28 October 2010

Well we're almost at the end of my 3rd week of not working a "regular" job. I can already tell my finances will be tight for a while, but that's OK. I will deal with it as best I can until classes get going. Today we moved our equipment down to the indoor I'm renting once a week for the winter. Once classes get going next week, I'll at least have some income from classes every 6 weeks, with less of the random-ness of being subject to the weather, excepting of course heavy snow, which generally is not that common around here.

Tomorrow I'm heading back out to Ria's. I'm helping her and David get their schedule online so they aren't dependent on having a "big book" in hand in order to schedule people, and also so that I can begin to remotely schedule via email. Working off part of my big bill from Nationals - there were more "emergency" visits to the PT there than they've ever seen before due to the funky footing (and awful candy-striped tire). Then tomorrow evening I'm doing a 3-hour workshop at Barto. Over the weekend I'm trialing all 3 dogs in AKC. Hopefully Drifter will pick up a QQ or 2 towards Nationals - he still needs 2 more. Kiba needs 1 QQ for her MACH, and Seri just needs to get out of Exc A Standard.
Not working every day makes it much, much more difficult to keep track of days of the week, not to mention dates! Very strange.
Tuesday night the zoning for the building on our possible property was approved, so we can move forward with the sale now. i need to clean and pack. A LOT.
I've got some seminars and workshops coming up in some various places. I'll be in NY in December, OR in January, a different part of PA later January, then back in NY in February. I would like to try to plan something more in December, possibly in NJ, to help recoup the costs of traveling to Denmark and buying my puppy (who is SEVEN weeks old already! Wow!) - she's not letting them go till 10 weeks, so he'll probably just barely fit in his under-seat bag, but most people I've spoken to haven't had issues with borderline sized dogs being hassled.

22 October 2010

Next

Next big adventure, is flying to Copenhagen to pick up my puppy. I'm trying to do it on a budget, as much as possible, because....

The WAO win-on Team spot for each height went to the Grand Prix Finals winner. Well I got 2nd, yes, but the winner in my height is Canadian, therefore, I get the spot. So Drifter is officially on the WAO, and gets to go back to England at 22" to kick some tail before his International career is over!

Everyone keeps asking me if I'm going to try out for 2012 IFCS. The answer is no. I know with it being in the states it is very tempting, but Drifter will be 9 and 1/2 by then, that's about when I'm looking to retire him permamently. I will be focusing on Seri. Why not Seri? Well, because IFCS qualifying is this coming year, 2011, and will cost a LOT of money. I will not be having a LOT of money to spend. Especially after getting nothing back last time. Several competitors are stepping up early this time to help USDAA with the process so I expect 2012 Team members will have a more smooth experience than I did, financially, but I would rather focus on getting Seri onto the AKC Team, which has always been where I wanted to be. She's been performing very well as I've been changing up my handling a bit with her, and I'm very hopeful she'll be READY by Tryouts 2012.

21 October 2010

Cynosport wrap

So, I brought my netbook to Louisville with all these great intentions of recapping daily, but just was too tired by the end of most days to bother, as clearly I haven't updated in a while.

I've mentioned European Standard from the 1st day, the mysterday delay causing us a 2+ hour delay in starting (the timers apparently were shipped to the wrong place??). Kiba won P16 for that class, which got no medal or trophy but a nice blue ribbon. Drifter did not run, and Seri ran reasonably well with a few "duh" moments.

Day 2 was Team Gamblers only for all 3 dogs. There was on course gamble involving weave poles with the handler in a very restricted area. I knew Kiba would not do this gamble and so ran like mad round the rest of the course to get as many points as possible, and she did fine. Drifter probably would've done the gamble, but I did not want to risk his toe by doing the weaves before they became absolutely necessary, and so devised a course with only right hand turns, and we got a good amount of points. Seri I knew absolutely COULD do the gamble, and so she ran a modified version of the course I ran for the others, and she even went out and took an extra contact in the closing (triple points) and got tons of points - she finished up 2nd place in the 26" class for her first ever medal and ribbon at a National event! I was very pleased:)

