Welcome to The OBay Shelties blog! Our blog is an honest diary of our life with our dogs along with news from Obay shelties around the world.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

EO 2008 Closing Ceremony

Tracey; one of our groupies!

Greg taking a photo of Dennis taking photos. Notice what is in the other hand. Drowning out his sorrows?

The fact that the EO has four rings is good and bad. Good as we get more dogs running and get through more dogs quickly. Bad in that you CANNOT watch all your team-mates run. Everyone did their best to run around from ring to ring; but it was really impossible.

After all the team runs on Sunday; it turned out the one of the large teams had won BRONZE! Hurray for the youngsters aka The Brat Pack.(Lee, Katie, Marc and Anthony) They really deserved it and they all ran beautifully. I hate that they all can run so fast though! Darn kids! ha!

The rain continued on and off; the main downpour being when my team was in the jumping ring! And the second big downpour being right around the closing ceremony time. I was gutted that the rain was so bad and it messed my hair up big time. I tried to fix it but Dennis and Sonia both suggested a hat for the closing podium photos. Boo-hoo. How the heck did Katie and Leah keep their hair so perfect for the photos?

Andy won the jumping individual so he got a trophy for that. Surprise! He was not informed that he would get a trophy and a chance at a podium photo. So instead of just going up for the applause and photo by himself; someone suggests he take a substitute dog! How ridiculous is that? Now all the world (well anyone who took a photo) thinks Andy won medium individual jumping at the EO with a cocker spaniel!

Notice the dog in the 2nd place is a SHAVED sheltie! Yuck and double yuck! Lovely dog to watch run but WHY shave it?

This gorgeous cocker gets around though; here is Lee Windeatt wishing he had a medium dog himself. Or maybe if he had a nice medium dog he wouldn't get into so much trouble?

Here are some podium shots. The large team podium shot would have been so much better if those french winners did not have such loud stripes on their shirts! It clashed with the lovely union jack flags! hehe Plus, I have already been getting emails from single American women who would love to meet some of these guys!

This lady won a silver medal in the individual large with her lovely rescue dog Herbie. I am not sure exactly who she is........hehe. Just kidding it is Leah and Herbie; we wouldn't forget you!

And just because it is my blog: some more photos of me and Hex! I like this one because you can see the rain drops (it was raining pretty hard by that point) and also you can see my skull/crossbones lucky socks!

Thanks to Natalie for this photo. It is very artistic!

So that is it! I will not go into details about the loooong ride home or the idiot coach drivers who thought we would get through Calais port without them checking all the dogs! Sigh...

Thanks to all my team-mates for being such good sports. And congratulations to all the winners! Next year....Gold? :-)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

EO Day 4 Team Day: It rained!!

I am almost getting tired of writing about the EOs! It seems to be taking me forever; maybe next time I should bring my laptop and write it down each night so I don't forget what happened. (or maybe I just needed sleep instead!) ooops there I go complaining again! Feel free to slap me.

Sunday was the team day. It was run more like normal (like the World champs) where each team member had a jumping and agility run and the scores were combined. The nice thing was the scoring was more like the old World Champ scoring; you could have 4 team members and the lowest score got dropped. This is such an advantage to have; it was a shame the GB teams were not all teams of 4. For whatever reason (drop-outs due to dog illness or lameness) there were mostly teams of 3 and only one or two teams of 4. I think they could have done some switching around and made up more teams of 4. If we had 15 small and medium dogs we could have had 3 teams of 4 and one team of 3 as the small and mediums could be mixed.

That said; I do not think it would have helped us! The small and medium teams had loads of eliminations for whatever reason. So unlike us! I blame the rain as the rain can't argue back. hehe

I think we had team agility first. If I am not mistaken two teammates had eliminations; so basically we just wanted a clear. It was a really good course and I enjoyed running it. The a-b-c sequence was there again; but it was much wider spaced as the medium dogs also had to run on the same course. You can see Hex bounce these jumps much easier as I think they are 3 metres apart. I held her contacts and was pleased with her entire run. Two bars came down but she is used to heavier bars and I should have been more careful.

