02 January 2011

Twenty Ten

This is the obligatory recap post for 2010. I will try to keep it brief.

I rang in the New Year up in New Hampshire at a USDAA Tournament Trial. Here, Kiba finished her ADCH on a Pairs run and got a fantabulously huge ribbon (Thanks Bark-NH!). Also I ran 20 runs in one day - Drifter, Kiba, Seri, and my mom's terrier Schiz all on separate Teams, and all Team classes on Friday. Whew! This trial was lovely, and the hotel was a nice La Quinta, but there was a snowstorm going on the whole time I was there, and unfortunately they wouldn't move Grand Prix to early in the day Sunday so I left without running it. Still, an entertaining time driving back/forth in the snow, and the drive home took forever due to the messy highways. Seri at that trial in Steeplechase Round 1:

February and March were mostly spent hiking the dogs for conditioning, and attending the odd AKC or USDAA trial for practice. I ran Drifter at 26" in AKC to maintain and practice for the IFCS event, even though at that time I knew I wasn't attending Tryouts in the spring. He actually got at least one QQ at 26" in March. He also won all 3 Grand Prix's he ran (at 22") in the Jan-March time period. At the end of March we drove 18 hours to Tulsa to run in the AKC National Agility Championship. The first day was a little rough, with Drifter hitting bars at 20", but once I got him checked out and adjusted a bit, he was great. Kiba and Drifter both placed in several individual rounds, both made Challenger Round, and Drifter made Finals. I was seeded in the middle of the 19 or so dogs, due to being the Challenger winner, so it was difficult when I put down a good time, as they made us sit ringside - not Drifter's forte! But as the dogs went by and no one was even coming close to my time, I got more excited, and we ended up winning with the fastest time in all jump heights. Not bad! I was glad I decided to jump 20" with him, as the footing was not fantastic, and since we weren't going to Tryouts anyway it seemed a waste of his body and my stress to do 26". So we added an NAC before his name.

April was spent preparing for the IFCS event. I ran lots of difficult courses on any dirt footing I could find. I had no idea what the footing in England would be like, and it was only described as "dirt". I could only hope it wasn't loose. I even drove down to a trial in North Carolina to practice running him alone in a Team event. (I'm not used to running one dog, so sometimes that messes with me). He was fabulous, but looked sore after the first day, so I ended up not running him the rest of the weekend. Luckily I had brought Seri as well. Two days later Drifter got pretty good news about his soreness, but unfortunately Seri tweaked her wrist really badly, which I didn't know at the time would force her to be laid up from agility for almost FIVE months.

Early May, after a few glitches at the airport, we flew to London.

As always, I enjoyed competing among the best of the best. I liked that I was actually slightly nervous. This usually ups my performance level. I was pleased overall with how we performed, but on reflection, I would change a few things.

We ended up winning only 1 medal, Gold for Individual Gamblers. We also were 1st place in the Team Agility round, but no medals for Team, and unfortunately our Team already had faults from the Jumping round so no medal there either. I did not get to run Relay either. We were so very close in Snooker, a close call refusal in the closing cost us the Silver medal, and we ended up 5th. Also close calls in the biathlon, as a single bar in each run cost us Gold, even one bar would have had us in Silver. I would handle more boldly the 2nd time around, given the chance.

June, July, and August were spent doing some local trials. At this point I had decided to try to qualify Drifter for Tryouts in 2011, so he was still competing at 26" in AKC. He finished his MACH in July (yes, his first MACH, I didn't do AKC for a period of about 2 years when he was younger, and I still trial a LOT less than many people). In August we won a bunch of stuff at the NE Regional. It was nice not to run all over the country to different trials chasing IFCS points. During this time I had discovered how severe Seri's wrist injury had been. Did you know there's pretty much nothing you can do to heal ligaments? Muscles have therapy, ligaments do not. So we waited. In August I spayed Seri, since she was off anyway.

In September Seri finally came back to competition and did well, finishing her AXJ at her first trial back. She is still, unfortunately, in Exc A for Std, but I jump her 26" so it's a bit harder for her to keep her feet up. At the same time, Drifter injured his hamstring and was laid up for 6 weeks.

In October we went to USDAA Nationals (Cynosport Games). Kiba made every single Performance Final, ending up 3rd in PGP, 10th in PVP Overall, and an also-ran in PSJ Finals due to a knocked bar. She also won or placed very high in several individual classes. Seri ran very well in KY, placing in two invidual Team classes, and ending up 4th overall 26" dog in Team classes. She didn't make any Finals, unfortunately, but I blame the footing for Steeplechase...

Drifter started out the week sort of disappointingly. He didn't place in any Team classes. It seemed that his brain had not returned after the lay up time - he hit a bar, he went off course. I have to say that Grand Prix Semi-finals was probably the most nervous I've been before a run in quite a long time. Well he finally got it together and we made Finals. He was sore by Finals but he ran his heart out and got 2nd place, which was very exciting for me. I can't even buy pictures from this round because I can see how poorly he's moving, and I feel bad for him. He got some rest afterwards, but the lingering off-ness kept plagueing us till recently. Anyway, that 2nd place spot (behind a Canadian!) was good enough to earn us an invite to the 2011 WAO Team.
So now we're at the winter. After I got back from KY we ran 3 AKC trial with Drifter at 20" instead of 26", and he quickly finished up his Nationals QQ's and then some. So our goals for the next year are to finish our MACH2 (probably not till next fall/winter), do well at AKC Nationals (add an NAC before Kiba's name? or add a 2 to Drifter's NAC?), win some medals at the WAO, and do well at USDAA Nationals again. Oh, and the toughest goal of all is to get Seri qualified for AKC Tryouts in 2012.

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