Thursday, 21 April 2011

Catch up time Pt III - European Open Tryouts 2011

Zeki qualified for the EO Tryouts this year. She got some good places in the qualifiers during 2010 and I think we qualified well up the table which was pleasing in itself.

I could not decide whether to accept the invitation to enter the tryouts as it came at quite a tough time. I had just lost my mum and had the pressure of Crufts looming. I was 'persuaded' by my friends that I should enter and so I did. Well actually Bernadette did so on my behalf as I was too stressed to even complete the entry form.

The tryouts were held at the Lincoln show ground alongside Lincoln's own agility show. A really lovely venue even though a rather lengthy 3+ hours drive. Bernadette and I travelled up together and stayed at a B&B which was only 15 minutes from the venue. You can read all about that on the Obay blog!

The judge for the tryouts was Yvonne Croxford and I was really hoping she would be setting some testing courses. Yvonne did not disappoint. The courses were complex and tricky. To be honest, although Zeki and I have practised lots of hard combinations at training we have rarely come across difficult courses during out competitive time together. Most of the medium courses we have run tend to be based on a grid. I like courses with shape, challenges and hard weave entries. Boy we got that at these tryouts! We ran our best and I am very proud of our attempt. We only got one clear but that resulted in a 2nd place and was enough to put us into the final round. Although we were eliminated on the other courses they were not what I call 'disastrous' eliminations but purely as a result of a poor handling technique or a fractionally late call in just one spot of the course.

I was very pleased to get into the fourth and final round and we tried our best and did some great bits and one not so great bit at the weave entry.

At the end of the day I reflected that I had really enjoyed the courses; that I had some great sequences to go away and train; that I had a new confidence running Zeki prior to our first championship class in May and that I had had a thoroughly enjoyable day with some lovely people.

I was chatting away to someone when I heard Leah shouting my name. Everyone had gathered for the selection announcement and I was ringside waiting to clap those who had been picked, whilst talking at the same time. I can multi-task you see.

I ignored her but she kept calling me, in the end she called very loudly and I think I turned and said "what?" Bit rude but couldn't she see I was busy! Everyone started to laugh and Leah shouted to me that I'd been picked for the team and to get my ass over there. I was so shocked I couldn't speak. Then I was tearful, I just couldn't believe it. We had been picked to represent Team GB at the EO's in Austria. Oh my god!

Here is a picture that Bernadette took on her iPhone (hopefully a couple more to come from Candice when she has time to download them.)

Medium Team GB - Europen Opens Austria 2011

I am so proud of my special little dog. She was a star. Here are her videos from the day: