By: Susan & Gemma Henshaw
It just doesn’t seem two minutes since we were sat watching the Championship teams working on the green carpet at Crufts and now here we are already well into this years obedience season.
The ‘ticket’ classes kicked off as usual this year with the Midland Border Collie Club’s three-day show at Cattows Farm, Heather in Leicestershire on the 3,4 and 5 April, the ‘ticket’ class being on the Saturday. The weather leading up to the shows was in one word ‘horrendous’ and had turned the working field into a veritable mud bath, the parking field kept the tractor drivers busy for the first two days, towing people off of the boggy ground, but despite the lousy luck that this club have with the weather, the show runs like clockwork and the catering is first class, what a brilliant idea to have the judges lunches in takeaway boxes, so much easier to carry and the added joy of very little washing up afterwards.
Taking charge of the Ch C dog ring was Kathy Wood and her top spot went to Mary Ray and ‘Ob Ch Colliewood Blue Jeans’ whom she described as in a ‘class of your own’. Ch C bitch honours went to Suzi Tooley with ‘Everrush Olympic Flame’ with judge Bill Ferguson stating that they were ‘an absolute pleasure to judge’, first time in a ticket class for this pair and what a way to start.
Sunday 19 April and off up to Knightswood DTC in Glasgow and although very cold the weather held dry for most of the day with the judges being warmed up at lunchtime with a most welcome hot meal. A good venue for competitors with plenty of space around to exercise the dogs. Judges and competitors alike praise the well-organised running of this show. Judging the Ch C bitch class was Kate McCartney and her winning team was Philomena Barnes with ‘Ob Ch Bheinn Bewitched’ this team giving a ‘fantastic display of obedience’. Judge Michael McCartney awarded his top spot in Ch C dog to Linda Rutherford and ‘Ob Ch Sixela Rumr Has It’.
Into May and on Saturday 2nd the teams were in Scotland again for the Burnbank DTC show held on the Brancumhall playing fields in East Kilbride. A show that is run by people that certainly know how to look after their judges, superb hospitality, refreshments at the rings and a carvery lunch. In charge of the Ch C dog ring was Herbie Watson and his eventual winner was Michelle Dunscombe with ‘Forever Magic X-Rated’, who put in a superb round in the run off for this win, their third but unfortunately their second under this judge so this win does not count towards the CC title for this dog, but with this form that next win and Mav’s Ob Ch title cannot be too far away. Pat Watson judged the Ch C bitch class and her top spot went to Kathy Russell with ‘Ob Ch & Wt Ch Ruskath Othentic Image’, the team producing a round of ‘attitude, precision and excellent handling’
The following day and a long haul down to the Midlands for the show at Rugby DTC, the weather holding dry for most of the day with a pleasant breeze, ideal conditions for working the dogs. A well-organised and very popular show, judging parties are well looked after with bacon butties on arrival, a good lunch and a buffet when judging was finished. The rings are well spaced, with a flat working surface. The stay ring is set well away from the other rings and beyond that there is ample room for exercising the dogs. Winner of Ch C dog under judge Pandy Keyte was a delighted Margaret Ward with ‘Fellameeka Diamond Geyser’ a dog that always works with confidence and accuracy. Lou Jackson judged the Ch C bitch class and it certainly went down to the wire with the scent exercise, the team coming out on top were Jane Moran with ‘Ob Ch Dusters Done’N’Dusted’ who made the ring work look like ‘a walk in the park’ this team are certainly continuing to make their mark in this class.
Finishing off a busy Bank Holiday weekend the teams headed to Hinckley United FC ground the following day for the Leicestershire GSD club show. There were some major headaches with access and parking at the venue prior to the day of the show which thankfully the club managed to resolve, the rings were well mown and of a good size, plenty of refreshments to the rings and a roast meal at lunchtime for the judging parties. Roger Gunby was in charge of the Ch C dog class and his rather happy winner was Margaret Ward with ‘Fellameeka Diamond Geyser’, what a weekend for this team, two ticket wins in two days and this one making the dog up into an Obedience Champion. Judging the Ch C bitch teams was Mick Vessey and taking the top honours was Kathy Russell with Ob Ch & Wt Ch Ruskath Othentic Image’ another superb team celebrating their second win of this bank holiday.
