Finally, after many, many months, I am finding myself inspired to create a routine with Tessa for WCFO competition again.
I didn't write about this, but, in spite of our rousing success on the Saturday at Barkaritaville in November, where Tessa had done her best performance up to that point and had earned her Novice title, the Sunday wasn't the greatest of experiences. Not that it was an absolute disaster or anything. Sometimes things just don't go the way you might want them to in competition. I knew very well that our routine was not up to Intermediate standards - I was using hands galore and there were no moves behind me. Add to that, Tessa simply performed better on the first day. But something about the way things went that day left me walking away completely uninspired.
On one level, I was determined to go home and train to prepare our team to be at the Intermediate level. But I found that the motivation was just not there, and we did not dive into more advanced training, as I had hoped to.
And then Rally FrEe came along. Where it seemed that preparing for Intermediate Freestyle would be like trying to jump over a 20 foot high wall, Novice level Rally FrEe seemed to be within our reach. I knew that it would serve to strengthen our Freestyle skills, and we had an opportunity to take an actual class with an instructor and a group, and so Tessa and I jumped right in.
And, at least for the time being, she and I jumped right out of Freestyle.
I've listened to some songs since then, and I have some general ideas for routines that we could choreograph for Intermediate, but nothing has really jumped out as something that I would go ahead and work on right now. And so, We have been stuck at an impasse.
I am actually fairly certain that the fact that our training is not yet at Intermediate level is the main thing that is holding me back. I can choreograph until the cows come home, but if we aren't performing at the level where we need to be, it won't do us a whole lot of good.
But I also don't want to completely sit out the three competitions that we have the opportunity to enter this year. Maybe Tessa and I can get the necessary training done this summer, but I want to train well, not train in a hurry. I am thinking that she will most likely be ready to try Intermediate sometime next year if we take the time to do this right.
And that left us pretty much nowhere, as far as competition this year was concerned. I had almost made up my mind to skip the Star Spangled Swing in Beltsville entirely for this year.
And then, around Wednesday of this past week, I was thinking about Tessa's performance at the Rally FrEe competition. Her heelwork is getting much, much better, and it occurred to me that she and I could do some Beginner Heelwork to Music. Tessa isn't a super close working dog, but she maintains a pretty consistent proximity, which really is what you need, at least at the lower levels in Heelwork. If I handle her well, she doesn't lag behind me at all anymore.
I started listening to some music and I believe I have found inspiration again! I found one piece that really struck me and I plan to let Tessa try it out sometime soon. If she likes it, I believe I will enter the Swing and Tessa and I will give Heelwork to Music a bit of a whirl!
I would love, at this point, to put something together for her that really showcases her beauty. And I believe that we can develop a routine that will show her to be a beautiful mover and a beautiful girl.
Perhaps that is all we will do this year, but in the meantime we can begin the training that we need to accomplish before we can move on to Intermediate. Maybe by mid-summer I will change my mind and put something together for November, but I think the plan, as of right now, will be to choreograph some Heelwork for this year's events, and plan on competing in Intermediate Freestyle next year.
In any case, I am glad to have some motivation and inspiration back! Tessa has far too much potential for me to just let this go.