I don't really know where to start, Crufts was brilliant for me this year. It was my first time competing in one of the big classes. I was in the Singles which you qualify for by accumulating points throughout the season and then the top 16 go through to Crufts, we qualified in joint 3rd. This format produces the dog's that can consistently get top 10 places throughout the year so the consistent, fast dog's.
We ended up staying in a Travel lodge on Thursday night so that we would be in Birmingham ready on the Friday. Irana came up as my groom, it didn't take me very long to decide I wanted to take Irana, she helped me loads last season and she knows exactly what to say to get the best out of me. She is also one of very few people that I trust with my dog's. Ty was brilliant at the hotel, he wasn't sure about the lift but he trusted me and just got on with it. We got to the NEC Friday morning after a very long walk from the car park. I went to check in and get a copy of the course, It was fairly straight forward. My plan was to take it steady and just get a clear round, I wanted Ty to have a chance to get used to the carpet without any pressure. We achieved our goal, of a steady clear, we did have quite a wide turn at the start which meant we had the slowest clear and came 10th.
We then went to do some shopping, I wasn't sure how Ty would cope with the busy halls so I was prepared to take him back to the benches if he didn't like it. He was actually really good, the crowds didn't bother him at all and he wasn't bothered about all of the different breeds of dog's everywhere. I spent far too much money but all on the dogs so it was worth it.
We then went back to get the course for the 2nd round, it was a slightly harder course than the jumping but still with plenty of places where it could go wrong. I decided to go with a steady clear again and hope that would be enough to get us through, Ty wasn't too keen on that idea and started barking at me as we got further round the course because he wanted to go faster. We managed our clear round though and it was just good enough to get us through to the final in 8th place. That meant that I was running first so had no option but to go flat out and try to set a time for the others to beat, we managed the time bit. We got round just 1/10th of a second behind the winner which would have been good enough for 2nd place. Unfortunately we had a fault on the way round, the commentator said it was on the up of the dog walk but on the video you can see that he got it and you can't see at what point the judge put her hand up so I'm not entirely sure what the fault was for. Either way Ty was awesome and I managed to hold my nerves, we finished 6th out of a group of the best dog's in the country and Ty managed to go faster than dog's half his age so I'm happy. I took him to Smart on Monday for a check as the carpet at Crufts isn't an ideal surface to run dog's on and I was anticipating him having some sore bit's after it. He just had a slightly sore back which Tamzin fixed with some acupuncture.
I would like to say thank you to all of the people that supported me, I have a really great group of people around me at the moment which makes it so much easier to believe in myself as a handler and trainer. I hope that you all know who you are and that I really appreciate you. Thank you also to those that gave me and Ty presents and card's it was very kind of you.
I am feeling really positive about the year ahead and my main goal is to have loads of fun with my dog's and the great group of friends that I have around me.
Here is video of our Crufts runs.
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