AKC Nationals Summary

Well, finally made it home from AKC Nationals. Unfortunately, no Challenger Round or Finals for us, but Trip ran great, and I’m still so very proud of her. She’s an amazing girl, and every run is truly a joy.

The trip there was uneventful, though it was COLD in Virginia. Really too cold in the stalls where we were crated with so much time between runs for dogs to tighten up. I kept getting Trip out and walking her around during those long breaks, but she was still particularly stiff before her Round 2 run Saturday.

Friday in ISC/State Team Tournament Trip did really well. The courses had a few challenges, and she handled them great. She was clean in ISC JWW. She was called for the dogwalk in ISC Standard, which I think was a pretty bad call, but my video is at exactly the wrong angle to tell. Nevertheless, she made a tight weave pole entry, as well as other nice turns.

Saturday in Round 1, the JWW course was pretty straightforward, and she was clean, 17th overall. The Standard course was trickier, but the part that was the hardest for us came at obstacle #3, off the running DW. I really wasn’t overly concerned about it, but the judge was the same judge who had called her DW on Saturday, and I know I was thinking about that and overhandled the DW itself, and was late on calling her to the correct jump, so off course she went. The rest was of course perfect, with more great turns.

Sunday, we had to run clean and fast in Hybrid to have a shot at the Challenger Round. It was a great course for us–serpentine after serpentine, our favorite. I couldn’t have asked for more then she gave me–great speed and super lines. We ended up 12th overall, but it wasn’t quite enough. When it’s that tight, hundredths of a second matter, but I wouldn’t have changed anything about the way I handled that course. I’m very proud of how we ran, and how I mentally kept it together and was able to run clean and fast when I had to. It was actually the run I was least nervous about, maybe because there was no question about what we had to do. It wasn’t about choosing conservative handling in an effort to go clean–there was no doubt I had to run and go for it, and that was very freeing. 🙂

All in all, I’m thrilled with the performance Trip had. No, we didn’t make the Finals, but she still was still my best girl, like always. It is always a privilege to step to the line with her, and I enjoy every chance we get, especially on that big stage.

The trip home was much more chaotic then the journey there. We had to leave after the 12″ Finals were done to drive an hour to Roanoke, but had no problems with that. Our flight was delayed taking off, but we finally made it in the air and to DC. Unfortunately, once we landed, we sat on the plane some more, because of lightning near the airport that had shut everything down. We only had an hour between the original landing time and our connection’s departure time. Once we got off the plane, we had to run across the airport to the farthest terminal. We thought we were doing ok when we got on the shuttle to the terminal, but then it stopped halfway there because it was out of service for the night. WTF?! So, then we ran some more. We made it in the nick of time, sweaty and exhausted. Apparently, we cut it so close, United didn’t know we made it, and rebooked us for the following night.

Now that I’m home, I have “Agility Lung,” which is what you get when you spend 2 days in a musty barn with so much dust in the air you can’t breathe. The East Complex was awful, and this is coming from someone who shows almost exclusively on dirt and has NEVER had a problem with it. It’s one thing for it to get a little dry at the end of the day and you have to rewet it overnight, it’s another when you walk in first thing in the AM to haze. I saw almost none of the 12″ and 16″ dogs because we were stuck in that building Saturday AND Sunday, and you couldn’t stay in there for long and still breathe. There has to be a better East coast site.

No rest for the weary though–World Team Tryouts are only a month of way. Still lots of courses to work on to prepare. Today, we rested, later this week, we’ll get back to it. 🙂

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