Road trip this past weekend. John, myself & all the dogs packed into the RV. We drove convoy style with John & Lynda and their trailer Penny & Yvon and their fifth wheel rig all the way down to Virginia for a three day trial. The trip down was longer then necessary due to some unforseen outlet mall shopping and crazy traffic tie ups in the Washington D.C. area (the men reminded us women that if we hadn’t stopped to shop we wouldn’t have been stuck in D.C. traffic at 5 PM on a holiday weekend:)).
I felt kind of guilty going to the trial at all since I really have only trained my dogs in agility no more than three or four times since last fall. Encore has been off almost all activity due to her off and on lameness and of course I hadn’t even seen my dogs in almost a month as I was away in Europe teaching. I am grateful that I have such a great support team behind me. John was diligently swimming both dogs to get them into shape while I was away and Lynda came by to do jump grids with them so they won’t be completely out of shape for this trial.
Greg Derrett often manages to pull off big wins when he hasn’t seen his dogs in ages so I tested his methodology over this weekend. The results where mixed. The best news of all is that Encore looks great! She doesn’t appear to be struggling with her jumping the way she certainly was last fall. I can’t tell you how happy that makes me. She had one refusal in the finals of the big money event this weekend but that was due to rusty handling cues I think. No bars. She won the Grand Prix as well as a few other classes. I thought after one class I saw I bit of a limp on that right front leg but I couldn’t be sure and I never saw anything remotely like it throughout the rest of the weekend. Not only didn’t she limp, but she appeared to be once again jumping with power. So in spite of everyone telling me her blood values where too low to be considered an active Lyme infection the 6 weeks on antibiotics was the only thing that seemed to make a difference to her. I really don’t care why, I am just thrilled she is healthy again!
Feature, still being a 2 year old showed me, in case I didn’t know already that 6 months off with absolutely no handling training does not work too well for a youngster. At one point in a snookers class she actually ran between my legs on a front cross, oh my! She did have some lovely runs and even managed to win a class or two plus had the fastest time in the big money class finals but uncharacteristically pulled a bar by jumping too close on a threadle. However the fact both girls made it to the finals of the big Triathlon class was a bonus! By Sunday I think I had got my “handling legs” back again and the two of them came first and second in Masters Standard, that was a nice way to wrap things up.
More exciting news from the weekend was that Say Yes’s own Tracy Sklenar and her young mix breed “Export” won the 16″ triathlon (money class). Not only did she beat all of the dogs here competing in Virginia but she also beat all of the dogs running the same course at the trial in Texas! Tracy had a great weekend, in addition to placing in Steeplechase and Grand Prix her and Export teamed up with myself and Encore and another GD style handler, Debby Cartney and her Sheltie “Divot” to place third over all in the team event.
It was a great trial over all. Lovely venue, perfect weather, nice people and they even changed up the last day events to help get us all out of there and on the road earlier than was first expected. Kudos to all involved.
I went into the weekend with no expectations for either dog, knowing how little we have seen of each other and how little I have trained. I could only do my best and the girls could do no wrong, was my attitude going in. No expectations. They are brilliant dogs and to win as much as did is a tribute to just how brilliant they both are. Funny thing, just before the finals of the Triathalon I was sitting in a chair and happened to look over to the chair beside me which had a book mark sticking out of a pocket. I could only see the top but it read “I love the winning, I can take the losing, but most of all, I just love to play.” That pretty much sums it all up for me.
Today I am grateful for this gorgeous, scenic drive home. I think taking highway 15 up through Pennsylvania and New York State has got to be about my favorite drive in all of the USA.