European Open 2015 Here We Come!

It’s been quite a while since I’ve written anything here agility related.  The last time I posted about agility it was a few days before heading up to Minnesota to attend the AKC World Team Tryouts.  That was all the way back at the end of April!  Since then I started writing new posts, but never could seem to finish them.  So that’s how I get all the way into the middle of July without any new agility related posts.  So, since I leave for Germany tomorrow night to attend the 2015 European Open I thought, once again, that it would be a good time to at least write something down.

Admittedly, over the past few months I haven’t necessarily been as focused on agility as I have been in the past.  There’s been a few things that have contributed to that.  There has been a lack of trialing on my part.  I have done 2 full weekends of AKC and a partial weekend of USDAA…in 2.5 months.  That translates into 13 total runs in the past almost 80 days.  Add on top of that the wet weather, looking for a new house so we can have an agility field, and the loss of Abby and we have a recipe for a sometimes less than enthusiastic desire on my part to think about and actually do agility.

With that said, though, that doesn’t mean I’ve sat on my ass for 2.5 months with no agility.  We had a successful EO practice at Canine Sports Zone in Madison, WI.  That was a tough 2.5 days of hard courses with lots of running!  We’ve also attended a few seminars in that time frame.  Had a nice half-day seminar with Dana Pike.  A very fun 3 day seminar at Ann Braue’s Summer Camp with instructors Ann Braue, Dudley Fontaine, and Jessica Ajoux.  Luna got quite a bit of work over those 3 days.  We’ve also been doing a full practice on our own about 1-2 times a week just tweaking and solidifying the small stuff.  On top of that, last weekend at an AKC trial Luna gave me 2 solid turns off the dog walk which is the one thing we have been working on regularly since WTT.  That was a huge confidence boost going into the EO.  So, I believe us to be ready from a skills perspective.  Now it’s all about execution.

All of that has lead up to being T-1 day from leaving for Germany.  This will be our 2nd trip to Europe to compete in agility with the EO in Hungary last year being our first experience.  Last year I wasn’t too successful at the EO.  We didn’t get any clean runs.  Of course, I was super anxious and it showed with some uncharacteristic mistakes on my part.  This year, I think (hope) I won’t have any of that.  I’ve said it before that last year’s EO changed me in regards to how I look at agility.  I hope that when I step to the line next Friday for the first time that that mentality will be with me.  I will keep one word in my mind each and every time I step to the line…patience.  Without patience, we WILL accrue faults.  Without patience, we WILL get an E.  Without patience, I will be unsuccessful this year.  Patience.  When I get back, it might be time for my first tattoo.  Especially if I don’t achieve that patience I need when running.  If anybody feels like they want to send me a FB message with that one simple word at any time next week, don’t hesitate to do it.  I’ll try to keep it in mind the whole time, but sometimes a little help doesn’t hurt. 🙂

My goal, at a minimum, this year is to get at least 1 clean run.  I think we can achieve more than that, but I don’t want to come away from the EO again with no clean runs.  I hope we can run fast enough this year to make individual finals.  It’s a tough thing to do considering we will be competing against 400 other dogs.  Only the top 25 in each individual run will reach the finals.  If we don’t get to the finals that way the last opportunity is to be the fastest dog on Team USA to be the country representative.  Either way, it’s a tough road to the finals.  One I hope we can reach.  On top of that, I would love to reach team finals this year.  I’m part of a great team again this year with 3 really fast border collies.  Naci with Will, Chris with Bratska, and Elicia with Tobie.  I think we have the speed and skills to allow us to reach the finals.  But, as with all competitions, we have to go out there and do it.

I’m not sure how much Internet access I will have while over there.  I already know the hotel we’re staying at only has Internet in the lobby area.  I’m going to try and have cell service while there which will at least allow me to update Facebook.  Also, there is a livestream (I think it’s free) of the event this year.  You can view that here.