Posts tagged ‘ringcraft’

Django at 5 Months.

Hard to believe that our little bundle of fluff is now this mature, but Django is now 5 months old and suddenly looking very grown-up. We took the pack to the beach for only the second time since Django’s arrival and a high time was had by all:

A very wet Django concentrating (watching geese, in fact) at the beach....

Completely fearless in water, Django looking slightly bonkers but enjoying a good splash.

Django offers a play-bow to Mingus, who's generally more interested in chasing after gulls in the sea.

...and another...Obviously a new strategy.

Back on dry land and Ears-a-flying in the breeze.

Heading for home.

Stacked on the Tarka Trail, 4 days short of 5 months old.

24/03/2012 at 20:44 Leave a comment

The Ever Changing Mingus.

When we first met (and show stacked!) Mingus at the tender age of 4 weeks he was very compact and stocky, beautifully and correctly proportioned. At around 3 months he looked very long-bodied and short in height, no longer stocky at all. By 4 months he suddenly looked very tall and giraffe-like, neither compact nor stocky. Then, at 5 months, everything started to come back together again, but he was all frame and no body. Now, at 5 and a bit months, he is once again starting to look compact and stocky as he gradually fills out – such are the ways of puppy growth – so we just wait for those deep ribs to spring to complete the picture.

Mingus surveys his kingdom.

This week at ringcraft everyone commented on how big he’d gotten and for the first time he was a fair bit taller than the adult female English Setter there. Judging by his knuckles he’s certainly going to finish larger than both of his parents, but still be moderate in size…which is just what we were hoping for.

A while back, whilst trotting around and investigating the pond, Mingus found himself on the opposite side of the water to us. Rather than trot back the way he’d come he simply plunged into the water and swam directly across to us (the pond is 6 foot deep and 150 foot long…) He’d never previously gone more than about ankle deep in water, so it came as something of a surprise to us – as well as to him – that he could indeed swim so well. On arriving at the other side he looked enormously pleased with himself and has been pretty keen to get wet in the pond and the river ever since.

The mysteries of the deep.

30/04/2010 at 12:58 2 comments

Top Puppy 2009/2010!!




Yesterday was the HWVA Annual Awards and Open Show. An awesome day, with 79 HWV’s present in glorious sunshine, and a day we’re never likely to forget.

In the crowning achievement of her show year Phoenix was awarded both Top Puppy Bitch of the year and (following in the paw-steps of both her grandfather Harris, Moricroft Methuen, who won the same award in 2001, and half-brother Leiborschy Ylai, who won it last year)  overall Top Puppy of the year, receiving the Leiborschy Goblet and the Leiborschy Flask trophies respectively. We’ve never been more proud of our lovely girl!

Phoenix standing whilst Tim & judge Margaret Hathaway share a joke.

Being awarded the Leiborschy Goblet.

And then the Leiborschy Flask for Top Puppy.

Mingus was also in attendance and was very much admired, with a number of respected and prominent HWV folks casting many complimentary remarks in his direction. Our boy also had a mini family reunion as he met up with his mother, Anora – who was herself awarded 1st Limit Bitch at the show – and his sister Love for the first time since leaving the nest.

Mingus & Phoenix, covering all angles.

Viewing the action.


All ears.

Mum Anora, on her way to winning 1st Limit Bitch.

Anora with the kids - Mingus and Love.

Family portrait, take 2.

19/04/2010 at 09:00 4 comments

Home Show.

Rather belated this, but back on Saturday Feb 20th Tim and Phoenix went along to the Ilfracombe & District Canine Society Open Show in Exeter. This was significant because the Ilfracombe & District Canine Society is our own society, where we go for ringcraft, and where we’ve made many doggy friends (of the four and two-legged varieties).

The graduate class being judged - Phoenix is on the far left.

The show was also significant for a couple of other reasons – it was Tim & Phoenix’ one and only chance to “warm-up” for Crufts, and it was also the first time that the show had put on classes for HWV’s.