Here is the course: Small/medium team agility Most issues were #4-5 and #14-16.

After the team agility we had about 1.5 hour break until our turn at the team jumping. Well, dontcha know it, the heavens opened up! I mean really opened up! And unlike here in England they did not stop running the dogs. It was shame because if they had just stopped for 1/2 hour the heaviest of the rain would have been over. Instead we had to WALK the course in the rain and then run it in the heavy rain slipping and sliding like a mud-soaked music festival! The day before they kept going even in the thunder and lightening! If it had been any other show I would have refused to run in it. I do not ask my dogs to run in mud and risk injury to either of us. Even in the worst weather in Scotland last year; the ground never got as slippery as they did at the EO during that jumping run.

The thing that tickled me most about walking this course in the pouring (did I say POURING) rain? Everyone was good and walked without an umbrella except for one person. Would this be a lady with lovely hair? (I almost did as I knew I was going to have photos later!)Or someone who wears glasses and cannot see if they get wet? Noooooooo....it was ROGER (big tall guy who has a shaved head) from The netherlands! What a wimp! hehe That just cracked me up big time! Gotta love him! I wish Dennis had gotten a photo of that.

Anyway I think most of our team had E's or faults in the jumping course. I just remember Wendy saying as I went to go in: "Don't run out there, take it easy and don't get hurt". Does she forget that I don't often RUN anyway?! haha Of course this is the one run that I do not have video on. Hex ran it really well! I think we were either clear or had one bar down. The scores says clear but someone said a bar came down; either way I was really happy with the run especially as I know Hex hates mud. We just sauntered through the course, stayed up right and she did exactly what I asked of her. God I love that dog!

It was really very slippery out there; Suzanne had a nice slip and fall and directed Unique into the correct end of the tunnel from a position on the ground!

Here is the course: Team small and medium Jumping . Most people had trouble from #6-7 and from #13-15.

This is what the grounds looked like the day before with just moderate rain. On the sunday it just got worse and worse. Another reason why I am glad the world champs are INDOORS! It helps level the playing field as during the weekend of the EO alot depended on when you were running, if it was raining and how the ground was becoming. Way too many variables for a true comparison.

Dennis found shelter under the bratwurst stand and took this photo during the heaviest rain.

This was the only way into our GB "camp".

Some sad wet dogs.

I am almost done with my writing about the EO's but will add the final touches later! I don't even think anyone is still reading this! You are all probably bored now and have moved on! :-) If you are still reading let me know what you think!

So I will finish up with a photo Dennis took of the super-dooper equipment we ran on at this prestigious show. (yes Johanna we are spoiled in the UK with PREMIER equipment! So don't yell at me!)

Sunday, July 27, 2008

EO Day 3 continued

Here is a photo of the three tri-colour OBay shelties competing at the EO. L to right: Hex, Chi and Unique

Once I knew that we were in the finals I was a happy bunny and so thrilled that we were running 3rd from the end! What an advantage that is!

If I remember correctly; the medium final was first. The heavens opened up during the final which was a shame. This is what it looked like around the final ring at one point. Lots of umbrellas!

Johanna and One made it into the medium final. One was looking pretty good until Johanna tried a flicky arm turn and One turned when she said to... which was kind of before the jump. Ooops! Poor Johanna; when One gets something in his head that is it! He kept turning before the jump over and over! I bet Johanna re-lived that moment a few times in her head. He has such potential; I know he will get his act together soon. He is such a beautiful boy; let's hope that him and Hob-b produce me a beautiful sable girl with all of One's attitude!

Here is a gorgeous photo of One that Dennis took. Dennis CAN get action photos of sable shelties but struggles to get good action photos of my tri shelties. Arghhh!

Out of the 4 OBay shelties competing at the EO; three of them made it into the finals. Lisa and Chi had some nearly-runs that although weren't clear they were really lovely, fast and smooth.

