I checked in the morning after waking up and yup, I'm still one of the team Agility World Champions 2017 in large :). So not a dream, although dream came true :).
Photo of the best yellow doggy on the planet (C) Marc Gaub
Well, what can I say, it was AWESOME AWC :). Some time before it we learnt that Polish team will the first one to run on Thursday and I was like "Hell, yeah, we're opening the AWC, it's gotta be good" :D. I like running in the beginning, I ran as the first competitor in agility individual medium run in Liberec 2012 and I won my first AWC medal then, so I also thought of it as a good omen :).
The training on Thursday went really well with Brego - he knocked two bars, but I thought it was because the distances on the training course were quite tight, so didn't really think a lot about it. His dogwalks and weaves were great though, so I was really pleased. Brava, on the other hand, was a bit weird, jumped the dogwalk twice, did a fly-off on the see-saw and generally something felt off.
Finally, the competition began and our large team did three clean runs by Natalia, Magda Z. and me in lovely fluent jumping by Petr Pupik and we finished on 11th place, which I thought was perfect - not too much pressure, but a good chance to improve in agility run.
Photos of the best weird coloured doggy on the planet: (C) Guido Kuester
As Mirja Lapanja was judging the agility course everybody knew it would be challenging and then yet everybody got a bit suprised by HOW challenging it was. I said that whoever wins this course will become the world champion. I really liked it though - I felt it could be pretty fluent and would allow me to use Brego's strenghts, like running dogwalk, independent A-frame and commitment on turns - so I felt quite good about it. I was quite calm on the startline, just wanting to run the best we can and I felt I could trust Brego to do well. Magda with Issy were going first and they had cracking clean run (turned out that they actually won it!), then I ran with Brego and it felt awesome - everything worked out as I planned and when I got to the finish I was really pleased with that run. Natalia with Yen got eliminated, but then our team got another awesome clean run by Magda with Mawr and we all started jumping like crazy and waving to our Polish supporters as for the first time ever Polish team managed six clean runs and we knew that would give us pretty good place in combined.
We hardly expected we would win this run... and then it turned out we also became team World Champions in large!!! First "combined" podium for Poland and GOLD!
Than was more than I have ever dreamt of - I'm extremely happy and grateful to all my teammates, especially that we all contributed to this success. And it was really like - nothing is impossible, even becoming World Champion with a just-large Pyrenean Shepherd :D.
Photo: (C) Marc Gaub
The emotions were so strong that I could hardly focus on our team agility medium run which was just after the prize-giving ceremony. We had two eliminations in jumping, but we could still fight for a good place in agility. I ran as the last one, and on hindsight I think I should have used stopped dogwalk command, since I knew after the training that this time dogwalk was problematic for Brava. I got her checked by physio before the run and she was a bit tense on her shoulders, but nothing horrible. Anyway - we got pretty good run up until the dogwalk which she JUMPED as hell and then I got distracted, Brava missed one jump and went into the tunnel and we got eliminated. Oh well.
Saturday was individual jumping medium run for me, since Brego was only running teams. Again, nice jumping course by Petr Pupik, but somehow I didn't feel so good about it. I didn't sleep well and it was difficult for me to get into the right attitude. I did my best though, used some visualisations, "super-woman" postures to boost my confidence etc - well, I guess it helped, since we got a clean run, but somehow Brava had an "almost refusal" on a slalom entry that normally she is really good at and even though we were clean, we lost lots of time and ended up on 26th place.
I was a bit worried about Brava, since something felt off with her and it's really not like her to jump the dogwalks or miss slalom entries ;). In the end I consulted with our physio, Brava got a massage and we decided to wait until the next day to see how she feels. On Sunday morning Brava looked really happy and moved with ease so I decided we got nothing to lose and will just run as hell and have a good time :). So we did :) We got really nice run and were 0,01 from the podium in agility and less than half a second from the podium in combined - yes, we progressed from 26th place to 4th!!! I'm quite proud of it... and so grateful to my best yellow doggy on the planet for always giving her best!
I really feel like I brought two world champions home, I have most wonderful dogs on the planet and it feels just awesome to run with them. This is the thing I have always loved about agility the most - the trust between me and my dogs, the communication, the joy of just being there together. It was my sixth time on AWC with Brava... and who knows, maybe 7 times lucky... ;) Although I'm blessed as I am - I realised that it was my fifth consecutive time on AWC that I came back home with a medal (2012 - individual agility medium silver, 2014 - team medium jumping gold, 2015 - team medium jumping bronze, 2016 - agility individual medium bronze and this year team large agility gold and gold in combined). Not bad, huh?
Photos of the best yellow doggy on the planet: (C) Marc Gaub
In general AWC is always one of my favourite competitions and so inspiring! I just love watching the best of the best run, I love the atmosphere, the emotions - and I felt really happy for this years winners, especially for Tereza Kralova with Say and medium vice champion Katerina Malackova with pyrshep Izzy :).
On the other hand, this AWC felt a little different for me. First of all, it was suprisingly challenging to run with two dogs (although I guess I could get used to that ;)). Secondly, while I'm happy with my concentration and runs, I missed a bit more of crazy time - eating, partying, fooling around with friends. One of the reasons for that was that even though the organisers charged for the camping spot for camper as for a pretty good hotel, they still didn't think it was necessary to provide us with showers (which is really stupid, as there ARE showers in the facility, they were just closed). So each evening instead of going to a restaurant or partying, we walked 2 km to crash our friends staying in a hotel to get a shower :P. So just a word to all organizers of future EO's and AWC's - people staying in the camping cars etc. also need showers - and they deserve it, especially when paying about 40 euros per night for the parking spot with electricity (which worked on and off due to rain). Second reason for not partying hard or sight seeing more was lousy weather, which was nobody's fault (although I blame a bit British and Finnish people who walked around saying "it's just like back home" - why the hell did you feel it was necessary to bring it with you then?!). I blame the weather for me wanting to just crawl into bed and go to sleep each evening, otherwise I would have to blame my age and I am so not ready for that!
Last but not least, very short Oscar-gala speech (I know I made fun of it last time, I guess that's what becoming World Champion does to you... naah, I will get back to normal soon, I promise :)).. Big thanks to dr Aneta Bocheńska for taking regular care of my dogs and Jana Dąbrowska for checking on Brava on the spot. Huge gratitude to my teammates Magdalena Łabieniec, Natalia Lichecka and Magdalena Ziółkowska and whole Polish team for lots of beautiful moments and emotions - we just get better and better and I watched our runs with pride! Lots of kisses to our Polish supporters - I heard you! Big thanks to my friends from other countries - cheering for us, writing messages, recording the videos and sending good energy - it means a lot.
Thank you Marc Gaub and Guido Kuester for allowing me to use the photos - I know how much time processing photos takes and want you to know that it really brings me lots of joy to see your beautiful work.
And finally the biggest thank you to my love, Roman, for being there for me all the time <3.