Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Tessa's Up and Coming Agility Career

submitted by Carol Wolfram I was at an agility trial March 27-29. A PWD person filmed one of Tessa's runs because he thought she was soooo cooooool! Not a great run because we missed the weave entry but check out her contacts and the weaves! Since we already blew the run I tried sending her to a jump right after the table while I started a lateral move but while she could do that in class it was abit too much for her in excitement of competition. We are still a green team but I felt a lot of potential in us this weekend. She got one Open JWW legand one Exc A Std leg both with first places. The video is of Sunday's Exc AStd run. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G5_BBqllrbw&feature=channel
The agility people in the northwest pretty much know about Briards since it isn't unusual to have several running at trials. This was an all breed dog show as well so lots of non agility folk were wandering around and yes, they were inquiring about the breed while watching her. It was really funny because Tessa stirred a lot of interest when she ran. On Saturday she hit the weaves so hard that her hind left leg/loin area kind of got stuck in the poles. I was at the head and the front kept weaving while the back end was trying to break free of the pole. Tessa just stretched longer and longer until all of a sudden the rear broke free of the pole and was like a slinky catching up with the front. She never popped out of the weaves. You can see in the video from Sunday that she got caught up a bit in those poles as well but nowhere near as long as on Saturday. I think it has to do with the fact that the spacing between the poles varies from trial to trial. These were 24 inch weaves. I hope that as we get more experience together that Tessa will begin to realize that the weave poles aren't always the same distance apart. At any rate, all weekend long people were commenting on the Briard with the fabulous weaves. I was casually chatting with some people while we were watching runs (Tessa was in her crate) and a BC was running. One of the people said wow what great weaves and another said forget those weaves did any of you see the Briard do the weaves?Amazing! LOL! I got to mention that I saw that Briard do weaves every week because she was my dog.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Tiger Gets His 1st Point!

Sunday, March 29, 2009, Chercher Deja Vu Mon Ami Divot, a.k.a. "Tiger Woods", went Best of Winners and Best of Opposite Sex, at the Kern County Kennel Club All Breed Dog Show, and received his first point. Having only gone Best of Opposite Sex yesterday, he only got a ribbon and a photo album. Mom said " Rats, we made the stupid photo album, we could always make more, but we could have used that point!" Deja Vu Mon Ami Divot "Tiger" is pictured at handling class 3/11/09. Barbara reports: "he does think very highly of himself, just like his mom (Nonnie). He's absolutely certain that the whole world came to see him!" Tiger was eight months old March 28.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Gia's Spring Trip

Gia and Angela Trimm enjoy a trip to the Gorge and Skamania Lodge.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Record Entries at Seattle Shows (1-5-0-0)!

Story by Sonia Thompson; Ring-side Photos by Tracy Thorleifson. There were 6 Briards competing which is the largest number we have seen at one time at any show in this area for the last two years. On Saturday March 7, Briards were judged by Bart A. Miller. On Sunday March 8, the breed judge was David Bolus.

The two days of the Seattle shows were wonderful! Sonia Thompson's Cachet Deja Vu Andantino RN "Andre" (above left) took Best of Breed both days. Judy Meggitt's Briardale's Camille Lebec "Elle" (above right) took Best of Winners both days.
Andre (left) got his championship and is Advanced Rally title. Elle got two 4-point majors and has three single points to go.

Gail Oneal's Radieux's And The Winner Is HSAs "Emmy" (left) was the other open bitch. (Below left to right) Nightwind's Double Dog Dare Ewe "Dara", Nightwind's Definitely Maybe "Tia" and Nightwind's Dances With Wool "Nutella" were the three puppy bitches.
"We are very appreciative of the effort to get Briards together for this show. The Briards received a lot of attention ringside and in the aisles" said Judy Meggitt.

There were many people helping and urging us on. The help and encouragement was fantastic. Judy's delightful friend Hannah Spencer showed Elle, who was at the peak of her charm. Hannah (at left with Elle) did most of Elle’s training and is a freshman at Western Washington University in Bellingham.Gail showed Emmy, who has filled out after the puppies and is looking good. And one of the puppies, Dara, a beautiful, well built puppy. She took reserve on Saturday. Nutella, the 2nd puppy (owned by Barbara and Pascal Stoltz of Kirkland WA) is also beautiful! She was handled by my friend Haley, at 14 yrs, one of the top junior handlers. She took reserve bitch on Sunday. The 3rd puppy, Tia, is still a scruffy girl. And she came in 3rd each day. We had alot of fun, much of it due to the great people who were there: Gail and Tracy worked non-stop at grooming. Haley's mother Bonney had a crash course in grooming Briards, and Barbara and Pascal did alot of work, too. Izzy, one of Ellie's other puppies, came with her person Marcia help with what ever was needed. Other friends appeared to help.