Phoenix being placed 1st, still on the far left.

A very successful and enjoyable day was had, Phoenix showed really well, and was awarded 1st Graduate and Reserve Best of Breed. Several seasoned observers commented that it was the best they had ever seen her show and singled out her movement as being particularly good, which it certainly was….ironically though it was her poor movement that was to let us down a few weeks later at Crufts, so much for warming up!

These pictures were taken by and are used with the kind permission of Denise Stanton from the Society. Many thanks Denise!

Stacked for the judges critique.

12/04/2010 at 15:06 Leave a comment

In Motion.

Today was Phoenix’ 20th show…amazing to think how far we’ve all come since our debut back in Taunton on May 29th!

But much more importantly, today was also the day when everything came together perfectly, and for the first time in any show, anywhere, Phoenix really showed what she was capable of in the ring.

The scene of this happy occasion was a biggie, The South Wales Kennel Association Championship Show at the Royal Wales showground in Builth Wells. This was also the location of our first Champ Show Best Puppy award at the end of August, and today it certainly proved to be a lucky venue for us once again.

We arrived with about an hour to spare, and, both in practice and around the showground it was apparent that Phoenix was very excited and also very fluid in her movement, definitely “up for it”.

This was carried through into the ring in spades and she didn’t put a foot wrong at any stage, first becoming best puppy bitch and then, after going head to head with the winning puppy dog, Phoenix was named Best Puppy in Breed, her 3rd Champ Show Best Puppy award.

We had recently been given some detailed handling tips by a professional handler (thanks Emma!) who observed what Tim & Phoenix were doing together and made a few suggestions. The changes were seemingly small, but seem to have made a huge difference and Phoenix is finally demonstrating in the ring what we’ve been seeing in practice and at ringcraft, that she really can move very well!

After she emerged from the ring one seasoned HWV observer/exhibitor was heard to comment of Phoenix that she had “totally outmoved the rest of the class” – particularly pleasing after a number of shows where it was purely her movement that had held her back. Also, she’s always been a major attention seeker, but it was abundantly clear that she was really enjoying herself in the ring today – as was Eileen Hughes, the judge!

The judges critique read:

A well made puppy bitch, well up for size, although balanced, and with the correct length in body. Matching angles front and rear, moved truly. Best Puppy.

Just a few days before turning 11 months it feels like our gal has finally grown into her body and has, at the same time, figured out exactly what is required of her in the ring. Exciting times lie ahead!

08/10/2009 at 22:20 Leave a comment

The Shows Must Go On.

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!!

08/08/2009 at 23:29 4 comments

Show number 3….

An amazing day was had today as we all headed off to the Liskeard & District Premier Open Show in deepest Cornwall. Thinking that we’d be on late in the show, and certainly after lunch, we arrived at 12:00 noon, only to find that our class was up in about 20 mins., which didn’t give too much time for “settling in”.

The show was held in an aircraft-hanger-like giant agricultural building, and the atmosphere (and volume level) was best described as cacophonous and claustrophobic, somewhat resembling a Moroccan bazaar minus the carpet-sellers (although they may have been tucked away in a corner for all we knew) with absolutely no space to move around. Despite this Phoenix was completely unphased and instead displayed her usual mixture of excitement and curiosity at all the sights, sounds and smells.

There were no classes for HWV’s at the show so we were up in AVNSC (Any Variety Not Seperately Classified:  Gundog).  When our class came she trotted beautifully into the ring and stood like a dream….which turned out to be the first and last time she would be performing this feat as trained…each subsequent “stand” was accompanied by a variety of dancing, backing-up and lurching sideways, leading the judge to ask her: “are you going to make life difficult for your Daddy today?” (the answer to which was a big fat yes!)

Despite this we managed to win Best AVNSC Puppy and received a fine rosette and a photo session with the marvellous Sam from Farlap Canine Photography.

Standing for Best AVNSC Puppy.

Standing for Best AVNSC Puppy.

