Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Catching up

Okay, so it has been AGES since I have posted here, but I have been busy busy busy... It is going to take me ages to catch up, but I will try to be good from now on. So many thin
gs have happened, I am not even going to bother to try and post them in chronilogical order, but I will try and update you on some of the important things that happened.

Bloem Weekend - Bloem weekend was VERY unsuccessful for me this year to say the least. I think I was putting too much pressure on myself and Chaos to be honest. I have been so obsessed with improving our consistency that I over-managed almost every course this weekend which of course led to one mistake after the other. Of our 16 rounds over the four days I only managed one clear round. This caused me to do some serious thinking about mental management and this is my next goal... getting my mind right. In all fairness Chaos also did some very funny things over the weekend... which was most likely caused by my stress, so he is forgiven.
Can you spot the fault(s)?

Vanderbijl Weekend - Although these were very enjoyable shows, I do wish that the hosting club would add a couple more licenses to the weekend. It is a LONG way to drive every day to run three rounds and we had all the time in the world to fit in another show each day. We had a successful weekend though, finally qualifying out of Grade 2 Contact (woot woot!) and produced some other clear rounds as well. This despite a 24 hour stomach bug that I managed to pick up somewhere. In fact the only faults that I had over the weekend was a few dropped bars. Which of course was frustrating as hell, considering all the jump training I have done over the last few months. Of course most of the bars were actually Chaos knocking wings again because he is of course of the opinion that you only turn tight enough when you physically brush the wing with your entire body.... For such a tall boy he sure likes to wrap. Anyhow I was happy with the weekend, so I will leave it at that.

World Champs - We took a two week holiday in Europe which included supporting the South Africans at the FCI Agility World Championships in Rieden, Germany. First of all the venue was absolutely spectacular, set in the most beautiful country side I have seen in a long time.

It has been SEVEN years since I competed at the World Champs (feels like yesterday) and this experience reminded me that it is time to make the team again. I love the atmosphere and camaraderie that goes hand in hand with this event. The quality of the agility was as always spectacular and once again made me realise that South Africa has some serious catching up to do. Then again it seems like every years story... our team goes to the World Champs, comes back thinking we know what level of performance needs to be reached , but by the time next year rolls around the Europeans are two steps ahead of where they were the previous year again. Living halfway across the world and being the only country on the continent to have an agility program does put us at a disadvantage, but surely there has to be a solution? One thing is for sure, our system is not working and it is time to change it.

Oh look, there I go rambling completely off-topic again, back to Germany... The quality of the Large and Medium dogs were breath-taking, the Small dogs were good, please understand me, but I do think that the quality of agility was slightly lower than in the other height classes. Except for the Large Team Jumping, I felt that the courses were a bit on the easy side, looking at past years courses. Easy is actually the wrong word, in my eyes it was not challenging enough, but it did create a sense of excitement as everything came down to time. There were also some very odd calls from the on judge in particular (a team that won a medal with a dq???), but I will not even get started on that topic. I know how easy it is to make a mistake when judging, I have done so many times myself... and this at local shows. Add the pressure of the World Champs, a few thousand strong crowd and hundreds of dogs to judge each day? I think it is harder judging at the world champs than competing there.

Have I said it before? The venue was spectacular. The surface appeared to be the best we have ever had at an AWC and I am really hoping that this kind of surface will be used in the future. All in all the event inspired me to beef up my preperation for next year's try outs.

We arrived back in South Africa on a Friday, by this stage I was coughing my lungs out and I had one hell of a flu (or so I thought), but I dragged my jet-lagged body out of bed on the Saturday morning and off we went to the TKC Champ Show. I wasn't expecting anything whatsoever from my boy, as he hadn't seen me for two weeks. And in two of our rounds that was completely apparent... we were completely out of sync. Then my Spazzie gave me a very nice welcome back surprise by running clear on the contact and getting his first qc.

I know I should rather have held his contacts, but I knew we hadn't been training and I was just running for the fun of it. My plan was to start catch-up on my training the next week.

The next day at the SALKA Champ show the wheels came off again, but I didn't expect anything less. And besides it motivated me even more to do some serious training.

We have had a few open shows in between, but no results worth mentioning. In the meanwhile I have been putting some serious training into Chaos... and... wait for it... Quake. My Monster-Man is actually doing quite well, running full contacts and CLOSED POLES. Well at home in anyway, I am now starting the frustrating journey of environment training. I had him at a friends house during the week and his jumping was brilliant, but his poles left much to be desired. Here is a video of him doing poles at home:

Shame he is actually doing well for a dog who's training got completely left behind. It is hard to imagine that Quake and Chaos are only a few months apart. Fair enough, Monster definitely matured much later than Spaz, but at the end of the day we KNOW it is all my fault. Repeat after me 'never get two puppies at the same time, never get two puppies at the same time, never get two puppies at the same time'

Okay, so I have saved the biggest news for last. Hold on to your hats ladies and gentleman, I am getting a puppy... and it is NOT a Border Collie. For those that do not know I have been looking around for a year at Shelties in Europe and the USA, looking for a suitable dog to import. Even though it happened quite suddenly, I have found what I am looking for and my new little boy should arrive in South Africa late November. I can't wait to welcome Jonas of the Golden Fir into my home.

Well that is that for now, I promise I won't be lazy anymore and do regular updates.

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