Recap On a Great Week!
First of all, I have to apologize for my lack of blogging. It was a crazy week (that’s crazy in a good way!) and it just didn’t work out to have internet time. I will try to catch up on everything since mid-week.
Thursday started off with a trip to the venue where we were quickly ushered to the vet check. It was the same vet as at IFCS and luckily he found Rio’s heart-beat this year (he joked last year that she didn’t have one. Poor Ri!) We then had a 24 minute practice (yes, they go right to the minute and then chase you off) in the main indoor ring and then 24 minutes in one of the two outdoor rings. It was so windy for our outdoor practice that at one point, when Recess was trying to run, the broad, the wall and another jump completely blew over (and let me tell you, when the wall comes down, there are a LOT of pieces to pick up!). Even the teeter was blowing so much that it was stuck in the horizontal position! They told us afterwards, that if the wind continued for the competition days, they’d change the weight of the teeter. Luckily, it never came to that!
Rio loving the rubberized equipment
Back at the hotel on Thursday afternoon, I met up with Charlotte who had arrived from Moncton. Sadly, Christine wasn’t with her as planned, due to a missed connection to Halifax. It was great to do a little catching up with Char!
We then hopped on the bus and headed back to the venue for the very brief (yea!) opening ceremonies where all the countries paraded into the ring. Rio and I were selected to carry the Canadian flag J
Back at the hotel, Charlotte, Rio & I went for yet another walk through the “public footpaths” to the sea. I have no idea how Char kept her eyes open!! Maybe it was due to her enthusiasm for taking pictures of the cows on the path? (Anyone ever seen a dwarf-legged cow?)
Rio & the matching red & white cow
This poor cow had half-sized legs!
Friday morning arrived way too quickly! We arrived at the venue and were very pleased to find out that everyone got their own copies of course maps! Yea!
The way this competition worked was that there were three rings and each country was divided into a group. Each group had 12 minutes to walk the course before rotating to the next ring for another 12 minute walk through. I ended up walking Snooker, Team Standard and then Individual Standard and then was quickly on the line to run Snooker! I’ve had to have three courses in my head before, but never such technical courses. Thank goodness for Charlotte for filling my Tim’s mug with coffee to keep my brain sharp!
Team Snooker strategy planning on the bus to the venue
The Snooker course only had three reds but the time was only 45 seconds. I had a slight handling blunder on the first red (Lesson #1: Do not point toward the back of the arena where there are no jumps or obstacles for that matter, and keep repeating “Go Jump! Go Jump!” while blocking your dogs view of any jump.) and ended up being one jump away from a perfect Snooker run when time ran out. We still managed to finish 5th in the class. Team Standard was next. We had a clean run and an individual placing of 4th. Our Team finished 5th for that round. We had a great run in the individual Standard, but unfortunately earned 5 faults for knocking the broad jump.
The morning courses went by SO quickly! The event was so well run that we kept finishing early!
The afternoon was three jumpers courses: Individual, Biathlon and Team. Rio and I only ran in the Individual Jumpers and I was very thankful that I didn’t have to have 3 jumpers courses in my head at the same time!!
We had a beautiful opening in the ind. Jumpers, but Rio missed her weave entry—twice! Ugh! I was so peeved with her and me that I accidentally put her over the backside of a jump on the homestretch. My first ever “E” on a jumpers course. I wasn’t very happy with myself and ended up playing the scenario over and over in my head all night (which really doesn’t make for a good night’s sleep!)
Enjoying a pint after competition
Saturday morning, I ended up walking/running three courses in a row again! My poor brain (and also my poor hair—my hot water disappeared in the shower that morning after I had soaped my head—wasn’t my best hair day)! Ri had a fabulous Individual Standard, but decided once again that pole #2 made a much better entry than pole one! (She is going to have to sit down and watch that DVD that someone made up on 2x2 weaves before we head to Regionals!!!). On the individual Jumpers course, for some reason the jumps were not in the same place as when I walked the course and an off course tunnel, which I never even saw as an off course possibility, sucked Rio right in. Agh! Another “E” in jumpers??? Guess Rio’s reign as Jumpers Queen is over…? LOL In the team Standard, we had a lovely run finishing 3rd in the 650mm class and our team of Recess, Slice & Rio finished in 2nd for that round.