Day 3 was Performance Grand Prix Semi-finals, Team Standard, and Steeplechase Quarterfinals for Seri. Team Standard was a pretty difficult course, especially due to the large wings and tight spacing and funky footing in the West Hall rings (4 and 5). Those rings always seemed to be crunched spacing-wise compared to the 3 main rings. Drifter ran Team Standard first, and it started with a weird 5 jump, same side pinwheel, with off course traps and no side changes, many dogs were anticipating a rear cross or flip and turning away from the handler, "guessing" that a change of side MUST be coming, and even though I was very clear with Drifter, he did this. And so I walked him off after 4 jumps. Off course. My Steady Eddy dog. Oh well. I modified my strategy a bit for Kiba and Seri, leading out past 2, and then setting a line through 3 and 4 to take out some off course options for them. Kiba ran clean and I think ended up 2nd place overall. Seri ran 1-4 really well, but was sure I was rear crossing 4 and ran off in the wrong direction barking! I yelled "lie down" and "come" and she came back with only time lost, and finished clean for a 7th place run! Her 2nd placement! I also had Kiba's PGP Semi's, which she ran very nicely for a 2nd place seed going into Finals, and Seri's Steeplechase Semi's which she ran very well, just hit the last board on the broad jump, so didn't place but easily qualified to run in Semi's.

Day 4 (Friday) was Team Snooker, Steeplechase and PSJ Semi's, and PGP Finals at night. Team Snooker I devised a plan that was high points but not overly difficult, and also not likely to win. It went pretty well with all 3 dogs, Seri knocked a bar in the 5 in the opening but continued on through to the end for decent points, and Drifter also hit a bar on an opening color. Kiba missed her contact on the frame in 6 in the closing. So they all got decent points but not amazing. PSJ Semi's went very well for Kiba, with her taking 1st place seed for Finals to be held Saturday night. Seri and Drifter unfortunately did not run Steeplechase Semi's till the very last group at 5:30 in the small building, and the footing had deteriorated very badly, and was deep and slippery on the hard 270-ish turn, and both of my dogs hit the same bar, as did several other very nice dogs in our group. Someone told me only one 26" dog from the last 2 groups made it through to Finals due to the poor footing. It sucked, as it was unfair - the early groups had a hard, wet surface, and the late groups had a dry, deep one. Neither was ideal, but the deep stuff was awful. Drifter was clean aside from slipping and being unable to keep that one bar up. Not only that, but I KNOW it was the footing that caused the knock, as an hour later when I got him out for a walk, he was VERY sore on that side, in a very odd place that he has never been sore before, but a place that makes sense for a dog sliding in deep dirt. Sigh. Oh well. Nothing to be done. Should've been in there. PGP Finals was pretty late, and Kiba had one wide corner where she thought I wanted a rear cross before I corrected her, so she lost a bit of time, but I don't think we would have gotten 1st even without that. We ended up 3rd, with a pretty good run, a trophy, a medal, and a podium visit. Her run here.

Day 5 (Saturday, by which point I had no clue WTF day it was!) was Team Jumpers, Grand Prix Semifinals, and at night PSJ and Steeplechase Finals. I knew Team Jumpers was Seri's last run of the week, and I also knew her Team wouldn't make the Final due to a few mistakes by Team-mates, so I really wanted her to run clean or near-clean, and try to be a top dog overall in 26". Well it was no cake walk in Jumpers, and once again the big dogs were in the crunchy small ring in the West Hall. Well Seri did slide on her face, and once again she had a screaming running moment where she ran off the wrong direction, but I got her back and finished without fault again! She didn't place due to the screaming and faceplant, but she did run clean about 3 seconds off the top times. Drifter was in a different ring, and he had a nice run except for hitting the double. I was a little worried since he'd been so sore the day before, but he seemed to be moving fairly well. Kiba also had a nice jumper run, very very fast and tight but hit a bar as well. GP Semifinals was my big stressy run of the week. Drifter had yet to run "perfect" since we'd gotten there, and he just felt a bit rusty and out of tune up to that point. He had handled well in Jumpers but the bar bugged me. Well I went out and did what I know we do best, and he was great. Not quite perfect, as the beginning wasn't really a strong point for us (pulling around past obstacles out of a tunnel), and his teeter was slow as I held him forEVER, but he placed 6th for a good spot into the Finals.

