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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

European Open 2011

This year the European Open Agility Championships was in Austria. You can find all the results here.

Austria is a beautiful country and this is the 3rd time we have visited there. Twice for agility and once for a walking holiday. I would love to go back and spend more time walking there; maybe when we get our motorhome and spend a few months travelling around Europe. (I can dream!)

I picked up a Linzer Tart while we walked around Linz on our day off. Believe it or not this brought back memories of Long Island! Lots of things we saw in Austria made me realize just what a melting pot of nationalities I grew up with. We had so many German delis and bakeries on Long Island that some of the Austrian and German foods seemed familiar.

Our hotel was gorgeous and had great food and ample room to walk the dogs. This was the view from my balcony! The weather was overcast on all the days but I can imagine on a clear day the views would be even more amazing.

The weather was good for agility; overcast and cool. The only bad weather was on the NIGHT of the finals. The Large dog final was run in the pouring rain in the DARK! Yes the Dark! They had floodlights but they kept failing; sometimes during people's runs. I don't care how far I have travelled; I would not run my dog in the rain, mud and dark....

I won't go into details about the lack of organization. Suffice to say it was not the best organized EO I have been to! This is so disappointing for the people who spent so much time and effort to qualify and then to get to Austria to compete.

On the positive side, the team final was an amazing event to watch! I am slightly glad I was not participating though as it was quite a tough course. If you search Youtube I am sure you can find videos of the team final event.

This will be my last time going to the EO for a few years I think. It is just not worth the long journey for what amounts to 2 or 3 runs. I think I should use my money more wisely! We pay for the entire trip ourselves. The KC gives us our clothing and our entries (which helps) but other than that all the World Champ trips and European Open trips are paid for by ourselves. I do not have a sponsor that pays for my expenses....Thank goodness on this trip Nancy offered (was convinced?) to drive! So, at least, we could split the fuel and travel costs between the three of us (Nancy, Leah and I).

Here is Zeki and Herbie at the opening ceremonies. I generally don't take my girls to the opening ceremony as they get too over the top excited. I love the closing ceremonies as I can let them be crazy if they want. Sadly this year we missed the closing ceremony as the event went on too late and too long because it was so unorganized.

I am so disappointed that the EO will not be in England next year as planned. The Kennel Club would have a fantastic job organizing it as they do with the Kennel Club International Festival every year. Nearly 20 rings of agility and more competitors than at the European Open and everything goes smoothly and on time. I realize England is harder to enter for most people, but in reality for most Europeans it is not anymore difficult than getting into Sweden.

Zaz travelled so well. Zen was fantastic to run but she hated the travel. Zaz just took everything in her stride and was her normal calm self. We had 5 runs total (2 individual,Individual final and 2 team).

I like this photo of her on the see saw as we have been working so hard to improve our see saw performance. It is still work in progress but it is getting better.

Here is Zaz chilling out in the seating area. Johanna had this beautiful blanket made up for Zaz. I love it! We also got a lovely embroidered lead from Leah and lots off Union Jack pressies from Nancy. You see we actually only do all this for the pressies! Union Jacks and pink are a great combo!

Here are the videos: the good and the bad!

Individual Jumping: I panicked at the end and blew it!

Individual Agility: I LOVED the feeling after running this course! Zaz came 4th in this class!

Individual Final: Her top 15 place in the individual agility gave her a place in the final. I was so proud to be running Zaz in the final but afterwards broke down in tears. I did not expect the announcer to mention our podium place at the 2008 EO and I kept wanted to say to them "You have it wrong; that was Hex not Zaz". Such a little thing to bother me but I couldn't help it. For me it felt worse because I didn't want people to think I was upset about my run when that was just not the case....While I would have loved to go clear I don't think I could ever cry over an agility run as long as I still had my little happy dog by my side.

Our team agility and team jumping. Clear in both but the smalls and mediums are lumped together. I think she ranked 15 in the combined small/medium agility and 40-something in the team jumping.

Again I would love to give y'all a full rundown of our experiences and runs but puppies have happened and I spend alot of time looking at them and worrying. This takes up an extraordinary amount of time. More about "The Boyz" in my next post....

1 comment:

Serena said...

Oh, Bless! Zaz is looking so wonderful. And she is one cheeky, beautiful pup-all-grown-up now! It's been such a long time Bernadette! I caught sight of the cute newborn pup, and it brought memories of Zaz, Itzy and how they helped heal your heart over dear little Mischevious, Pixie Hexie Star! I happened to accidentally click on a different Facebook link and got these brilliant viddies! I was about to comment how Zaz had so much Hexie fire in the way that she keeps inching forward from her stays, and how she dances "freestyle" on you when approaching the ring leadup. Sooo cute and adorable! But then my teary-eyed response when I read further down your post with the accidental slip with Hexie in the announcements (tears) I'd be Crying too! But yes, so many wonderful things those videos reminded me of. Blessings to you, Bernadette and have a wonderful fall season with the princesses and the new puppies.