Thursday Drifter ended up 7th in Team Standard, and Kiba's PVP Team was sitting in 1st place overall after Standard...
Friday, Day 4, was a big day for my dogs. Kiba and Drifter both had Team Snooker and Steeplechase/PSJ Semi-finals. Drifter also had to run Grand Prix Quarterfinals because of getting a flyoff called at NE Regional way back in June. Both dogs ran Snooker first, Drifter knocked the #2 bar in the closing, turned out to be due to a sore glute (actually sacrotuberal, but you could say "butt muscle" and not be wrong). Kiba did great, finishing with 48 points in only 37 seconds... Next up was Drifter's GP Quarterfinal run. He ran flawlessly - I was being fairly careful, just trying to stay CLEAN to move through to Semi's, but he ended up tied for 2nd on time and only .05 behind 1st, so I was happy with my "safe" time there! Later we ran Steeplchase, just like last year I was in the very last group to run and it was about 5:30pm or so. This year the footing was definitely less slippery, but it did pack down pretty hard by the end of the day. This was a VERY straightforward, FAST course, and Kiba did well for 7th place and into the Finals. Drifter had a fantastic run as well, but his time was slower than usual, he ended up 34th (they took 21 to the Finals). After we finished we discovered his feet and toes in general were very sore that evening, so I am going to assume his time was slowed down by his feet saying "ouch ouch ouch" around the course. After several sessions with the laser and some high-dose Traumeel he woke up feeling pretty good.
Saturday, Day 5, and we had Team Jumpers (a tough course), Grand Prix Semi-finals for Drifter and at night Speed Jumping for Kiba. Drifter's feet seemed much less sore and aside from one big wide corner in Jumpers he had a lovely run for 11th place. He also put in an absolutely fantastic run in Grand Prix Semi's, proving that old dogs can still rock it, he won Semi's by half a second, putting him in 1st seed for Finals. Kiba's Jumpers went a little better and she posted a great time for 2nd place. Her Teammate also ran clean and our Team finished the day in 1st place again...
The biggest Saturday news is that Kiba put in a fabulous run in Speed Jumping and won the class! She won me $500 which is wonderful and almost covers the hotel bill for staying here for a whole week! What a good little girl! She turned tight, ran fast, and I took advantage of the perfectly set course to use front crosses to get fast aframes including hitting the contact:)
No, we don't get to keep that trophy, it's just for the picture:)
Sunday morning Kiba's team had to pony up and run clean (or at least not go off course) in Relay. The relay course wasn't ridiculously hard, and this year Kiba got to go first (last year Driven punched me in the butt after she finished running her half). We both ran clean, a little careful so we didn't place in the Relay class, but we WON the Team Overall out of more than 100 PVP Teams! So Kiba won both PSJ and PVP this year! If we win PGP in the future, she could be a Performance "Triple Crown" dog! So cool!
Later on we had Grand Prix Finals. i was pretty concerned about my old boy, knowing his feet had been sore the other day, but our PT said he felt pretty good, she worked the kinks out of his neck and upper back (from the hard footing), and he looked great. We had to wait till the end of our height since we won the Semifinal round. He felt good going to the line, he did the opening great, gave me a very pushy see-saw but the judge wasn't calling them, I rear crossed the next jump, he started to come with me, I said something like "come on let's go!" to encourage him, and he shot off to the right and took a tunnel. I don't know if he misinterpreted my verbal encouragement to mean "go tunnel"? I am absolutely certain my body did not tell him to do that, but something I did must have. I stopped for a few seconds, shocked that he had done it at all, he came back and looked at me, I gathered it up again and we went off and finished the course in style, clean aside from our little miscommunication, I even fell briefly trying to pivot after the dogwalk, but he went on like nothing happened.
This was a first for me, I realized, and the reason I had a moment of such utter shock. Drifter has been in Grand Prix Finals 4 previous times, Steeplechase Finals once, and AKC Finals twice. Out of those 7 appearances (I'm not counting Team Relay Finals here), he ran clean 6 times, and once missed a contact. My old retriever made GP Finals twice and ran clean and hit one bar in them. Kiba's made various Finals 5 times and run clean or only knocked bars/missed contacts. NEVER have I gone off course in an individual Final event. So it was a tough disappointment, especially knowing it will be his last Grand Prix Final. Perhaps if USDAA moves closer before he's too old, we will show in Performance, but I won't run him in CO outdoors, so he won't do USDAA this year.
I am glad we managed to make Grand Prix Finals in high style this year, marking his 5th time making it. Not bad for a dog often described as "crazy" and a "bar-knocker" when he was younger.
Getting our Finalist ribbon and plaque. It was hard to smile just a few minutes after the off course of a lifetime, but I managed. Drifter is watching dogs warming up in the next ring and refused to look at the cameras...