By: Susan & Gemma Henshaw
A Spectators View
Time has flown by and already its Sunday 13 March and the last day of Crufts 2016. For the obedience community it’s the final Obedience World Cup competition as Crufts in their wisdom have decided to remove the competition from the obedience schedule.
On arriving at Hall 5 you could see the team benches from the entrance doors as they were a blaze of colour from all the cards, balloons, banners and just about everything else people could buy to wish the teams Good Luck.
At 8.40 Gerard Paisley welcomed today’s judge Kim Innes into the ring, she took up a position on the left hand side of the ring and was then joined by her ring party. The parade of teams got underway led in by the team from Germany. Each team had their own piece of music for the parade which added to the atmosphere, there were small pockets of fans dotted around the stands and they greeted each team with enthusiasm.
Once Crufts was officially opened at 9am we had the proper introduction of today’s judge and Gerard gave a brief account of her time in obedience which started in 1981 and Kim had also competed in the inaugural Obedience World Cup competition. The ring party were then introduced and all were greeted with a round of applause.
The judge was wearing black trousers and a black/silver/ sparkling jacket. The female stewards were in black trousers and a cream long line blouse which had an array of black stars on it and a thin black tie. The male stewards were in black trousers, white shirts and a black and silver tie.
The send away for today’s competition consisted of two small black square boards with a white ‘W’ on and a larger black board with a white trophy on it as the back marker.
So the first round of teams got the competition underway and representing Germany was Bettina Neuss and her Lab. ‘Akira’, second time at Crufts for this pair. Starting off with the heelwork and a superb slow pace with the dog holding total attention as they worked round the two small circles that were marked out. Lovely upright handling from Bettina and the dog maintained a close position throughout all three paces. There were a few wide turns in normal pace but overall they did not give much away. In the send away the dog went straight out on command but started to slow just before the back marker, turned to look back at the handler who quickly gave the down command, the dog waited in the down with full attention on the handler, came up quickly when called and braked neatly into the heel position.
Coming in for Scotland was Helen Murray and her BC ‘Diva, after a good heelwork round onto the Directed/Retrieve and all the first teams had dumbbell no.1 which was on the left hand side of the three. The dog went straight out to the right one, a careful pick up then quickly back to the handler, just a slight knock on in the front present. In the Recall/Distance Control the dog came up quickly at a good pace then on command dropped into the down in the centre of the two marked lines, followed by very accurate positions when asked. The only pair to gain a clear mark for this exercise today.
In for Wales was Jane Walker and her BC ‘Mair’ a confident start in the heelwork, a well measured stride in slow pace with the dog’s attention totally on the handler. Fast pace saw the dog holding a good position and neatly finishing off the turns. There was a good definition between the three paces and the footwork on the circles was well worked, a lovely exercise. In the Hurdle/Retrieve the dog jumped cleanly both ways, braked at just the right moment to pick up the dumbbell cleanly and then straight back into a neat present and finish.
Once the first set of teams had completed the ring work there was a short break at 10am, then we were straight onto the second set of teams.
Coming in for N. Ireland was Naoimh Mathers and her BC ‘Jasper’, second time representing their country at this event and what a lovely partnership to watch, very smooth flowing heelwork in all three paces which in turn were well defined, not giving much away at all. The majority of the turns were neatly finished off and the dog’s position and attention hardly faltered, Naoimh’s calm handling perfectly complementing the dog, they lost just 6 marks for this exercise, the third best in the competition. Onto the D/Ret and the dog went straight out to the right dumbbell –No.3 – a careful pick up, a quick glance across at the others as he turned, then back to a good present and close finish.
Representing the Netherlands was Annemarie Ibelings and her WS ‘Phoebe’, the send away saw the dog go out fast and straight across the ring, through the front markers to the back marker and then an instant down on the command, an attentive wait and a fast run into a very close heel position, a superb exercise to watch. The last exercise was the H/Ret and unfortunately the dog caught the jump with her back legs on the way over, picked up the retrieve then decided to run round the hurdle on the way back and she dropped the dumbbell near the handler. They received a good round of applause as they finished.
Coming in for England was Pat Watson with her WS ‘Flick’ the heelwork exercise showed the dog working with total concentration on the handler, there was a good definition in all three paces, the slow pace was carried out at a measured stride and with super footwork from the handler. The fast pace flowed especially on the straights with just a few of the turns in this pace not finished off squarely. On the D/Ret the dog went out at speed, a neat and careful pick up on the dumbbell then back into a very straight present and tight finish, they lost just ¼ mark on this exercise.
