12 May 2014

Tryouts

Brief recap because it feels like so long ago already somehow, and yet we still wait in limbo not knowing who has made which team yet...

All 4 of my runs are posted on my youtube channel, individually, with absolutely no fancy editing. and that's how they'll stay. They're shot from the stands but you can still see what happens for the most part. https://www.youtube.com/user/DKSAgility/videos

The trip to MN went smoothly and we arrived mid-day on Thursday. I like to come in early enough to let myself and Strafe adjust and relax a bit in the new environment before anything important happens. We met friends. Went for a walk. Had lunch. Unpacked. Friday our practice went without incident. Strafe got massaged and a PT check-up. He felt good.

Saturday morning I was sore. I think originally caused by all the coughing, I have some kind of minor strain in a muscle in the lumbar region of my lower back. It isn't awful, but it does hurt some. It definitely hurt Saturday morning. Strafe felt good though. And one little muscle isn't enough to stop me from an adrenalin rush, of course. First course was Jumpers, and looked like a lot of fun. It was easy to come up with a good plan for my dog, and I was confident of our ability to execute it. Strafe rattled the 3rd bar which drew a bit of a gasp from the crowd (it didn't fall) but our total dork moment was later on in the course, after some of the really hard bits (which we mastered), I got just a little too far ahead and when I tried to send Strafe out to the wall jump, he didn't go. He thought I was pulling him past because I was too far down the line already. Oops. Earned 2 refusals and time faults fixing that, but then ran the rest of the course in smooth, stellar fashion as usual, including a front cross to push through the threadle which went very nicely.

Second run on Saturday was the ALMOST clean run. This was a bit of an odd course, to my eye, but still seemed very doable to me and I wasn't all that worried about it, really. Maybe that was the problem! When I released Strafe off the dogwalk I wasn't *quite* pointing at the wing properly in order to tell him it was the backside of the jump, and when I realized he was coming into the front side, I turned slightly and froze in place so he could push out - but he was too close and with the less than amazing grip afforded to him by the surface, he managed to skid to a stop, touching the jump wing in the process. Then he kicked out around the wing and jumped in the correct direction and we continued on the rest of the course clean. When I exited the ring I asked my friend if we had been called on the jump. No. No call? I was a bit confused by the lack of a call since I knew both judges had been very close with a good view of the situation. But I figured it was their call on something like touching a jump - it wasn't as if a bar had fallen and they missed it. This was a more subjective sort of thing. As the class went on, it turned out Strafe had placed 3rd even with the skidding stop and correction. The class finished. Our name was called for the podium picture. Then Carrie DeYoung took me aside (before the ribbons were awarded, obviously) and explained that the judges had gotten together, consulted the FCI rules, and it turns out they had to eliminate us after all. Because Strafe had touched the *wrong side* of the jump, it was considered an off course. So no placement, no clean run, a score of 50 faults instead. Of course I was sad for a few moments, but on quick reflection, I knew he had touched it, so it really was the correct call. So I put on my big girl pants and took it gracefully.

Sunday I really really wanted to win both runs. This is good for me, the pressure. It gets my adrenalin up and keeps me focused. I worked hard, Strafe responded well, and we did it, won both rounds on Sunday! Since we got an E on our Saturday run, this means that every time Strafe has run clean at Tryouts, he has won the class. 2 years in a row. Impressive, if I do say so myself ;) I do wish we'd managed to do better on Saturday, but I can't think that 2 wins out of 4 runs is that bad of a result either. I've got my fingers crossed that we'll soon be planning a trip not only to Hungary for the EO, but also to Luxembourg for the AWC. Currently I have no information to share though, so it's still just hopes and dreams at this point!



After the competition, I had Monday off to go for a walk and then head up to Ham Lake to teach. Since I had a bit of extra time, I visited the Mall of America for the first time. Didn't ride anything since I was on my own and left Strafe in the car, but it was fun to see it anyway.




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