Updated: Apr 24, 2019
It has been a week now since our excursion to show our Boy and Three Locksheath Girls on the green carpet at Crufts and I have only just managed to sit down and put together details of the event. It's amazing how quickly Crufts came round as it only seemed a short while ago that we qualified the Pups at Championship show at Wales in the summer months and with Summer a short while late at the Champ show in Scotland. Even with all the preparations made we still had a bit of a panic to make sure all was in place, like checking the hotel booking, making sure we had all our grooming bits and bobs etc.
Wednesday 05th March,
Loaded up Storm and Skye into the van and a good run up at the forest and then getting them ready for our Son who kindly moved back home to look after them while we were away.
With the van loaded with all we needed for the weekend all that was left was to load up the dogs. and set off to our accommodation for the night.
For us the NEC is an easy destination to get to and it takes us about 2 1/2 hours and is an easy route, our friends Frances and Dennis were heading up on the same day in their motorhome so we arranged to meet up with them on the site they had booked which was about 10 minutes away from the NEC, They were taking Kirsty (Locksheath Tannymorel) who is our Skye's Mother and is 7 year old. We met up and took all the dogs out for a short walk after travelling and sat down for some tea and cake and a chat then headed off to our hotel about 20 minutes drive.
We arrived at the Stonleigh Park Lodge Hotel, as we drove in we recognised a familiar van with German registration plates, it belongs to Silvia Timmerman, for those that are not aware she owns Vito (Ludstar Don Corleone) who we used over summer in our last litter, she had been on the road since 04:00 traveling from Germany to Stonleigh and was busy grooming four dogs with her friend Rhonda Cornum who had travelled over from the US along with a puppy that was going to its forever home in Europe. It was the first we had met Rhonda although we knew quite a bit about her from reading her book about her experiences in the Army, being shot down in a helicopter and being taken a prisoner of war in Iraq. After a brief chat we unloaded the crates into the room and got ready for something to eat at the hotel restaurant.
Silva and Rhonda wanted to have a look at the pups as it had been some months since she had seen them and after talking about how they had progressed and some wine we all settled down for the night.
Thursday 07th March.
05:30 and I was up taking the dogs for a run, luckily where we were staying there is a huge arena that has a surface similar to a menage and this meant I could let the dogs off and charge about without getting covered in mud. no time for breakfast we loaded the van and set off to the NEC. Now this year they have changed the parking and apparently the West Car Park is no longer available and this meant a 20 minute walk with three dogs and our trolley loaded with the picnic, blankets and crates, while Cari tried to manage the trolley that seemed to have a mind of its own I was being dragged into the halls by three dogs that were on a mission to get inside, once checked through we made our way to the benching area and set up the cages whilst casually chatting to other Gordoners. Fran and Dennis had arrived with Kirsty and were set up and before we knew it the Judging has commenced.
With Veteran Dog being the first class we went over to see how Vito would do, He stacked well, and moved very gracefully with him finishing with with second place. a great result.
Quick Preparations for Jago as he was in the ring after the Veteran Dog class as there were no entries into the Minor Puppy class. We asked Rhonda if she would like to handle Jago in the ring, she accepted and off he went, Jago is such a relaxed soul but unfortunately today he was wearing his silly hat and decided he didn't like the loudspeaker announcements and the Judges floral dress, Our Judge for the day (Mrs Yvonne Slaughter) was so patient with him and tried carefully to go over hi but today he just wasn't having it, such a shame as he moved beautifully around the ring and this ended with him being placed VHC which was very fair considering his behaviour.
With some large entries in the dog classes it meant quite a wait before we were in the ring again with the girls, this gave me the chance to practice with Autumn and get her used to all the noises and the people that were accumulating in the halls. it also gave me the chance to catch up with some friends and discuss the day as it was unfolding, I took this opportunity to ask a few fellow gardeners to go over autumn while all the activities were in place and this I'm sure helped as when we got into the ring she was very settled indeed, she stacked very well and held her head straight and when we moved her she was fantastic. all our work paid off as we were presented with the First Place rosette. I was overjoyed, this also meant she had just qualified for Crufts 2020 too. what a day... (Photo Credits to Alicja Stormowska).
The Judge stopped for lunch and we laid out our picnic relaxing with friends and enjoying some Prosecco.
Lunch over and it was soon time for Summer to enter the ring, she was in two classes the first being Post Graduate, it was great to see so many entries and some top quality dogs too unfortunately we were not placed though I thought she looked lovely and moved well, we still had another class to go and there were less entries too.
Credits to Mar Tag who posted these on Facebook for the Photos below.
I Love just sitting back and watching the dogs and their handlers as they go through the classes for me its a beautiful sight to see so many of our lovely breed in in place, It really is just lovely.
Summer was up again and this time she was up against her Grand Mother Kirsty, as I said it was a smaller class with seven entries and Summer ended with a Third place just in front of Kirsty with her Reserve. lovely results for us both. Before long it was time for the challenge and Autumn would be up against the winning Puppy Dog (Totally Different V D Mergelhoeve) for Best Puppy, again Autumn showed really well and looked amazing but the dog was showing a bit more maturity and went on for a well deserved Best Puppy in Breed. Below is a picture of him. (Photo Credit to Alicja Stormowska)
With SH CH Ludstar Freddie Frankenstein taking the Best in Breed.
With all the classes now complete we took a short time to go around the trade stands before packing up for what had been an absolutely amazing day and we look forward to Crufts 2020.
We would like to thank our Breed Specialist Judge Mrs Yvonne Slaughter who had some difficult decisions to make and must have been shattered at the end of the day, Also congratulations to all who entered whether placed or not, it was lovely to see the breed so well supported at this event.
This last picture of the day with Yvonne Slaughter, Annette Mappin and James Newton as Speak No, See No and Hear No Evil.