28 February 2013
This weekend is the beginning of a trial/testing period for Kiba. She is running in 8 runs this weekend, at her usual jump height of 16". I am going to try to video as many of her runs as possible, but the real test is how many bars she hits, and whether they are in any way consistent - is it always a bar that occurs when I am ahead of her? On a front cross? A lead-out? Moving away laterally? So far it is usually when I am ahead but she isn't consistent that I've seen. Some have been on straight lines, some have been on turns, some on a front cross but I had obviously finished my rotation and was not facing her so there was no real "pressure" involved, just the visual distraction of me being in her sight line.
This weekend combined with AKC Nationals 2 weeks after that will determine what I do with Kiba for the next year. My original plans with her were to attend USDAA Nationals in the fall, and then AKC Nationals again next spring, but if she has too much trouble keeping the bars up at 16" I will have to rethink my plans. I will have to consider USDAA Nationals. You don't need as much consistency there, as one or two clean runs can still land you a placement in one of the Finals, and you can do very well in Team even with a few knocked bars. However, for AKC, she will not even qualify, let alone have a shot at Finals, if she cannot run several clean rounds in a row. What I need to do before April is decide whether to continue trying to qualify her at 16", her championship height, or drop her to Preferred 12", or just not run her in AKC any longer. She is just past halfway to MACH2 but not so close that I couldn't drop the hunt if necessary. If I decide not to run her in AKC any longer, do I start running Seri at 20" instead? She's been doing very well physically, I am just not sure she has the consistency to perform in AKC... she's a bit of a "win or E" sort of dog, it goes great or it doesn't..... but AKC courses tend to have consistent spacing between jumps and 20" is a nice height for her.
Anyway, these are the thoughts running through my head today before I delve back into the work of scheduling for my PT's at AKC Nationals. Tough work - we have too many dogs signed up and making it all fit in the allowed days is not easy!