The Rip Van Wrinkler, XIX, Issue 3, August 2015

Pages 10a <previous page> <next page>

Training Conversation
Enduring quote: Lotte Hotaling, "I don't know about Basenjis being difficult to train, but it is not at all difficult for them to train their humans."

Our basenji trip to the Czech Republic. ... by Yvonne ‘t Mannetje
Photos by: Milus Novotná, Marketa Horakova, Markéta Sousediková, Yvonne ‘t Mannetje
One of the many advantages of having a good relationship with the breeder of our youngest basenji girl Lola, is that we can come visit them when we like. Martin and Milus Novotná live in Kolin, Czech Republic, which is “only” a 1.000 km drive. Milus brought to my attention that the Basenji club Bohemia had planned a big event, a weekend in Podmitrov. BCB planned a club show on Saturday with Katie Campbell as the judge, and the next day a lure coursing competition, called the Kongo Cup. It didn’t take us very long to decide we wanted to go.

So we started planning our trip. To make the fun complete we were also able to enter a lure coursing the weekend before the big basenji event, organized by the North Wind Club. The date of departure was set on 27th May. We went by car and took the trailer with us, our home away from home. Our basenji’s love it when we stay in the trailer, they understand something exciting is going to happen and they know they will have lots of fun. We travelled through Germany, stayed 2 nights, and took it slow, to be able to walk the dogs regularly.

Waking up in the morning with Lola checking where we are today.

All of us were over excited. For Lola’s breeders it had been 16 months since they last saw her other than on photos or video. They were over the moon when they heard we were coming over. The trip went well and on Friday we arrived in Kolin. It was so special to meet the Novotná family again. They had been waiting impatiently till we arrived. For them it was a dream come true to see their puppy Lola again now she had grown up.

Martin and Lola – there is my little girl - still in love.

Lola and her daddy Ankan meet again.

We stayed overnight and yet the very next day we went ahead to the lure coursing fields in Sněžné. Friends from The Netherlands were already waiting for us there. When Hannie and Chiel heard we were going lure coursing in the Czech Republic, during the same time they were in that area travelling to Hungary, they immediately decided to join us there, which was a lot of fun.
Traveling in the Czech Republic is vitamins for your eyes. The landscape along the way and in Sněžné is just beautiful.

Coursing landscape.

Coursing field

The lure coursing event took 2 days. When we arrived the non-sighthounds were coursing, which we watched for a while. Milus had arranged for our seniors Ch’ami and Dana to be able to do a training course, which made them very happy. And at the same time got Moyo and Lola very excited, when could they course, please mum, when when when … ???

Both our trailers were parked 15 meters from the restaurant, so that was easy. None of us speaks any Czech. Unlike other European languages the Czech language is very difficult for us to understand . We counted our luck the waitress spoke just a few words English, helping us knowing what to order for dinner. The dogs were allowed to join us in there as well and we had a very lovely evening all together.

On Sunday  the lure coursing for the sight hounds started. We were thrilled when we heard 13 basenjis were entered!!

Coursing basenjis entered.

The basenjis showed the audience they are great lure coursers. Some beautiful photos were made, and we are so happy Milus gave these to us:

Lola enjoying her course.

Moyo wearing white, focussed.

Moyo wearing white. 

Moyo coursing shirt – before his start

Moyo at the start.

Moyo and me before his 2nd course, with the competition wearing red on the left side.

Now youngster Lola made it very exciting. After the 1st round she and Bikilu, a more experienced female, had exactly the same amount of points. They both shared 1st place and were to run together in the final course.

Lola wearing white, focussed.

Lola in white with Bikilu in red.

It was a real joy to see both girls course together, determined to catch that lure.

Again Lola and Bikilu got the exact same amount of points after their 2nd course. There was some confusion, at first Lola was placed 2nd. The next day Milus contacted me telling me a mistake had been made, since Lola scored higher on agility. So in the end Lola was placed 1st winning the CACT, making her a champion! Lola has gained the lure coursing title “Czech Master 2015”. Since we still cannot get a lure coursing title in The Netherlands, this made us extra proud!

Coursing Lola CACT.

The pack after lure coursing.

After another very pleasant evening with our Dutch friends we went back to Kolin on Monday morning, to spend some nice quality time with Martin and Milus, their childen and basenji’s Ankan and Energy, Lola’s parents. All of us were spoiled rotten by Milus, we had a great time. Our trailer was parked in their garden, enabling the basenji’s to run free and play.

9 months old Philip surrounded by our pack

Before coming to the Czech Republic Milus asked me what I would like to do. On my bucket list was a visit to the beautiful city Prague. So this dream came through on Tuesday. Kees stayed home with the basenji’s because the temperature was too high for them to visit a city (over 30 Celcius). Of course we weren’t able to visit everything. Milus guided me through the city. We slandered from the newer part of the city, with all the big hotels and famous fashion shops through the old part of the city which we both like best. Together with a lot of people we waited for the spectacle of the famous astronomical clock. I was so impressed by the beautiful buildings and statues all over the city.

For me personally Prague is a combination of Paris and San Francisco, the latter one for the great atmosphere making me feel very happy and relaxed. We watched the famous Charles bridge from different places by the river before walking on it, which was awesome! I have Milus to thank for all the great photos she made for me, my beautiful memories.

