Well I never did go through more photos from our trip. A lot's happened in the last few weeks. But to finish our UK story, briefly, competition videos are on my YouTube page which is linked in the sidebar. i have the classes uploaded individually. Each one pretty much tells its own story; we had a lot of really close moments. A bar in each round of Biathlon kept us from the Gold; we ended up 4th. A stupid missed weave kept us out of placing in Individual Jumpers (his only bad weave entry). A back-jump/missed rear cross cue kept us from Gold in Ind Standard. But. He ran well. In fact he really only hit one bar - the other one he smacked the wing, not the rail itself.
Monday after the competition I attempted to drop Ria off to fly home, but the ash cloud had cancelled all flights out of Bristol so she went with us over to the capital of Wales; Cardiff. We toured all around the castle and fort, went to a vodka bar for lunch (I had a drink called "Purple Rain"!), then went down to the bay side, walked around, enjoyed seeing the familiar settings from Torchwood and Doctor Who, then had ice cream overlooking the water. After that we headed back, I took Ria to her airline-provided hotel in Bristol, and we crashed for the last night. Tuesday we saw a tourist-trap cave to waste some time; drove on some of the TINIEST "ROADS" i have ever encountered - seriously barely one car wide, I was afraid to go to fast for fear of oncoming traffic, or sheep, or whatever! And once back to London, I walked Drifter, dropped him off at the cargo terminal (a little scary!), gassed up the rental car, and got on our way. No timing problems this time, no dog problems, no nothing. Smooth. On arrival in Newark we got our stuff, passed through customs, went to get the car (much easier to pick up the dog crate after getting the car!) and got to QuickPak just in time to pick Drifter up without a hitch. He was fine, as always, although I feel bad for the poor guy. He never seems dehydrated, and he's never hungry even when he should be, so he gets through no problems and I wouldn't hesitate to fly him again. Well, maybe a little.... but I'd do it.
Last weekend I went to an AKC trial on one day, and USDAA the next. And Drifter was great. He double-Qed at 26" with 2 nice strong runs. Then Kiba Q'ed in PSJ for her 2nd Q, so she's Q'ed for that at USDAA Nationals. We also tried for PGP but she knocked a bar. I also found out about another close relative of Seri's beginning to seize. So after hearing about the first one a few weeks ago, this new one, and some serious thought, I decided not to breed Seri. I love that dog and think she's got all the potential in the world, BUT the risk is a bit too high for me. In addition, I am getting her spayed and she will be able to get back on track for her career as soon as she's healed from that (assuming we get the green light on her wrist being healed, which I expect to get soon). She WILL be at USDAA Nationals (not in GP, no time to Q after being laid up all summer). And I'm hoping maybe I can get her to Tryouts. She won't make AKC NAtionals, but even Tryouts would be fun. I am currently searching litters in Europe instead, looking at different lines of dogs that consistently produce natural jumping, healthy dogs. I've found a few I like, one this fall, one next year, and a couple others I'm waiting on replies about.
Drifter seemed a bit "dumb" on the doxy. I'd never heard that before, but since I've taken him off it he's gone 5/6, with the only NQ being a just *barely* refusal of crossing a plane by like 3 inches before taking something without even doubling back. . . His jumping is looking fantastic. I'm hoping to be able to push him a bit soon. I am very hopeful we can pull up our Q rate from our 2 not-so-great trials in April and June. I know that consistency and keeping bars up are our keys to getting on the radar for World Team selection next year, as those were our weak spots last time. If we can just keep our bars up, and get our Q rate up (we were above 50% in '09, but I want to be around 80%), we can do it, I'm sure. He's doing very well.