European Open 2018 in Austria, Magna Racino, was definetely one of the coolest ever and I couldn't be happier.
It already started great with a pre-EO party at Laura's place, when I finally got to see two of my "grandpuppies" (Zookie & Aivo) and they are awesome 🧡💗💜💚💙❤️💛, plus we got to see some friends and meet some new ones. After some delicious food and ice scream we arrived at the venue, which I think is one of the best in Europe to host such an event - no problems with facilities, good bar (aperole!) and decent restaurant with a shaded terrace, lots of space, perfect surface, lots of water hoses to cool the dogs and yourself, plus there was even a nice place by the stream to walk the dogs (thanks Elisabeth for showing it to me!).
On Thursday we had vet check, measuring for Mojo (so now very officially small) and training, which went really well for both Mojo and Brava - no problems with new frameless tyre (love it!) or anything else. Then in the evening there was opening ceremony which like for the first time ever was actually quite cool with a different song chosen for each country (we got "Do przodu, Polsko!" and Sweden got an ABBA song and so on) and beautiful horse dressage demonstration with Fresian horses and riders in historical outfits. Then we had a lovely evening with our friends and Agility Board Game. I also got to meet Mojo's family - beautiful little Rosalie and Pippi, both of them really cool and really beautiful. Obviously I also HAD to do some shopping and got a new leash and new Floramicato toy (you just can't resist, they are the funniest, most colourful and greatest toys ever and my dogs are CRAZY about them!).
On Friday we had team runs, both Brava and Mojo had clean jumpings, Brava dis in agility (but the course was... well, not my favourite type let's say) and Mojo mistake in the slalom. There was some fuckups with the results and at some point we thought our small team was third in agility, but then it turned out we weren't after all :P. Actually the results and especially live-results were the only really bad thing about the competition - they were even horribly late or incomplete or both. Anyway, I was really happy with my girls performance, especially baby Mojo for her first big event, so here are Mojo's team runs:
Brava's team jumping - same course as small and it's funny to see how much more relaxed and trusting I am when handling her in comparison to how I handle Mojo - of course it's only natural and that's the place we're gonna be with my super spaniel in 2-3 years time:
In the end Poland ended up with just one medium team in the final, despite the fact that one of large teams ended up second place in jumping also. I finished my runs quite early on, so could enjoy aperoles from the bar, great company and watching others for the rest of the day - I totally love social aspect of agility competitions 😃💛. I couldn't even feel bad about all the calories consumed as I walked over 20 km each day, so burnt all the alcohol I drank (or so I tell myself). Speaking of the social aspect - we had a family meeting with five of Brava puppies present at the EO (sadly, Daniel and Neo couldn't come even though they also qualified). The best Pyrsheps in the world for sure!
Left to right: Brie, BB, Babou (team European Open 2018 winner), Brava (EO 2018 vice champion), Brego (AWC 2017 team large winner), Zookie (EO 2016 winner, team European Open 2018 winner).
Saturday was the individual runs. The agility medium course seemed a bit too easy and I was actually a little bit worried that on such speedy course 9,5 yo Brava wouldn't be competitive enough, but well, she proved me wrong, ending up on 5th place which was enough to qualify for the final. She also had a nice jumping run later, with one tiny refusal, because I was too slow :P. Mojo was again awesome, one mistake in the slalom in the jumping course and unfortunately dogwalk fault in the agility run (we sure have a list of things to train after this EO 😀), but in general I was really happy with her performance, we just had some young dog's mistakes, but she handled the heat and the atmosphere brilliantly. Other Polish competitors also had some super cool runs, so we ended up with one small, four medium and three large dogs in the individual final! Not bad at all, especially that all of them are such great and mostly quite young dogs!
Sunday came - since I was not participating in the team finals, I let myself a bit of lie-in and woke up just in time to see our medium team - three smashing clean runs and one elimination sadly - but since it's the same team that will be participating in the world championship, I'm very optimistic about their chances! My puppies made me proud again, since the medium team final was won by Austrian team with Babou and Zookie among them!
Small individual finals was really interesting and challenging course by Svetlana Zolotnikova - I actually liked the course the best of all the final courses, it was great to watch and the winning performances of Marusa Podjed with Nai and Sandi Okanovic with Mia were really amazing! It was great to see friends on the podium again!
Medium course was set by Wolfgang Tieber - most of it was fluent and nice, I just didn't really like the ending, since it was a bit of "who can outrun their dog" and I'm really not very fond of courses in which the dog has to push forward even though handler's body is showing a wrong line...
There were lots of refusals or eliminations on the very last obstacle and that was not so fun to watch actually. It also happened to Magda with Mora (Brava's younger sister), who had clean and fast as crazy run until then... Otherwise I liked the fact that the course demanded the dog to be able to work independently (like the best solution on the slalom was to let the dog find the entry themselves, almost everyone who tried to help with the entry pushed the dog too much towards the tunnel, or you really had to let the dog do the "out" after the dogwalk alone if you were to make it in time to number 17). I told Brava she needs to read the numbers since and I told my body to make this last effort in horrible heat and despite my sore muscles (I walked over 20 km on each day of the competition and that's not counting the running...). Well, what can I say - she is the most amazing dog ever, she did everything I asked of her, found the weave entry alone, nailed the dogwalk contact, sent to number 18, found the tunnel after the A-frame even though I was miles away already, trying to make it around the dogwalk and cleared that double even though I was so out of breath I was not able to give the command I optimistically planned to give when coursewalking). I don't remember ever being so exhausted after a run though, I couldn't speak for like 5 minutes after. We were beaten by Daniel Schroeder with Cashew who had a smashing run 😲 and ended up being European Open 2018 vice champions - that is more than I would ever imagine this year! especially that Brava had a small injury in May, didn't run our AWC qualis at all and had very little training before (but lots of swimming, walks and conditioning instead).
Video of the run:
In the large final Poland had amazing dogs and it was great to watch them - actually all three of them had great runs, but this time luck was not on our side - Applause dropped the first bar, Yuca had fault on up contact, Chica also one bar. But I really believe that if one year luck is not on your side, one day it will help you, so it all balances itself. In general it was fantastic to watch Polish team this year, we had some great dogs and super runs and it really made me proud. There were lots of clean runs in large final, it was great to see that so many dogs had perfect running contacts, interestingly enough there was a tie of Mona Grefenstein and Lisa Frick in the second place (maybe we need to measure even more exactly now?) and many many fantastic perfomances that made me feel inspired about what to train now.
Big thanks to our team leader, Michał Pieniak, who stood, or rather walked constantly between four rings, in this crazy heat, carried all the water bottles, bags, hats, toys and what not between start and finish lines, measured times for fastest lines, updated all the important info by messenger for everybody, cheered and supported all of us and still managed to be calm, composed and in good humour all the time. As always, huge thanks to Roman for driving, helping ,filming and supporting me 💚💙🧡❤️💛💜🖤.