The following weekend and on the 9 May the teams headed off to the Lever Sports Field at Bromborough for the Wirral ATS show. Another very popular two day show, the venue offering plenty of space for walking/training the dogs and flat, good sized rings for working in. thankfully the horrendous weather dried up for the weekend, staying very windy and cold but at least no rain. Judging the Ch C bitch class was Lyn Tozer and her top honours went to Jane Bint and ‘Janjoy Jumpin Jaro’ who worked ‘ a fabulous round’, this win making ‘Danni’ up into an Obedience Champion, much to the delight of the spectators. Jessica Lewis was in charge of the Ch C dog class and her winner was Jackie Duck and ‘Ob Ch Tyefold Xander’, a dog who always tries hard and is stunning on his day.
Onto Saturday 16 May and back up to Scotland for the Obedience section at the Scottish Kennel Club show, run by Andy Kousourou and his team, unfortunately the weather had decided to play tricks and the wind howled around the ground making it difficult for some of the teams to work in. Alan Gresty was judging the Ch C bitch class and his winner was Linda Rutherford and ‘Ob Ch Colliewood Confidential’, Linda’s handling being described as superb and the set exercises immaculately executed. Making it rather a good day Linda also took top honours in the Ch C dog class with ‘Ob Ch Sixela Rumr Has It’ under judge Alison Gresty, who commented that this team was ‘A class act’.
A long trip down to the Midlands the following day to the Loughborough DTC show, a hugely popular show on the obedience calendar, everything over this two day show is well organised and seems to run like clockwork. Plenty of room for day parking and caravans, large grass areas for the dogs and a clubhouse with a bar, what more could you need. Oh and excellent catering for both judging parties and competitors alike. The Ch C dog class judge was Nigel Slater and his top spot went to Mary Ray and ‘Ob Ch Colliewood Blue Jeans’ one line of Nigel’s show report stood out – ‘ when this dog is ‘in the groove’ he is practically unbeatable’, sums this team up totally. Gerard Paisley was judging the Ch C bitch class and his winner was Linda Rutherford with ‘Ob Ch Colliewood Confidential’, doing just what they do best, a superb round and their second ticket win in two weeks.
Saturday 23 May and a long haul down to the West Country to Exeter DTC weekend show, described by many judges and competitors as a very well run show on a superb venue. The ring surface being smooth to work on and plenty of room around them, the weather stayed glorious for the weekend and this year competitors were able to park closer to the rings, making for a good atmosphere around the ground. Excellent catering throughout the day with home made cakes at the close of play. Jane Moran was in charge of the Ch C bitch ring and her very popular winner was Katy Girdler with ‘X Factor Jenna At Pashamatts ow’, after a few near misses last year they earned their ticket to crufts with ‘an exceptional performance of obedience’. Taking the top spot in the Ch C dog class under judge Rob Bint was Mark Herrits with ‘Dodgin Master Markat’, the set exercise marks split the top three dogs in the line up, all of the teams losing the same mark on the heelwork section, so a very close competition.
The following day and some of the teams made the very long journey up to the three day Waldridge Fell DTS show, held at Herrington Country Park, Penshaw in Tyne & Wear. This show earns comments such as beautiful surroundings, acres of parkland, first class organisation, and a friendly atmosphere. The judging parties are well looked after with a high standard of catering and hospitality. Judging Ch C dog was Elaine Weelands and top honours in her class went to Jan Matthews and ‘Ob Ch Croftmist River of Krismoss’, the dog working with style and accuracy, which was consistent throughout the round. Pat Watson and ‘Ob Ch Forever Magic It’s Flicker’ produced ‘Teamwork at it’s best’ to win under Jackie Duck, who was taking up her first Championship judging appointment here in the Ch C bitch class.