Browsed by
Month: May 2013

WAO 2013 Oviedo, Spain 2.0!

WAO 2013 Oviedo, Spain 2.0!

photo by Erika Mauer
photo by Erika Mauer

Finally getting caught up with sleep and laundry after getting back from Oviedo, Spain for the 2013 World Agility Open Championships.  Zip and I had an amazing time!! What a great group we were fortunate enough to be a part of!! Everyone on the team put in amazing runs and it paid off with lots of podium time by everyone on the team.  Jenn and Susan Crank were our amazing coach and manager and they did a great job at keeping us calm, cool and collected for the entire week.  Not an easy job as there were 16 team members and keeping us straight was sometimes like herding cats!!  Also would like like to give a big thanks to George Mariakis, our official, “unofficial” tech support and videographer, we would have been lost without you!!

photo by Erika Mauer
photo by Erika Mauer

Zip and I arrived in Madrid on Monday morning and were picked up by fellow teamies Dave and his wife Erika.  From Madrid we made the five hour drive to Oviedo.  On our way up to Oviedo we did stop in the town of Leon to do a little sightseeing and lunch.  Lucky for us our dogs are incredibly patient and allowed us to pose them all over the town for photo opts!!  When we arrived in Oviedo we did not have our first team practice until Wednesday, so we were able to do more sightseeing on Tuesday.  This time we headed east to the beach town of Ribadesella.  The dogs had a great time running on the beach and getting a quick dip in the Bay of Biscay.

Wednesday afternoon we had two separate hour practices, one hour outside on the grass and another hour inside.  Since Zip and I have been showing quite a bit leading up to this event I did not want to do a lot of drills with him.  I just wanted to get both of us used to the surfaces and the equipment.  We kept our time in the ring short and sweet.  Zip was feeling great! We rarely have the opportunity to run outside on grass in the mid-atlantic and I forgot how well Zip runs on grass.  The bad news that I am so spoiled running on sprint turf all the time, I feel slow and sluggish on grass.  Note to self, run that much harder!! Thursday we had a much shorter practice, only about 30 minutes inside.  During this practice the music was blasting and the dogs were over the top.  Zip’s borderline start line stay was non-existent.  Definitely a good warm up for the weekend.

Friday morning was cool and overcast.  Our first class was the Individual Pentathlon Agility I.  Luckily we were inside as the drizzle had started and would continue off and on all day.  The Individual Pentathlon class consists of 5 rounds of agility over the course of 3 days.  There were some tricky spots on this course, the third obstacle was the wall jump which we had to take the back side and then later on course being able to leave your dog on the teeter in order to avoid an off course through a box came in very handy.  Zip ran the course great.  Looking back on the video I was late cueing the tunnel after the wall jump which caused Zip to take a hard look at the A-frame.  After that I felt pretty good about the run.  We ended up with a third place in the class! A great way to start the weekend!

Zip contemplating
photo by Erika Mauer

Our next class was Team Pentathlon Agility I.  The team pentathlon consists of 5 classes over the course of 3 days in which 3 dogs from 3 different jump heights compete as a team in order to earn points for the overall team placement.  There was a tricky turn off the dogwalk on this course.  I am usually able to get ahead of Zip on the dogwalk but this class was outside on grass where Zip was faster and I was slower than I anticipated.  I found myself falling further behind on the dogwalk so I used my highly professional top secret move in order to avoid the off course jump at the end of the dogwalk…I hollered as loud as I could “YOU WAIT!!” Zip naturally turned to look at the crazy lady yelling so he slowed down and I was able to inch ahead and avoid the off course.  We did incur 5 faults for a missed dogwalk contact but in the team event 5 faults is much better than an off course.  We ended up 2nd place!

Our third class of the day was Biathlon Jumping.  Biathlon consists of 2 rounds of agility over the course of 3 days.  This was our first year in the Biathlon.  Normally we have competed in the Games division but since we came in as alternates we were only allowed to enter the classes that the dog we were replacing was entered.  Biathlon is geared more toward fast runs, not our strong suit but we were happy to participate.  Zip and I had a nice round putting us in 11th place.

Our fourth and final class of the day was Individual Pentathlon Jumping.  We were outside on the grass for this run as well.  By this time the ground was pretty well soaked and the rings were starting to get muddy.  I know I was running a bit tentatively but we had another nice clean run and ended up  in 9th place.  All in all a very good first day at WAO!

Saturday the weather worsened quite a bit.  It was much colder, very windy and very very rainy.  We lucked out again and our first class of the day was Individual Pentathlon Agility 2 inside.  Zip was not feeling great this morning.  He had gotten run over by another dog Friday afternoon so his rib and back area was pretty sore.  Luckily David, our team PT was there to work his magic but I knew going into our first class he was not himself.  When I released Zip from the start line he ran around the first jump.  That is very unlike him.  I was ready to pull him from the class but thought I would ask him to take the jump one more time.  Being the good dog that he is he ran the rest of the course without issue.  I knew he was running much slower than normal so I was definitely worried.  The cold certainly did not help matters either, trying to keep his muscles warm and relaxed was a challenge.  David was able to work on him again and I hoped he would be feeling better by the next class.  Luckily he was pretty close to being back to his old self by our next class, Individual Pentathlon Jumping 2.  We put in a nice solid run earning a 12th place.  Saturday was a light day for us thank goodness.  After our second run Zip was able to get some rest and get warm in the car.

