For another guy...
When Wendy Clay asked Paul Oldfield to run her dog Scout in the Championship class at The Agility Club show, he replied, 'Of course. I will even pay the entry.' But what would happen? Paul had never run a Small dog in a competitive class, and he was replacing Scout's regular Champ handler, Greg Derrett who was away at the European Open. Here is the story.
Scout (Racingredd Brussel Scout) is a triple World Campion. He runs just like a collie despite looking like a rabbit x anorexic dachshund. Wendy won his first CC in 2008 but basically she hates running Champ classes, so this year Greg Derrett ran.
I saw their CC win at Thames. Greg marched off the line with that super confident ' all my dogs have solid waits' attitude but quickly woke up as Scout powered past him. Even Greg was breathing heavily at the finish. I would need my bus pass to keep up let alone get in front, but hey, handling the quickest dog in the field is (relatively) easy. You only have to get round.
To be fair, I do train at Wendy's and Scout gets quite excited to see me when I run my Large dogs. I did manage about 40 jumps and a dozen touch points with him before the big day , but it didn't help when Wendy said ' he goes a bit quicker for you.'
Kate Austin was judging the Champ which was another point in my favour. I have won a few of her Large classes, but when I saw the Champ jumping I wasn't so sure.
Yes , my handling was appalling... late 'stop' hand and a late front cross. Then I was layering a jump to get ahead when he tried to cut in. Okay. he didn't go to the intended jump or cross its line but I've seen refusals given for less, so thanks judge . Result a scrappy 5th place, though I felt a bit better when Toni Dawkins got E'd in the Mediums.
Only needing to get round the Agility, I still managed to pull him past a jump, though the rest and the touchpoints were good.
If I walked the course once, I walked it 40 times. I walked it with both Wendy and Lee Windeatt and explained what I wanted to do. I admit that I had to lie to Wendy at one point, but it was my sort of course. When you get older, you don't want a lot of start/stops .
We went the quickest way at the start which went well apart from when I felt a weave pole inserting itself where it shouldn't be! Apparently Kate just shook her head, but luckily for me knew that 'accidental contact with the equipment will not be faulted.'
From then on, Scout was
The luxury of a ' pull through command ' enabled me to front cross before the A frame, but then disaster nearly struck. As I was starting off, one foot hit the other and for a second only windmilling arms prevented a flat on face. Scout couldn't have cared less. Then it was an A-frame - high is good - and three jumps powered to the finish .
I had earlier registered a decent round by Jeanette Tandy and her quick small collie , but when I saw Scout was 1 1/2 seconds quicker I knew it was all over. It would have been interesting to see Tasha's time in the Medium final, but unfortunately she didn't get round.
I was delighted for Scout, now an Agility Champion and three different handlers later. I was delighted for Wendy who trained him and thankful to her for letting me run him. And I was pleased knowing that it was probably the only chance of a Small Champ I was likely to get. It does help to focus the mind when there isn't another day and another run.
About the author...
He has been to a Crufts Singles and Olympia twice. He has won a a National Starters/Novice finals plus Superdogs Final, an Olympia Qualifiers/a Semi-final and a Champ Agility.
This year managed to throw away the Pedigree Pairs Final. Sorry Trace. Fastest, but last jump to first jump = E!