Straight on to the third set of teams and in for Germany was Sandra Rohrer and her BC ‘Freez’. In the D/Ret – this time the centre dumbbell – the dog went out quickly to the right one, not even glancing at the others, a good pick up and immediately back to a very good present and close finish, marked clear. Onto the send away and a fast outrun across the ring followed by an instant drop into the down position on command right at the back marker, a slight twitch but held the down until called up, fast run and braked at just the right moment to go into a close heel position.
Representing Scotland was Ellen Herries and her BC ‘Gabi’, fifth time in the world cup for this pair. The heelwork exercise started confidently with the stride from the handler matching the dog perfectly, especially in the fast pace during which they covered the ring with ease. The dog tended to crab a little in the normal and slow pace but held super attention throughout the exercise. In the Rec/DC the dog came up quickly when called but carried on a little at the down command, just going past the front marker, followed up with lovely attentive positions which were very accurate. Onto the H/Ret and unfortunately ‘Gabi’ was another dog who caught her feet against the hurdle on the jump out, picked up the dumbbell with care but ran round the hurdle to return to the handler.
Following them in was Ivonne van der Meer with her WS ‘Quinn’ originally the reserve pair for the Netherlands but as the team were a member short they were now working in the third set. Starting off in the heelwork and for some reason the dog stopped on the first turn and Ivonne had to handle him to get him back into the heel position, he then seemed to settle and started to work well but just a little further into the round and he stopped again, the handler coped well and got him going, they then did some good stretches of tight attentive heelwork and neatly finished off turns, one further stop near the end of the exercise and all this did mean that marks lost were adding up quite a bit. The dog redeemed himself with a very good D/Ret , going out quickly to the right dumbbell followed by a neat pick up and a speedy return to a straight present and tight finish.
Last in for this set of teams and representing England was Mary Ray with her WS ‘Levi’ their heelwork flowed across the ring and there was good definition between the three paces, the turns were all squared off neatly. Slow pace was well defined with the dog holding total attention on the handler throughout, a lovely relaxed style of working and they made the round look easy, losing just 5 marks, the best of the day for this exercise. In the send away the dog went out at a good pace straight to the back marker followed by a good drop into the down position on command, he waited attentively then a fast accurate pick up into the heel position.
A break for lunch until 1.30 and the stands have been fairly full so far today with the audience seeming to enjoy the level of work on display. As the competition had not attracted as many nations this year it had been decided that the reserve pairs could now run and that before the stay and scent exercises began each team manager would decide which pair and score to drop.
Back into our seats ready for the resumption of the competition in the afternoon and in representing N. Ireland was Helen Boyde and her BC ‘Indy’ a good start in the heelwork, lovely upright handling complementing the dog’s style. A floating fast pace with neatly worked turns, the dog trying hard to keep his position and attention. Just occasional wide work on some of the about turns in the normal and slow pace. In the D/Ret –the middle dumbbell- the dog went straight out to the correct one, picked it up neatly then decided to go over and check out the dumbbell to the right hand side, dropped the one he was holding, sniffed at the other one, went back picked his one up again and returned to a straight present and finish.
Following them into the ring and representing Scotland was Anne Marie Parker with her BC ‘Rowdy’ and after a good heelwork round onto the set exercises. The D/Ret saw the dog go out at a steady pace, pick up the correct dumbbell and return to a slightly off centre present but close finish, losing just ¼ mark. In the Rec/DC the dog did not move on the first command so the handler repeated the call, ‘Rowdy’ then came up instantly at a good pace and dropped into the down position on command between the marker lines, followed up with very accurate positions with full attention on the handler.
In for England was Marie Cartwright and her WS ‘Dazzle’ a nice uncomplicated style of handling bringing out the best in this lovely dog. A good definition in the three paces, a flowing fast pace with the position held on the turns, the slow pace was very well controlled with just an odd overturn. The last exercise H/Ret saw the handler throw the dumbbell quite a distance, the dog jumped out with ease, a slight run on at the pick-up followed by a neat jump back into a good present and finish.
After all the teams had finished the ring work the team managers had to decide which pair and score to stand down.
Germany kept their reserve team of Kerstin Vogel and ‘Frieda’ so Susi Huber and ‘Profi’ stood down. N. Ireland kept their original team of three and therefore dropped their reserve Helen Boyde and ‘Indy’
Scotland used their reserve Anne Marie Parker and ‘Rowdy’ so Pamela Lochrie and ‘Paris’ stood down. The Netherlands had already used their reserve and had only ran a team of three.
Wales kept their reserve team of Katy Girdler and ‘Tyler’ with Jane Moran and ‘Nellie’ standing down. England kept their original three so their reserve Marie Cartwright and ‘Dazzle’ stood down.