Last on Saturday was PSJ Finals. I have no video, sorry, you can watch it on VOD if you have it. Kiba started out well, i let her run her frame and she hit it, but she started drifting out wide on a long slow curve near the end, and I think she was slipping a bit (hard packed sliding, not deep), and she hit a bar. Would've been 2nd without the bar! Oh well! Good girl anyway!

Sunday I did not enter "Rekoons" and so got to sleep in a bit. Good plan, yay me! Kiba's Team got 3rd in Relay with a lovely run (although Driven punched me in the butt when Kate handed me the baton!) and we finished in the top 10 overall out of 143 PVP Teams. Drifter's Team ended up 49th with 2 E's, and Seri's in 51st. But the biggest news was that SERI finished 4th overall 26" dog individually! Hurray for crazy screaming dog!!!

Finals was slow in coming. I wasn't unhappy overall with USDAA, it just seemed like things moved slowly sometimes.... anyway after the walk through as Ria was working on Drifter he tweaked himself again, in the same spot he pulled Friday. She worked the worst of it out of him but he was not 100% when I started warming him up. This made me really nervous, as I really wanted to do well, but I really didn't want to hurt him! She said he should be fine, just might be sore the next day after sitting still. So I dutifully walked him for a long time before letting him warm up properly for the run. Did no warm up jumps, just a little cantering with no sharp turns. And then it was my turn and we ran. I did not feel that it was a great run. He slipped horribly going into the weave poles, he slipped partway through the poles. He looked sore weaving. He hit high on the dogwalk contact (another strong indication he's not feeling super great). But he handled brilliantly. Very smooth path, even if he wasn't pushing himself. And we were in 1st for several dogs. Susan beat us with Encore, as I knew she might. Always a threat, that one! I was thrilled to get 2nd with my poor beat-up 8-year old dog who'd had only one training session since early September and had 6 weeks off for a hamstring strain! He's not doing agility all the rest of this week, but surprisingly he doesn't seem sore at all, he's not limping or anything. So we will take this weekend off for some easy hiking, see Ria on Monday, and then hopefully try to get our last 2 QQ's next weekend!

Long post, whew!

12 October 2010

2010 USDAA Nationals Day 1

I got out here yesterday afternoon, staying in a small suite so I stocked up on groceries. That $90 should last me the entire week on food, although I will probably go out at least one night.

Today we started the day by getting together with 2 friends and driving half an hour across the river to a state park in the edge of Indiana. It was a really pretty hike, we could see the river, and some interesting rocks here and there. We only hiked about an hour but that was about right for a day-of-agility hike, I wouldn't want them to be tired or worn out in any way. After that a friend and I went to brunch at Cracker Barrell - french toast, yum!

I stopped back at the hotel briefly to gather my things and change into agility clothes, and then we went and set up at the site. Crating is in a single large building, between the 2 buildings the agility is in - and the 2 agility buildings are NOT close. And the ring entries aren't even on the near side for the Broadbent arena, so we have to walk all the way around to get to the ring gates, which doesn't seem to make much sense. I desperately hope I have no almost-conflicts because there's just no quick way to get from one ring to another with a dog exchange in the middle.

Anyway, for largely unknown reasons (timers missing? course tweaking? it looked all set...) we didn't walk and start running till about 90 minutes after the scheduled time of 3pm, but I stuck it out and ran both Seri and Kiba in European Standard. Seri had 2 minor duh moments, missed a weave entry, and may have missed her aframe (I didn't watch), but overall I was pleased with her, she was mostly paying attention and didn't hit any bars. Kiba ran at like 7:45pm, and had a really nice run, I let her run her aframe independently so I could handle ahead and she hit it, though not very deeply. She posted a very good time and probably placed pretty high - I will check tomorrow.

Back at the hotel, just fed the dogs and even Drifter was really hungry. I didn't run him today because I didn't want to risk hurting his toe, but he seems tired just from the hike and being at the trial. Now for a quick dinner for me, walk the dogs, and bed.

10 October 2010

22!

Here is a picture of Drifter bumping a wing in IFCS Biathlon Jumping. If he hadn't smacked this wing, he would've had Silver. If he hadn't hit either of the bars (1 in each class) he would've had Gold. His combined time was several seconds faster than the dog that won.

