Christina Oxtoby
March News 2014

webassets/SuttonBridgeGospelChoirWorksop.jpg2nd March - Amazing Workshop for Sutton Bridge Gospel Choir - A huge thank you to everyone who came on the workshop today - 10 people from Stamford Gospel Choir (thank you so much for coming all this way - it was so kind of you and really lovely to see you again) who came to help us, and 40 who came to the workshop. We had a great time learning new songs and everyone did really well – we're starting to sound like a choir already! We're starting weekly practices on Wednesday the 23rd April 7:15-8:15pm at St Matthew's Church Sutton Bridge. Everyone's welcome (whether they were at the workshop or not) and it's still free of charge. THANK YOU to everyone who came for joining in with such enthusiasm – I look forward to seeing you at our first practice! (Is it now that I mention that we've already been booked for our first concert?


Wednesday 5th March - DOGS - Crufts - Had a great practice with the Main Arena Dog Activities teams with Ru. He's such a good boy and really knows his job. As soon as we arrived at Crufts he did his 'Oh it's this again, yes I like this, I can do this!' Looking forward to tomorrow...!


Thursday 6th March - DOGS - Crufts - I arrived very early with Eze (having first been to the park to let the dogs run off a bit of their energy.) Eze and I walked around the main arena and then did some training so that he was happy working in the space. Bless, him, he acted as though he'd worked there all of his life! We then went back up to hall 3 (the opposite end of Crufts) where I'd left the other dogs with the dog activities team (thank you to everyone who looked after them) and got changed. A quick walk for all of the dogs and then I settled the other two and took Eze to the main arena Freestyle benches. We did some more warm ups whilst I tried to settle my nerves! I was amazed at the number of cards and messages of support and friends visiting to cheer us on - THANK YOU, your support and encouragement meant so much. We then moved to the back stage holding area where we did a little more warm ups (Eze needs a lot of warming up... or should I say settling down?!) and then we had a rest. Once we were in the ring he was a little star for me, I was so proud of him. We managed all of the routine with only a couple of missed ques and he really tried his hardest for me in such an intense environment. (Thank you Sweetie for making my dreams come true.) My costume had 'Caleb' written on one sleeve in memory of my first Great Dane who got me started in HTM in the first place and 'Carol' (my Mother-in-Law) who was a great supporter of me and the dogs and sadly died 2 years ago on the other sleeve. Eze and I eventually finished 7th (this is 7th in the UK so we were very pleased.)

Next, it was a quick meet up with Hubby and Mum (who were both there to support us) and then dash back to hall 3 to get back to the other dogs. Walks for the dogs, half a sandwich for me, a quick change and then swap dogs and Ru and I were heading back to the Main Arena for our display (STILL a long way to get to!) He was a star, I was so proud of him. He seems to grow 2 inches as soon as he goes into the ring and has clearly decided that everyone is there JUST to see him! After the performance we were met by lots of people who had seen him in the ring and wanted to come and meet The Dancing Dane. He's so lovely and enjoys cuddling his fans! Finally, it was time to go back and have a good night's sleep before the next adventure. 

Saturday 8th March - DOGS - Crufts - This was Ru's day. We were doing 2 routines in the ring in Hall 3 as part of the Dog Activities Team and 2 demonstrations in the training pen for the public to meet him and learn how to start to teach HTM. We were also met by someone who works with the film industry who had asked to meet us at Crufts with a view to using him in some of the work she does. Ru was a really good boy. We were in the ring first thing in the morning and he was fine (if still somewhat sleepy!) He met everyone with his usually cuddly welcome and after having had his photo taken numerous times he went back to his bed for a little sleep. He was also a very good boy when it was his turn in the training pen and I'm always amazed at just how quickly crowds start to gather to watch him. His performance in the afternoon was even better than the morning and I was so proud to be dancing with him in such a great partnership. I was also really touched by the very kind comments that people made about him. All too soon the day was over (although this was also a good thing as I was exhausted from working with him and also juggling the collies!) Just one more day to go... 


Sunday 9th March - DOGS - Crufts - Ru was back in the main arena in the morning so we arrived in plenty of time to get the collies settled and looked after by the rest of the team. Once again Ru was a very good boy and did his work in the ring with real enthusiasm. Once our 5 minutes were over our team move to the edge of the arena whilst the next team do their display. The dogs are supposed to have a rest in between working and Ru was so contented and relaxed that he fell asleep and I had to wake him up to do his next bit! Next we were back to the benching for him to have a proper rest in his bed and it was time for the collies to do some work. We had been asked by Wood Green Animal Shelters if we could pop over to their stand and do a display, so after getting changed into my Team GB top we set off. Both Eze and Shai were really good boys and worked so hard. Firstly they worked one at a time (whilst the other one practiced their 'stay') and then they both worked together. Later, (after another walk and a rest) all 3 of my dogs returned to the stand and this time the crowds were 3 deep and I had to ask them to move in so that other people could get past! My boys were really well behaved for me and then did a great job of posing for photos with people on the stand. It was finally time for home and after packing away - 2 crates (one Great Dane sized) 2 dog beds and several blankets, their food, my food, drinks, 2 water bowls, 2 bags of shopping, props for routines, toys, various other bits, 2 Collies and a Great Dane - we were off! 



17th March - DOGS - I'm so proud of my lovely Eze - we're so honoured to be invited onto the Team to be entered for the 2014 HTM Open European Championships in Germany in November. It's an amazing line up of dogs and handlers and we're so delighted to be a part of it - THANK YOU! Here's a link for the team blog


18th March - MUSIC - Eight of my piano and violin pupils had their exams today ranging from piano grades 3 and 4 to violin grades 3, 4 and 8. I was there cheering them on, trying to settle nerves, doing a last run through and accompanying my grade 3 violin pupil. (A special thanks to Marian for her wonderful and supportive accompanying of my other violin pupils.) After all these years I still get nervous on their behalf and am really looking forward to getting the results... 


22nd March - DOGS - Sweet little Shai had his very first competition today in Heelwork-to-Music and he was a little star for me! He tried hard all of the way through and his tail never stopped wagging. Even though it was a very big class he managed to come 3rd - what a good boy! One of judges commented - "It was nice to see a young dog that was so happy and confident in what they were doing, a pleasure to judge."


22nd March - DOGS - Had a great first meeting for the HTM Team for the Open European Championships - more info is on the team blog.


25th March - DOGS - Happy 3rd Birthday to Shai! We're had you just over a year now and you're such a sweet member of the family already... x 


26th March - MUSIC - Delighted to say that I've just had the results back for my piano and violin pupils' exams and they've all passed (some with merit or distinction.) What I'm most delighted about is the fact that my grade 8 violin pupil has passed with a distinction! She has worked really hard and it is her dream to go to the Royal Academy of Music so this really helps to open the door for her. (One very happy teacher!)


28th March - DOGS - Just been booked by the AETB to take a HTM workshop for them - really looking forward to it! I've also just managed to sort out a date to take a HTM workshop for Cambridge Dogs which should also be really great fun. (Please see the Diary page for more details...)


28th March - GENERAL - I've just manged to set up a Facebook page to keep in touch with you all. Please feel free to drop by and 'like' it so we can keep in touch... 


29th - 30th March - DOGS - Had a great 2 days on an HTM judge training seminar reminding myself of all of the rules and generally getting myself back into judge mode for later on this year! (Thank you Kath.)