Then came a 3 hour-or-so wait for all the other Gundog breeds to finish judging, by which point the building was almost empty of people, dogs and hubbub, with only the best of breed winners remaining. Eventually all the winning gundog puppies were called back for the judging of the Gundog Puppy Group, and Phoenix (who was almost asleep by this time)  & Tim entered the now much enlarged arena to line up amongst the Spaniels, Retrievers, Pointers, Setters etc.

Being judged for Best Gundog Puppy.

Being judged for Best Gundog Puppy - that's Phoenix in the centre with the judge examining her.

We had thought that being roused from a state of unconsciousness might take the edge of excitability off our l’il gal, but instead she performed just as she had in the previous round, moving with huge enthusiasm and drive, head up and tail up with a big grin on her face – which was great – but then trying to buck and twist out of her stands – which was less than great…

The best Gundog Puppy in show was awarded to the Golden Retriever, but then, and to our complete delight and some astonishment, we were awarded second place (AKA: Gundog Puppy Group 2) accompanied by an even bigger rosette, at which point Phoenix’ and Tim’s excitement levels must have gone into overdrive since she (and probably he too) started bouncing about 4 feet in the air!!!

A lap of honour of the ring for the top 4 puppies followed, and then we were out to absorb what had just occurred. Several other exhibitors came up to congratulate us and say was a lovely dog they thought she was. One Irish Setter exhibitor said that she thought Phoenix was the best dog in the whole show…which was very nice.

So, a fantastic result, and the gaiting problems of the last show now seem to be a thing of the past, but  instead we have her new unwillingness to stand to work on. The next “warm-up” show in is two weeks, and then, come August, we’re into her proper show campaign, so we’ve got a few more weeks to strike a balance between Phoenix’ joyous spirit (that judges happily seem to like!) and the element of control that we need….

First thing tomorrow morning it’s back to pup boot camp!

12/07/2009 at 22:20 7 comments

Mid-Western Gundog Society Show.


Watching the Action at Mid-Western Gundog Show.

Yesterday was our last opportunity to take Phoenix to attend a show before her own debut at the end of May. The Mid-Western Gundog Society Show near Worcester was a relaxed and relatively lowkey “do” which gave us another chance to get Phoenix fit for purpose and concentrating with dogs and people all around. She was extremely bouncy ‘n’ boingy and frustrated at not being able to join in with the other dogs but as soon as we got her working on gaiting and stacking, then she tuned in remarkably well. Which hopefully bodes well for when she has to do the real thing in about four weeks time. Until then, it’s practice, practice, practice.

03/05/2009 at 13:15 Leave a comment

Dress Rehearsal.



Another great opportunity to meet up with Diane today to practice our ringcraft and get further tuition from Phoenix’ grandma. This is a shot that Diane took which shows how the stack is coming along…need to get those front legs a tad further forward, but not too bad otherwise! We’re particularly pleased that Phoenix has learned to hold her tail out straight, which is something few other dogs seem to be able to do in the ring.

02/05/2009 at 13:16 1 comment

HWVA Show.


Diane Instructs....Phoenix Listens.

Today, Tim and Phoenix headed North to attend the annual Hungarian Wirehaired Vizsla Open Show. There were around 53 HWV’s in competition plus anther dozen or so pups in attendance and it was an utter delight to see so many whiskery faces in one place.  Phoenix was still a month or so too young for the show itself but it proved an extremely useful and instructive exercise for both parties. Through the course of the day she moved from full-on “Tigger” mode to eventually curling up and going to sleep right beside the ring which was quite an achievement in itself.

Most useful of all however, was the chance to meet up with Diane Parry, human companion of Mallard – Phoenix’s sire – who, besides being all round Queen of the HWV, was also judging at the show. Diane was kind enough to give Tim and Phoenix a few intensive and very necessary lessons in showcraft, after which their combined showmanship efforts improved dramatically.

19/04/2009 at 21:26 Leave a comment

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