Recent Happenings

Since I haven’t posted a lot here recently, I thought I’d do a recap of recent goings on.  There are 4 major international events every year that we may or may not target depending on timing.  For AKC/FCI, we have the European Open (EO) and the Agility World Championship (AWC).  For USDAA/IFCS there is the IFCS World Agility Championship.  Finally, for UKI there is the World Agility Open (WAO).  Each of the U.S. agility organizations field a team to travel and compete at these events.  For 2016, I have targeted 3 of the events to try and make the team for. I’ve targeted EO, IFCS, and AWC.  I probably won’t be able to attend all 3 due to limited vacation time, but at least 2 are doable.

For EO, the tryouts were in December of 2015.  See here for a recap of our results.  Since I never updated since then, I’m happy to say that Luna and I were selected to the team by Coach Ann!  So, we will be adding another stamp in our passport in May when we head to France to compete at the 2016 EO.  This will be our 3rd year in a row attending the EO and I’m feeling like we are starting to hit our stride competing at this level.

In January of 2016, Luna and I traveled to Texas to tryout for the IFCS team.  There were 3 spots in each height that would be selected at this event based purely on your results.  It was a smaller event with only 20 total dogs entered in the 26″ height class which ended up only being 18 dogs after a competitor was unable to attend.  However, don’t let the low number of competitors fool you into thinking this was going to be a walk in the park.  There were top level competitors there including past medal winners from the IFCS WAS as well as other international events.  So we were going to have to bring our A game to have a chance.  The event was 3 days long with 6 runs that counted towards your point total.  There was jumpers, agility, gamblers, snooker, and biathlon (jumpers + agility).

With gamblers and snooker counting towards our point total I instantly had worries about being able to finish high in the point totals. Snooker was less of a worry, but it’s always a wild card.  Gamblers was a big worry depending on the gamble they used.  Gambles at the IFCS WAC can be incredibly difficult so I was dreading what we would see. Our problem is that distance skills aren’t something Luna and I have worked on a lot in our training.  We have a low need for them on an average weekend so we just have never worked them hard.

The first day was agility and snooker.  Agility was up first and we ran a fast time and accumulated 15 points of faults. She had a wall fault, a refusal, and a teeter call.  Thought we were going to get the teeter call reversed (there’s a difference between USDAA and IFCS rules about teeter performance), but after the coach reviewed our run she agreed with the call and so that fault stuck.  Next up was snooker.  After looking at the course early in the morning, I told fellow competitor Jody that no way would 3 7s be attempted.  Not only were the red jumps and the 7 obstacle on opposite sides of the course, but the 7 obstacle was the weaves.  I even went so far as to tell Jody that if she just attempted 3 7s I would buy her a drink at dinner that night.  However, after a few hours of thought, discussion with Jody and a few other people, as well as seeing the course as built I of course decided on a 3 7 course.  While we didn’t do 3 7s–Luna took the 6 obstacle when I queued too hard on a RC weave entry–I was able to think quickly on my feet and save our run.  So in the end, we ended up with a 50 point snooker run which combined with our time netted us a first place!  So, we ended up with a medal and on the box getting our picture taken.  After day 1, I was in 2nd place for total points.

Day 2 would see us do jumpers and gamblers.  Gamblers was up first and when I saw the gamble my heart sank a little bit.  It was going to require some distance work with a turn while ending laterally from me taking an obstacle at distance.  We went out and had a pretty good opening though I mishandled a weave entry which caused some delay as we fixed it.  However, when the buzzer went off we were exactly where I wanted to be.   We started the gamble and amazingly she did the distance work perfectly!  Unfortunately, though, she took the bar at #3 in the gamble which negated any points from the gamble.  In the end, we ended up getting 0 points towards team consideration which hurt a lot.  Our jumpers run was a poorly handled course by me, but thankfully only 1 bar was the result.  At the end of day 2, we dropped to 4th place.  After seeing the results of the teams in 1st-3rd it was going to be tough to make-up ground on day 3.

Day 3 was going to be biathlon which was going to be a jumpers and agility.  Agility was my best chance at making up ground from a time perspective since 2 of the dogs above me had stopped dog walks.  For agility, we ended up with a dog walk fault, but Luna was FLYING on this run.  She ran the course 1 second faster than any other dog.  Even though it wasn’t clean, I will take that result because, at this level, we have never seen that type of time separation.   For jumpers, we ran an incredibly fast time with no faults.  I believe we finished 2nd overall for that run.  However, combined biathlon results saw us take 1st overall in the 26″ division!  And, to top it off, we moved up to 2nd place in points to secure a spot on the 2016 IFCS world team.

As I posted on FB, I’ve been incredibly proud and honored of being selected for the EO team 3 times now because the coach believes in your team’s ability to perform at this level.  However, winning a spot on a team means something so much more to me.  It means we came, we saw, and we conquered.  There is no politics or ass kissing.  It’s just pure results and we can say we did it.  I was also really happy about this result because Luna’s breeder, who is from Texas, came down to watch us compete over the weekend.  So she got to us secure a spot on the world team which made me incredibly happy for her!  So now we will be headed to The Netherlands in April to compete at the 2016 IFCS WAC. Another stamp in our passport!

As for the next few months, we will be practicing and gearing up for the IFCS WAC, but also we have the World Team Tryouts the first weekend in May out in California.  We’re still working on the requirements for that, but I believe we should easily be able to get the last QQ we need for that event.