This was my first USDAA Nationals (Agility) since 1999 when it was in Cleveland. It was great to have this National event within driving distance!
The competition was incredible and I am honored to have been a part of it. My first obstacle was my own mental management. Mostly I handled it OK, but did screw up a few times, too. I have to remember to work through the bobbles and don't give up, even if a bar down in Dandy's Grand Prix run obviously meant I would not advance, I should have still worked the course rather than giving up & getting an off-course. Even though my team was not going to be in the top 30, I should have fought harder a couple of times. Overall, I handled the whole event better than I anticipated but also was disappointed in myself with a couple of things. I can't wait til next year :-)
My dogs did better than I expected. Token E'd in European Standard the first day but after that, he hung on in every class. No, we didn't run clean...but no E's, and only ONE bar down all week! He made it to the semi-finals in Steeplechase, and was 14th in Team Snooker out of ~135 dogs. Dandy's best run was European Standard, clean and 17th out of over 100 dogs. He had good runs in Team Gamblers & Snooker but we had off courses in Team Std and Jumpers. I'm disappointed in myself for the E's but Dandy still ran great. He was one bar away from making the Steeplechase Finals. His time was 0.04 slower than the 12th dog to advance, but he lost at least 1/2 second because the bar he knocked was taken again at the end, and with the bar down, he spun wondering where to go. So, I'm encouraged to see that we came so close! I got a number of compliments on my runs (even the off-course runs!), and I am so appreciative to those who took the time to do so :-)
Tempo spent most of the week in the crating area, but on Sunday, when I had a bit of free time, I took him to the Lure Coursing and bought him 2 tickets. He got 3 runs since the timer malfunctioned on his 2nd run. He had a blast and got faster each time and close to being in the top 10. I should have tried it sooner, so he would have had more runs to improve his speed but he had fun and got to run, so that was the important part ;-)
Watching the Grand Prix finals on Sunday was thrilling! I’m glad I chose to stay over Sunday night and head home on Monday so I could savor the moments of the grand finale of the event.
I'm so happy that we finally had a Nationals east of the Mississippi, and I'm really glad I was a part of it. Looking forward now to 2011!