Kennel Club International Agility Festival

KCI! I guess it is one of those agility shows that is just like no other. It is huge! There are so many dogs everywhere, so many rings, so many courses and the shopping was perfect for spending lots of money that you didn’t really need to spend.

We visited the festival last year to get Lily measured because we wanted to be ready if and when I decided to compete her. She measured easily into large and we had a great time watching the different agility rings. I remember watching some of the courses thinking we would never be able to do some of them… bit wrong there…

So this year we went to compete. One of our trainers Karen Laker had told me about the Starters Cup, before we had started competing but it was one of those things that was unlikely to happen as I had to place at a show. Lily then placed 8th in a combined jumping which meant she could enter the starters cup, she then won Grade 1 agility so that also qualified her for entry! So we entered! Annoyingly the classes are on a Thursday and if you qualify for the final (which was going to be unlikely!) it was a Saturday BUT if you qualified you needed to be there Friday to prove you were eligible for the starters cup! I very nearly just entered Thursday and Saturday because Sunday was Paul’s birthday and didn’t think there was a chance we would make it to the final but after talking to Paul we agreed to go away in the caravan, make a trip of it and have some time to ourselves as well.

We headed down Wednesday to a lovely caravan club cl to find we were the only ones on a 3 acre field. It was lovely 🙂 We fought with the new windbreaks but eventually we were all set up and relaxed a bit. Being in the caravan is so relaxing at times, no internet, no electricity (though we did have the generator with us!) and just us and the dogs. Bliss!

Thursday

Thursday Morning we headed to KCI, it was only 15 minutes down the road but half way there realised we had left the agility book at the caravan and I had no idea if I would need it as proof so we turned back to get it. This meant we arrived as two of my classes started! Two classes I hadn’t been able to walk… one was just an agility round, think it was a combined 1-3 so that wasn’t the end of the world but the other one was the agility course for the starters cup! Karen had already told me I would need to go clear in one if I wanted to do the final (which I wasn’t sure I did!) and so not being able to walk it meant the day didn’t start off great. There were no dogs on the line for the combined class so after watching the few that did arrive I got Lily and we ran it. She got 10 faults, one because she hit the pole in the weaves so I got her to redo them, partly for confidence for her. The second fault she got because she jumped a jump and then jumped straight out the ring! I don’t think she realised as she jumped straight back and barked at me but she got a refusal for that which is fine. Crazy madam!

Obviously with the mood she was in the starters cup agility wasn’t going to go well so we wandered over, watched a few so I got an idea where the course went and then we went in.

We got round, I don’t know how but we did it! She got round and she went clear! It wasn’t our fastest but I didn’t care at all!

We then had to wait a while for the Starters Cup jumping. There is no video of this because Dill was playing Paul up so he couldn’t record. Dill caused us an issue too! Lily jumped well, she listened really well until she saw Dill rolling around on the floor and she headed straight for him! I shouted at her and she stopped and carried on, thankfully! She then did really well, got all her weaves until she hit the collapsed tunnel, which to be fair to her we haven’t seen in competition before. She ran into it brilliantly and then turned and came back out again! Still I did get her through it and she went to the end, so can’t complain. We got 10 faults for it but it could have been better. Lily never seems to do well when she has to wait around ages to do something.

When we checked the results we found Lily had come 4th in the Starters Cup Agility! I was really happy with that!

Then we found out she had been picked for the final on Saturday! Gulp!

Friday

Oh Friday! I guess it had to happen really, we had such a good day on Thursday with the agility, I kind of dismissed the faults in my head from the other rounds. So we went into Friday feeling good, we only had two runs a grade 2 jumping and a grade 2 agility round, so in theory both should be really good!

How wrong was I?

I think it was the heat but Lily did not want to weave.

The agility I accidentally pulled her off the seesaw whilst trying to get her to slow down, she then nearly(very nearly!) went in the wrong end of the tunnel but she didn’t but then she didn’t weave, did eventually… so faults for that round.

The jumping, she ran straight past the weaves as if they didn’t even exist, I eventually got her to do them but she clearly wasn’t in the mood.

So we went to the tent to register her for the final Saturday and then we went home. It was way too hot! The dogs slept all afternoon, Lily sunbathing and Dill hiding out in the caravan.

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Photo by Yulia Titovets

Saturday

So Saturday… big final day.

Lily was entered into three classes and then ended up in the semi-final of the starters cup, the top 10 go to Discover Dogs for the final in London (well that wasn’t going to happen so no worries there!). Annoyingly her graded agility and jumping class was first thing, same time as the main ring. So we went and walked them both knowing full well she would be doing these classes before the final and I was bricking it for the final so I didn’t want to risk my mental state or her physical!

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Photo by Yulia Titovets

The jumping class looked good, there was a collapsed tunnel at an odd angle but someone had already spoken to the judge and they were switching it out, so that was fine. The issue with the course I knew we would have was right at the start. There were two jumps, then a long jump and the next jump was slightly to the left, which meant I would have to turn Lily to get her over it and I wasn’t 100% certain she would make it. There was a high chance she would try to turn in the air and land on the long jump, I wasn’t going to risk it so we decided that it wasn’t worth doing.

The agility class was more doable apart from one corner and this time, I knew that if we did it and something went wrong I would get really frustrated with myself and I didn’t need that before the main arena. The course was nice but there was just one bit that if it got messed up would be entirely my fault and so I just didn’t want to risk it. So we didn’t do that one either.

We then went to the main arena to walk the course for the semi-final. It was a lovely course, just needed to do a front cross before the tunnel but it was the perfect Lily course, no really tight turns and it was lovely. I would have been excited to do it if it wasn’t for the fact that it was in the main arena and there were a lot of people watching!

I watched a few others go in, I was so nervous, I was properly shaking.

Still it was our turn….

 

We did it! I don’t know how but we did it. We got round and we went clear! Straight into 1st place too! That didn’t last but I was so shocked in the first place! There were a few moments during the course I was sure it was all over. Firstly when she paused over the seesaw, I was just waiting for her to jump off… she didn’t! Phew! Then I forgot to front cross out the tunnel! I completely forgot! What an idiot! Still somehow with Lily being the amazing girl she is, she managed to cope, she got a little distracted but she didn’t back jump the jump I was certain she was going to jump! She even did the weaves even though she got distracted before going into them so I am over the moon that we made it round. Such silly mistakes but Lily was fantastic!

LilyKCIrossettesWe came 4th!!! So no trophy but who cares! We are going to London, we are off to Discover Dogs! This was our 4th show and somehow we are now going to London! It was crazy, completely crazy. I still can’t believe it sitting writing this now. What a fantastic girl I have, she really is a one of a kind dog.

So we did have a 3rd class booked for the day, I ignored it. We had done so well that morning I didn’t want anything to take that. So our last class for the whole weekend was without doubt the most surprising but brilliant class.

So now the hard work begins. Discover Dogs is at the end of October, its on carpet, inside. All things that are completely new to us. Lots of work to do, lots of things to learn. Am so incredibly thankful and grateful to our wonderful trainers who put up with me! (everyone loves Lily!)

We have a few more shows booked so we will see how it goes. I will try and be a little more risky with Lily and stop playing so safe and see what happens when I let Lily really go.

Exciting times ahead!

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