People are starting to leave for Tryouts. I wish I was going, but alas, i don't have a dog for it, again, this year. Last year I might've made more of an effort to qualify, but at that point in time it wasn't allowed for IFCS team members to be on the AKC Team. So Drifter has lost his chance. 26" was too much for him, and after his on-and-off toe issues (now resolved - the ligament is damaged now but causes him no pain), and then a hamstring pull, I decided not to jump him 26" anymore. He's not a big dog, and he's got a short neck so it's difficult for him to throw his weight around at the last minute. That's OK, the WAO will be our last world stage, and even though we didn't get a chance to prove ourselves at the FCI world championships, at least we proved we could beat the best in the country, and hang with the international crowd at 2 slightly smaller (but still fun and difficult) world events. If nothing else, I have gained a lot of experience in handling a dog under pressure (Drifter and I both thrive with it!), and on difficult courses. I was hoping I could use that experience to get Seri to Tryouts for 2012, but with her slowly accumulating minor injuries, and propensity to never act her age, I am not sure if she will ever quite be ready for that. So I may not be back at Tryouts till 2013 (if Strafe turns out to be as mature as he appears to be).
I think I am ready for WAO. I'd like to get one more brief training session in, but it is raining today, and I won't risk running him on wet grass right now. He is doing well physically; not as fit as I'd like, but not sore either. His flight resrvations are all arranged, I think I found a nice kennel to watch him while we tour London, and I have a car reserved for the 4 days after the trial that we are sight-seeing.
Seri's shoulder is healing well, but she's not 100% yet. She's stepped up to being allowed to do some short, low, jump grids to help build strength, and when I return from England she'll be on a shoulder/core strengthening program. If she isn't able to handle that, I will have to withdraw her from IFCS consideration, since her 4-star and Regional events begin in early June, just over a month from now, and for points, she is required to run in quite a lot of classes (5 Team classes, 2 GP, 2 Stp, and 2 IHC - 11 classes over 3 days!)
I am almost certainly going to try running her at 20" in AKC over the summer, to see if that is easier on her body (less airtime, less impact on landing), and to see if the reduced airtime and more time on the ground, and just easier jumps, will perhaps keep her more mentally tuned in on the courses. If she can go to AKC Nationals as a serious contender at 20", that is nothing to sneeze at, even if I'd prefer that I could run her at 26"...