At 2.45 the ring was prepared for the 2 minute out of sight sit stay and as the handlers left the ring there was quite a good crowd at the corner barriers watching the dogs complete their stay, all the dogs were marked clear for this exercise.
So onto the final exercise of the competition and a ‘B’ scent – a straight line of 8 cloths, consisting of 3 blanks, a decoy, 2 blanks, handler’s cloth and a decoy.
Looking around most of the free seats are full but still quite a few empty ones in the paid for stand.
The scent started with the first set of teams and coming in for N. Ireland was Samuel McCracken with his BC ‘Zara’ the dog worked straight up the line of cloths, just pecked at the fifth one but carried on, found the right one, returned with it then dropped the cloth at the handler’s feet, remembered what she should be doing and picked it up and presented.
Representing the Netherlands was Bernou ter Voorde with her BC ‘Lizzy’ a good positive find from this dog hardly needing to check any of the other cloths, back to the handler and a good present but needed an extra command to go to the finish. In for England was Philomena Barnes and her WS ‘Jezzie’ the dog worked up the line of cloths, picked up a blank and then dropped it on top of the right one, took her a while to find it but she worked it out, managed to pick up the correct cloth and returned to a good present and finish.
Onto the second set of teams and coming in for Germany was Kerstin Vogel and her BC ‘Frieda’ the dog worked quickly over the cloths, pecked at a blank then lifted a decoy, dropped it, picked up the right one and returned to the handler but mouthed the cloth quite a bit on the way back. Representing Scotland was Anne Marie Parker with her BC ‘Rowdie’ who went straight up over the line of cloths picked the correct one up and gave it a very good shake before returning to a good present and close finish.
Entering the ring for Wales was Michelle Dunscombe and her WS ‘Maverick’, the dog went out at a good pace, carefully checked all the cloths, found the right one and back to a very straight front present and close finish.
So onto the third and final set of teams and in for Germany was Sandra Rohrer and her BC ‘Freez’, the handler hardly giving any scent and the dog went out quickly found the correct cloth with ease and immediately returned to a very straight present and close finish, marked clear, the only one of the competition.
Representing the Netherlands was Ivonne van der Meer and her WS ‘Quinn’, the dog gave a quick search of the scent area, neatly picked up the right cloth and returned to a straight front present but then barked quite a bit going to the finish. Coming in for Wales was Katy Girdler and her BC ‘Tyler’, the dog gave an almost textbook methodical search over the cloths, a positive find then straight back to the handler just slightly crooked in the front present and finish.
By 3.55 all the ring work was finished and whilst all the individual and team scores were worked out some of the Welsh fans decided to have a quick run up and down the aisle with their nation’s flag followed by a small contingent of English fans doing the same on their side of the ring. Before too long the ring was prepared for the finale and then Gerard announced the return of the judge Kim Innes and her ring party and they took up their positions at the left hand side of the ring. Then the music struck up and the teams came in for their final parade. Led in by Germany who received a good round of applause, N. Ireland came in next and the team had added large sparkling bright green hats to their outfits and gave us a little jig as they went round the ring. They were followed in by the Scottish team who were escorted round the ring by a ‘Jockey’ on a large blow up horse, who almost bought the house down with his antics, brilliant to watch. The Netherlands came in next and there were some bright orange flags and banners in the stands that were waving for them.
The team from Wales were escorted by a full size red dragon who was holding their flag and a lady in traditional welsh costume who was throwing daffodils and leeks into the audience, their dogs were dressed in red dragon costumes complete with wings, absolutely amazing. Last in were the English team and the ladies were ‘rockin’ round the ring, thoroughly enjoying themselves.
Then we had the customary presentation and thank you to the judge and her ring party, followed by the announcement of the Individual Winners.
Called into first place was Mary Ray and ‘Levi’ for England and as they walked across the ring to the presentation boards they received a great round of applause.
Into second place was Katy Girdler and ‘Tyler’ for Wales, third place went to Naoimh Mathers and ‘Jasper’ for N. Ireland and fourth place went to Jane Walker and ‘Mair’ for Wales.
Once all the trophies, awards and rosettes had been given out and everyone had returned to their teams the winning team was announced –
The KC Obedience World Cup team winners were – Wales and as they came forward with their mascots to the first place board the audience in the stands erupted with cheers and applause.
Second place went to England, third place to Scotland and fourth to N. Ireland and all the teams received an ovation from the audience.
So that’s it, the very last Obedience World Cup and the teams and the audience made sure it went out with a bang.