Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Zaz and Itz competed at their second Kennel Club show this past weekend. Thames is a huge show with 13 rings of agility and big classes. The largest class the pups were in had over 240 small dogs and the smallest class had around 70-80 small dogs.
Friday started out with an EO training session for Zen. It was a crazy course designed by one of the EO judges. Zen did well and I felt like we could handle the course. It was a good feeling to run it clean the first time through.
On Saturday I had the opportunity to run 9 courses with all three dogs. I say the "opportunity" because I seem to always end up missing at least 2 walk-throughs and miss running at least one class each day! It is just too much like hard work to keep up with all the announcements and walking back and forth over 13 rings. When it comes down to it I don't mind missing one or two runs with Zen but I wanted to do all the pups runs to give us the ring experience. Gosh I just had a flash of how difficult the KC International Festival with 20 rings will be. Yikes!
Zen had some really good runs all weekend and just topped it off nicely (Thank You Zen!) by qualifying for the 2010 Olympia Semi-final. The pups just constantly amaze me with their confidence and attitude. It is always fun walking the course for the pups and trying to figure out what I need to do differently with each pup. I also have to laugh at myself as I walk the course thinking things like "they can't do that yet!" and "this course is HARD for them". It is so different than when I walk courses for Zen as I feel so confident and connected with her. I am looking forward to that feeling with the pups and I am enjoying the journey with both of them.
Results-wise all three Girlpower pups at Thames did really well. Zaz and Itz racked up a few rosettes and trophies between them. And Karen and Yaz won a class and came second in another. The best part is that all three pups are happy in the ring and continue to show joy in their runs. What could be better?
One of my goals this year is to take a photo of the pups with their rosettes and trophies after each weekend of competition. This way I can keep the photos as mementos rather than keeping all the rosettes and trophies. After moving house I realized how crazy it is keeping them year after year. This way I can keep the photos and donate the trophies and rosettes to be re-used by the charities or schools. I do love to compete and enjoying winning a class (or two or three!) but many times I wish I could donate the trophies back to the clubs to re-use as I know how expensive it must be for the club to offer these trophies. I do love to keep the special trophies and had many a sentimental moment over this past week taking them out of the packing boxes, polishing them and placing each one carefully in their special selected spot. With some trophies and ribbons I could remember every moment of running the course and receiving the trophy. There was one special box that I opened which contained trophies of Hex's last two weekends of competition....I actually opened them, looked at them and then let them go. My memories of her are firmly in my heart and soul and I did not need a box of trophies to help me remember her.
Here are a few of Zaz and Itz's runs at Thames 2010. I did better on the Saturday with asking people to video. By Sunday I seem run out of steam and hate to bother people. It is not easy as we end up having to queue for so long and it is hard to ask someone to wait ringside for the entire time.
I will try and download some more videos tomorrow.
Thursday, June 10, 2010
I should learn that if I do not put my thoughts down right after an event it just ain't gonna happen. Although I would like to write down everything, I will just have to settle with a few thoughts, photos and videos.
This was Zen's 5th time representing Great Britain internationally. I think the girl done pretty good this time with three Bronze medals and some "nearly" runs. Now we look forward to the European Open in July and the World Champ try-outs at the end of the month. I would love Zen to qualify for the 2010 World Champs again as it may be her last time. Competing at these events is not only expensive but it also takes alot of focus and energy. I would not want to do them if I could not give it 100%. Next year may be our year off from any International events and as we focus on the new house, the pups fledgling career and some (non-doggie)travel.
It certainly was nice to have an international event right here in the UK. The travel was so much easier than normal! MEGA well done to the countries who had to fly their dogs into England. The cost of dog flights into England is exorbitant and they showed such dedication in getting here as most had to pay their own way. The Gold medal (figuratively and literally!) goes to the Russian team who DROVE here from Russia and then got lost. Instead of going south west to Clevedon Somerset, they ended going north east to Cleveland! Probably about a 5 hour drive one-way without traffic. I admit we had a little chuckle at this but the Russians really showed us! They wiped the board with medals and outstanding runs; my hat is tipped to them. Plus their agility fashion sense was impeccable with quite a few pink mini-skirts and perfect make-up and hair! I did get a little frustrated with their ability to run like heck and throw in multiple double and triple blind crosses seamlessly. Geesh! "Run like a Russian" has become our little secret motto. Watch out for Marilyn A. and Zav-lana (previously called Zavvi) to hit the rings running like a Russian in a few weeks.
