23 November 2009
Measure of Success
Back in 2007 when I first put Drifter down from 26" to 22", I set a goal of doing better at Regional and National events before I tried to make it onto a World Team. I figured USDAA Nationals is some of the best competition in the world (seriously!), and if I couldn't place there consistently, then I had no business on a World Team.
Well I think I'm accomplishing it. I was thinking about Drifter's career at Nationals the other day. He has placed (meaning winning a placement ribbon in something) every year at Nationals since I started taking him at 26 months old.
2004 he was at 22" because I wanted to let him mature before moving the jumps up. He WON 22" Team Gamblers. He also had the fastest time in Steeplechase Semifinals (there weren't quarterfinals till 2007) but hit one bar. I was happy.
2005 wasn't our best year, I was unfocused going in. At 26" and he got into GP Semifinals but then hit a bar. He did get 10th in Snooker EVEN WITH a bobble in the opening where he took the wrong color netting us less points than our plan had.
2006 was our first "big" year. Still jumping 26". He won the Grand Prix at the Northeast Regional for the first time (was only 3.5 years old) with a rockin' time. Then out at Nationals he got 2nd in Team Standard, 3rd in Team Gamblers, and ran clean in GP Finals with a 3rd.
2007 was my half and half year. I got fed up with the bars and him throwing his pelvis out and put him down to 22" - AFTER our first 2 Regionals (where he almost won down in GA), so I scrambled to get him qualified. Well we managed it. Then he won both the Semifinals and the Finals of Steeplechase, "won" the quarterfinals of Grand Prix (no ribbon for that). but he sort of flunked in Team classes - no E's but no great runs either.
2008 he started coming into his own. He had just turned 6. Won the Northeast Regional GP for the 2nd time. He got into Steeplechase Semi's from the quarterfinals. He won European Standard. 3rd in Team Standard. Clean but wide/no placement in Snooker and jumpers, and perfect but a greedy handler in Gamblers. One brain fart on his part kept us from Steeplechase Finals - ran around the broad jump. GP Finals we joined the masses of 22" dogs missing the dogwalk contact, but still got 7th as we had the fastest faulted round. Would have been 2nd by a hair if he'd been clean.
2009 he was awesome back up at 26". Won European Standard, 3rd in Team Standard, 1st in Team Snooker, 1st in GP Semifinal, and 3rd in GP Final.
So I feel like we've taken huge strides towards our goal of being on the World Team by doing so well at big events. I LOVE the big events, they are the sole reason I compete at the small ones. I don't have the money to be a title hunter, and I have come to believe it's not good for the dogs to trial a lot, mentally or physically. But winning at the big events, that's what I want. It's such a thrill - and I don't care if I don't win, as long as we layed it on the line successfully, that's what I really enjoy.