And she is bringing me along! :-)
On Saturday Lisa and I (along with Chi and Hex) got up at some un-dogly hour and headed up to Daventry for the European Open Selection Day. The British Kennel Club has decided this year to support the EO Agility in Gemany rather than send a team to the World Champs in Finland. I think their reason was that the EO allows non-pedigree dogs to compete unlike the World Champs which only allows pedigrees. Since the GB Kennel Club allows non-pedigrees to compete in agility, they felt that some their best dogs were missing out. Also, the costs to Finland this year were going to be huge. So, anyway, no World champs for us this year so I was keen to get selected for the EO!
I was disappointed not to be able to take Zen to try-out. Her pups were just 5 weeks old on the day of the try-outs. So I had to have a serious conversation with myself and NOT take Zen. One: I knew she was out of shape and I did not want to risk her injuring herself. And two: I did not want to risk her bringing any illness back to her pups. And three: I was worried about taking her away from her pups for a whole day.
One and two still applied on the day. Reason three did not apply so much as she has decided that she is DONE with pups! She has handed them over to me and said Hi-Hi to the pups! (for you uninformed "hi-hi" is danish for "bye-bye" and probably not spelled that way at all!) It is a shame as I know she will be fit and ready by July but it is just not meant to be.
Anyway....back to the EO try-outs. The try-outs were outside on grass. The weather was quite varied on the day. I think we had extreme cold, sun, rain, hail and wind. It was so cold in the morning brrr. I brought my blankets so that I could sit ringside and watch and felt bad for Andy the judge who must have been cold as well as tired after such a long day. We started judging at 9am and was finished around 5pm with one short break in between.
I have stolen these courses from Leah's blog and I figure she got them directly from the big bad judge. The courses themselves were not bad (haha) but made more difficult by the smaller ring. The jumping course especially was very very tight.
I wish I had some video but Lisa and I decided not to video. We each had enough to concentrate on what we were doing with our dogs and wanted to focus 100% on the job. And no Dennis to help as he was home with the pups.
Jumping Round 1
Yikes Hex saved me on this one. The long jump to collapsed tunnel is the spot that got most dogs the BIG E as they either ran into the other tunnel or back jumped #10. On the actual course the long jump was really angled towards the off-course end of tunnel #11.This area got most of the small and medium dogs. Yet the large dogs had much less trouble on that spot. I think more large dogs had trouble with the weave pole entrance and #15-#16. (I think the other end of the #16 tunnel was actually more obvious on the actual course) Hex nearly took the other tunnel entrance; when she went over the long jump I felt her pulling to the backjump at 10 and slightly adjusted. Well I thought I slightly adjusted but she thought differently and shot towards the wrong tunnel. A frantic call got her back and bless her she just avoided a refusal. We ended up 2nd on this course I think.
Agility round 1
On the actual course #9 long jump and #20 jump were much closer to the dog walk. This caused many off-courses over the back of #20 (hi Lisa!) and trouble getting dogs over the long jump which was approached fairly blindly by the dogs. Also the see-saw was going down-hill and being approached at an angle which caused alot of dogs to either fly-off, slide off or just bail-off. This caught out alot of small dogs who just got part way up the see-saw and leaped off. I think Hex won this round; I forgot already!
Agility Round 3
Again on this course #20 was much closer and very obvious after the long jump. This caused many off-courses either over #20 or thru the gap and over the back of #12. The dog-walk tunnel suprisingly caught out many dogs; but I think this is just because we do not get many tunnel/dogwalk combinations in the UK and people are not used to them. The long jump was best handled off the handlers right side; so there were some off-courses from #9 to #7 as people tried to front cross before the see-saw. Hex was running beautifully but sadly knocked #19 bar as many dogs did.
The top 50% of each height got to run the final. The weave pole entrance caused many problems. The combination of #12-#16 was a bastard! It was made to look easy by some but I really struggled when deciding what to do! I was able to get into position after the collapsed tunnel only by leaving Hex in the weaves and getting ahead of her at the collapsed tunnel. Thank God she can weave on her own! And I finally decided on the push-thru (ahhhhh!) from #13-14 followed by a front cross in front of #14. I have no idea how it looked but it felt really scary! I get so disoriented doing those moves and added in Hex is so small and so tight around the wings and I have no idea where she is! Bless her she did it! She ended up winning this class and her time was very close to the large dogs times.
So there you are all the courses if you are interested. And sorry no video!
Hex ended up in 2nd place overall and had a guaranteed spot on the small team. Yeah! I am sad I cannot take Zen but so very happy that Lisa and Chi have also qualified with a wild-card spot in the mediums! A few small mistakes by Lisa put Chi in 5th place overall (only the top 3 in small and mediums and the top 10 in large had a definite spot)but she got the call on Sunday night that has made the team anyway! Hurrah!!!!
Now the training begins! I hit the gym again and Hex is doing weekly swims until July. More long walks and much more training on European type courses. Hmmmm I am getting tired already..... :-)