Anyway onto the finals. In the medium Team GB had four dogs running. Andy and his medium BC Ten made it in as a result of winning the individual jumping. In addition we had Gary and his Patterdale, Louise and her Schnauzer and Tricia and her poodle. Gary had the best result with a clear and ended up in 22nd place. He had a good weekend and I believe had almost 100% clear runs! Tricia and Andy were both eliminated and Louise had really nice run but 5 faults. Her little schnauzer struggled all weekend with the spreads and tyre which they were not used to seeing; but they started to get it together in the end.

Now it was our turn! Luckily the rain stopped and the course was changed slightly for the smalls. It still had the dogwalk and across the face of the aframe combination. And after the Aframe was a combination that I was not sure how to run. I decided to go for the front cross (not my favorite move!) and was actually unsure up until I entered the ring if I could get there. I walked the course humming to myself "we can do this!" and I really tried to enjoy the moment. Sharon and Ruby put in a nice clear and ended up 23rd overall. Wendy and Scout were having a good run until a bar dropped. I watched a few runs and then sat on the side with Hex. It is best that I sit far away with her and just try and concentrate on remembering the course!

Here is a link to the course: Small EO Final

And here is Hex's video again! hehe

I remember going to the line with her and then it was over! I don't remember much in between other than hearing the GB crowd cheer at the end. That is the best feeling; having a crowd of supporters there cheering you on.

Hex ended up in 3rd (Bronze) and was out of 2nd place by only 8/100ths of a second. How great is that! We were over 1 second behind Suzanne and Unique and I am ridiculously pleased with that! Although being beaten by another one of my own puppies is getting old now! All crap handlers please line up for puppies! hahahaha

All I could think of after knowing that Hex had won the Bronze was "I am ridiculously happy!" It was so nice knowing that she had the speed in her to compete against some of the best dogs. It was a very nice boost to my confidence and I am so looking forward to running with her again either in the EO next year or the World Champs next year (or both!) We still have lots to work on but that is the fun part!

Here is a great photo of Unique with his special good luck slip lead made by Marianne in Denmark. She does fantastic stuff.

It seems to be getting old that I complain about the coach company and organization....but one more complaint! After the small and medium finals; the tour organizer said that the coach drivers were running out of driving time (???) so one of the coaches had to get back to the hotel immediately. This meant that they wanted all the small and medium dogs and handlers to leave before the Large dogs ran in their final! What a blow to team spirit! Everyone was enjoying sitting on the hill cheering on their fellow team-mates no matter what SIZE dog. Now they ruin that by making the small/medium handlers leave! Arghhhh! I was lucky in that Dennis had his car; so I stayed on to cheer on the large dogs (no one can say I am anti-large dog!) I know Andy was really disappointed as he had to miss Leah's run with Herbie in the final.

The large dog final was exciting and it was so great to see Leah run and win silver with Herbie. Rescue dogs rule! Leah looked relaxed and she ran in her usual smooth effortless manner. Marc put in a great round and ended up in 6th place overall; only 3/10 second separated 3rd thru 6th place. Nigel and Zico's time was great but had 10 faults on the contacts. Overall a good final!

Here is a photo of the British Supporter "hill".

So while we had good results that day; it was still back to the hotel for a late dinner and up again the next day at 4:30. Yawn!

Friday, July 25, 2008

EO 2008 Day 3: Individual Runs with video

What time were we up on Saturday? 4:30 am! 'Nuff said bout that!

So Saturday was the individual runs. The way it worked was strange. Basically you were competing against your own team-mates as it was the top three dogs from each country and each height that went thru to the finals on Saturday night. My morning wasn't going so well when we were eliminated on our first run. Doh! Bad handler.

The small jumping course was really great except for one thing. There is new combination in the FCI rules that I did not know about. Basically it is the old A-B-C jumping sequence but it is in a straight line with minimum pacing. If I had known I would have trained it! Actually it wouldn't be so bad if it had not come after a long stretch of a fast run to a spread and then to the sequence which was three jumps in a row with ONLY TWO METRES in between them. Hex can do grids and bounce jumps but I have never asked her to do them from a fast run or from a spread jump. Poor little things; all the dogs really tried to clear the jumps but you could see they just had no idea it was coming up.

