On he 5th April Miki and I debuted in a new dog sport, well for us anyway and it's called "Freestyle". We have been training for about 6 months for this and we have attended one course on this subject. Freestyle involves the handler going through a series of tricks with their dog and some dress up and use props which you'll see in our routine later in the blog.
Unfortunately, there aren't many places in Denmark where you can train for Freestyle so we trained with some friends that were also going to be debutants in this dog Freestyle competition. Whilst we had been training for such shows we never really knew if what we had been doing was right or not.
You can therefore imagine that we were both excited and nervous to discover a double competition was to held right near us and but now we all had something to train towards. We were about to see what all our dog trick training had amounted to. As we found out there were to be 4 entrants to debut in the skills tests (a new form of competitions that are held together with "Heel to Music" and "Freestyle" competitions in Denmark. Skill tests are a sort of trick test, and are meant to get people interested into training for Heel to Music and/or Freestyle). Miki and I duly signed up for a debut in Freestyle.
Despite having a fair amount of time to train for the Freestyle competitions as April approached I felt the time passed too quickly and was beginning to get nervous. Miki, brave as ever, kept my spirits high! After some hard work we got the program together (not the same as in the beginning though) and we trained on it, and with the help of good friends, we also finished costume and props for the program.
In the days leading up to the big day my nerves returned. "Just what had we signed up for?", I asked myself. "Was our program good enough , did we have enough exercises , was the difficulty of the program high enough?", my mind raced with doubts and nervousness.
Just when I started to relax the organiser posts a picture of the competition arena on Facebook. And that was it..this huge arena filled me with doubt once again. Would we be able to utilise this large expanse or would we flop in front of a crowd of people? Miki and I continued to train on and we kept our heads down.
The day had arrived and we arrived at Roende where the Freestyle competition was to be held. I talked a bit with some of the people we knew who were there and we checked ourselves in. I was once again feeling the pressure so felt I needed to check if we could enter a non competitive dog competition afterwards if we weren't too great in our first event. Remember there were two competitions this day.
So if you recall there were 4 entrants and in the first event 3 of the 4 competitors who were to compete in skill tests were the first up before Miki and I. They all did super well and all passed their test. Congratulations to them all :-)
The time came and it was time came for Miki and I to take the stage...or the arena in this case! I got the costume on and we prepared ourselves for our debut in Freestyle. We were called in, GULP!
Our program had an astronaut theme, and I chose music from the theme music to the movie "2001 A Apace Odyssey". I was dressed as an astronaut, and we did different tricks around the ring until we ended up at a pole where we had to hoist the Danish flag.
Fortunately, most of the things I had planned worked out fine, and Miki was concentrated for most of the time which was great and it was a nice feeling to show the program to everyone. We had done what we could and Miki and I would now have to await the results. Had we been good enough to finish in the top 3?
My nerves had disappeared as our initial event was over so we could finally sit back, relax and enjoy what else was going on in the arena. However, my relaxation didn't last as the time for the awards ceremony came and the nerves surged back once again. Again I doubted the routine and felt we weren't going to make it.
All the names were being read out, 3rd place, 2nd place and then suddenly...we were called as 1st place!! Miki did it!! Yes, for us it was a big surprise when Miki and I was called up at last and thus won our class. What a debut. Now the day was made for us, and for the second competition we were able to relax more, because we had already achieved far more than we had dared to hope for.
So we chose just to keep our seats in the official class for the next competition too. We got in the ring again, this time with fewer nerves. On the other hand, we made several mistakes this time, but we still had a good feeling in the ring. I could only smile for Miki had done so well and was happy in the ring, working so nicely for me.
While we waited for the second awards ceremony, we got to see many more of the other participants' programs , and oh boy there were many good programs and a lot of really talented dogs, very impressive to look at.
We also got to see the last of our local participants in the skill test and they passed too :-) well done :-)
Then it was time for the second prize award. Somehow..oh wow! We had won again. After having started the day with lots of nerves and with the desire to quite, we now stood as champions of our classes. It didn't sink in on the day and hasn't quite sunk in now that we won. The day was a truly great experience for both Miki and I so I don't think this will be our last outing in Freestyle.
It just goes to show, keep calm and don't worry about your nerves as you never know, you may well win something!
Until next time...
Mette from Denmark
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