Monday, June 20, 2011
Zaz's 2nd Championship Ticket! Axtane 2011
After 15 years of playing in agility I have had a first this weekend...I felt physically sick before a run! I do hope this will not be a common occurrence but it is all good as the results were positive!
It is hard to believe that Axtane last year was only the 3rd weekend of competition for Zaz and Itz. What a difference a year makes and what fun times these two pups are giving me. Even more unbelievable to me was that it was 9 years ago in 2002 at this very show that Pax won out of Starters!
So the small/medium championships were on Sunday. I was entered on Saturday also but due to the chance of rain I woke up in the morning uncertain if I should get up and go. Dennis is away in Japan and I was bored without him so I decided to go to the show and see how it was when I got there. I arrived and it was sunny and calm so I hurried up and walked the Small Crufts Challenge and ran Itz followed by Zaz. Itz did her see saw and I was happy! Zaz ran a nice clear and I was happy as I knew that would give us points towards the Small Crufts Challenge class (it is a class run a Crufts that requires an accumulation of points at certain shows during the year). I decided not to wait around for any of my other classes and left before the rain started. I used the opportunity of a free afternoon to hit the shops on the way home. Sadly I bought nothing more exciting than a new folding chair and a retro bubble umbrella!
Sunday I got to the show early because Zaz was drawn as #1 in the small champ jumping. I liked the course and felt as if Zaz and I ran it really well. We came 3rd in this run and I can honestly say I don't know how we could have run it better! I could have turned her left after 6 but I thought turning her right kept the flow better even though it was a longer path. It felt good to run the jumping early so, for once, I could sit ringside and watch the rest of the small dogs and see the medium dogs run the same course.
After the jumping we had two Obays that had run clear. Zaz in the small class and Zeki in the medium
Now came the Champ agility. Zaz went clear again and won the agility! It was nice to run again on rubber coated equipment and I really appreciate the clubs that are hiring rubber equipment.I did not have to worry about letting Zaz approach the dogwalk at an angle and I could concentrate on getting into position for the sequence from 3-5.
Zeki had a nice agility run also in the medium. You can see her Axtane champ runs on Nancy's blog post. This put both Zaz and Zeki into the Champ final!
I had another early run in the champ agility; so I was again able to sit ringside and watch the last of the smalls and all the medium dogs run. I had a nice cuppa and ate my lunch. All seemed good! They set up the Championship final course and we had 15 minutes to walk it. Both Zaz and Zeki had ended up in the penultimate position in the running order. A great place to be! You had the chance to see how the dogs before you fared and yet knew that you had one potentially faster dog running after you.
I started to walk the finals course and suddenly felt as if I had to sit down. My legs had gone to jelly! What was happening? I thought the course was one that we could do and imagined it would be a course that would be won on speed and turns. I did not think there would be many faults. Of course I was concerned about the final two jumps and when you see the video you will understand why. I asked Nancy's opinion as she knows how I have trained Zaz and what we can and cannot do. I spotted Lesley and dragged her over and asked her to quickly give her opinion about the last two jumps. I figured we had a safe option and a quick option. I decided to go for the quick option as I knew that there were quite a few dogs in the class that could beat us on speed. Then I started worrying that I was too concentrated on those last two jumps and I needed to focus on the entire course. By then it was time to get Zaz and get ready and I was starting to feel sick!
Now, contrary to popular opinion, I am not the most confident person. I tend not to show my nervousness before I run a course because I have learned that it doesn't help to give in to the nerves. Even when I am nervous I will not discuss it as most "mental management" gurus will tell you that it does not help to keep repeating this. Instead I repeat certain words and comments to both myself and people around me. Words that help me feel relaxed and confident. Most importantly I love my dogs and I love doing agility with them and I do not ever want this game to be so important to me that it is stressful.
So why, on this day before this run did I feel like I was going to be sick? I have heard people say they felt like this before a run and thought they were exaggerating. Well, actually, I now know they were not lying! I walked Zaz around and around while we were waiting to run; not to warm her up but to try and not lose my lunch!
I had a vague idea of what the other teams before me had done. I knew one of the faster dogs had gone clear and that I had a fast dog to yet run after me. So there was no room for error; we just had to go for it. yet as I stepped to the line all I could think was "please don't let my legs give out!".
We did it! We ran clear and we ran it the best we could. As I sat on the ground outside the ring I just kept hugging Zaz as we watched the last dog run. I had no idea at that point if we were in the lead and when the last dog finished I waited to hear the results. Someone checked for me and they said they thought Zaz had won. I couldn't believe it so I made them check again! They confirmed it and I couldn't stop hugging Zaz even though she hated it. I am amazed that my little girl now has 2 Championship tickets and needs only one more to become an Agility Champion. She is such a special dog to me for so many reasons and I am so happy to be playing this game with her.
At that point I realized that Zeki could also win in the medium champs and I just had a vision at that moment that she would. Since Zaz was fed up with me hugging her I sat ringside to watch the medium champ final. Up came this years medium Crufts champion and she was putting in a foot perfect extremely fast run. She had the win in the bag with only two jumps to go when all of a sudden they got a refusal at the second to last jump! I looked over to see Nancy's face and I think she just about passed out at that moment when she realized that, actually, she and Zeki could now have a chance at winning. If anyone needed the saying "Keep Calm and Carry On" at that point it was Nancy.
Well they did it. They put in the best run they could and at the end of the class Zeki had won the Medium Championship Final!
Amazingly this is not the first time we have had two OBays winning the tickets on the same day. Zen and Indy have won the Medium and small championship tickets on the same day at 3 or 4 shows during their careers. Zen and Hex had won a medium and small ticket on the same day as well. These were all True pups. Now the next generation have done the same....two of Zen's babies (True's grandpups) have won the small/medium tickets on the same day. I hope this is good omen for the last litter of Zen puppies that are being made as I type!
Well the day couldn't get any better could it? Stay tuned for Itzy news!