03 March 2011

Dangerous, treacherous, most horrifying agility.

The last 2 nights were agility nights. I could have stayed at home, cutting out little photos of the baby Jesus and glueing them onto soft pieces of felt and pinning them to all my hats. That would have been a safer way to spend some evenings. I have a lot of hats.

Instead, I had 2 nights of extreme agility. And lived to tell the tale.

I think there's a sport where you snowboard across frozen mountain ranges with an assault rifle, shooting at your opponents and eating their carcasses to survive. Last one standing wins. I think they had that in the last Olympics. European agility courses are sort of like this sport.

Perhaps you ran in last year's Agility Wintercup in Austria. Perhaps you know Dornbirn, masochist course designer of the most horrifying agility courses ever. Maybe you can even run Dornbirn's course without nearly dying by the 3rd obstacle. You are awesome. You Euro handlers are all awesome. We are like sad little kittens prancing about with our banal little USDAA courses here compared to the awesomeness of the Euro handlers.

I did not have the good fortune to make it around a single Dornbirn course when running Soja, and she's a European dog. In fact, I nearly killed us both multiple times. There was cursing. About 100 do-overs. On the bright side, I did not cry and Soja did not bite me. We both did some learning.

Like learning that I am going to have to start wearing a safety helmet. And Soja too.

I had a little bit better luck with Gustavo, but not much. Gustavo, to his credit, was trying very hard and was doing an awesome job all night. Winning an Oscar was great for his confidence. Otterpop ran with my friend Dee and I thought they did great. Otterpop is an honorary Euro dog. Rob was able to run it with Wings. It was definitely the hardest course I have ever run in my life. And you Euro handlers just do courses like this every day.

Tuesday night at Power Paws wasn't quite so dramatic, but Jim did make us a doozy of a gamble that I could not get Otterpop, gambling queen, through in one piece. Big, hairy Fail. It cut us up and chewed us out and spit us out the wrong side of the tunnel. We will set it up and practice it, clearly one not added to the database yet.

And we had to look out for mountain lions. Then drive over the mountain in the storm. And some of the courses were hard, except looking back through the filter of Dornbirn, pieces of cake. That pesky front cross that I kept messing up, pales in comparison to the things I don't even have language to describe on Dornbirn's course.

We are on to you, Euro handlers. We are going to learn your ways. If we can learn to make it through courses such as the Mighty Dornbirn's, we have to end up champions all around. We may be humbled and bruised along the way. Horribly so. But we are going to try very hard to figure out how to do this. And hopefully it will make us better at handling our friendly, warm, fuzzy little USDAA courses if we can figure it out.


Anonymous said...

Seems like the Euro style is invading the US; I took a seminar from Dawn Weaver (from Great Britain) a couple weeks ago and we were working courses from the FCI EO Championships. It was somewhat mindblowing and at the same time enlightening and exhilarating! I'll have to learn all about Dornbirn!!

Beth & Lexi

Anonymous said...

Sometimes I have agility dreams where the tire is circled in fire, there are water traps and sharp things stick out from tunnels. That's sorta like your Euro agility... SCARY!

team small dog said...

The euro courses are scary yet super fun. There is no room for la la la handling or holes in training. Both of which I am guilty of.

Unknown said...

geez, how about a course map or something. are the mountain lions on the course map?


team small dog said...

cw, I don't think I have your email. If you email me at laurah (littleatsymbol) plasticdisaster dot com, I'll email it to you. Sans mountain lions. Those you have to figure out for yourself after you set it up. I would say try it without them.

Anonymous said...

Euro is fun -- I'm in Germany right now and having a blast. But it is a completely different handling style with lots of sending the dog behind you and blind crosses. Are you breaking up with Greg Derrett? jeanine and

team small dog said...

Running Euro courses but staying in the rules! Even when we watch someone do them on video with the blind cross, we have found ways to do them with a serp or serppy rear or other non rule breaking ways! Requires no messy break-up.