The Shows Must Go On.

08/08/2009 at 23:29 4 comments

Over the past 13 days we’ve been to 5 separate, and extremely differing shows with Phoenix. We’ve had some disappointments, some extraordinary success and have learned a huge amount about how best to show and make the most of our time in the ring.

What follows in this megapost are some impressions of each show in ascending order of how-well-we-showed, peppered with photos of differing quality:

Minehead Open Show

Way back on July 29th we all woke to torrential rain plus the news that all the local rivers were set to break their banks in general end-of-the-world-is-nigh type conditions. What better day, then, to head out to the Dunster Country Fair and associated Minehead Canine Society Show?

Upon arrival we found foot deep mud, a team of tractors towing vehicles into and out of the showground and wet-weather show tents that were flooded, hugely overcrowded and rapidly turning into quagmires of mud. Tim and Phoenix gamely trudged through said mud to do some practicing, but as time wore on Phoenix became increasingly frustrated and bored by the conditions and the lack of space.

When we finally hit the ring – virtually at the very end of the show – we gave a rather lacklustre performance and Phoenix made it clear that she’d really rather be somewhere else right about now.  We managed to get a best Puppy Not Seperately Classified and then went on to get 4th best Gundog Puppy. The judge told us later that Phoenix had “rather thrown it away” in that Gundog Puppy Group, but under those conditions  we were just happy when the whole thing was over and we could slide-and-spin back out of the mud and off into the still-torrential rain.

Bournemouth Champ Show

Bournemouth - first stack.

Bournemouth - first stack.

In total contrast Aug 8th was one of the few hot sunny days of the summer. Remembering back to her very first show back in the baking heat of May we realised that Phoenix would not show well if she was hot, so we kept her in the cool shade of an unused marquee and also kept damping her down with cold water. The previous breed over-ran by several hours and by the time we did get to the ring, despite our efforts at cooling, Phoenix was very sleepy and floppy. She stood nicely, but her gaiting was perfunctory and pretty unenthusiastic…not much Phoenix *sparkle* on view in the ring today and we were awarded 3rd Best Junior Bitch.

Bournemouth - the examination.

Bournemouth - the examination.

We’ve spent lots of time trying to calm Phoenix down at shows so that she can focus once in the ring, but it’s clear that she now “gets” the whole show hullabaloo and the future priority instead must be on allowing her to show off, rather than rein in, her personality.

Bournemouth - final stack.

Bournemouth - final stack.

National Gundog Championship
August 1st saw us head off to a drizzly Three Counties Showground, and an impeccably organised show. Sadly the superb outdoor rings were rendered out of bounds by the weather, and the dogs were instead judged in the giant hanger-cum-warehouses at the venue.

Puppy Bitch Class at Nat Gundog.

Puppy Bitch Class at Nat Gundog...we're in the middle!

Conditions for humans were hot and noisy, but Phoenix seemed very chipper, and, since everything ran to time, there was minimal waiting time and we hit the ring with Phoenix pretty fresh. She stood as asked and gaited OK, though dertainly not at her optimum full pace. We were in HWV Puppy Bitch class and managed to score a 2nd place, beaten only by an older and more mature dog on her final outing as a puppy.

The judges critique read:

“substantial puppy, yet to grow into herself. Good coat developing, balanced head, correct eye shape, very nice neck, strong boned forelegs, strong pasterns, good length & shape of ribs, correct loin, well muscled croup & 1 thigh, she will be able to hold herself together on the move when she matures.”

This was an extremely enjoyable and sociable show where we met many HWV friends, old and new. Much fun was had!

North Devon Open Show
The closest showground venue to our home also turned out to be the undoubted highlight of our short show career so far! In ideal, bright, breezy and fairly cool conditions we were awarded 1st Junior AVNSC Gundog – an achievement since Phoenix is only 8 months old and the class was for dogs up to 18 months – as well as best AVSNC Gundog Puppy.

Being Awarded 1st in Junior Class at North Devon Show.

Being Awarded 1st Junior at North Devon Show.

Then, almost immediately, we were up against all the other Gundog best-of-breed puppies and, to our complete delight, managed to win 1st Gundog puppy as well – our first 1st, following the two Gundog Puppy Group 2’s at Liskeard & Dorset.  The judge was Dr. Monica Boggia-Black – one of the most senior dog judges in the country, and a multiple Crufts judge. She came up to Tim and said of Phoenix: “you’ve got a real star there!” – cue big smiles!

Being Awarded 1st in Junior Class at North Devon Show.

Being Awarded 1st Gundog Puppy at North Devon Show.

We didn’t have time to catch our breath though, and were immediately whisked off to the Best Puppy In Show ring where Tim & Phoenix, representing the Gundog Group, were up against the top puppy from each of the Terrier, Hound, Pastoral, Working, Utility & Toy groups.

Gundog Puppy Group 1, 2 & 3 at North Devon Show

Gundog Puppy Group 1, 2 & 3 at North Devon Show

Lined up for Best Puppy in Show at North Devon Show.

Lined up for Best Puppy in Show.

The ring was hugely expanded and, for the first time since Liskeard, Phoenix  gaited really beautifully, at full fast pace with her huge stride in full evidence. Judging was very quick and decisive and we were utterly thrilled to be awarded 2nd Best Puppy in Show, an incredible achievement at only the 7th ever show for either Tim or Phoenix. We also believe that, at just 8 months, Phoenix may well be the youngest HWV ever to have been awarded such a high placing at an all-group Open show in the UK.

The judges critique read:

Very pleasing head and eye, good shoulder placement and nice front and feet. Excellent mover. Best Gundog Puppy. Res BIS Puppy.

We’re so immensely proud of our little gal and all she’s managed to achieve in just 6 1/2 months since she came to live with us in Devon … and it’s now official – she truly is a real star!!

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Entry filed under: Hungarian Wirehaired Vizsla, Phoenix, Shows, Uncategorized. Tags: , , , , , , .

Sister Act. Phoenix the Firebird.

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Diane  |  13/08/2009 at 08:38

    WOW !!

    Reply
  • 2. Diane  |  13/08/2009 at 08:41

    and awesome………………….

    Reply
  • 3. sam  |  17/08/2009 at 19:16

    well done Phoenix and boys!

    Reply
    • 4. Phoenix  |  25/08/2009 at 20:10

      Thanks Sam! We’ll see you this Sat at Newton Abbot & Sth Devon Show…

      Reply

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