Here is the view of the three ring Dania Cup 2011. The little tents around the rings belong to the competitors. They get there early to stake out their spots; the best ones being along the front so that you can sit in the shade or out of the rain and still watch. These tents went three rows deep; this is one of the biggest shows in Denmark. This is quite a contrast to the UK show I was at this past weekend. The Kennel Club International Festival here in England was 17 rings.
I love how they all have the same size tents and are SO neat in how they line them up. So very cute!
I really enjoyed my week in Denmark competing at the Dania Cup. The courses were exciting and it was fun to have so many runs per day. We had 2 runs at our level (Class 3 for Zaz and Itz) plus one open class per day. I would love to go into detail on all the courses but I keep running out of time. If you want to see the courses and results you can just go to the website at DANIA CUP 2011
The class 3 courses were very testing and fun! We had judges from many different countries including the two World Champ judges for this year. That alone made the trip worthwhile for me. It gave me confidence that we could do it!
The open classes are generally slightly easier as they are for class 1,2 and 3 dogs. The open class results helped to qualify you for the end of the week final. There were some complicated rules to get into the final but at the end both Zaz and Itz qualified for the finals on Saturday.
Here is Zaz in her open class on the first day. That was her only clear for the first two days as we seemed to need a few courses under our belt to get our rhythm together.
On the Monday I was disappointed as we had 3 runs with no clears for either dog. Just tiny mistakes but so frustrating. Finally on Tuesday, the third day of competition, Zaz got a clear in her Grade 3 agility which gave us her first Agility Championship Certificate! In Denmark they have a separate Jumping and Agility Championship title. They need 3 championship certificates to become a champion. The titles are Agility Champion and Jumping (Spring) Champion.
Here is Zaz in her Class 3 agility on Tuesday getting her first Championship certificate in another country!
The prize giving was at the end of each day. Everyone would sit around with their chairs and drinks to cheer on their respective country wins. The funny thing is that the prizes were not what we are used to! They did give medals out for 1st,2nd and 3rd but do not do rosettes, ribbons or trophies. Each person (usually placed 1st-6th) get a trip up to a "prize" table. On this table can be an assortment of things: dog toys, dog treats, vouchers for vendors, beer, wine, human toiletries, clothing ect! Basically anything could be up there! The 1st placed person picked first and then the rest choose in order of their placings. By the end you could be walking away with a bottle of skin lotion or bug spray! It was funny to see the men walking away with all sorts of face lotions!
This shows everyone hanging around waiting for prize giving.
Some crazy Norwegian lady! She wore this shirt to every prize giving. The Norwegians are amazing agility handlers; I love to watch them. At the European Open this year they really stood out for me again.
I wasn't so brave in dressing up but I did bring up the big Union Jack flag (thanks to Ian Watts) which in itself was quite a feat. I almost managed to kill someone with that flag because I couldn't control it!
While giving these types of prizes rather than trophies/rosettes may seem strange to us in the UK I can really see the benefits. While I love to get my beautiful trophies; in reality how many can I keep? At the Dania Cup I kept trying to collect the vouchers for a certain vendor and at the end of the week I had enough vouchers to get a lovely dog bed for free AND a free photo of my dog. I know that it might be disappointing to place 4th in a big class and walk away with bug spray but do the trophies really mean that much anyway? I like having something useful! My dogs got loads of extra dog treats, toys and leads plus I won bottles of salmon oil (very expensive!), a dog bed, photos and various toiletries. Oh and I won 3 bottles of champagne for winning some open classes. The more alcoholic team members chose cases of beer or cider whenever they won anything!
For winning a Championship Certificate they gave a special prize. You won a shirt! Since Zaz won 2 championship agility certificates and 2 championship jumping certificates I could have had 4 shirts made up. Instead I got a pink shirt that said "Winner of the Agility & Jumping certificates". I love that shirt but really didn't need another shirt so instead Dennis got a Dania Cup 2011 shirt. Again something functional that he will enjoy often. Dennis will probably wear his Dania Cup shirt more than I will wear mine. I have a closet full of Team GB shirts that I never wear either.
For the next agility and jumping certificate wins I had another shirt made up. I went for the lime green shirt and asked for pink lettering (of course!). I didn't quite expect her to use the FLUORESCENT pink lettering! Wow this is one bright shirt! I am not sure I will ever wear this shirt but wore it on our last night out for dinner with friends at the Dania cup. Hmmm maybe I will wear it for our party when Zaz finishes her Agility Championship here in England. That will give us something to look forward to. LOL
After 3 days of agility there was a day off on Wednesday. A nice relaxing day and the one day of rain! We were lucky with the weather and there was only one morning where I didn't run 2 of my classes due to the weather. I was disappointed that this show did not use the rubber coated contact equipment as I was expecting. I think we assume that all European agility shows use the rubber equipment but that is not the case. So as in the UK, I will skip a class if I think it could be unsafe for my dog. The equipment was generally good and I really liked the magnetic breakaway tyre. The tyre just gave way if the dog hit it. The judging was easy; they did not fault it as long as the dog went through the tyre.
I think I skipped the first runs on Thursday (class 3 agility) but Zaz went on to win the Class 3 Jumping Certificate later on in the day.
Friday was our best day! Zaz won both the jumping and agility championship certificates and won the open agility. Little Itzy got a 6th place in the Class 3 agility. I was really proud of Itzy all week. She had some issues with the wall jump which cost us some clear rounds but overall ran really well and constantly amazes me with what she knows! When I put more time into her training she will only get better and better.
Here is Itz in her agility class 3 on Friday.
And Zaz in her agility class 3 on Friday.
We had a fantastic time in Denmark. Dennis and I had hoped to go back next year but have just found out that the week show in 2012 will be non-KC affiliated. This makes it less attractive as they will not be awarding Championship certificates. I think because of this they also will have less competitors from other countries and will not get the world champ judges. For me it was being able to compete against some really good small dogs from other countries under tough courses in a more relaxed atmosphere that made the show so attractive. I hope to get back to Denmark again to finish Zaz's Agility and Jumping Championships but it might not be next year.
I have also decided not to tryout for the EO next year as it is in Sweden. This would be another long expensive drive. Instead I would like to find a show like the Dania Cup where I can enjoy a few days of good agility in a relaxed friendly atmosphere. So I am on the lookout for another good show in a different country next year. If anyone has any good ideas let me know? A 3 day or longer show would be best because by the time we pay for fuel,hotels and entries it is more cost effective to have more days of competing.
I am going to try and catch up by talking about the European Open next. I must get the blog caught up so that I can concentrate on writing on more important matters: PUPPIES!