Sunday was finals day! All runs would be inside! Of course today is the day that the sun decides to come out! Our first class was Speedstakes, the final round of the Individual Pentathlon.  Zippy put in another great run.  Unfortunately I did not set him very well for the A frame approach and he ended up missing the down A frame contact, 5 faults.  This knocked us down to 7th place overall in the Individual Pentathlon.  Our final class was the second round of Biathlon.  I knew we had to go for it in this round.  We were sitting in 11th place and only a fast run could bump us up in the placements.  Zip put in another stellar run.  Unfortunately my pushing caused a missed dogwalk contact but I could not have been prouder of Zippy.  He came back from his injury like a champ!! I was just so happy and grateful he was feeling better.  We ended up 14th in Biathlon.  The team relay was the last class of the day.  All of our other teammies had put in great runs all weekend and USA was sitting in 1st place going into the relay.  The relay consists of 4 dogs, one from each jump height.  We had 4 very strong dog and handlers on the line for us.  They put in a great round clinching the gold medal for us!! Amazing!!

Here are our runs from the Individual Pentathlon.  Huge thanks to George Mariakis for taping!!

Here are our runs from the Biathlon and the Team event.  Again, huge thanks to George for taping!!

Zip and I have been fortunate enough to have attended the WAO each year since inception.  Each year the event gets bigger and the competition gets tougher.  This year was not exception.  for the USA to win the gold medal was phenomenal and I could not have been prouder to be a part of it.  While Zip and I did not make the podium in the individual events this year I was equally as proud in our performance.  The bobbles we had were   minor but unfortunately under such tough competition it put us out of podium range.  It just makes me that much hungrier for next year!!   Honestly  while making the podium is great (who I am kidding here..) there are so many other memories that are just as special.  Hanging with my teammies and my superstar dog in the stands cheering each other on is fantastic and it is those memories that always leave a smile on my face.

photo by Lynne Brubaker
photo by Lynne Brubaker
Mid-Atlantic Showcase and CCOA

Mid-Atlantic Showcase and CCOA

_DSC2530

Zip and I have been in a whirlwind since returning from Spain. In the last two weeks we competed at the Mid-Atlantic Agility Showcase in Palmyra, PA and last weekend we flew to Dallas, TX to compete at the Continental Championships of the Americas. Talk about no rest for the weary!! Both events were fantastic and we had a great time.

The Mid-Atlantic Showcase consisted of a three dog team event, the Mid-Atlantic Triathlon and individual titling classes. Zip was teamed with our usual team, Jeannette Hutchison and Mary Ellen Barry. Unfortunately due to injury Jeannette had to shuffle some dogs around and our usual doggie teammate, Rumble, was switched with Jeannette’s younger dog, Bert. We started the weekend with team Gamblers, where Zip managed to miss both his DW contacts…bummer!! The good news was that we opted for the harder gamble option and he got it, yay! After gamblers was team Standard where once again the DW contact was missed. I thought about trying to manage the DW a bit more but then decided to keep running it like we do in practice and see if he figures it out. The good news is that he did figure it out and didn’t miss anymore DW the rest of the weekend. I still consider myself very new to the whole running DW thing so I know my training needs tweaking. This will be a summer project for sure! Later that day we were entered in one titling class, pairs. Zip just needs a few more pairs legs to finish up his ADCh Gold. Lucky for us we were paired with Maureen Waldron and Mickle, a super solid team. Both of us ran great and ended up winning the class!! Team snooker on Saturday proved to be one of those courses that greatly benefited the small dogs. Small dogs were allowed more time and therefore able to accumulate many more points than the larger dogs. I picked a plan that was fairly challenging but I felt confident I could get through it with my little tight turning sports car. Our group was one of the last to go and I had yet to see anyone run anything even remotely similar to what I was going to do. I felt my confidence start to waiver a bit but stuck to my guns because I knew I could do what I had planned to do. Well off we went and little Zippy did not let me down!! We nailed it and won the class and ended up with more points than any dog at any height!! Here is our snooker run:

The rest of the weekend went great, Zip ended up High Scoring Dog across all heights and our team ended up in third place. We always have such a great time at the Showcase, this was certainly no exception.

It seemed like as soon as we got home and unpacked from the Showcase we were packing up and on a plane headed for Dallas, TX for the Continental Championships of the Americas. This was an important event for us because it was one of two events in which we would be earning points toward a spot on the 2014 IFCS World Team competition in the Netherlands. I came into the event knowing the courses would be challenging, but I have to say, these courses were probably some of the hardest and most challenging I have ever run. I am always eager to run challenging courses and man, did these courses ever get my adrenaline pumping! Zippy ran great, we had one off course in Individual Standard at a DW/tunnel discrimination. Pretty much the same set up we had in Cynosports in Denver in the Grand Prix semi-finals. I botched it up the same exact way too. Overall we ended up in pretty good shape with regards to points. We were 3rd overall in IFCS points and earned 4 Silver medals. Here are some runs from the weekend (gotta love the commentary from my agility buddies, they crack me up!!):

We also have another bit of amazing news to share with everyone, Zip and I will be joining Team USA in Oviedo, Spain for the World Agility Championships on May 17-19! Yup, Zip and I are headed back to Spain for another international adventure!! We are super excited to be joining the team. I am so grateful for this opportunity and also for having such supportive people in my life who allow me to follow my dreams.

DSC_1972