My Favourite Time of Year

Crufts 2018 was a wonderful day. It started with meeting up with lots of friends and lots of Crumpsbrook Munsters.

I absolutely love being there and though the nerves do kick in I get such a thrill from showing my gorgeous dogs.

Crumpsbrook had a  successful show with 9 places ranging from 1st to VHC/5th 

A special mention must go to Sarah and her first  homebred son Lincoln, Darkensky Prometheus son of Crumpsbrook Angelica, who won Best Puppy in Breed, he is Crumpsbrook Acacia (Cassie’s) Gt Grandson, Crumpsbrook Jasmine (Jas’s) Grandson. Such a lovely handsome boy. Huge congratulations Sarah.

Cassie came to Crufts having not been shown much this year and she loved it. She was as animated as I can remember her being.  At 9 years of age she still moves like a dream and was awarded the coveted red Crufts prize card and rosette, winning her class of 7 entries.  Chris and I were so happy and proud. It was made extra special by Carol Saunders being there to witness Cassie’s success . She was my mentor and owned Cassie’s father Jasper. 

Molly, Crumpsbrook Molinia, my 7 1/2 month old  “grasses litter” puppy, her sister Nel, Crumpsbrook Pennisetum and brother Otto, Crumpsbrook Woodrush had all qualified on their one opportunity earlier in the year. Crufts is a big ask for puppies so young and inexperienced but they all coped brilliantly.

I showed Otto C. Woodrush in puppy dog, for his mum and dad, Jan and Tony. They are new to the world of showing and will hopefully continue with Otto, he is a stunning boy who will only improve with maturity and experience. He finished in 4th place, coincidently the same position as his Grandmother Cassie, on her first appearance at Crufts.

It was the turn of the Crumpsbrook girls then to shine,Cassie was first in in her veteran class, then I had a quick turnaround to show Molly in puppy. Her sister Nel was in this class too, her mum Sophie coped admirably with her first time at Crufts  such a huge achievement and well done on your 4th place.

Molly was so well behaved and moved like a dream so I am  thrilled with her performance at 7 1/2 months I don’t think her tail stopped wagging, she was pulled in for 2nd place. A great achievement for such a baby, I now look forward to her future in the showring.

Kate and Lionel, Crumpsbrook Bayleaf von Runlander  had a 4th place, he and Kate have had a good year in the showring and have  accrued 1 CC and 3 RCC ‘S. Lionel will be out with his dad Matt at working tests throughout the Summer where he excells . 

Crumpsbrook Larche ,Fynn has had a quiet year and had not competed since Crufts last year. Mariet has suffered ill health but was determined to have Fynn at Crufts ,especially this year as his “dad” Alan could be there to watch. She was not able to run Fynn so Chris took over the lead and impressed everyone with his running . Well done Chris. Fynn is unbelievable he pulls it out the bag again, moving beautifully to take 3rd place in Post Graduate.

Crumpsbrook Dill also deserves a mention he was a part of the canicross demo in the main ring, with his dad Paul.They are such superstars at this and Bikejor. Two sports I would never entertain even in my youth, so impressive. 

Well done everyone competing at Crufts . I hope to be out and about and see more of you this summer . 

This is one of my favourite times of year as I go to the Cheltenham festival for my racing fix, therefore I must stop writing my blog and study the form! 

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Onward and Upward

Chris and I and our gorgeous girls came back from Scotland, after our wonderful “chill out ” holiday,  to Christmas in full swing. Towns had their Christmas lights up and homes were decorated.

We haven’t had frosts at Catherton so early for many years, in fact last year the cold weather held off until April when my vege plot could have done without it ! Then Friday 8th December I had a behavioural consult in Cleobury at 8.30am. We had had a sprinkle of snow so I set off without any worries. Whilst at my clients house the snow came down with vengeance, it took me almost an hour to get home ,usually a 10 min drive. John Julie and Jas had planned to come over for a walk and lunch and I doubted they would come, but arrive they did, never ones to shirk an adventure ! We had a wonderful walk, it really was a winter wonderland. Whilst eating our lunch the snow started again. John and Julie left for home just in time. It snowed solidly then for many hours.

