My life has been over the top overwhelming this past month. But I did want to share a bit about my first regionals with my Machstar.
Seeing how I haven't trained either of my dogs in the past two months (other than the friday before regionals), I knew that I just had to go out and trust that all of our prior training in the past two years worked.
Since Toffee won nationals last year, and because of her Lifetime achievement, she didn't have to do Regionals this year, or any year to come! Some people said that I would do regionals with her again, because that is just foolish not to, but since I am a (now) starving student, I just don't see the point of foking over all that money just for some competitive release. I get enough with Mach, anyhow!
Going into this weekened with him was unlike any regionals or nationals experience I have ever had. I was totally at peace. My mind was completely quiet. There was nothing up there except trust. Well, okay, maybe my brain has been completely quiet for the two weeks prior because there was just too much going on that I didn't know what to do with it all. But it was quiet nonetheless.
We had a warm up sanctioned standard run before the regional runs. We q'd! He had the most beautiful dogwalk contact. It was a tight left turn to a jump. That run definitely boosted my confidence in us. I'm not sure if it would have deflated at all if we had a not so good run. Maybe, maybe not. We'll never know. But I was feeling good going into the last three runs.
The standard course was just mean. It looked like..murder. After I started walking it, it started to feel better, and when I was done, I was feeling good about it. Not 100%, but good. There was a part in the course where you went over two jumps 4 different times, and you did one loops three different times. It was kind of confusing actually. I took my eyes off him for a second because I was focusing on getting to the dogwalk...and he took his straight line to an off course tire. Bummer. It was a little loosey goosey at the back end of the course, but we got it together and finished strong. We were a ridiculous amount under time, too. Good boy!
Gamblers was next. We were first on the line. I wasn't sure if Mach would do it. I'm never sure if he will do any gambles. We had a pretty good opening. He knocked the 4 point on the first time over, so we missed out on 8 points, there, but when we did the main, there was no hesitation at all, and I used a "left" at the very end and he just went out and did it like he knew exactly what it was from the beginning. He rocks. I was surprised. I was happy!
It was kind of a bummer because they didn't get a time on the gamble. So I had the option of running all over again or just taking the SCT. I took the SCT, because the likehood of him not knocking any of the 4 bars in the closing gamble again were slim. I only lost out on like 2.5 points, so it wasn't that bad.
Jumpers. Ah, jumpers. :) My most favorite run of the weekend and perhaps my favorite run ever! It was full of so so much awesome! I didn't rush him, I just let him work. I let him do his thing and then I'd pop in whenever he needed me. And he just rocked everything. It was SO GOOD!
At the end of the day we had 252 points, so unless something traumatic happened, I knew we were going to qualify! yay!
The morning's sanctioned standard run went well, too! Another Q for the baby!
Regionals standard was easier than the day before but it definitely had some tricky bits in there. Maybe just for me because of running contacts. The contacts weren't that great. He knocked a bar in that run, too. I didn't feel super happy about the run at the end, not because of the bar, but it just didn't feel very good. It was more of a relief that it was over and we got out with only 5 faults. Blahh.
Gamblers. Oof. Yeah, that was a little rough. The opening was the most difficult opening I had ever seen. I wasted too much time trying to get him to do a mini (the he never ended up doing, anyway!) that I didn't have time to go do the mini that he would have done. I ran out of time. I think we only got like.. 30 points or something. He did do the main, though! Phew! Thank goodness that was over. And we're all qualified at this point! YAY!
Jumpers. It was basically box work. I felt good about it after I walked. We've done our share of box work, that's for sure. Though it was super tight. Tough for big dogs. He kocked a bar, and then the sneaky little off course tunnel snatched him right up. Too bad. It snatched a lot of dogs, young and old, so I didn't feel so bad about it.
It was important for me that no matter what happened in our runs that I found some positive in it, to remember that he is a baby dog, still and to remember just how far we've already come. I would just have to let happen what was meant to happen, try our best and whatever outcome that may come from that would be what it would be.
I wrote this on my hand. It was probably the best quote in the world that summed up what I went into the weekend thinking about. It was with this mindset that I won with. No, we didn't come first. That was never my intention. But I wanted to win, in our minds. And we achieved that. That's what I'm most proud about. After each run, it was a clean slate. Nothing had happened up to the point. Every run was the first run and we went out and we just ran.
Apparently going into the last jumpers run, there was less than 1 point seperating us and the first place dog. With our bar and off course and their clean run, it obviously seperated us even more, but I was so happy with him and his great weekend, that it didn't even matter.
2ns place and 469 points is more than enough for me. He was awesome. I'm so excited for nationals now! We entered yesterday!! Wee!!