Monday, November 14, 2016

A Turn for the Best

Molly and I followed up our perfect day on Saturday with...

A broken start line stay in Jumpers = a dropped bar and a wrong course.  
A total devilish running dog walk into a way-too-tempting tunnel (hint, she has a stopped DW!)
And a naughty wrong course tunnel NQ in Standard that I could have been clearer about.   But my angel of Saturday would not have done that!

But BE STILL MY HEART, those weaves!!!!!!!   And my handling!   I handled her 180 and then calmly indicated the weaves and got running down the line as she committed.   No babying, micromanaging or stressing her out.   We are Getting There.   And like shedding my Standard-phobia, once the ball got rolling it feels more and more natural and like less of a chore.

We did qualify in Jackpot and Fullhouse, of course of course.   Here is Molly's Jackpot run.

I so desperately want to return to AKC Agility!  We will continue to work on training the weaves (I have been practicing some random reinforcement with great success - throwing Molly's ball randomly and allowing her to leave the weaves before the 12th pole.  It has been building her excitement and increasing her speed!) and we will continue to work on my handling.   I am really proud of our progress but I don't want to put pressure on us before we are ready.  I have overcome so many mental hurdles this year and none of that came easily for me.   I have a goal date of February 2017 for Molly and I to return to AKC Agility.

Will we be perfect?   Hell no!  Will I be able to walk into the ring and not worry, "I can handle this course but she will never get that weave entry."    I truly think so.  I know this now, I should never have been entering trials with that kind of pressure and that kind of uncertainty.   And if I start to become unraveled, if Molly isn't ready...we will retreat again to a venue with less pressure.  

I must confess: I dream of a MACH.   I do.   I can't help it.   And I have accepted that it likely won't happen for Molly and I.   I have plenty of great excuses: We are not consistent enough.  Molly will be 8 next year, and might be too old.   It is a costly venture.   And to me it seems like a wildly intense goal that would not come without pressure.   I have put so much pressure on both of us with my inexperience, and I am loathe to put that kind of pressure on us again.  It's not even about achieving those letters, that ribbon, that title - it's about taking a new path on our journey together that would be more challenging than what we have already enjoyed together.   But not at the cost of extinguishing the beautiful teamwork I have unlocked within the last year...our bond has grown so close that it brings tears of love to my eyes.   So maybe a MACH is not so much my goal, so much as I want to play agility with my incredible partner, in the venue that gives me the most joy and energy.  And maybe I'm not afraid to still say that the sky is the limit.  We have already come so much further than I ever thought possible - the joy is in continuing to push for improvement and growth.    

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