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This was the weekend of LKA ,we were planning on taking our whole family. It was to be Molly’s first experience of a show, she and her brother Otto were too young to enter but were going for the experience . There was no way we could get out. Jan and Tony,Otto’s mum and dad ,were snowed in too and they had also lost their electricity. So the decision was made for us not to go . Really disappointing. 

Christmas shopping was planned with my friend Hilary, our annual pilgrimage to Merry Hill. This too succumbed to the weather.

Chris had bought me tickets to Olympia for the dressage for my birthday, this too went by the wayside. Our track was frozen solid with thick ice.

I love a little snow, there is something quite nice about being snow bound.

We walked over to feed the horses and Margaret’s (the owner of the field) Alpacas every day, she was away in warmer climes on business.  

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 It had been a good while since the last meaningful amount fell  ,but I was glad to see the back of it. The snow had really impacted on plans. 

Kite and Molly enjoyed their first snow together, its a joy watching them. Willow, who is 13 next week , and Cassie loved it to but they have seen it all before. 

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The following weekend the snow had cleared enough to have an impromptu  Crumpsbrook reunion of Kite and Dougies puppies . 11 dogs in total having the best time bounding around Catherton .It was cold but dry and I made some mulled wine to warm us all up . The humans and Doug (who was transfixed by Kite) retired indoors for tea and cake , Chris and I enjoyed seeing our babies again and catching up with their antics ! munster mingle

The Kite/ Dougie “Grasses”  litter is 5 1/2 months old now a few of them will go to C of M in a couple of weeks ,weather permitting !!! I have included a few photos to enable a brief reminisce, gorgeous!

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Our horses are on their holidays as usual at this time of year, we are planning on bringing them home in a couple of weeks. I love my cob Issie  she is perfect for me. I am excited about the 2018 season after she and I did our first dressage test at Allens Hill just before they were turned away. It was a horrid day weather wise blowing a gale and heavy rain but we still went. Luckily the rain had not arrived at the centre but my it was windy. I haven’t done a dressage test for many years, probably 5 or so. Issie had not been ridden on an arena with other horses before and the wind had got up a few tails, as those of you that are horsey would understand. She was amazing, never turned a hair walked and trotted around the arena like an old hand, even though I was nervous, she instils such confidence in me. We managed to do our test in the strong winds, I could feel Issie being buffeted and her mane and tail were blowing everywhere, (no plaits for a traditional ). Her first attempt was incredibly pleasing, she has learnt so much this year. Bending does not come naturally to a heavy cob but the improvement is significant, Issie really tries. I knew we had made a few errors in the test but the judge loved her and awarded her 67% for second place. I was so proud ! Unfortunately we forgot to take any photos ,drrr! 

I  would love to do some more dressage and show her under saddle next year.

Chris is enjoying Pepper and had a good first year at Novice level dressage and he is looking forward to the 2018 season.

Mannerly Mutts Behaviour ,Training and Agility had a busy year in 2017 . I love my job and enjoy all aspects .So 2018 promises to be a great year, with everything in the mix to look forward to, I can’t wait . It will be busy juggling everything but hey ho that makes for a wonderful life ! 

I hope the new year brings everything you wish for, enjoy every moment.

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The Land of Furry Trees

Chris and I had a wonderful much needed break in Scotland or as I named it “The Land of Furry Trees ” (more of that later) .

We stayed in a cottage near Loch Ness, which was situated in the most amazing setting. There was no vehicle access to the cottage a short muddy track, then a field, which was full of sheep, but my was it worth it, the views were incredible . We arrived to a roaring fire in the cottage on a cold dusky teatime .

