Happy Thanksgiving to all of my fellow Canadians! Well, the trial in Memphis was a success but a very wet, muddy and a bit cold one (the weather, not the people). The people in Memphis were very hospitable, Lynda and I had a lot of fun and met a lot of new friends. Sadly for Lynda she didn’t get to go down Beale Street or go to Elvis Presley’s Graceland (I think she was secretly relieved about that one:)).
I was happy Lynda was willing to join me for the 15+ hour drive down south. The reason I decided to go was I felt Encore, Feature and I needed some course running before USDAA Nationals in November. Yes there were trials closer, up here in Canada, but with a 5’6″ A Frame and my girls really needed some courses with the USDAA height of 5’9″. Plus neither my dogs nor I (possibly a connection there) ever seem to get too “high” at a local weekend trial.
Last year I didn’t get to a trial between FCI Worlds in September and USDAA Nationals more than a month later. I think it showed in my execution as a handler and in Encore’s franticness (I think she was a bit high, particularly at the start of the weekend). I am hoping to get to one more trial before we head down to Scottsdale at the end of this month.
In addition, with me preparing Encore for worlds, Feature hasn’t gotten the attention a 2 year old dog should likely be getting so it was nice to get her into a trial and see how our teamwork would hold up.. She listened very well, although there are still a few skills we need to clean up.
Both Lynda and I met our goals of going to Memphis, in that we both wanted to get our youngsters out of Advanced and playing with the big kids in Masters. Encore won the Grand Prix (Feature was a bit naughty in that class so didn’t qualify). So overall a good weekend. The weather was very rainy the first day which made for a lot of mud the next two days. Here are a few of our runs, notice I am not running very hard as my back and my legs don’t seem to get along when the weather is so cold & wet and the ground so boggy (lots of mud!).
It is times like these where that independent obstacle performance really comes in handy for me as a handler! Who says you have to be lightning fast to have success in the Greg Derrett system? I barely broke out of a walk in some of my runs. As a matter of fact to quote the 6’6″ parking lot attendant, (the one missing his two front teeth) said as we were making our way to the car on Saturday night, he told me he has watched two of my runs with Encore and his unsolicited observations were “. . .dat dawg. . . dat dawg he way do fast fer you, way do fast, fer you!” I guess it is a good thing the handler AND the dog do not have to cross the finish line at the same time in order to be competitive in agility!
Another comment I received was from very lovely older woman who was just a spectator at the fall fair where the trial was being held, she approached me on on Saturday weeping, she wanted to tell me my run with Feature was one of the most beautiful things she had ever seen and wondered if anyone else had cried while watching my runs in the past. She was a very dear and made me feel grateful to be part of this sport.
Today I am grateful for our safe, uneventful (except for one alleged speeding ticket that SOMEBODY might have received coming home:)) weekend trip to Memphis, Tennessee.