This past weekend we went to a local AKC trial, the smallest one we attend all year. It is technically 2 rings but they alternate which one is going so there's only one running at a time. It's nice, relaxed, small, my dogs do well on the dirt footing, and we're done by 1pm each day.
Kiba really liked this venue, something about the lighting and perhaps the color and consistency of the footing led to her jumping looking better than it has in a long time, and she got a QQ on Friday and a JWW Q on Sunday. This puts her only 2 single Q's, about 40 points, and 1 QQ away from qualifying for Nationals. So, basically, if she gets a QQ she will be done. We only have 4 or 5 more days of trials before the end of the qualifying period, so I'm not sure whether she can do it or not, but we'll certainly give it a shot. Nationals is so close this year, only 2 hours drive away, that I will probably take her with me whether she's entered or not, so I'd love to be able to run her one last time before she retires! But I can't put pressure on her to Q; all the mistakes she made this weekend were not on purpose - for example, one NQ was her not finding me out of a tunnel, and when she did spot me, she came to a stop and looked at me like "WTF, dummy!!!?"... so clearly I need to talk to her and stay closer to tunnel exits. Crossing my fingers that she can qualify - our next 2 trials are outdoors on grass and then indoors on dirt again. I am theorizing that the lines on the ground of the last soccer pace may have been making it difficult for her to judge the jumps, but the truth is I am not sure what made her worse at that facility. She squints a lot in strong sunlight so I'm not sure how she'll do outside, but we do train outside here at home, so she should be used to it.
Strafe had a great weekend. Picked up QQ's on Friday and Saturday, and a JWW Q on Sunday, going 5 for 6 and finally raising our Q rate a little more. He's got all the QQ's he needs for Tryouts now, and all the standard Q's as well. Just 2 more JWW Q's and we'll be all done (unless they change the requirements - they aren't actually out yet). I am happy that he Q'ed in JWW all 3 days, as that's been our bugaboo since returning from the EO. He did knock one bar on Sunday morning in Standard, only the 2nd jump on course, and my timing with the verbal marker was so good that he stopped before the next obstacle, looking at me, so I took the opportunity to walk him off the course for the bar. Then he ran clean in JWW so we had a party;) I don't normally walk my dogs off for bars but with Strafe, he is just such an enormously talented jumper, and I can't make him knock bars at home no matter what I do, so I am really convinced that he has the ability to jump the jumps he's hitting - it is more a matter of being too excited at the trial and making the wrong choice for striding. So I mark it, remove from the course, and we move on. The great thing about Strafe is, he understands things like that, and he CARES about doing it better next time!
this weekend we are home, I didn't mean to schedule the weekend off but I had some seminars that had trouble finding a date and so I just never ended up with anything on this weekend. The only local AKC trial is outdoors at a park I'm not too fond of, the ground slopes and the grass is never cut short enough, and it always seems to rain. So I'm not sad that I didn't enter. We will go for walks instead.
In other news; Kiba's arthritis foot/wrist joints held up pretty well, she looked a little sore Friday evening but other than that no visible limping. I am continuing to *happily* leave the course if she faults before weaves or contacts so I can avoid that extra impact. I do worry that agility may be causing her a small amount of pain but honestly if it is, she isn't showing it. The professionals are advising me to keep running her and see how she does, so that is the road we will travel for now! I am definitely facing next year of only one dog competing, which means even if I do get a puppy next summer, I will still have at least another year or so of one dog competing, that's 2 to 3 years of it! What a foreign concept, but I do love trialing and traveling with Strafe, he is really "my dog" in a way none of my others are, despite my love for them and their place in my household. But I don't think I can wait another 3 years to get a puppy; next summer or sometime the following year would be good, I think. Then Strafe will be almost 4 or over 4 when it arrives, and around 6 when it starts trialing. So there would not be a lot of competitive overlap - if Strafe retires from international level competition at 8, the pup would be coming into its own at 4 and should be ready to go. I am assuming they won't all be "ready to go" at such an insanely young age as Strafe - in fact I'm counting on it! I didn't want to "rush" Strafe, and I don't feel like I did, but he was always just egging me on - "let's DO this already!"
|Will the next puppy be a son or daughter of Strafe? Maybe, maybe not!|