And it looks like perhaps we'll get a do-over - sort of. Yesterday morning I went down to the Keystone trial, which is only 20 min from here, to get him measured by a CMJ. I had emailed her ahead of time to see if she'd try, and she was willing. On my own last weekend I got him at 19 and 5/8, which is 19.625", just under the cutoff of 19.69" required for 22" at the World Aglity Open.
I had also contacted the coach for the US team for the WAO, and she said as long as the dog measured under consistently, it didn't matter how close it was to the cutoff. So this whole week I spent having Drifter stand and relax for cookies, as he can be a little too tall if he's all uptight. Thankfully this is one area where his short, low neck actually helps him out. My mother measured him before the CMJ came over, and she was able to get 19.5 or a little over. After the walk-through the CMJ offered to measure him (she wasn't actually measuring at the trial, just doing me a favor), and so we did. She said she'd do 2 measurements for me, a strict one, and a more relaxed one. Well we stand him up, I show him the cookie and then move it farther away so he isn't tensed up by licking/chewing at it. She held his collar, we squared him up a little bit and he relaxed, and she said her strict measurement is....

19.50"!

Woohoo! So we are official to try for the 22" team for the WAO in England in May! I am so pleased by this - we have a lot of points towards selection already, having placed or won just about every category that earns points for selection (GP Finals last year, AKC Nationals, IFCS event, USDAA Regional, and Tourn Top Ten). Plus running at 22" this coming week at USDAA Nationals, where individual classes also earn points. This means I will be cancelling some of my plans for AKC trials that included ISC classes, since I really don't think Seri is ready. She is a year or 2 behind where she probably should be, as a 4-year-old, but as long as her wrist stays strong, the rest of her body is very resilient and she should have a good long career. So Dec/Jan will be taking it easy (and teaching!), February prep for AKC Nationals, March AKC Natls, April hopefully prep for WAO, and May WAO.

Also exciting is that my friend whose long-distance boyfriend lives in England is planning to be visiting him during May anyway, and he is from Wales, so she is hoping to come down to the trial with him, and afterward we will tour Wales with a local! I am excited to see the Welsh countryside and coastline, as it is supposed to be quite beautiful!

So, plans have changed from the summer, but I am happy with the current one. No EO, no FCI for 2011, but we get a WAO instead, which sounds like fun.

08 October 2010

Today was my last day at work. Scary! But exciting! i will be teac
hing more after this, and packing, and keeping my dogs fit. I will probably take it very easy on trialing during Dec/Jan so I don't overspend my uncertain budget. I am looking forward to teaching in new places though.

Drifter's hamstring is all healed. I ran him on a few courses during class on Wednesday, and his stupid toe was bothering him again. This toe has been hurting on and off since late July. i am starting to think he must have some arthritis in it or something. It is the same toe he yanked hard when he was about 2 years old. I thought all the rest for his hammy might help the toe, but it doesn't appear to have made a difference. He will be lasered, iced, Traumeel'ed, and Max-Freeze (a gel) every day for a few weeks to see how he does. I need to trial him till he gets his last 2 QQ's for AKC Nationals, then we'll try a 2-month lay-off from agility to see if that will do it. Very frustrating. Prolotherapy has been suggested to me, and if I can afford it I may try that in December... we'll see. Or just lop the darned thing off, maybe.

Tomorrow we are going to get a CMJ to see how short we can measure Drifter. My new tentative plan for him is to get him measured into the 22" class for the WAO and try to make that team. If I can get him down there, then he won't have to do 26" again. He's 8 now, and with the hamstring pull and the repetitive toe injury added to the mild heart condition, I think it's going to be time to start tapering off with him. I think 2012 will be his last year running, perhaps retiring after AKC Nationals that spring. That's right around when my pup will be coming out too, so the timing is pretty good. Poor buddy... wish the toe would heal! Anyways, assuming I can get the toe to stop hurting, AND get him measured under 19.69", I would really love to compete at WAO in 22" class. I would love to see more of England and Wales. (on a budget of course!)

Seri is doing very well, as is Kiba. Kiba is now one QQ short of MACH, and is all qualified for Nationals finally. Seri needs more conditioning, and lots of work, but I'm looking forward to being more serious with her in the coming year as Drifter begins to step down bit by bit. (he's not ready yet, of course!)

Anyway, leaving on Monday morning for Kentucky. Not anxious at all about running my dogs, just hoping Drifter's toe doesn't hurt too much!