25 September 2011

By the way...

Drifter is officially eligible for the USDAA Veterans class today! Happy 9th Birthday Drifter, and to his littermates Reddi and Jess! I know I've been blogging a lot lately because been home a lot, not away teaching or trialing - enjoy it while you can, because October will be very busy for me and I'm sure I won't remember to post here very often. (well, enjoy it if you do, if you don't enjoy my blog, then I guess you'll be happier?)

Now I'm going to ramble a bit about my dog!

Back in late 2002 I was looking for a puppy. This was actually to be my 2nd border collie. My first was only 3 but she was soft and had some ETS type jumping issues, so I wanted another dog to work. I was on the list for a high-powered litter (the sire of which actually went on to sire a lot of nice agility dogs) but the bitch didn't take (she turned out to be barren!) so i went looking again. i was tipped onto someone who had 2 leftover pups out of her agility bitch, sired by an imported working dog. I had seen the bitch run a few times but didn't know her real well. I went to see the pups, and they were both  very pushy athletic pups at 4 months old. I chose the black one because he was the pushier one, screaming if I did things with the other pup. He also seemed to have a bit better structure.

I don't have a lot of pics of him available because I haven't transferred all my files off the portable hard drive, and I lost some on my old dead laptop. And photobucket is being very uncooperative in retrieving my old pics today...

Anyway, Drifter certainly has been a pushy dog. He's athletic but he has his flaws. 26" was never easy for him, even though we made IFCS Team at that height. He's very fast in agility but in the field he is probably the slowest of my dogs running flat-out. Mostly because he doesn't really run flat-out very often, but he's not a racer dog either. He can turn on a dime, he can enter the weaves from anywhere, but we had our arguments. I'm pleased with our career and I've learned a lot from him over the years. He's done a LOT in this time, even though for a while people discounted us for being a "bar-knocker" and people still think he's "crazy" sometimes. At the age of 3 he won a Regional Grand Prix and then ran clean in Grand Prix Finals for a 3rd place (he was 4 by then, but barely). He's been in Grand Prix Finals 4 times, Steeplechase Finals once, DAM Finals a bunch of times (sorry I didn't count), and AKC Finals 2 times. He's run clean in 5 out of 6 times in the individual Finals he's been in, and when he did he always landed on the podium. He is a dog who likes the pressure of a big competition, and he's taught me to never take things for granted, to push myself for adrenaline and not be too relaxed, and I love that with him, it's completely OK for me to go the line pumped up and excited, because he LOVES that and will respond positively to it. He is not a good podium picture taker though. . . he's had some tongue lolling pics up there, and then at IFCS he kept trying to flirt with the Russian dogs. . .

This year at Cynosport is possibly his last big National or International event. I have decided not to take him to Reno for AKC, and he's not going to Belgium for WAO either. I will qualify him for USDAA for next year but I may or may not take him, depending on where it is and how he's doing. I am happy and proud that he's still *very* competitive in the Championship 22", and I have hopes that perhaps we can win or do well again this year. I would love to win GP - he's been in Finals a lot of times but we've never won. But he IS 9 years old now and there's a lot more young whippersnappers out there with running contacts and blazing ground speed....

Anyway, Happy Birthday Drifter! Still going strong! This year, at 8yrs old, he was 2nd in GP Finals, winning a spot on the WAO Team, he won AKC Nationals for the 2nd time, won the USDAA Spring Showcase, won the WAO Biathlon, and is collecting QQ's towards his next MACH.

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