We're back from AAC Nationals! I am so tired ... I took a whopping 4 photos. Yep 4.... you'd think having a National in our backyard would be more relaxing, not so, I have never been this tired after a National! I'm super f'ing exhausted and sore, but equally super f'ing happy, which makes it all worth it.
Let start from the beginning, grab a coffee and/or a beer and enjoy ...
Kaleb had to run the pre-qualifier because of his Torsion 10 days before Regioanls - so a whole Regional weekend of 6 runs in one day YIKES - if a dog reaches 350 in fewer runs, they can quit and choose not to run the final runs. I was sooooo proud of K for Qualifying in 4 runs with 410 points, with 4 clean runs!! Whatta boy! So by 1pm that day he was done until Saturday - I was so happy with him, the rest of the weekend was just icing on the cake. Just having him run there was amazing, I honestly didn't think 9 weeks ago, he'd be running.
Gyp was entered in the 2 rounds of Steeplechase that day. She had been spooky all week since an incident with a Kite in the park (the Kite flew up from the ground and I've never seen her that scared). It was like when I first got her, I worked so hard to get her used to everyday things, it was sad to see her so timid. I went to warm her up for Steeplechase and she bolted from me, ears pinned, tail tucked, she was cautious and worried, then I became the same - bad combo. Once in the ring she was OK and got better as she ran, I have no idea what spooked her then. I literally couldn't walk her from the Rings to the benching area without her jumping out of her skin 10 times. She wouldn't take treats or play with her toy during warm-up. She ran really well and Qd in each, but it just wasn't Gyp. I was feeling so bad for her, and was quickly told that was bad to do - it is a negative emotion and she was picking up on it.
I found out Gyp made the Steeplechase finals on Saturday night, but Saturday afternoon, I pulled her out of the event as I wanted to rest her and not have her be freaked out and have more set-backs. During the day on Saturday, I would carry her part way to and from the ring to minimize the freakiness - people, garbage bins, porta-potties and she HATED the echoing Barn we were benched in - everything was bad :( I brought her tent to ringside each run, and she perked up when dogs were warming up and started barking at them, which was a good sign, we could do a quick play, put her back in the tent, and pretty much go from the tent to the ring - the place she felt safest :)
Jumpers: Both dogs ran lovely, and each had a bar - which is odd for both dogs, but great runs none the less!
Gamblers: Gyp was freaked on the start line, but again once running was great, she got her Gamble, Kaleb didn't get the end Gamble, again both great runs.
Standard: Gyp's Standard another bar came down in an otherwise lovely run, I just couldn't feel her intensity like normal, but she is all heart and did her job. Kaleb ran awesome and clean, and it was a great run for the end of the day!
Gyp had acupuncture, some relaxation techniques and some adjustments done Saturday afternoon to possibly help her relax - she looked so stoned after her acupuncture, it was the first time she looked relaxed since being there, I had to come up with a game plan for Sunday to minimize her stress, I talked to some seasoned BC people and got some GREAT advice. My Sunday game included, changing my path to the rings ... for both of us! Benching outside in a friend's shade tent instead of the scary barn (which was also half the distance to the ring), keeping her and Kaleb together, playing with them together in stressful areas, minimizing the trigger situations, taking the tent to the ring and most of all NOT feeling sorry for her and I HAD to leave the emotions of Saturday behind. I cuddled her in my arms that night, and she didn't move a muscle, I think we both needed that.
Still reading .... go get a refill, this time add Bailey's ...
A new day!!! A little more rested, we all had a great day!
Gyp ROCKED. She had 50 and 52 points in Sat & Sun Gambles, and got her final Gamble again. And guess what? SO did the K-man! He still had some spunk left in him :)
Gyp was coming around, and I was getting less worry and more intensity outside the rings - I was happy and so was she - I love that dog. She had a wonderful Standard, clean, smooth and fast! Kaleb had a really good run too, I could tell he was getting tired (this was his 9th run of the weekend) and he ran clean but knocked a bar.
The last run of the weekend ... Kaleb again, knocked a bar - a clue that he was maybe not 100% in shape and just getting really tired - I'm not sure he has ever knocked a bar in competition! He also got distracted by some poodles outside of the rings LOL. Nothing to complain about with my boy, nothing at all. Then it was Gyp's turn. She was ON. I had my dog back, what a great feeling. I took her out of her kennel and she barked and tugged all the way to the ring. We has a long warm-up, very little weirdness. It was the run that felt the most normal all weekend. She nailed it, it felt so good to see her so happy, not only IN the ring, BUT OUTSIDE of it too.
Soooo ... the results ...
Gyp Placed 3rd overall again this year, in her Division of around 50 dogs.
3rd Place Gamblers, 2nd Place Standard, 2nd Place Gamblers, and 1st Place Jumpers! Again the other two runs were great ... just one bar in each. What a Girl!
Hey, don't forget about me .... no Top 10 Finish for K-man this year, but in the run where the bars did stay up, he placed 9th/56. He ran 10 runs over three days including his pre-qaulifier. I am still most thrilled with that performance ... his first time back and 4 clean runs in one day, what a boy. His only bobble over the rest of the weekend was a dropped bar in each jumpers and the Standard, and he got one Gamble. Kaleb figures he got enough ribbons the weekend before anyway, he's kind of getting sick of satin and ruffles :)
Thanks to my awesome friends who helped haul my crap around to the rings in order to help with Gyp and keep me calm. I love that people really care. People took time to talk to me about help me work out Gyp's issues, and shared similar stories, which helped me alot. Thanks to my friends for putting us all up at their place, and keeping things light and fun. Our group did great, everyone came home with atleast one individual placement ribbon from an event. It was a great weekend, one I will never forget, and hopefully I will remember it all soon once I am not so tired!!
The dogs are now getting a nice Agility break again, and will be raring to go for our Agility Trial at the end of the month. It's hard to explain how I feel, I feel so lucky to have my dogs, they are truly incredible in their own little ways, they have alot of heart. There is nothing like the bond with a dog who loves you, and who you love 100x more.