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The Ladies of Lawrence and the Lucky Lead

After doing so well in the top end of the South Island last weekend, Team Kitaco headed to the other end of New Zealand’s picturesque South Island this weekend (yes, it looks just like Middle Earth!) for the Gore & Districts Kennel Association shows.

This trip was extra special as it was our first visit to the historic (and very exclusive) Lady of Lawrence B&B owned by Kathleen Lilleby and her husband Rolf. Besides owning the most beautiful home in the South Island, Kathleen also owns (and spoils) two of Poco's daughters - our darling Fifi (NZ CH Eldivino Phoenix Rising at Kitaco), her half-sister Ali (Kitaco's Ali Kazam) and now - we are delighted to announce - Cheekychi’s Reign of Terror, the magnificent pup she recently imported from Australia.

I have to say, it was something of an effort to drag ourselves out of bed at 5:30 am to get down to Gore (over an hour away) when the alternative was lolling about in the splendid, elegance of the Lady of Lawrence historic homestead, sipping high tea while wondering if the peasants were revolting…

Drag ourselves out we did, however, and a good thing too. On Day 1, under Australian Judge, Pamela Campbell, Kyrie (Kitaco's Valkyrie Warrior) took Best of Breed and then again in the second show under Thai judge, Chakkapan Chantarasmee. Fifi took Reserve of Breed in the first show and Best intermediate of Breed in the second.

Funnily enough, Kyrie did all her winning with a lead we borrowed from Kathleen. Young Kyrie is an “independent exhibitor” who has a tendency to grab the lead on the move, because apparently, “ah can do it mahself” and she doesn’t think she needs anyone walking her around the ring. We thought we’d try Kathleen’s lighter training lead and it proved a great decision as her two Best of Breeds can attest. Kyrie is unlikely to progress much further, we fear, until she decides “standing” means four legs instead of two. (Apparently, conformation judges don’t rate her ability to stand on her hind legs all day as worthy of reward at Group level. LOL)

Day 2 and this time Fifi wore the Lucky Lead. Sure enough, the luck prevailed and Fifi took Best of Breed under Australian judge Graham Cruse, with Kyrie taking Reserve of Breed. Kyrie was knocked out of the rest of the comp by the Group winner, so she didn’t get to display her hind leg standing trick again (phew!).

Fifi, on the other hand, was in the zone. She took the Best Intermediate of Group and walked out like she owned the ring in the Best Intermediate in Show line-up. She lost to Keith Brown’s dog, but we are so proud of how she performed, we could not have asked for more from her or Kathleen. They make such a great team and I’m sure they will have lots of success in the Gore and Dunedin shows now they’re permanently located in the South Island.

After all the formalities were over, we got to talking with the judges. Chakkapan is lovely and so friendly and he also breeds and shows Chihuahuas so he went over Reign for us, with his expert eye, and was particularly impressed with his lovely bite and great conformation. We also chatted with Graham Cruse, who was very impressed with Fifi. It was so interesting hearing international judges talking about the problems with narrow lines and the issues (and expense) encountered importing into Australia and NZ from countries like Thailand.

It really was a fabulous weekend and we’d like to compliment the Gore & Districts Kennel Association for the great, friendly and enjoyable shows they put on. Didn’t realise what we were missing. We'd also like to thank Kathleen and Rolf for welcoming us unto their amazing home. I predict that now we can stay at the Lady of Lawrence (seriously, the beds are to die for) when we head down this way, I think we’ll be finding lots of excuses to come south for shows in the future.

The famous Lucky Lead!

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