Spent the last 24 hours with a visiting friend. Did some training and went for a nice hike.(and after she left I got back to mowing after the nice winter break). Tomorrow we'll do another nice hike and otherwise rest up before the seminar. I expect to be doing some good, hard running at the seminar Tues and Wed, and to avoid rush hour on the drive back and forth (about 55 miles each way but no highways, annoyingly), I am staying in a hotel.
I was originally thinking I'd bring Kiba with me, and run her in the seminar on a course or two, but I am thinking now that I don't want to do that after all. I've been having trouble getting Kiba to understand the new verbal cue (and haven't really trained it enough yet to be really using it in sequences yet) so I wouldn't say we're really ready to try again. Additionally, one of my PT's will be there Wed and I'd like to maybe have him take a look at Seri and make sure her wrist is OK and that the crash on the jump didn't cause any other issues, so she can come back off semi-rest (field walks only).
Additionally, I've been reviewing some of Kiba's videos from the last couple years, comparing to how she is running now, and there is a pretty drastic difference (to me).
Some runs I collected previously from January 2010 at 22", April and June 2011 at 16"
Here are a few runs from September 2011 and March 2012.
Compare to her jumping at WAO in May 2012 at 20"
And her jumping at AKC trials in July 2012 at 16"
And Kiba's NAC runs from this year 2013 which I linked here previously
I'm sure some of you are thinking "it doesn't look so bad" but when I've got a dog who, at 3 years old, got 6QQ's before even finishing her MX and MXJ, who several years in a row has gotten all 5 USDAA Tournament Q's in a row without a single NQ (2 Grand Prix's, 2 Steeplechases, and Team), a dog who made the WAO Team, who won 3 classes at a single AKC Nationals, who has been in multiple National Finals.... and now I can't even do a front cross, or place her between 8 and 15 feet in front of the first jump... I have to say the right verbal, on time, or she has a 50/50 shot of clearing the spread jump.... a dog who used to be so reliable she has been 2nd and 3rd overall Team at USDAA Nationals and WON the PVP Overall in Performance... and now she is locking onto off courses and seeming unable to call off them....
I also am concurrently running a dog with a ton of potential, who does not have a problem with spreads, who does not need every corner to be shaped from the takeoff side or done with a rear cross... who doesn't lock onto anything and has excellent vision.
So what I'm struggling with is "do I continue to run Kiba with a lowered chance of success, if it also sometimes has the risk of messing up my handling or making me question the way I run Strafe?"
Normally I would welcome the challenge of running a "different" dog, but Kiba is becoming so difficult, while Strafe is becoming so easy, that what happens is that I tend to focus a LOT on how to run Kiba, and not so much on Strafe. Not my goal, not my intention, but it happened in Tulsa.
So what this rambling post is starting to say is that... Kiba may be retiring. I feel like there must be something strange going on, to have 4 border collies who are all relatively healthy, and I am only running one dog. But while I do feel I tend to err on the conservative side, I would like to keep it that way and continue to have happy, healthy dogs...