My princesses

My photo
Sava Sara Brakada, AKA Xsara was born on 06-27-2004. She was raised in Kennel Brakada spending the first two months of her life on beautiful countryside Gorenjska (Slovenia) with her siblings and parents. As soon as she came to Ljubljana we started a puppy class, followed by an obedience class. She passed her B-bh exam with 96 points (instructor Agility EO winner Polona Bonač). We now continue with Rally-Obedience under Polona's supervision. Our biggest passion however is Agility. We started our first Agility class in October 2005 (club Agility Ilirija, instructor Silvia Trkman, two times agility world champion). When Silvia stopped teaching agility classes, we switched to Daša Zakotnik. We regularly participate in Agility trials in Slovenia and sometimes abroad. Xsara also loves to learn new dog tricks, you can see some of them in our videos. Her other passions include long walks, big meals and playing with dogs, specially her pyr shep sister Tani, her crazy agility pals and her sister Sena.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Our Crazy Weekend

We have so many news that I don't know where to start. I'll just go chronologically. We had an agility workshop with Anne Savioja on Friday. It was very interesting, she gave me some really good pieces of advice to improve speed and I can't wait to try them out. The most interesting two for me are: to have her follow a food tube on a rope to improve tunnels and to do a short sequence of jumps and have her outrun me - if she doesn't then I get to eat the reward and she has to watch me do it. Since I'm a vegetarian it means that we will be competing for cheese. But we won't try it until Thursday because she needs to rest a little, so I will train with my friend's dog (a poodle) today.

On Saturday it was trial time again and I could tell that by then Xsara was already very tired. I don't blame her - we had a trial on Saturday, RO on Monday, another trial on Wednesday (the photo on the right is from that trial), agility class on Thursday, workshop on Friday and another trial on Saturday, so it was a lot. She was very tired so we didn't run as fast as we could have, but it was still good enough for the third place. Here are the videos of our runs:

First Run (Agility)

Second Run (Jumping)

On Sunday we celebrated Xsara's 4th Birthday. We had a cake (healthy and delicious), presents and doggy friends (including Xsara's BFF Benetton), the whole package. We went only for a short walk because it was very hot, otherwise we stayed on the terrace where it was cooler. Xsara got quite possessive over one of her toy gifts and wouldn't allow other dogs to play with it, but the border collies preferred herding Xsara with the toy in her mouth than actually playing with the toy themselves, and Katka the poodle was to busy trying to jump into someone's lap so it was all good :)

Unfortunately, I also have a very bad news: Sena's people decided that they don't want her to do agility any more. They feel it's confusing for her to have several people teaching her. I was extremely disappointed than their decision because I don't agree with them, but there really isn't anything I can do. I just hope they will continue any type of work with her because she would really benefit from it.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

In Good Times And In Bad

The first two trials of our crazy week are behind us. On Saturday we did very well on a trial here in Ljubljana. With two clean runs we won again, so I was really proud. Maybe my self esteem grew too high because I didn't do so well yesterday (and I want to underline that it was me who didn't do so well, while Xsara was perfect).

The trial was in Murska Sobota, two and a half hours from Ljubljana - and it was incredibly hot. We had a very nice and clean first run (agility), but I made a big handling mistake in jumping and got us disqualified (I made a front cross in front of the jump instead of beside it, sending her around it and causing her to jump from the wrong side). But I was still very happy with the rest of the run, we were pretty fast. We had another team run after that (agility again), judged by WC judge Anne Savioja. It could have been another great run, but Xsara entered the tunnel from the wrong end, causing another disqualification, so we weren't really useful to our team :( It was a very difficult tunnel entry and many dogs made a mistake there. I think Xsara could have found the correct entry, but I am trying to improve our speed and with more speed mistakes are more likely to happen. The rest of the run was, again, great, so I had a really good feeling about it, I was just sorry about the team. I only have the video of our first run (the clean one) - I swear it's a coincidence, I'm not hiding our DQ runs :)

We have training with both beagles today, then agility workshop tomorrow and another trial on Saturday. I hope I won't make any crucial mistakes this time, I guess we will be pretty tired by then. But I know that we will have a great time just being together and doing what we love to do the most.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Walking On Sunshine

It's weird how many our adventures start with us wanting to go somewhere and result in us going to the seaside instead :) Yesterday, for example, we were supposed to have an agility class, but I completely forgot that Dasa was already in Belgium for a trial. The weather was so beautiful, and it hasn't been nice in a while so it would be really stupid to let it slip. Xsara and Sena were already in the car and Sena's people were gone for the entire day so she was all mine. Gas was also finishing work early, a perfect opportunity for something crazy. We surprised him at work and told him that we were going on a roadtrip.

As most of you have probably realised, I am crazy about sea - we really should just make it easier for everyone and move to the seaside some day (soon). It was warm enough to swim, but none of the beagles wanted to join me in the water. They were both in a great mood for playing so I chased them around with a bottle in my hand and watered them if they weren't quick enough to escape. They seemed to have a really great time (and so did I, of course).

