Friday, September 5, 2008

Agility Nationals - Melbourne 2008

Well, that's my first experience of travelling to a Nationals and Ihave to say I think Melbourne did an awesome job! The "hugeness" of it all is alomost overwhelming and the mammoth task of having to co-ordinate so many entries is frightening!!!
We arrived early in the week so had a few extra days to aclimatise to the grounds at KCC Park (below ... including beautiful blue skies!)

The training area was probably the worst of all the grounds - a little muddy in areas - this (below) was Thursday morning with a few WA'ers getting a feel for the local equipment.

Ticket settled into her new accommodation well, comfortable running in the paddock and taking advantage of the local fence posts for some "send out" practice ... here I'm trying to send her "out" and drive the camera at the same time!

We picked up our hire car on Tuesday monring ... have wheels, will travel!

Wednesday we visited friends, Donna and her two lovely Koolies, Flex and Rain (below), and retired Rough Collie, Jasper. Did a little agility training and Flex did a little tracking, showing off her style that recently gained her Tracking Champion title.

The Nationals trials started on Friday with Games and a few standard classes. Ticket did actually qualify in Novice Gamblers ... which was not a Q I was really looking for but hey, we'll take it!

We met up with Camilla from Graebelge Belgian Shepherds (pictured below with baby Terv in face!) ... she's a little camera shy!

... and I finally got to meet Sarah with Malinois, Arinya, who both did some nice runs together over the weekend (pictured together below).

Our little group ordered a Marquee for the weekend and with the eight of us (and six dogs) we still had plenty of room to put up some warm-up jumps ... I think that's the closest we're ever gonna get to our indoor training arena!

Over the weekend, I found the communication excellent, announcing over the PA's when rings were open for walking and when they were changing heights, etc. The weather gods were on our side, with beautiful warm, sunny most of the time, only needing wet weather gear on Sunday ... how lucky was that?! Glad I only invested in the cheap old Rainbird pants and jacket!

"Ticket" did an amazing job coping with everything ... her usual one fault here and there trick, keeping her from qualifying, but I am still proudof her, considering a couple of years ago I doubted that she would ever get off the start line, and I certainly never expected to be able to travel her to a National ... despite so many people wanting to look at and talk to her she still managed to hold her start lines and she tried very hard on course, with just a few ghosts here and there. It certainly keeps you humble owning a dog like Tick.

I met lots of nice people from different states and felt really welcomed by the Victorians. I was proud of our West Aussie competitors for their fine handling and impressive results, dominating many of the top 7 placings!

My heart sank when WA dog, Samroc, accidentally hit the tyre which fell and landed on him, he was unable to move. He was rushed off to the nearby 24 hour vet hospital, I felt sick and sad for his Mum/handler, Jules, and I'm sure I wasn't the only one who gave my dog an extra hug and struggled to re-focus. Fortunately there were a number of veterinarians and nurses who were albe to assist immediately. Glad to hear now however, that Samroc is moving about and slowly improving ... hugs to Sammy and Jules.

It's inspiring to come home to Agility in WA where we really do have the best weather, the best facilities, the best equipment and, in my opinion, the best handlers/trainers in Australia!

Well done WA'ers and congrat's to Melbourne for a successful National event! Looking forward to 2010 when the next Nationals will be held in Perth!!!


Pacco de Mongrel said...

is sad to read about Samroc incident..

tyre safety definately needs improvement

Anonymous said...

Hi Helen,

I read an article about tyre safety and if made me think.. I will see if I can hunt it out and email it to you.

Sounds like you had a brilliant time