Well my last agility event for 2010 has been put to bed. Encore and I had the honour of representing Canada at the American Kennel Club Invitational last weekend. The annual event has 5 of the highest pointed dogs of each breed that competed in the AKC shows each year go head to head in the final showdown. It isn’t necessarily the fastest agility dog of each breed because someone with a moderately fast dog that trials a lot would likely rank higher than a faster dog that doesn’t trial much. However that being said there were a ton of very fast dogs there.

It is a very unique event in that you see only 5 Border Collies plus any that show up as International guests (such as Encore from Canada and two Border Collies from Japan). Definitely a worthwhile event to take in if you love dogs and love high calibre agility being run by dogs of various breeds. Some amazing Australian Cattle dogs, Golden Retrievers, Chihuahuas, Weimaraners, Vizslas, Dobies plus the usual outstanding Shelties, Tervs etc. A really entertaining weekend plus don’t get me started on the shopping. . . wow!

Me catching a few winks on the cold hard steel bleechers (with a few donated coats & pillows to help out)

The footing was great to run on, it was really thick sod that they maintained all weekend (any area that was worn was cut out and replaced). I would say it ranks with the best footing I have run on. The way the event works is that you MUST be consistent. Four opening rounds and the top dogs from each height after four rounds go to the finals.

It was a great show.

Encore was her spectacular self all weekend. She won 2 of the 4 classes, placing 3rd in another and 0.001 second out of first for a second place finish in one other round. She went into the finals in first place. Although there were some fast dogs in the finals (an impressive Labrador Retriever was in 2nd place behind Encore going into the finals) I was confident if we both did our jobs success would follow as it had all weekend.

Alas it was not our turn. I could tell Missy En was a slightly higher than normal but I didn’t take that into account in my handling so she had an off course by the 4th obstacle in the final round. As they say in sport, I guess you can’t win them all and we sure have had more than our share of wins this year.

Fellow Canadians Jess Martin also had a bit of bad luck in round one when a very tight seesaw call put her out of the running. She went on to win all 3 of the remaining rounds but it is an event about consistent excellence, so that one bobble put her out of the finals. Our third Canadian Christine Boisvert also did the country proud with some gorgeous handling earning top ten placements in 2 of the 4 rounds.

Next year the event moves to Florida, I strongly recommend you take it in.  Here are Encore’s 5 runs from the weekends.

Today I am grateful for Encore, such a joy to travel with and almost always puts us in a position to win it all.