Nationals Recap

On the way to Nationals…

Trip and I had a fantastic time at AKC Nationals, and Ticket enjoyed coming along for the ride.  Trip was clean 4 out of 5 runs.  Friday, she ran clean in both warmup standard and Time to Beat, but seemed a little slow.  Maybe the stress of travel an the event–never could find anything “wrong” with her, but it was similar to what she showed me at a trial 2 weeks previously.  Didn’t really find anything when she was massaged either.  Saturday, she had bad diarrhea, for no apparent reason, and was definitely not running like herself.  However, she gave me everything she could, and we made it through both Round 1 JWW and Round 2 Standard clean.  Standard was particulary tricky, and I was SO proud of how she handled it.

We were in 18th place at the end of the day on Saturday, one spot out of Finals.  I felt pretty confident that if we ran clean, we were in, as the odds that ALL those dogs ahead of us would be clean in Hybrid was small.  To add to my stress, we were at the END of the class–244 out of about 254 dogs.  It was quite a wait, though I did my best to manage it.  I used to get so nervous before a run–if I had a QQ on the line I’d feel physically ill.  Eventually I had a breakthrough, and it takes a lot to make me really feel those butterflies anymore.  Especially with Trip.  Round 1 of Nationals last year is the last time I remember feeling that fluttering nervousness in my stomach.  And to be honest, I miss it a little bit.  I almost have the opposite problem now, of getting excited enough about a run.

This year, I felt nothing for the warmup day, and the first two rounds.  As I walked onto the line for the last run, I felt a familar little flutter.  But I put Trip in her sit, kissed her on the head, and told her I loved her, just like I had every other run that weekend.  And it was gone.  She ran great, and felt like her normal self.  She was perfect on the parts I worried about.  We made it through…until she took off early, and dropped the LAST bar.  At that point, I knew were in Finals if she were clean, and we lost it in the most heartbreaking way possible.  I was devastated, but I just kept telling Trip what a good dog she was.  Because she was.  I admit, I went and had a good cry to get over it.  And I got over it.  Because I still have the best, most perfect dog ever.  And we had an incredible Nationals, where I tried to enjoy every time we walked out onto the line.  She gave me everything she had, despite the fact that she wasn’t feeling great.

And now, we have other things to focus on.  I decided I’m taking Trip to World Team Tryouts one more time.  I was planning on bringing Ticket, but I just don’t know if she’ll be ready.  We’ll be shooting for a win-on spot of course.  But if we don’t manage that, then we’d still like to be on the team for EO.  I hear Belgium is lovely in the summer, and Ryan and I need a vacation. 🙂  So now the focus is on international coursework, building up lots of value and reward, and getting Trip in excellent physical shape.  And we shall see.  I’ve never been more confident in our ability to handle any course thrown at us.  So bring it! 🙂

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