Friday, January 1, 2010

A new decade ahead ...

2009 was an amazing year. I thought 2008 was amazing and that I couldn't top it. But we did. And I have big hopes for 2010 too. I have some big plans/dreams for 2010 that are "hopefully" going to make a big impact on my life. And there has even been talk of a P U P P Y ... and not just on my side :) but that will be in 2011 ... 2010, a new decade ... I am so excited for this next chapter in my life.

The top of list is Health.
I have what are considered 2 older "geriatric" dogs (almost 8 and 11), and one 5 year old who works her heart out. They all have different needs and demands to their bodies. So we will be making some more trips to Physio (hopefully not so many Vet visits) as a preventative and hopefully I will learn even more to keep them on their A-games. My main objective this year (beyond trialing) is too keep them fit and healthy, anything beyond that is icing on the cake. I've been hitting the gym pretty regularly 3 days a week over the last year too, and my knee (knock on wood) is great, and I am much stronger, so I will keep doing what I am doing that way too as I can see the results of all that sweat.

2009 Highlights ... and looking ahead to 2010

• I was lucky to go to 3 Outreach sessions with Kim Collins, I have learned so much from her over the past 2.5 years. And I look forward to 2010 with her too! Talk about being pushed to your limit!
• and Terry ... 2 great seminars, he always pushes you to your best and has a great eye for timing, and each individual dog and their potential. I am looking forward to having him back in Lethbridge next month. This will be my 5th year attending his seminars! To this day I credit him with so much of how K and I became the team we are, and Gyp too for that matter.
• My handling skills are getting better and with some friendly reminders from my training buddies, my bad habits are diminishing ... mostly. I am so lucky to have such a great group of friends and training buddies, I couldn't imagine where I would be without them and my mentors ... really it is a scary thought.

We had some really memorable runs this year, she often has some of the fastest course times, and I have really learned to go for it with her, she is such a fun dog. She earned her BRONZE Award of Merit early on as well as a few other single BRONZE titles and her VBA (Versatility Bronze Award).

One of our biggest highlights was winning her Regional Division running 6/6 and again was the Regional Steeplechase Champion, and then onto Ottawa for Nationals where despite being worried outside the rings ... by porta-pottie doors slamming, cans being thrown in the garbage bins, and the scary guys driving the golf carts, she put on her game face when it mattered. She finished 3rd overall and 2nd in the Steeplechase finals. My little girlie is all heart.

I look forward to what 2010 will bring, she is very close to earning her SILVER Award of Merit (25 masters Standards, 50 Masters Games), so I hope to do that in the next couple of trials, we just need a few more standard runs, but I will just let it happen and not worry about getting there.

I hope to get her on sheep when I can, as that has been a great confidence builder and we can actually do more than just chase sheep around the round pen now. If I get my crap together, maybe I'l even get her CKC # after talking about it for last year ... but it is such a long process. But she has some talent as an obedience dog, and I would love to get her in the ring ... maybe just APDT rally if the CKC thing doesn't happen.

I play my cards right this year, one of my dreams will come true ... running on the grass at Spruce Meadows. Granted, the dream was to be on a horse, but running Gyp (and K) on the green, would be even better. 9 years ago I was lucky enough to walk the course at the Masters Tourny with the best riders in the world, and I even got to meet my hero Ian Millar way back when. (I'll have to find the photo)

The man, the legend :) ... the goofball. Kaleb ran as a Veteran this year and what a year my boy had. I still look up at my bookcase at the trophy and say to myself "I still can't believe Kaleb won his Regional Division", that was probably one of the biggest, if not the biggest moment for us this year - maybe ever. Did I mention "I still can't believe Kaleb won his Regional Division"? He placed 7th at Nationals in a class of 53 still boggles my noggin'.

Kaleb also had an amazing showing at the Flat-coated Retriever Society National Specialty in Nanaimo. He WON his Veteran Dog 7-9 Class, in a class full of wonderful well known dogs. That moment is second to him winning his regional division, I honestly can't believe it. Thinking back, Kaleb has shown at 3 National Specialties, and he has won every regular class he has shown in! Who Knew? He also placed 2nd in the Gun Dog class, finished his Rally title, ran 7/8 in Agility and earned his Novice Select titles (I dropped him to 20" and he had to start at the beginning again).

He also earned his Silver Award of Merit (25 Masters Standards and 50 Masters Games) he got his Steeplechase Title and a few other Bronze Titles too. He is close to earning his Gold Award of Merit, and I would be so thrilled if we get that (50 Masters Standards and 100 Masters Games), he always tries his hardest for me, and he so deserves to get that.

I would also like to get him in the Rally ring some more, hopefully finish his Junior Hunter title ... and dare I say the enter the Open Ring? Will it happen? Am I sick just typing that? Yep. I look forward to another great year with my boy, hard to believe he will be 8 soon.

A bittersweet year for my Janey. I she ran in only 3 trials and only had 9 runs. Amanda organized a wonderful and teary eyed retirement for her, which couldn't have come at a better time. She has had some health issues with her heart and gall bladder (of all things), that now limit her exertion especially in extreme hot or cold weather, and she is on a special diet and medication long-term. I have so many wonderful memories with her and every time I look at the book that was made for her I cry. We still putter around a bit in Agility as she still really enjoys it, who knows you might see her run a an FEO Starters Jumpers course some day :)

Here's to health, happiness and a some awesome clean runs in 2010 everyone! Thanks for reading :)


Joanne M said...

Congrats on all of your accomplishments with your pups in 2009 Sarah. I try to always watch you run when I see you at trials in Calgary! I think you're an excellent handler and I can see how much you love running and being a real team out there with them! See you soon!

manymuddypaws said...

that's a great post sarah! you have had a great year with the dogs, and deserve all the success you've had.

you are a great trainer, and a great handler, and your dogs rock- even Kaleb. :o)

TAG ALONG said...

What a year for you Sarah... and a great one ahead. Your a great Trainer, Handler and Friend.. I enjoy watching you handle and learn from it all the time...

Kim said...

An awesome year, for sure! You had some amazing accomplishments in 2009 and I am sure many more to come in 2010.

gussysmom said...

You have had some remarkable achievements with your team in 2009, that's for sure. I'm so impressed with your ability to focus on each dog and their individual needs and goals. I hope all your doggie dreams come true in 2010 - especially the puppy part!