Tessa and I have been on a roll, and we really have had several perfectly perfect trials in a row.
On Saturday we ended that streak of near-perfection. However, it all worked out just fine in the end. It was a learning weekend for me, and I guess that's a good thing!
Let me preface this by saying that we had come off something of a difficult week. A particular fund raiser at school put me in a highly anxious frame of mind. Then, on Thursday Ben and I had a brand new carpet installed in our fireplace room. We had to spend the entire evening on Wednesday cleaning and removing everything from that room. I had no idea that we had so much stuff crammed in there!
Just when it seemed that life was about to quietly slip back to normal, I had issues with the brakes on my car and I spent Thursday evening dealing with getting a rental car and making decisions about the repair.
And while I was happy to set off with Tessa in my car, which I got back sooner than I expected, early on Saturday morning, the sense of peace that I we had was shattered when I realized that I had forgotten my purse!! I was on the Interstate, so I had to drive about 10 more minutes before I could turn around!
I drove to the trial in as much of a hurry as I could, not knowing if I was going to get there in time to check in so we could run.
Suffice it to say, I was not in the frame of mind I would have liked to have been in for the trial!
Our first run of the day was Jackpot - a traditional - and it was a DIFFICULT one. The gamble was contained in a big box. The first part was easy - two jumps not far over the line. But then there was a tunnel that really required some kind of flip back to get to. And then the last jump was on the other side of the box - straight out from the tunnel. But - if you ended up where it was most logical to go, you would draw the dog over a different jump. If that sounds convoluted, it was!!
Here is a video of our unsuccessful attempt at the gamble. Tessa taking the extra tunnel outside the box made our run an NT. The first of those we have had in forever.
We really had no reasonable chance at that. Tessa really needed a distance switch to the left to go from that second jump to the proper tunnel, and she simply doesn't have that skill. Tessa did exactly what she should have done, based on where I was and what I was doing.
On one level I was not upset about it. I knew going in that chances of Tessa actually getting that gamble were slim to none.
I will admit that I am disappointed that they have raised the level of difficulty on the traditional Jackpot gambles to this degree. I worked very hard with Tessa to get her to the level where she could complete the kinds of gambles we saw in Levels 4, 5, and C back when we were still in the lower levels. I would actually like to have the opportunity to try completing some of those types of gambles with her. Gambles that are challenging, but do-able. But - apparently because people who go to Nationals complained that the gambles in regular competitions are too easy - now they are so far beyond Tessa's pay grade that I know we are finished before we even start in the traditional Jackpots.
So, my disappointment was not in Tessa, who did a fantastic job and, as always, performed at the level of her training, but in the organization for creating this situation for those of us who aren't looking to go to Nationals and really just want to be able to finish a C-ATCH without having to rely completely on non-traditional Jackpots.
On to Standard. The course was pretty straightforward. I was looking forward to running it. Since we finished all of the Level 5 Standards that we need, I really could just approach it like a fun run.
Only . . . I ended up regretting that!
When we ran, I wasn't properly focused. I made the stupidest mistake ever on a simple serpentine! Tessa back jumped the third jump in the serpentine, so that was an off course, and an NQ at our level. So, I treated the rest of the run as a yahoo, and we did have fun through most of it. Tessa did some really nice stuff. I did mess up her weave poles at the end. I got gung ho and moved too fast, and after the sixth pole, Tessa popped out and took off for the tunnel at the end. No matter, of course, as it was already an NQ!
We did get a pretty yellow third place ribbon for the quilt!
The video is worth sharing in spite of the idiotic mistake in the serpentine. In between the serpentine and the weaves, the run really is lovely!!
This was actually the big learning experience for me for the weekend, though.
I realized that if I don't go into the ring with a specific goal in mind, "this is for our C-ATCH, or this is for our Standard Championship", or some such, I don't handle with the kind of focus that I normally handle with.
Throughout our entire time in CPE together, that has been the way I have approached things with Tessa. Yes, of course, my first concern is always her well being, but Tessa is not a dog who needs to be coddled. She is perfectly happy, seems to thrive, in fact, when we run together with purpose.
There has never been a time when Tessa and I ran "just for fun" with no goals. This actually connects to my last post. Just as Bandit and I are on the path we are on because of Speedy and where he and I got together, Tessa and I started on our path because of Maddie and where she and I got together.
When I went into the ring with a completely different attitude, I was not true to the person that I had always been with Tessa in the competition ring.
I really came out of that run feeling like everything was completely upside down. I have NQ'ed before, but this felt really odd.
I realized that for our next run, I needed to get myself together, focus, and run like it actually means something in our last two runs of the day!
That attitude paid off. Our Colors run was perfection. We were back!
That run earned our 8th Level 5 Colors Q, going toward our Colors Championship! And we got a pretty blue first place ribbon!!
Tessa was tired by the time we got to our final run of the day, Wildcard. But, she hung in and managed to pull it off.
We got two time faults, but we did what we needed to do, and got the Q.
I loved the little attitude she had going into the last tunnel!!
That was our 3rd Level 5 Wildcard Q!!
Now, we need 3 of each - Jackpot, Snooker, and Wildcard!!
I will be entering Jackpot everywhere I can, in hopes that we will get the opportunity to run two more non-traditional Jackpots sometime soon . . . !!!