Prague - the author enjoys the view at the famous Charles Bridge

We enjoyed our stay at Milus’ a lot. Did some nice walks, BBQ’ed together, had fun. The weather was …. hot … much hotter than forecasted before we left. So sometimes we needed to cool the dogs in the water, not entirely to their pleasure.

Kolin BBQ.

Beautiful place to walk.

Lola - water not so much.

Moyo cools his paws, but Ch’ami refuses to come in.

Time passed quickly and before we knew it we were driving through the mountains to Podmitrov for the big Basenji weekend. Again through a beautiful scenery. The accommodation was placed down in the valley, with no other traffic, just the woods surrounding us and the sound of a gurgling river. The BCB organized an all-inclusive weekend, meaning we didn’t have to worry about what to eat, where or when. From diner on arrival Friday night till departure on Sunday we were well taken care of. Since none of us had to drive we could enjoy one of the things the Czech Republic is famous for, their beer. The trailer was parked next to the cabins, giving us a perfect view to the show-field for the next day.

View of the show ring. 

We noticed upon arrival basenjis running off leash everywhere, playing, having fun. Some of them wore a muzzle, or just temporarily to get used to being part of a big pack. We went over, with our pack on leash, checked it out, and decided to let them all go.

All 6 of us.

Needless to say they had a blast!! There were basenjis everywhere, on top of the pick-nick tables, in the bathroom, they even went inside the restaurant, yes and of course into the kitchen. They were visiting the outside pig-sty and trying to get the one pig that was walking outside the sty to play with them. All the people were so relaxed, looking out for all the basenjis, admiring them, petting them, making photos. I am so proud to say none of the basenjis got into a fight during the entire weekend! Sure, sometimes they growled a bit but because they had so much space and friends to play with, they were all so very relaxed.

Basenji weekend off leash.

Special attention for Ch’ami.

At one time we noticed a pup-owner playing with his puppy, showing him how to chase a stuffed-bunny that was tied on a rope. It took Moyo less than a minute to time his action. He ran over, tore the bunny of the rope and ran off with it with about 30 basenjis chasing him for the bunny. The fun they had, and all the people. They were running around the property, which was sub-divided in 2 big fields, a sandy outside-stable for horse-riding and a path in between. They kept on going and going, right passed the people who were all laughing at them. Too bad we weren’t thinking of taking a picture of this, if you could have seen the happy expression on Moyo’s face, it was priceless. To reassure you, in the end Moyo returned the stuffed-bunny to us, so we could return it to its rightful owner.

It’s a good thing the basenjis got to play this way, off leash, running, getting to know each other while making friends and loosing stress. This set the tone for the weekend, sweet and relaxed basenjis we all had.

The next morning started early with breakfast, and right after that the show started, in which it was up to Katie Campbell to judge 72 basenjis. I admire Katie a lot, not only for her knowledge off and experience with our breed, but also for the loving way she handles each basenji. I saw many basenjis kissing Katie, while she got acquainted with them. Besides that she managed to stand in the burning sun all day, and kept on looking very cool and elegant. Don’t know how she does it ….

Showing Ch’ami.

Dana 2nd place seniors.

Katie judging Lola.

Showing Moyo.

Moyo didn’t want to let Katie or the rest of us see what a handsome boy he is. He was feeling hot and hates to be shown, and I am a poor handler, not being able to get him to like it. Moyo was placed last in a big open class males. Ch’ami ended 3rd at the seniors, Dana 2nd, and Lola also 2nd open class females. Thank you Katie for judging our pack with such love and care, and for the lovely evening we spend together drinking Czech beers, talking about our breed, our mutual friend Susan KM , the weekend, politics, muzzles, coursing and lots of other stuff. Hope to meet you again one day!

Martin and Milus Novotná took care of the lure-coursing the next day. They both worked very hard operating the lure and starting the basenjis. There were a lot of different classes for the 62 basenjis entered in this lure coursing “Kongo Cup”. Baby’s male and female, amateurs male and female, professionals (licensed) male and female, and last but not least veterans male and female. And for the fun part people could team up with a team of at least 4 basenjis.

The team with the highest score was to be announced at the end of the day. We were “team Holland”.

Have you ever heard over 60 basenjis screaming at a lure coursing? That’s a sound I will never ever forget. We noticed when basenjis are amongst their breed, they are even more fanatic than usual. This is how much fun such a weekend or event is for both basenjis and their staff.

After 2 courses for each basenji we went back to the shadow to wait for the results while drinking a cool beer. Dana and Moyo did great, Ch’ami surprised us all by coursing like he was a youngster instead of a senior, which made him win the senior class

Fanatic Lola won the Profi female class and was BOS lure coursing for the “Kongo Cup”. Oh, and team Holland did not so bad, we were placed 1st.

Big compliments for the Basenji Club Bohemia are in place. This entire weekend was so well organized, we had a super time. The BCB really outdid themselves to make sure everybody had a good time, and nobody went home empty handed. They have a super sponsor, JK Brands. In the end we were a bit overwhelmed by the prices we took home. Made us repack the trailer completely.

Prizes won.

But mostly we made beautiful new memories. We can look back to a lovely time in the Czech Republic, meeting new people, making new friends, renewing friendships.
We will be back.

<previous page> <next page>