I saw dog after dog hit the jumps really badly. I saw one little sheltie ram the second bar with his face and hit the ground crying. I have since heard that he possibly broke his jaw. How sad is that? If the dogs actually got through the sequence it was not pretty as they had to really contort their spines to clear the jumps.

Now to make matters even worse; we were the first group in. So all the other groups after seeing the problems all went to the practice jumps and set up the sequence and practiced! Darn!

All that doesn't excuse my poor handling where I watched her go over the off course jump. But I am going to blame that on the fact that she knocked that 3rd bar in the sequence and it threw me a little. Yeah that's my excuse and I am sticking to it!

Here's the video. I am very brave to post my bloopers! The announcer was evil and played funny music once you were eliminated! Not so funny when you are running; but really funny to watch! I have included Henry's jumping run so that you can see another dog try and negotiate the A-B-C sequence. Henry is a clean and careful jumper usually but even he had trouble. Arghhhh if only we had known to train this! Our fault probably!

Luckily for me (but not for my team-mates) we had alot of eliminations in that jumping round. This put us all at level pegging for the agility round; it would be this round that decided who went through to the final. I really felt like I pushed Hex on this agility round; although when watching the video I still don't look like I am running! Her see-saw was called as a fly-off as she left it too early. It was a very fair call and totally my fault. Partly I was thrown slightly as I didn't expect her to come out of that long FCI tunnel so fast and thought I had more time for my front cross. Had I realized that I would have stayed on the other side of the see-saw. Also I was pushing for time and mis-timed my "go" and told her to "go" before the see saw was down. I also blame her slightly; as she was a bit naughty leaving it in mid-air! I really loved this course and tried to walk it telling myself that there was nothing in it that we could not do. "We can do this; we have trained this" is my new mantra when walking a course. Between that and "I am so psyched; I love to compete" (ala Jane Savoie) we were all set!

Here is her run. Her time would have been good enough for 3rd place in this run.

So with only one double clear (Sharon and Ruby) in our team; the field was open. One other team-mate (Wendy and Scout) put in a clear in agility. The rest of us had faults in the agility so basically Hex got through as having the fastest 5 fault in the team. That put Sharon and Ruby, Wendy and Scout and Me and Hex through to the evening final. They had a strange way of setting up the running order though! Basically you ran in reverse order of your time on the agility round only. So if you had a fast time in the agility round (no matter how many faults) you ran towards the end of the running order in the finals. This put Hex and I running right towards the end of the final. A great spot to be in; so we would know what we had to do.

Here are the two other British smalls to make it to the final! Well done guys on getting to the finals especially Ruby for putting in two clears to get there.



Gosh you would think I was away for weeks and I still have more to write. To be continued....

EO Day 2: Practice and Opening Ceremony

So the EO trip continues on the second day. Friday was meant to be the practice day and the opening ceremony.

Dennis took his car to the venue to start setting up the tent. There was alot of confusion as to where exactly the British team was to set up. According to management we had an "shaded" area set aside for us. Not being very trusting; Lisa, Dennis and I decided to bring Tony's beer gazebo with us...just in case.

This turned out to be a good idea as what our team ended up with was 2 pop-up ez-up tents for 30 dogs and handlers and grooms! A little crowded it would be and luckily the Welsh contingent thought as we did and brought another tent. So between us we had 4 pop-up gazebos for 30 dogs and handlers and grooms and management!

Here was our little set up. Considering how much it rained; it was a god-send that we had this! Dennis had the tent set up by the time we arrived in the coach. We were very glad that this was just the practice day as it took us 2.5 hours to find the venue!!!!! Yes, I said two and one-half hours! The movies Dumb and Dumber and Road trip all come time mind......

And Dennis liked this part of the venue. Bratwurst cooked on the grill! I think he survived the entire weekend on Bratwurst and beer.

Again there was a little confusion at first as no one had ever experienced the EO before. Immediately we were told to get into queues for our books (KC books and pets passports) to be checked. There was even a little panicking as some people were worried they would be measured. Luckily this didn't happen and they just took the measurements in the books.