This morning I first went jogging with Xsara to make her a little tired for a while and then I went to pick up Sena again and took her to our training centre because she hasn't done any agility for two weeks. We trained alone for about an hour (with pauses) and she really did very well. She doesn't know the weaves yet, but other than that she really is ready to compete. She is quite fast and she pulls ahead more than Xsara did when we started (or maybe I wasn't experienced enough back then). Eather way, I was very happy with her. Now I have to take Xsara to the vet (it's anal glands party again) and then we have RO in the evening. So we are really really busy, just the way we like it :)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Long Time, No Sea

This weather is absolutely crazy! It's raining all the time and it got quite cold, so we haven't been on any interesting roadtrips. Last week it was still a little warmer so we went to Iski Vintgar with Ben. Xsara couldn't wait to go swimming, can't you tell from the photo?! I hope she will be in more of a swimming mode when we go to the sea because I would really like us to go swimming together (but I won't force her if she decides against it, of course).

On Saturday we had a Beagle Reunion, organised by our breeder. It was cloudy and cold, but the dogs didn't mind. They were so happy to play together and steal human food from the tables. Whenever food was involved, Xsara was the loudest and the bossiest one. Because of her athletic figure, some people thought she really was starving, so I know they were feeding her behind my back (I could tell by the smirk on her muzzle). Anyway, we saw many Xsara's relatives, including both parents and two dogs from the same pack.

Luckily, the weather is always nice when we have training, so we haven't missed any lessons. We have three trials and an agility workshop (with the WC judge Anne Savioja) next week, so we won't be bored or anything. We will also celebrate Xsara's birthday next Friday (June 27th)- I absolutely cannot believe that she will be 4 years old!! She is still a puppy if you ask me, so playful and full of life. But at the same time I don't even remember my life before her, it's like we've always been together. Anyway, we will have a party, doggy guests, the cake and everything, and I promise to post about it. Just, please, don't make any HB wishes in advance because it's bad luck ;)

Monday, June 9, 2008

IABC 2008

Our IABC adventure was incredible, far beyond my expectations. We have never ran so many courses in such short time, but Xsara didn't seem to mind. However I decided not to take her to the training today - I'll let her sleep in a little instead (I'll just take her to RO in the evening). Now let me tell you more about the trial and the rosette you see proudly displayed on the left.

We arrived to Szolnok on Thursday and the weather was awful. We had heavy rain showers on our 7 hours drive and it didn't get much better when we reached the destination. We were very happy that we decided against camping and had booked little houses in advance.

On Friday we had registrations, training and the first runs in the afternoon. Here I have to admit that I was a little disappointed because nobody bothered to check Xsara's health certificate. I know that the sticker doesn't necessariliy mean that the dog was indeed vaccinated, but it would still make me feel more comfortable. Anyway, we were allowed to train for 10 minutes on each course (3 in all), but we only decided to try out the contacts and the weaves and not overdo it. The competition started in the afternoon - it was team agility, pairs and open (for those without a team or pair) competition. We did very well in the open class (clean jumping run, 4.11 m/s), got one refusal in teams run (I ran too far away from her) and didn't run in pairs. Here is the video of our open jumping:

On Saturday we had Team Jumping, Individual Jumping and Open Agility (and it was also pairs finale). Both our jumpings were clean, but she knocked one bar in agility. However she was in a great mood for running so we really had fun together. We finished on 2nd place in combined agility and jumping Open (that's why we got the rosette), and 14th place in Individual Jumping. We also resulted as diecent team members, but unfortunately other members of our team made some mistakes so we were 15th. Another team from Slovenia was however 2nd, so congrats to Katka, Kati, Gala and Kuki. You can see Xsara's runs below.

Team jumping:

Individual jumping:

Open agility:

On Sunday we ran individual Agility - and messed up the weaves and knocked a bar, so we finished on about 18th place in medium. We also ran in the Nationals Finale (another clean run, even though I almost missed the course walk). 9 best placed dogs from each country competed in this cathegory and Slovenia was 3rd. Xsara was also the best placed beagle in the competition so we had the privilege to represent the breed in the Breeds Finale. I don't know how we were placed because we had to leave before they had the results, but we had a clean run again (only this time I could see she was a little tired because it was like 5 minutes after the Nations Finale). Anyway, here is the video of our Breeds Finale run:

We came home at about 3 in the morning and are resting a little bit today. I must say I am very glad that we went, it definitely improved my confidence and calmed my ring nerves a lot (I basically didn't have the time to make myself nervous). It was also good to compete with other dogs of different breeds, see many experienced handlers and run the courses of WC and EO judges. And, most importantly, we had a great time with other agility freaks who don't mind running in the mud, rain or under the hot sun (we had all of these) as long as they are running with their best friends.

EDIT: I just found the results online, apparently we were 5th in the Breeds Final.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Agility Pictures From Maribor

Thanks to Andraž Cerar!

We are leaving for Hungary on Thursday morning, so I probably won't update until we come back. I will catch up with everybody when we return, I promise :)

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Agility Trial in Maribor

We had another agility trial yesterday, it was held in Maribor, the second largest city in Slovenia (after Ljubljana). We had two nice runs, both clean, so that made me happy. I got a little lost in our first run and almost took Xsara to the wrong obstacle, but she was very responsive when I called her so we just lost some time, but got no penalty points. The contact on the dogwalk also wasn't perfect (she has beautiful contacts in training but not so much on trials), but it was done with her rear foot (I triple-checked it on the video). I wanted to make a front cross after the last tunnel, but wasn't able to outrun her, so I had to make a rear cros and it didn't turn out that well, but it was OK. I was still trying to play it a little bit too safe instead of just running, so that is my mission for the rest of the season - run faster, trust Xsara more and improve our times a little more so that we can go to A3/J3 next season. We have improved our times from last year for about 0.2 m/s, so there definitely is progress. Here are the videos of our trial - I found jumping (second run) quite difficult: