Monday, May 18, 2015

National Champion!!!!

While I still can't quite believe it, apparently it is true... Volt is the South African Agility Champion 2015 in Small.  On top of that we have qualified to represent South Africa at the FCI Agility World Championships for the 4th year in a row!

Honestly it is quite a dream come true for me! In the past I have a history... every single year... 2 rounds I will be brilliant and win or be on the podium for that round, in the other two rounds, I would not be able to keep it together and disqualify myself (and by association my poor dog....)

This  year we ran an additional fifth round to qualify for the Agility World Championship. This round was on the Friday.  Honestly still my favourite of the weekend!  A very nice course to start off the weekend, enough speed and skills tested to get everyone in the game and ready to go.  Volt was a rockstar in this round, putting some good points and a win in the bag.

Saturday morning started off with another contact Agility course.  Again, awesome course. This was also the first round of the SA Champs, so I was running both Psych and Chaos too, we started with the large dogs, Chaos had knock on the wall, but otherwise brilliant round, which of course gave me a bit more confidence for the other two dogs.  Psych however proceeded to disqualify into an off course tunnel, which is not surprising really :) She had a ball though and her increase in confidence and speed this weekend, was heart-warming. Volt went ahead and ACED the course, with perhaps a slight bit of over-management on my part... this is my first SA Champs where I have both a running dog walk and a stopped dog walk available to use.  In the practice session, I had only done running (ran out of time for 2o2o2) and in round 1 I had used the running option.  This course was definitely more suited to a 2o2o and for some reason, I doubted that he would stop... a bit stupid since he has literally NEVER missed a cue...  he did a great job, for another win!

Saturday afternoon we ran our first Non-Contact Agility round. Another nice fast course that tested enough skill to be perfect :) Again I ran my large dogs first... Chaos had a rather fun disqualification and Psych surprised me with a clear round (heehee, if I had been judging myself, I might have called her for a refusal), but nevertheless, she worked so nicely! I then proceeded to very nearly lose Volt on this course before the weave poles, but a recovery saved us and we ended up with another clear and a win.

The Sunday morning started off with another non-contact/jumping course.  When the course plans were handed out, it was clear that THIS would be the one to separate the men from the boys... and unfortunately I failed the test.  Volt made a really hard pole entry and I then pulled him out of it? I ask you with tears in my baby blue eyes, bright spark I am.  We managed to get through the course HORRENDOUSLY and I was feeling some serious de ja vu... my own personal SA Champs curse was rearing it's head again.  Some additional triggers whisked in with the mixture and my head space was SHATTERED. Going into the last round I actually doubted whether I could do it, handle the pressure.  Something I haven't experienced for a while.

My last round was not my best, it was not as aggressive or reckless as I normally run.  I have very mixed feelings now that it is all said and done... on the one hand, very proud of myself that I kept it together and maybe that required me to be more reserved in this instance? On the other hand I feel that maybe I could have run just a little bit harder... I love 'all or nothing' rounds, pushing it, going for it....  Regardless, we ran CLEAR and third and with that, we became South African Agility Champions 2015!  Just as a side note, I at this point completely forgot that I had large dogs.... or that I was first on the line with one of them... which resulted in me sprinting full speed to get poor Chaos and back to the startline to run him... he rewarded me with a super clear round finishing fourth in the round!

Chaos and Psych realistically took a bit of a back seat to Volt this weekend, but they had fun in each round and I enjoyed every second with them as well!

Volt is truly a special dog, a one in a million in so many ways and SO much more than just an Agility dog. While I realise that his new title means nothing to him, he just enjoys every run, every opportunity to spend time with me, run some Agility or after a ball, the title is just another HUGE gift that he has given me! He always gives me everything he has, never fails to amaze me or amuse me or be there when I need him!  Love my special dog X

I guess it is inevitable that there will always be some tantrums, incidences of bad sportsmanship, unhappiness and some form of negativity here and there... and this weekend was no exception.... but I have to say that in general it was the most amazing, supportive competition I have experienced in a long time in South Africa!  Handlers really wanted the best for each other, the cheering and laughing and general happiness was contagious!  It made it much easier not to let the stupid little negative things get to me!

Thank you so much to everyone that has been part of this journey, this dream!

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