Sabine Åström with Iver – a Swedish HTM team

Sabine Åström with Iver
One Friday in April 2012, I saw a newborn kelpie litter that really caught my eyes. I was not planning on getting another dog at the time, but after thinking for a few days, I decided to write to the breeder. A few weeks later, I was on the train and traveled 1250 km one way only to see the puppies and meet the breeder for the first time. When I took the flight back, I never imagined that the puppy that had caught me totally would be such an incredible dog, which he turned out to be! The little crazy puppy with so much energy, joy and desire, would be a dog you own once in a lifetime. That puppy was namned “Iver”. The name would prove to be incredibly fitting, “Iver” means in Swedish “eagerness” and “excitement”. The name fits his personality very well, but also his first two years as a competition dog!

When he came home to me, we started quite early with our training, he proved to be a easy trained puppy with much willingness to work! Quickly, he could do the heelwork position on my left side even if it was distractions around him. We started to training tricks and obedience. He had an unusually good concentration for puppies of that age and he showed a lot of joy when we trained, a really good combination!

Sabine Åström with Iver
4 mth old Iver training as a puppy in the city:

When Iver was 7-8 months old I started to try to teach the heelwork position on the right side of me and I saw how much fun he thought it was! Furthermore, he realized that heel on the right of me was at least as funny as the left side. After that he lerned some more positions. We then started to try to make changes between positions he could in diffrent ways. When I stood up, when I sat down, when i moved fast and slow, got hold positions while I went on my knees. Everything we did was so easy for him and showed so much joy!!!

Inspererad of several talented HTM handles I thought we’d give heelwork to music a chance. Iver seemed to be talanted with working in positions and myself had been doing freestyle before, so why not try HTM I thought ?!

When he turned 12 months, we went down to southern Sweden, a trip of 800 km one way to make our first start in heelwork to music. I did something I thought would fit for class 1, the beginner class, and picked out some of the positions he could to the routine.
I was very nervous, but the competition itself could not gone so much better! Directly we qualified for class 2! Also several people said that they thought we would be chosen for the Swedish national team directly after we made our first start in Class 3, which they thought would be very soon. I didn’t believe them, that my 12 month young Iver held such a level, but I was wrong!
Ivers debut in heelwork to music:

The next weekend, we competed again but this time in class 2. Again it went really well and we was now qualified for the elite class, class 3! Felt completely unbeliveble! A week after our debut, we would now compete against Sweden’s elite and top handlers!
Just around 1 ½ months later we competed for the first time in Class 3, got good points and won again, shortly thereafter I got an email from the national team leader that she wanted to have us in the Swedish national team !!! However, I was not entirely happy with the routine we had then and if we would be chosen for a internationall championship, I wanted a routine that I personally liked. So I sat down and choreographed a new class 3 routine that we could compete with during the summer.
In June, I received a email I will never forget! Our team leader said that she wanted to have with me and Iver in Swedish national team for the OEC 2013 and at that time he was only 15 months old !!!

Sabine Åström with Iver
During the summer we competed with our new routine. I was very excited to see how it would be judged. The judges liked it a lot and we won all the four competitions we did during the summer with the points 27, 27.4 27.5 and 28.7. We also went to Norway and took two Norwegian CACs and another two wins with 26.2 and 27 points.

Sabine Åström with Iver
In september it was time for the OEC in Netherlands. Unfortunately I injured myself one day before the competition. Also when we should compete, we were called in to the ring too early and had to wait in the competition ring for more than 4 minutes before we even could to start our routine. Especially during the last minute of our routine, we missed a lot as I was in pain and especially because Iver was tired after his long wait. But we still came in the top 20! Iver was also the absolute youngest dog who participated in the OEC, he was only 18 months and 15 days old!

Sabine Åström with Iver
Unfortunately it turned out that the foot injury was worse than I first thought and I had to go to the hospital when I came back home. The doctor and the physical therapist didn’t recommend that I should participate in the Nordics..! So I used the foot as lille as possible for one month and it meant that Iver and I couldn’t train as I wanted to before the Nordics. But with the help of a physiotherapist and the help of friends and family with dog walking etc, I managed to get fit enough to go to Denmark and the Nordic Championship. But once on the Nordics unfortunately my CD broked in the player during your routine and we had to doing our entire routine again. Yet we went to the finals anyway and ended up fifth and Sweden took the third place in the team competition. Felt so fantastic we did it, even though we had the odds against us!

A month later we competed at the Swedish Championships 2013. Something I never dreamed we would qualify for! My biggest dream was that we would be in the top 5. We had some misses during our competition round but otherwise it felt good! I never thought it would go as good as it did, we managed to win the Swedish championship in HTM with the entire 27.6 points!!! I was in tears, totally unbeliveble! The following day it was the final in a national cup for youth freestyle handlers from 7-25 years old (namned Agria Freestyle Cup) that Iver and I managed to qualify for earlier that year. We won that one too! It was a weekend I will never forget!

Sabine Åström with Iver
2013 ended with Iver being awarded the title HTM Dog of the Year in Sweden 2013 and also awarded the title the Beginner of the year in Heelwork to Music 2013!!! What a feeling!!!

Sabine Åström with Iver

Today Iver is 2 years old, he still think practice HTM is one of the best things to do in the world. Now he’s Swedish and Norwegian HTM Champion, we are also this year a member of the Swedish national team in HTM. Next up is the World Championships in Finalnd and the Youth Swedish Championships the weekend after the WC.
I feel very lucky to own a dog like Iver! He really has everything I am looking for in a dog and he is the perfect dog for me. Happy, much energy but can be calm when nothing happens. Besides the competition ring he is a fantastic and wonderful family pet, who always has a happy wagging  tail! Wea are a perfect match and the feeling when we are together is unbeatable!

Sabine Åström with Iver

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