and Scandal getting some top 3 places.

May… well that can only be described as “memorable”! The first weekend and we drove up just north of the border into Scotland. We spent a lovely week up there, climbing a couple of mountains in the process! Honey absolutely delighted me by winning her first “ticket” there, i.e. agility challenge certificate. So, one down, and two to go, to become agility champion. Scandal had a real ‘if only’ moment, getting eliminated two from home. But at only 3 years old, we were still building a rapport together, but it was getting stronger and stronger with every run.

Last weekend in May was Nottingham show. The weekend got off to a great start with Scandal securing her first points towards qualifying for Crufts in the Singles Agility – with a 3rd place and 8 points this meant she needed to get one more top 5 place in one of the other qualifying classes throughout the year to be enough to qualify.

And then it got better… Scandal won the “ticket” in her championship agility class, so is also one third of the way towards agility champion! This win left me on cloud nine for weeks afterwards; it was something that had been a dream of mine for years, so to win a ticket with two different dogs in a month just seemed unreal!

And then on to June… first show of the month and both Scandal and Honey picked up points for the Crufts Singles Agility qualifier, so this meant Scandal had enough for Crufts 2013. Honey also qualified for the Olympia semis with a 3rd place in the 1-7 Small Agility qualifier. Scandal did well getting into the Championship Final but unfortunately a faux pas on my behalf put paid to us getting any further half way round the Finals course.

The following week and Thames show, one of the biggest weekend shows in the country. Honey again picked up a few points towards the Crufts Singles qualifier, and Scandal, not to be outdone, came 2nd in the Olympia qualifier, which meant she qualified for the Olympia semi finals in September. Honey’s champ class was on the Saturday, and she tried her little heart out getting placed in both the champ agility and champ jumping, and then another clear in the champ final where she ended up getting the reserve challenge certificate (2nd) to Bernadette and Ag Ch Zaz. The following day was Scandal’s champ class and she amazed me by also getting the reserve challenge certificate, and that included a wide turn and a slip on the seesaw (and looking at the vid and photos of it, it cost us the win, as she was only 0.2 off the winner).

The following week it was Newton Heath show – I didn’t stay too long at this show as it was SO muddy, cold and rainy. However Honey did pick up ANOTHER reserve CC!

We did another couple of shows over the next couple of weeks with the dogs picking up several top 10 places. Our next major show was East Lothian. Honey delighted me by winning her Crufts Singles Agility qualifier, meaning she also had enough points to take her to Crufts 2013.  The 2nd day of the show was cancelled due to the bad weather… the said bad weather then cancelled another show the following week which was the first time I’d ever known it be cancelled.

So, two weeks later and we went up north to Weardale, County Durham. Scandal worked stunningly to qualify top for the championship final, where she unfortunately skipped a weave pole, but had the fastest time by half a second. Another “if only” moment for me, but thrilled that Scandal held her own in such stiff competition.

Then it was Honey’s time to shine – with two clear rounds in the agility/jumping she qualified third from the end for the final. She then put in a beautiful round in the final to WIN the championship “ticket” so now 2/3’s of the way to “agility champion”.

And our final KC show of the year (due to several of the shows we’d entered being cancelled) was the last weekend of July, the Agility Club show. Scandal won the championship agility class but due to pilot error I got her eliminated in the jumping round, so we didn’t get to go through to the final. However Honey was determined to shine, with another clear in each round, and then a great run in the final, where she got the reserve challenge certificate, again to Bernadette and Zaz!

We had the Olympia semi finals in September, where Honey decided to be on a ‘go-slow’ day, and plodded her way round the course, coming in 11th (top 10 qualify) so it wasn’t our year. However Scandal put in a lovely round coming 5th out of 36, and securing us a place at Olympia in December.

My boyfriend’s daughter Imogen then took Tia (my BC who is now 10) and Honey to a UKA show in August and they took 2nd and 4th overall in the Junior Open competition, which qualified them for the UKA Grand Finals in December. Imogen doesn’t get a chance to train the dogs very much as she lives 200 miles away, so has to make every minute she gets with the dogs count, and that she certainly does. She put in two great rounds in the Grand Finals to win the overall title of UKA Junior Open Champion!

In October we had the joy of 6 lovely little puppies from Scandal – these puppies have all gone to fantastic agility homes (Barrie James, who I think you also sponsor, has one of the puppies, Ru) and I love getting regular updates from all the puppy owners.  I’ve put a couple of their recent photos below.

Scandal then finished the year with a lovely run at Olympia – I have attached the link to our run. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dLf-KA-HJuI&feature=share&list=UUxks2GJOu-Vgpo1JJ0lWDJg  I got us eliminated two from home when Scandal took the dog walk instead of the aframe – I needed to say “come here” to pull her past the aframe but instead told her “walk walk”… and she loves aframes, so needless to say chose this one instead! However considering she’d only had a week in training after we got her fit from having the pups, I was delighted with how well she ran for me, and can’t wait for 2013.

Both Honey and Scandal will be at Crufts 2013 this year, both in the Singles Agility competition and the Championship Agility – I am SO proud of them for both qualifying in each of the events. I’m not sure how 2013 can possibly top 2012 as it has literally been amazing… but you can be certain we’re gonna have a lot of fun trying!

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