So - by spring 2015 with all guns blazing, we'd advertised and started more classes, including fun puppy classes, became more business-like, made sure people paid up front! and we've never looked back. I remember the first puppy class it was probably the wettest, coldest day of the year, I even think it snowed, yet every handler bar one are still with us today and some of them are a week away from their first ever show!
As the year has progressed the club seems to have taken on a life of its own. Everyone seems to care about each other and I love hearing people laughing and chatting as they are waiting their turn, and I know next week at the show at Bishop Burton, all our 'newbies' will be looked after. We have gone from 2 classes a week to 5, and have the longest waiting list we've ever had, have outgrown our current training venue and are hard at work finding somewhere new.
Which brings me onto Julie's and I original plans which were very simple - one was to buy a full set of equipment, and the other, which was more like a dream really and only happened to other people! was to give people the proper skills to handle and compete with their dogs. As judges we would stand in the middle of a ring and see so many potentially good dogs and handlers flounder because of lack of proper training. Not that we always get everything right - nobody ever does, we just try and pass on everything we've learnt over the years - and I feel we've learnt so much ourselves the last year and are much quicker at adapting training for every dog and handler and all their individual needs. I no longer have to secretly cross my fingers when telling handlers to use this arm or that arm, or to keep still, or to run. I know what works and it's such a thrill to see the happiness on people's faces when they see what their dogs are achieving - from tiny sequences or getting the contacts right, to running a full course.
So as our club is getting even bigger and we are looking for somewhere new, and after a thought provoking moment when someone asked us what do we want, we realised our original plans have changed. Julie's and I's training and competing has become a bit static this year as we've concentrated on our club, but that is fine - its not just about us anymore. Yes, we want to be the best agility handlers we can, but we also want our friends to be the best they can be as well. We had hoped to move nearer to York so Julie doesn't have as far to travel every week, but we don't want to lose anybody, as everyone is far too important to us now, so we have made the decision to stay around Beverley/Hull. We have a few places in mind and should know by the New Year.
So - really looking forward to 2016 for us and our club members and what adventures it will bring.