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Monday, October 24, 2011

FCI World Championships 2011 Part 1

It takes me awhile to get my thoughts together after a big event. There is a combination of euphoria and depression; I don't even watch the videos of our runs for a long time. The focus and energy taken up preparing both mentally and physically takes over your life on the run up to the event.

I have been exposed to the idea of "positive mental attitude" for most of my previous career (Chiropractor) and for most of my time in the dog world in obedience and then agility. I think it comes naturally to me now; to the level that when I hear people talking themselves down I need to stop myself from trying to help them. Everyone deals with pressure differently and some people actually feel better if they say negative things and then do better than they thought. This is not what I think is best but it is what helps them. That is all that matters, having something that works for you.

When I competed in the USA I would actually get tired of hearing the constant "positive mental attitude" banter. If,God forbid, you said something negative you were told off! Hmmm a kind of a backwards way of working on positivity I think. It became almost like a religious cult of positivity! So because of this I tend to keep my goals and mental preparation work to myself; it is how I deal with things and what works for me is personal.

For the first time before a major competition I had to actually work on "mental imagery". Imagining Zaz and I running courses: what I would do and how she would react, how we would approach the start line and how we would celebrate after finishing the last jump. I ran this over and over in my head because for the month before we went to France I could not train Zaz.....

I had taken a little week break with Zaz after our last Championship show. I expected to start training on the complicated European courses during the month before we left just to get our heads into those types of courses again. I thank God that I had spent the week in Denmark in July competing over European courses because that was one thing that made me feel confident and prepared.

To keep a long story short, I found Zaz mysteriously lame one day and assumed it was a soft tissue injury even though she had not had anything happen. I thought our World Champ experience was over before it began. But after all the worrying it turns out Zaz had a cut pad and I had missed it! How I missed it I will never know but thank God for Dennis who found it and the canine osteopath who went over Zaz thoroughly and convinced me that Zaz was OK to run. This is what her pad looked like 2 weeks after the start of her lameness. How deep the cut was when it occurred I will never know. I hope this will help others to make sure you check your dog's feet thoroughly! I really had to stop kicking myself for missing this one.

To make matters more "exciting" two nights before we left for France Zaz came back into the house after being let out for her last toilet and was carrying her back leg up! WTF? I just lay down with her crying thinking this is it; I am never doing agility again. Then we watched as her rear foot swelled up and realized she must have stepped on a wasp! Popped a anti-histamine in her mouth, carried her up onto the bed with us and fell asleep. She woke up at 1 am jumped off the bed sound as ever. OK now, I was thinking, this is all just to make me stronger!

We happened to watch the movie "Secretariat" (a true story about a racehorse that exceeded all expectations and won the triple crown of racing in the USA) that week and I kept saying to myself Zaz is like Secretariat and she will surprise us all!

On Wednesday we left the pups in the capable hands of Johanna and we off through the Eurotunnel for our French adventure. I was so excited because the last time I was at the FCI Worlds in France I was just a spectator and remember being AMAZED by Sylvia Trkman and La. Now I was there myself competing with Zaz at only 2 years of age; how fantastic is that?

Thanks to Dennis for driving us to France. How nice to take a trip to the World Championships that is only a 3 hour drive!


Serena said...

Oh, Bernadette, I'm sad to hear about what a nerve-wracking pre-France days it has been for you!!!!! But it all turned out so BEAUTIFULLY in the end...Having 3rd place at 2 years' old for ZAZ was truly a Hexie cheer-on to finish what she meant to keep on finishing for more brilliant FCI wins to come-- always, a consecutive winner! And it was Hexie's earthly wishes for you, her Mama Champion! And there will be so many more years to celebrate with Zaz...Been cheering you on at AA forum during the weekend's FCI trial, but alas!!! I was sooo mad and frustrated with our American AKC!!!! It took them forever! to post the results, almost 2 weeks' of agonizing waiting!!!! All they would post was just a brief summary of themselves, and the FCI official website was no help whatsoever either! I kept rechecking and rechecking until I was about ready to SCREAM with frustration! Now I can be happy and all of us can now send in our online Celebratory Champagne bottles to you - Victory!!!

Sheltiedoc said...

She looks like she wore it off running...I have had this problem with my shelties Cory and his dad Andy on several occasions, a combination of pads that are a little soft, dogs who run flat out as hard as they can, and running surface. They are more likely to do it if their feet are damp so I try to make sure they have a chance to dry thoroughly before running them. We used to do it on the contacts if we practiced them repetitively or did a weekend seminar, but with the advent of rubber contacts this no longer seems to be an issue. However, even on our rubber matted floor where most dogs don't have an issue I have had problems occasionally. The worst is a hard surface like a parking lot with just a little sand or gravel on it, so we have to be careful warming up outside even if it's just flatwork. It can happen very quickly and often takes a couple of weeks to heal. Just like someone sandpapered off several layers of pad, and very very painful- they can be really lame and I always check for this first in my patients presented for lameness. I have found a product sold by Cleanrun, Tuf Foot, helps a LOT, along with keeping the pads dry (sometimes hard in the summer when they perspire a bit too) and being careful about how much fur to trim off the feet- they slip less with the feet trimmed short between the pads, but are less likely to tear up the pads if the fur is left long. My boys have had the most trouble with their pads that are pink, your girl looks like she has dark pads so hopefully they are tougher and less likely to happen again. I suspect that my guys get most of their exercise in training and I don't tend to walk them as much due to MY soundness issues, which also means that they don't run/walk on various surfaces as much anymore and their feet don't get a chance to toughen up.