Andre and Tia competed in Rally. Both qualified on Saturday, Tia did not make it to the ring in time on Sunday. Andre finished his Advanced title with a high score and 2nd place!!! We ran over to rally directly from the Breed ring, just as the last dog was entering the rally ring. The steward move his number to the end, we were able to watch, then go on in. The judge was really nice about it. We went into group that afternoon; he was one of 6 who made the first cut, so that was a really exciting end of the day. The only sad part was that I couldn't go home Saturday night to get Cecca, and if I had been able to make it home, I couldn't have made it through the 12 inches of snow to return Sunday. So Cecca missed her agility runs in the venue she loves most of all (the pattern is that after she qualifies she gets to run full speed to her favorite vendor! She knows them all).

Life after being a show dog (many years after) -- the photographer's Ch Deja Vu Outfielder CD RA "Sammy" on the sofa (note the BCA throw in the back).

Nash Is a C-course Virtuoso

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Thursday, March 5, 2009

So You Think You Might Like Carting....

Ever since I first read about briards carting in Diane McLeroth's book, The Briard, I have been captivated by the idea. As I recall, there is a charming picture of black briard pulling a cart much like this antique farm cart (top left) that I found while searching Craig's list for a cart for Nash. This cart dates to the end of the last century and comes from France. Carts like this were pulled by large dogs and tranported children and groceries to and from the market along county roads.

During my earlier briarding years I lived in Alaska where both weather and road conditions disuaded me from pursuing carting. For those years I had to be content with skijoring - a sport where the dog is in a sled pulling harness that is clipped to a hip belt on the cross-county skier.

In November, a new trail was opened that runs along an old railroad grade for 6 miles into downtown Port Townsend. It took only one walk on this trail to re-kindle my interest in carting. Since then I have been researching carting club rules - the Bouvier des Flandres Club, the American Rottweiler Club and the Bernese Mountain Dog Club, to name a few - (BCA doesn't offer a carting test) and the various rigs. As with just about everything there is are several email groups you can join. The two that have been most helpful are Carting-L and chariotsofthedogs. There is also a local list seattledraftdogs but is is not active. We also have several briarders that have patiently answered all my questions, most notably Peggi Weymouth (above left in her RJWalsh sulky), Mary Weir and Caren Landis (her rig at right). There is also a book: Travel at the Speed of Dog by Darlette Ratschan available from her website. This book has a description of a variety of sulkies and their features.

I have narrowed my decision to one of the two dorsal hitch sulkies on the market: the Chalo sulky or the RJWalsh sulky. From the research that I have done, the dorsal hitch sulky is easier on the dog, easier to train and easier to manuever than the traditional carts and sulkies with two side shafts. Dorsal hitch sulkies are balanced so that the driver's weight slightly lifts the dog in its harness. Because a dog with less weight on its paws pulls more easily, dogs are able to cart in a dorsal hitch rig more often and less strenuously than they can in other carts.

Caren decided on the RJWalsh Springtail (above left) with brakes "because it was light, it had breaks and for our purposes, I did not see the issue of spending more money for a heavier model. I can toss this one in my expedition without issue, I can take it easily on my boat when we go away in the summer. I would break it down so as not to have it damage anything while underway." Peggi was lucky enough to find an RJWalsh Millenium Mini on the used market.

Chalo sulkies are made in Federal Way WA. RJWalsh sulkies are made in Australia. The positives about Chalo are that they are local and all the parts are mountain bike parts, so they are easy to find and replace....but then owners report that, "RJWalsh sulkies generally just don't break...and he is very good about standing behind his products." With the Aussie dollar what it is, even with shipping they are competitive in price.

For training and entry level work, many folks have recommended Wilczek Woodworks. They offer a starter kit and lots of information on their website. They do not, however, offer any single dorsal hitch rigs. If one were to start out with one of these rigs and then switch to a dorsal hitch rig, it would mean investing in two types of harnesses, which at $150 -200 for a dorsal is not an insignificant amount.

We are still conducting research and hoping to find a sulky on the used market. Click here to view Nash with a Chalo sulky. We'll be ring stewards at the Hurricane Ridge Kennel Club Carting Test April 4-5 and hope to know more after that. We'll let you know when we finalize our decision.