The biggest show of the year this coming Saturday – up to 15,000 people expected!
The greatest challenge at Ringwood is the size of the arena. When we arrived last year, I was taken by the event organisers into a vast grassed area about the size of two football pitches with a single oak tree in the middle. I asked where my display arena was. Answer: you’re in it!
The arena is this size to accommodate the pony races, horse-drawn carriage displays and livestock parades. That’s fine, but when your display involves just one fat bloke, two lean dogs and a couple of props, it’s easy to become lost in the middle of such a huge arena.
What we had to do (and what we’ll have to do again this year) is just use one corner of the arena in front of the Members’ Marquee, as much of what we do involves demonstrating dog training techniques, which requires the audience to be reasonably close. Last year, it took about 10 minutes to move the audience from all around the ring and herd them all into one corner! A bit embarrassing really, but there’s no real alternative. At least I’m going to have Andrea, #3 daughter + fiancé to help out and provide some entertainment: I’m entrusting them with the remote and handheld dummy launchers and starting pistols! Oh oh!
Lesson for future years? Have more dogs! I’m planning one addition to the pack in early 2016 anyway – perhaps I should be considering two, three or even more pups. Although I suspect that the Commander-in-Chief of Home Forces might have a view on this proposal.