25th January 2014 - a very special day for all the Top Lodge Team as they set off for Warwickshire at 6:00am for a long day's competition at the Kennel Club Building, Stoneleigh for Rugby DTC's competition.
An important day because for the past 12 months, not only the Top Lodge Team of dogs and handlers, but all enthusiasts and fellow competitors had been working towards these semi finals for places to perform at the Heelwork To Music and Freestyle Finals Crufts March 2014. The Top Ten placed dogs in both the HTM and Freestyle Semi Finals then go on to compete at Crufts. So how did Top Lodge Team do?
First to compete was Lesley with her youngster Dewy, not yet two years old. They were in the Intermediate HTM Class and finished in a good 3rd place after performing a fast routine to "Rasputin"!!
Then followed the first of the semi finals, The Heelwork To Music Semi Final and Kath had been drawn early to compete second in the class. Amber who can be so serious, worked well performing to Ronan Hardiman's Celtic Kitten and they finished 8th in the class with a place in the Crufts HTM Final. Kath was very. very pleased. Amber and Kath had got through to Crufts in 2013 but due Amber being ill the day before the competition, she had withdrawn from the competition. And in 2012 Kath was judging so no competing that year either!
Next to compete was Karen with Fly. Following a difficult year with health problems, Karen and Fly were delighted to make it to the Crufts semi finals. The cherry on top of the cake was to actually qualify! Karen and Fly would like to thank everyone who supported them through their difficult time and sent good luck wishes for the semis - those positive thoughts and good wishes really worked!
Lesley was next to perform with her beautiful, bouncy Beardie Hamish. Hamish did so well - he was enthusiastic throughout their routine which was to "I've Got The Music In Me" and the huge ring at the semis was a real experience for him.
Directly following Lesley and Hamish was Kath again, this time with her young dog Denby. He had only competed at the Advanced level twice before this prestigious event! The ring and atmosphere and a little bit of stress were there as more of a test for him to see how he would cope. Well, cope he did!!! He finished really well coming in at a remarkable 7th place. Yet another Top Lodge dog into the Crufts HTM Final.
|Photo courtesy of Janet McPherson|
The next class was the Freestyle Semi Final with only one Top Lodge dog to compete, however, light failure was then followed by an horrendous thunderstorm and the KC Building with its metal roof and sides almost shook with the force of the accompanying hailstones!! This was not good news for Kath as Spice can be very worried in such conditions. Lesley lent her a Thundershirt and she seemed to be getting back to normal - but on entering the ring after leaving the Thundershirt behind - one of the loud speakers crackled and it was all too much for Spice who couldn't move. Kath withdrew her from competing within the first 10 seconds of the music. A years work gone but it was more important to care for Spice.
It was getting very dark outside by the time Lesley took to the competition ring once again with young Dewy - this time competing in the Intermediate Freestyle competition performing to "The Night They Invented Champagne" and yes it was worth waiting for the class and the results as they gained a fabulous second place!! Again it was the first time that Dewy had competed in such a venue and didn't they do well?
Next stop is Crufts - the running orders have been issued with Kath and Denby drawn 1st, Karen and Fly drawn 2nd and Kath and Amber drawn 7th. It will be a busy time on Friday 7th March at 11:15 in the main Arena for Kath, Karen and Lesley supporting each other. Thanks to everyone for their support and for their good wishes for Crufts 2014.