We were tired, the drive had taken 10 hours which included several stops and walks for the dogs including one along the Caledonian canal .The four of them were so incredibly well behaved we never heard a squeak out of them, even Molly at 4 months seemed relaxed.

The first night I had made a chilli and taken it with us so we settled down with a bottle of wine and Strictly. Much needed after several trips to unload the car ! 

The first morning the views were appreciated properly It was white over with a sprinkle of snow and it looked incredible.

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We headed to Inverness for supplies which is much like any other city / large town but had the necessary supplies. The girls walked around the old part of the town with us and attracted loads of attention. We visited Inverness more times than we had planned but hey ho ! 

Forests abound in the area which the girls adored ,they hunted squirrel, not caring that they were a different colour. Thanks to Cassie who is taking over from her mum, Willows’ mantle of hunting, we saw a Roe deer too and we managed to stop them.

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My favourite place was Glen Affric , it had a huge variety of terrain , old pine forests , lochs, moors and mountains, beautiful waterfalls and the thing I just fell in love with, the trees were covered in many different Lichen, one of which is called Tree Beard. There is so little pollution in the air Lichens thrive. They hang from the branches of the birch particularl, so extensively the trees look like they have furry jackets. We are not great photographers but captured a few shots. We were walking up the side of Glen Affric when we came across what I thought looked like a fairy chandelier just hanging from a branch, a perfect circle of twigs supporting lots of Lichen, it was so pretty.

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 The coast is also stunning. We visited  a nearby harbour village called Nairn, the beach was breathtaking . It had everything, the day was sunny and mild , in fact the weather all week was too good to be true, cold but bright. Willow had sand dunes to explore and hunt bunnies, she does occasionally peep over the top to check where we are. Kite had sea gulls to chase and Molly and Cassie did a bit of both !

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I guess the area is much busier in the summer but for us it was idyllic. One thing we enjoyed was the quality of coffee shops. Cakes seem to be very popular and the quality superb, we did indulge everyday and though the cafes were dog friendly 4 seemed excessive so we sat outside and the girls enjoyed an amazing amount of attention from staff and passers by.  They always shared a bit of cake to.

Unfortunately Betty my Belingo got a flat tyre,Chris put the spare on and we dropped it off at a small garage while we visited another beach. Tyre collected we headed off back to the cottage.

The next morning we walked to the car to set off for our day out and Betty wouldn’t start, the battery was flat. Luckily we parked on a hill so I pushed and off we went ,we called in to Inverness to get the battery checked at Halfords and after the battery was tested to be fine ,Chris assumed it was a faulty connection and the day improved when we went up onto a glen to try to find some Red Deer. Luck was on our side we followed our OS map onto the moors and there in-front of us stood a pair of juvenile stags  Apparently they form Bachelor herds at this time of year when the prime stags are busy defending territory and wives. These were the first 2 of many we saw. The area was isolated away from the tourist routes and they seemed fairly relaxed. Though they were young they were still impressive. I was so excited.

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Friday morning we had a good walk planned so we could tidy the cottage later and pack for an early get away Saturday .

We got to the car, the battery was flat as a pancake and the tyre was flat again! You guessed it another visit to Inverness the one blessing is the main road follows the banks of Loch Ness, really picturesque . The AA were called this time, the battery was the original one we had with the car which was the wrong size, too small, it was red hot and smelling of Sulphur. New battery fitted ,thanks lovely AA man then we went to get a new tyre. Kwik Fit had a 2 hour wait, Chris found another garage which had a 40 minute wait. We took the girls for a walk around an industrial estate trying to find access to the river to no avail. By this time I needed the loo so we went to B&Q ,what a morning.  Betty was finally fixed and we decided to go to the beach again at Nairn for a treat for us and the girls .Finishing off with another delicious scrummy cake and coffee . 

Our special thanks must go to John, Julie and Jas for house sitting. Both Chris and I really appreciated our break knowing our house and extended family were happy and in such safe hands. Bless you. 

 

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