I had a five hour drive on Sunday to get home, then a lazy rainy day Monday; and a pouring day Tuesday; then a relaxed day Wednesday too. Lots of time to reflect, watch videos, read the thank you posts and blogs from the Nationals  and contemplate my own condition.

It still seems amazing to me that the dogs qualified for Nationals. Two of them. One old. One young.
One wise. One foolish. We ran at a national level in a sport we love. Freakin’ unbelievable. But I have the bumper sticker to prove it now!

Sally had exactly 4 aac trials under her belt collar since the comeback tour started. Then Regionals and then Nationals. Nationals was her 6th aac trial. She has a few CPE trial miles which certainly help but I think they wouldn’t take all the fingers on one hand to count. Brody had one extra CPE trial. So I’m pretty sure the dogs had 8 and 9 trials respectively in the last 13 months. For both of them the trials were usually just 2 -4 classes.

Best Things

  • one bar all weekend (Sally’s last bar in an otherwise very nice standard class)
  • every contact hit -every dogwalk and teeter done well ..one slightly alarming aframe from Sally
  • nice start lines (again only Sally crept one line, the second last one, a little – sneak!)
  • seeing amazing dogs and handlers work hard and well
  • watching people handle success and failure well
  • the amazing volunteers
  • the beautiful site

Things I Learned

  • Brody can still have a melt down on course
  • I was right, Brody does not run well in the heat, Sally could care less
  • cooling Brody off by soaking him helps a lot
  • Brody tolerates his cooling coat
  • Sally can stay in an xpen with a cover happily
  • 13 week old puppies are great stress relief  
  • I really don’t have nerves even at a National competition
  • I had wonderful supportive people with me: thank you!

Between Regionals and Nationals Brody had one off course that he did; one off course that I steered him to and one refusal. He ran 3 clean jumpers  courses, and 3 clean standard courses. Pretty darn impressive. He isn’t a gambler nor am I so we didn’t even try one mini gamble. We made honest efforts for the main gamblers but that wasn’t happening in any of them.

Sally had some weaving issues in the high stress fast entries of Nationals but that’s an experience thing, I have no doubt it will come. Her entry in the last standard class was amazing  – she checked a half stride then caught her entry and blasted away. Very cool feeling! At both regionals and Nationals she and I weren’t in the exact right places to make a couple of tricky lines work but all in all she was amazing. She bobbled past 4 jumps in total for 4 refusals; she had one off course tunnel; she had that weird non completion thing where she stepped through the jump and a non completion of weaves where she was so quick to the next obstacle I couldn’t fix it; at regionals she needed a couple of times to hit the weaves in the first standard course and that was it. 8 errors in total in 8 classes. She also had that smoking, incredible jumpers class! Her gambles classes really showed me her potential. We didn’t do minis but she got the basic principal for each of the four main gambles. She wasn’t entirely successful (once she just ran out of time, twice she missed something in the weaves, and fourth class I can’t recall what the error was) but she was amazing.

What good, incredible, nationally ranked dogs I play with.