Kim/Recess, Anneli/Slice & Me/Rio
In the afternoon, we ran Gamblers. We were given 32 seconds for the opening. There were no mini gambles but if you did all three tunnels and all three contacts, you were given 10 bonus points. The final gamble was a really tight one with only 12 seconds to complete. I knew I had to be on approach to jump number 1 of the gamble when the 32s whistle blew in order to have a hope of completing it, but sadly, we had a wrong turn out of the chute and we ended up not being in position. We got the gamble, but over time. Only three of the 650mm (26”) dogs got the gamble in time. We finished 4th in that class and ended up being 4th overall for the combined Snooker/Gamblers games title. I don’t really like standing just off the podium, but I guess I’ll take 4th in the World for now…. J
Saturday night my best-est World Agility supporter, Anne, took me out to dinner in Cheddar (Anne, originally from Ottawa, now lives in London. She’s cheered me on at IFCS in Belgium, FCI in Finland and both IFCS and WAO in England. She has never owned a dog, but can probably tell you the snooker rules better than I could! LOL). Turns out that I got lucky getting a ride back to the hotel with Anne since the bus broke down! Thank you to Charlotte & Christine for taking Rio on a bus/cab adventure back to the hotel! Since we hadn’t had enough exercise that day, Christine, Charlotte, Kim, Recess & Rio went on yet another walk. The locals just didn’t get how much fun it is to do self timed photos and offered to take pictures for us. I think we’ve left a lot of West Huntspill-ians shaking their heads at those bizarre Canadians!
One of several shots using the camera's timer!
Funny looking gargoyles at the local church
Happy Canadians taking the Public Footpaths to the pub
Sunday’s events were the finals for the Individual Pentathlon, Four Dog Team Relay and Biathlon. Due to our little mishaps in the Individual Jumpers rounds, we didn’t get to play in the Individual Speedstakes. We had a great time cheering though!! Great agility! Great courses! In fact the whole event was top notch. The volunteers were AMAZING!! The security was great, the set-up was well thought out, things ran on time (if not early!), the judges were friendly, the equipment high quality and the courses were soooooo much fun to run!! The organizers of the WAO really outdid themselves!!
Sunday night was another relaxed dinner at the Huntspill Arms pub where I think we may be considered locals now….? Rio thinks being a pub dog is awesome J
One last night at the pub
Rio at the Huntspill Arms Pub
Monday morning we got up really early and Charlotte, Kim, Recess, Rio and I did a final walk. Guess what? After two years, I finally saw the tide in!!! Yea! The bus ride to Heathrow was uneventful and the check in at the airport was super easy. I have NEVER had such great service with a dog before!!! Even the security people were friendly and chatty and apologized profusely when they had to “seize” the bottle of water I’d forgotten about (bad me!). We then all headed our separate ways except for Charlotte and Christine who were flying with me and then on to the Maritimes. I had an empty seat beside me, so Charlotte and I had a great time catching up the whole trip home J. In the Ottawa airport, the customs officer took pity on me and didn’t make me stand in the long line to have my rabies certificate checked. I didn’t even have to pay anything!!! (In Toronto they usually charge me a fee to check my rabies cert.).
Matthew: The best Air Canada baggage guy ever!
Rio came out of her crate happy. What a fantastic traveller she is!!! I can’t say enough about my wonderful red girl who has taken me on so many fantastic adventures. She really is the best!
A HUGE thank you:
To my family for taking good care of things while I was away. It’s so wonderful to know that I don’t need to worry about anything on the home front while I’m competing.
To my great friends for their support, encouraging messages and good wishes! Rio & I are lucky to have you as friends.
To my sponsors, especially All Dog Sports Club and Omega Alpha, for the financial help! You have no idea how much your support made our journey so much easier!
And to the Team Canada Coach & Management for donating their time. You made everything run so smoothly!
What a great trip, great memories, great people and great support. Thanks everyone!