It was weird having them take the books as we do not do that in the UK. But I remembered this from when we have competed abroad (Germany and Denmark) before. The dogs all were scanned for their microchips and these were compared to the books. The 3rd queue was the good one where we each got a free EO polo-shirt. Yes, I like FREE!

I think being so late did not help us in the practice arena as all we were allowed was 25 minutes. I think that was all the space that was available that late but am not sure. Either way, 25 minutes for 30 dog/handler teams was not enough. I do not need to work my dog for 25minutes but do need a chance to work her properly. All we got were 2 tries on jumping/weave sequence (set up by Andy) while the large dogs worked on the contacts section with ALL the contacts. By the time we swapped over; the smalls and mediums started on the contact portion and we were not able to get thru all the dogs. Just as I was about to go (last dog!) I was blocked by a big guy in the next group as we were now in "their" time slot. Fair enough on their part; but a real shame for us! I think I yelled at Greg to do something about this big guy in my way but he just yelled back run past him! haha So I did but my time on the contacts were not quite relaxed!

Here are some candid shots from around the practice ring.

Sonia being a great groom and keeping Hex quiet and relaxed for me. There is only one way to keep Hex quiet while agility is going on: hold her on her back in your lap. Yes I admit: I AM A BAD DOG TRAINER! and I should have a dog that can be quiet while agility is going on. Oh well, just shoot me! HaHa She won a bronze individual medal so I guess we aren't too shabby after all!

Well massage is the big new thing lately. Everyone is doing it now! Sometimes I do it just to fit in. Other times I forget; I am a bad dog trainer....hahaha I will soon try and get more serious.

Finally the opening ceremony. We all paraded in with our dogs on their new matching Snuggle Pet harnesses and leads and I think we all looked pretty darn good! I was very proud to be walking with the team again and this time with my little cutie Hex.

We looked good but not as good as the supporters! They were awesome. Small in number but not small in enthusiasm.

Finally we tried to get a photo of EVERYONE in front of the Snugglepet Booth to thank them for their donations of leads and harnesses for all the dogs. This was hard as you can imagine. Yet again the British have NO idea how to pose for photos! Good try though!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

3 of the funniest comments of the EO weekend

Of course there were some pretty funny moments during the weekend. Here are my three favorite comments:

  • From a fellow competitor: "Next year's EO is in the Netherlands. I heard the same coach company is already booked. They have reserved a hotel in Kent" :-)
  • From a supporter after getting up at 4:30 to have breakfast after eating their dinner the night before at around midnight. As he sat down and looked at the breakfast buffet: "I am not hungry; I just ate."
  • From our esteemed ass't manager as he watched Suzanne slip and fall in the mud during the small team jumping and still direct her dog into the correct end of the tunnel. "What a Lazy cow taking a nap out there!"

And the saddest photo of the weekend! Poor guy crashed the tyre during the practice session and Dennis actually got a photo of it! Our dogs are not used to frame tyres; so this was really difficult for alot of the British dogs. Ouch; this is certainly a reason for wanting soft tyres or breakaway tyres!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Why does no one learn? EO 2008 con't with RANT

I am really proud to be able to represent my "adopted" country and really grateful to have someone (the Kennel Club) fund my trip abroad with my dog. How lucky am I? So I do not want any of my blog to sound ungrateful or too moaney (is that a word?)

At the end of the day; I just want to run my dog and run well; potentially bringing home a medal and showing the world just how good the British Agility dogs are! We are very very lucky to have a Kennel Club that supports agility as our KC does. They put alot of money into these international competitions and they do not HAVE to do this. This year they even listened to the agility world and supported a competition that is open to ALL dogs (pedigree or not). So for this I am so very grateful. Thank you to the KC!

Unfortunately the organization of this trip was really the biggest issue. If you look back at our trip to the World Champs in Norway last year; you will see a theme developing. This trip continued along the same lines: Long days in coaches, hotels way too far from the venue and coach drivers who are inept and downright dangerous.

How can anyone expect a team (dog/handler) to perform at their best when they have to eat dinner everynight at 11 pm, get up every morning at 4:30 am and drive for 1.5-2 hours to even get to the venue? Then compete all day and drive back another 1.5 hours back to a hotel? Do this for 3 days in a row and see how you feel! This adds to the stress everyone already feels; the pressure to try and do well is stress enough. The travel should be made easy and comfortable; not stressful and long!

This coach company was the same coach company that took us to Norway. They are the same coach company that booked a hotel 1 hour from the venue in Norway. The organizers KNEW that this was not acceptable last year; why was the same thing repeated this year?? Actually it was even worse as the darn coach drivers could not seem to find anything; the venue or the hotel day after day! AND they had sat nav!

OK the Biggest rant coming up!

I will finish by describing the final straw for me. On our drive back on Monday to Calais I switched seats with Helen so that I could stretch my legs out for a few minutes. She was sitting in the first row of seats by herself. While I was sitting there I could now see out the front window and could see the driver as well. Gradually I noticed the driver talking alot with his fellow off-duty driver (who was sitting next to him). Shockingly the off-duty driver kept showing the driver (who was driving a freaking bus!) some paperwork and the driver kept taking his eyes off the road to read it. To make the matter worse; he then took the paperwork and placed it on his steering wheel to read....was that bad enough? No he still had trouble reading it; so he took the time to take out his reading glasses and continue to read the paper!!! He was not just glancing at the paper; he was reading and studying it! WHILE DRIVING A FREAKING BUS WITH ME IN IT!

After my brain started working, I pointed this out to the "tour organizer" who was also sitting in the front seat on the other side. He proceeded to look down at the driver, shrug his shoulders and say "this trip is just not going well" and then sat back down without saying a word! At that point I jumped up and yelled at the driver "Could you please NOT read while driving!" and then I went back to my former seat and put my seat belt on! I did not want to end up thru the front window. I think I might have said something else like f***ing h*** but I cannot remember!

Am I just crazy or does anyone else see a problem here?

EO 2008: the trip to Germany day 1

I tried to get some photos of my own without Dennis; they are pretty amateur but hey they help me remember! This is Hex waiting at the Ferry port on her newly sewn Union Jack dog bed. Lisa made the dog beds as we wanted the dogs to be patriotic also.

I thought I better start writing about our adventures before I forget. Time heals all wounds and all that! I will start by saying this trip was very interesting; take that as you want. You would think I would have learned from Norway; but I actually thought this trip would be easier. It was only in Germany; in theory only 4 hours from the French Ferry port of Calais. A piece of cake journey, right? Hmmmmm....

Initially we got a fright and were told that we all had to get on the coach in Daventry at some un-godly hour on Thursday morning. Holy toledo; Daventry is 3 hours NORTH of me and we should be headed 1.5 hours south to the Dover Ferry port. That just did not make sense! Why would we want to add 6 hours of travel time on the departure day and 6 hours on the arrival day? After much emails back and forth; finally the week before we were told we could meet in Dover. Phew! Why are the little things so stressful sometimes?

For future reference for fellow competitors; there is a lovely multistory car park at Dover where you can leave the car for around 6 pounds per day. That is much cheaper than paying for 2 tanks of petrol to get back and forth to Daventry.

I picked up Andy at his house and off we went to Dover. I felt really sad for Andy as he was not sure he should be leaving Nancy alone as she had just lost her special dog Abbey. Nancy bravely convinced Andy to go; but I know she was on his mind the entire trip.

There were 2 coaches taking us to Germany.This is what coach #1 looked like. Do these look like medal-winning handlers to you? Some of those guys had already been on the coach for 3 hours; I was glad we got on in Dover!

We had 15 dogs in each coach. The seats are removed on one side of the back of the coach and replaced with dog crates. I guess it is a good way to travel with many dogs but it is not great for the dogs who are cooped up in small crates. Also it is quite a palava trying to get the dogs out of the crates each time we stop.

So everyone onto the bus and across on the ferry to France. Once we are in France; the journey by car would have been just about 4 hours. By coach it was more like 7 hours. Dennis and Sonia had left in our car on a much earlier ferry and were in the hotel before our coach even landed in France! They had a much nicer journey than we did. And ,according to Dennis, Sonia was a great traveller and just fell asleep immediately as soon as she got into the car. She must have been very trusting of Dennis' driving ability!

So the drive to the hotel was not exactly smooth. The coach manager was relying only on an address in the sat nav. I guess he didn't feel the need to check before hand or maybe have a map...just-in-case... So, of course, we got lost! Back and forth up streets trying to find the hotel. I cannot remember how long we were lost but it felt forever especially knowing that Dennis got there with no problems. This was soon to be seen as typical for this coach company. We got lost ALOT.

Once we got into the hotel; we quickly walked the dogs and unpacked and then headed out into town. Luckily Dennis had already done a walk around the town so he knew where some restaurants were. I am so glad we went out that night to eat out of the hotel as it turned out to be the ONLY night we were able to do this. We found what looked like a typical German restaurant and went in with 13 people and scared the waitress to death! I do not think she was expecting 13 English speaking very-hungry and tired customers on a Thursday night.

The funniest thing that night was all of us pouring over the German menus and trying to figure out what everything was! Of course, no one remembered to bring a german phrase book and only 3 people had any semblance of an idea about German! I was afraid I was going to end up eating cow brains or something! Plus we had two vegetarians who were worried they would get meat. We started to muddle through and just as we were about to order...the waitress says "Oh Do you want an ENGLISH menu?" HAHAHAHAHA

I ended up eating schnitzel which was yum yum and Dennis had sauerbrauten! Food like mom used to make!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Video of Hex in the Small Final at EO 2008

Here is a video of Hex's final run. If you want to see the course diagram, the courses are on the official EO site. Here is the link to the small final course diagram.

Ahhh isn't she so cute! Below here she is with her trophy.

European Open Agility 2008

How proud am I? Two Obay shelties on the podium for the small championships at the European Open Agility 2008! Hex and I came THIRD and Suzanne and Unique came FIRST!

What a trip we had. I need days to recover and have lot to write about but for now am just enjoying sleeping late today!

Thanks so everyone who watched the dogs for us this weekend (Tony, Karen and Tim and Marion) and thanks to Nancy for lending us Andy for the weekend! He was a star. And Dennis and Sonia who were fantastic grooms! I was lucky to have TWO grooms and I think both are exhausted beyond belief!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

World Dog Show Stockholm 2008

This post is going to have to be fairly short! I cannot believe I haven't had a chance to sit down and write about the World Dog show that we went to last week. I am starting to get nervous about leaving for Germany and the European Open Agility in two days so can only think about that right now!

Dennis and I flew to Stockholm Sweden last weekend to see the World Dog Show 2008. It was a nice chance to just get away for a weekend without dogs but yet to be with dogs! hahaha. Mostly we went to see Johanna compete with Soda and Spooky in Freestyle and with Hob-b in breed.

Sweden is very expensive but we got a great deal on flights and car rental. And Johanna (of course) knew someone in Stockholm where we could stay. The family we stayed with was very hospitable and it was really nice staying in a "real" swedish home!

The World dog show itself was a little disappointing to me. It was no where as posh as Crufts and the standard of dogs showing there was not as great (in my eyes). I did not really see any dogs that I FLIPPED for. I was hoping to see something that looked special or had something that caught my eye for future breeding programs. But, alas, no I will be sticking with my own plans for now!

Here is Dennis sitting next to the Best in Show car! Did the Best in Show actually win it?? I don't know! Everything, of course, was blue and yellow (the swedish flag colours). Why is Dennis dressed like that? Ask Johanna!

Hob-b showed like a little trooper. She did not get anywhere in the placings and received a "Very good" ribbon. Out of nearly 40 bitches he only gave 7 excellent ribbons. He actually gave quite a few "blue" ribbons which are a lower grade than excellent (pink) and very good (red). And even gave a few "yellows". The grading goes like this: excellent (pink), very good (red), good (blue) and then yellow. I forget what yellow means but basically it is not a good ribbon to receive!

Here is a blurry photo of her! Isn't she just adorable!

The shopping at the World Dog show was no where as good as I expected either. Bummer as I was so ready to spend spend spend! After Johanna showed Hob-b and we checked out the shopping; there was not much to do other than watch the Freestyle (dog dancing). There was some really good teams there and some pretty poor teams. It was mostly Swedish teams; so not really a great "international" compeition. Johanna and two other Danes were the only other country represented I think. Johanna, of course, was great! It was so nice to finally meet Soda. She is, well...a border collie! And not a Pikkupaimenen border collie so I am a bit biased against her! haha But I liked her anyway although I would rather have Wizz (the lovely Pikkupaimenen BC) live with me anyday! Soda is so young but she looked really good out in the main ring. And she still looked like a puppy out there which I liked; she was not a polished machine at only 15 months; she was still bouncy and a bit silly as a 15 month old border collie should be!

I have no photos of Johanna other than her waiting in the queue to get into the venue. Did we wait in the queue with the hundreds of other people? No of course not, Johanna had her own devious plans to get in quickly! But if I told you I would have to kill you!

All in all, I remember why I do not like breed showing! Kind of boring, lots of grooming just to stand around looking like you don't care in the ring. Having someone tell you your dog is too small, too big ect ect. Ya know...I don't care! haha!

How is this for doggie transportation and grooming table all-in-one?

We did do some sightseeing and went into Stockholm for 2 days. The old town was lovely and we did a tour on a horse and carriage which was nice. It gave a nice overview of the city. I still prefer more rural holidays; but for a short city break it was nice. We learned lots about Sweden and need to come back again.

Funny signs were displayed in one plaza. They were signs from around the world and made Dennis laugh.

This was actually the fire extinguisher on the boat ride we took. I have no idea what "skum" means in swedish but am sure Johanna will tell me!

And finally the obligatory photo of me standing like a dork in some pretty square in some city somewhere!

Actually it is a square in Stockholm but it looks like it could be anywhere in Europe doesn't it?

Monday, July 07, 2008

ect ect

The European Open is in two weeks! Hex and I still have lots to practice but I feel that she is more than ready. Bring it on!

Over the week up in the Lakes I made the final decision NOT to try-out for the World Championships this year with either dog. I had been pretty sure I was not going to try-out with Zen as I really did not want to fly her in cargo again. But I was so tempted to try-out with Hex as I could fly her in cabin if we drove out of England to France or Holland.

But at the end of the day, not matter how we tried to work it out, it was going to cost anywhere from 1000 pounds to 2000 pounds ($2000 to $4000). This is just something I was not prepared to do for a few agility runs no matter how important they are. Next year it is in Austria and the following year it is in Denmark; both drivable from England. So I will focus my energy on those World Champs and just support the British team this year hoping that there will be one or two other OBay Shelties on both the british team and the danish team again. It was a very hard decision for many reasons. Zen is now 5 and at her prime. Hex is just 3 and running so well. It would have been so cool to have TWO dogs qualify! And I just love competing at the worlds; the atmosphere is great.....I will miss it this year! But life goes on and I am hoping the European Open fills the void for me!

So the agility while we were up in the Lakes was really enjoyable. Some different types of courses to enjoy. There were a few "themes" to some of the courses; things we do not often see down south in the small and medium classes.

We didn't get video on the first weekend; Dennis mostly took photos. How is this one? Notice he doesn't get many good photos of my dog! Just other people's dogs! Arghh!

As for the courses; one theme was pulling thru two jumps to get to another obstacle. Not a pull thru but a go between; kind of a thread the needle type thing!

Like this

and This

And tunnel wrapped under A-Frame like this (Ok-you can see this on the video)

and This (didn't like this one as it made a really bad angle for the little dogs to scramble up)

Here a video of three different courses; I found it interesting because Zen and Hex ran the same course (just over different heights).