In two years the IFCS World Cup will be in the USA. Zen will definitely NOT be going to that event as I will not fly her across the ocean in cargo. It is a shame as the IFCS heights are great for Zen as the height cut-off is 16" vs the 17" of FCI. This gives Zen (at 15") the advantage of being in the upper limits of the height cut-off. The pups would be at a disadvantage being 13" so they would probably never compete at IFCS. So sadly this may have been my first and last IFCS competition. I really enjoyed the entire atmosphere and was so proud to be a part of a great team. Coming back to reality after these events is always difficult. You spend a few days in a positively charged agility "bubble" and you have the support and backup of your team-mates during that time. It is a great feeling and one I hope to experience a few more times with Zen this year. And, God willing, with the pups in a few years. It can definitely be addictive!
I do not want to go into details of the courses or our placements. Suffice to say that Zen was running great and I loved all the tough courses. The biggest suprise of all was our Snooker run. Considering Zen and I have done Snooker approximately 3 times before in our entire lives, I was pretty well chuffed with the Snooker Bronze medal! The not-so-big suprise was our Gamblers run. Gamblers will never be Zen's strength and sadly it was what prevented us from winning the gold or silver overall medal. Until we actually have proper gamblers courses here in the UK it will just not ever be a priority for us.
Here is our Snooker run.
Our individual Agility run.
Our Biathalon jumping run.
Our Individual Jumping run, which combined with the Individual Agility, gave us the Overall Bronze!
Thanks again to Zen-star for making it look easy for me.
Monday, June 07, 2010
It has been non-stop here since the IFCS World Cup. We are trying to get the house and garden in order and move all our stuff over from the previous house. The crazy thing is that I cannot call the previous house the "old house". Instead I have to say the "previous" house because our new house is called "Old House Cottage"! Of course Dennis likes to be cool and call it "OHC". Now be careful and don't confuse that with the house next door which is called "Old House". HA!
I like this blog to be strictly about my dogs. So I debated if I should blog about the house but realized that our house was really bought just for the dogs....We are very lucky they let us live here. here is a little video of the first day we officially moved in.
We have really made a dent in all the boxes and probably just have around 10 big boxes left to sort through. Most of those boxes are still from the house in New York, so I think they can wait a little longer! Painting is nearly done and new flooring gets put in the sitting room this week. Then we can move the furniture into that room and start to hang photos and such. Which, by the way, I have way too many.
Our next big project is getting the garage built and that will go a long way toward making the house easier to live in as we can get the junk back out into the garage!
We have set up our temporary dog run and that also makes it feel more comfortable here. The dogs now have a safe place to hang out when I cannot be outside with them.
We are really starting to feel like OHC is home. Once the agility paddock has grass and my agility equipment is in I may never want to leave! The grass seed is down and we are starting to see little sprouts of green coming up. Unfortunately it may take a month or two before it is strong enough that we can actually do any agility on it.
I still have to sort through Zen's videos from the IFCS World Cup and hope to do that this week. Happily I have been a good girl and I recieved a new video camera as a present from Dennis. It is a small pocket sized Kodak Zi8 and it seems easier to download videos and certainly easier to carry around the showgrounds. Hopefully it will not take me as long now to sort through videos taken on the weekend. I do not know how people get them downloaded and edited so fast! It can take me weeks!
(If anyone has suggestions on how to make the process quicker and what programs to use, please let me know. You can either email me or send me a message on facebook.) Now the only difficult thing is to find people to video ringside. It is hard to organize when the shows are 8-12 rings and there are 100 plus dogs in the class. Hopefully since a few of us now have young dogs out we can trade video duties over the next few months as it will be nice to look back on our first tentative steps in the ring together.
Luckily I managed to get a few rounds of Zaz and Itz's first KC show recorded. We still have a long way to go in training but I am so pleased to be running with these two special little dogs. They can do no wrong in my eyes.