Friday, September 17, 2010

Two in the bush

You know, I don't really think that a bird in the hand IS worth two in the bush. 

Better to have a hand open to endless possibilities, and a world filled with birdsong.

Better to be on a journey toward a hopeful destination than clinging to what one has, grasping to keep it, regardless of what else the world might hold for you if you could let go.

A shy pileated woodpecker in our woods, which in my opinion is worth more than, oh, a sparrow in the hand. 
Even if there's not TWO of them.

If I had the choice to win $1000 in the lottery, but would have to forgo any future chance of winning the big jackpot, I wouldn't want it.  I play rarely, but what I'm buying into is the idea that something of legendary proportions could happen. 

I buy into that idea in life. 

There are great things out there, better than what's in your hand right now.  I don't mean to say I'm constantly longing for something I don't have, but that you can be both happy with what you have and where you are, and also open to all of the other, wondrous possibilities the world has to offer.

Monday, September 6, 2010

The fruits of our labor.

Lots of fun, lots of Q's (meaning we "qualified" for a leg toward a title, by meeting the standard requirements of the course, quickly, and with minimal errors).

Seelie: 2 Q's in her 2 runs (her first ever), in FullHouse and Standard.  One 1st and one 2nd place.

Brutus: 3 Q's in JackPot, Jumpers, and WildCard.  (With a special mention from the judge for how much fun they were having.)

Rowdy: 5 Q's in his 8 runs, in FullHouse, Standard, Jumpers, Jackpot, and Wildcard.  Three new titles: CL1-S (Standard Level One), CL1-H (Handler Games Level One), CL1-F (Fun Games Level One.)

All in all a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Two days and a wake-up till...

This weekend we're entered in our second-ever agility trial.  Paul with Brutus, and me with both Rowdy and Seelie.  As usual before any kind of competition, I'm totally nervous, and the evenings of lying awake visualizing runs and obsessing over our training gaps began in earnest last night.

A new twist:  I've entered a dog with minimal training that I've had for just over three months.  Predictably, this has raised the ante of my nervousness. 

Seelie can safely execute all of the obstacles and stays focused and with me while running even if I don't have any treats.  She has run full competition-level courses in practice, with mixed results and frequent re-tries of obstacles.  I will admit she does NOT really have enough training to enter a trial, and I'm sure some dyed-in-the-wool aficionados of the sport would find it offensive that I'd enter such a novice dog (maybe I will give them the raspberries).  I doubt she will qualify, particularly if there is a competition-height tire jump involved.  But I'd plan to bring her along anyway, and heck, why not?  Saturday we're entered in Fullhouse, so we can pick our own course (each obstacle worth a given amount of points).  We have a pretty good chance of doing OK, pending she doesn't have some kind of freaky-beans moment.  But Sunday, we're entered in Standard and we'll need to run whatever course the judge designed, so we'll just see about that.  Hopefully I won't chicken out at the last moment.  If nothing else, it will help me identify any trial environment things that might freak her out, so that we can work on them.

Rowdy has been just great in practice, and I'll admit that I'll be disappointed if we don't do well.  We've been flowing through courses like a mountain stream, rushing with power but also serene along its purposeful path, flowing around obstacles like we've been doing it for millions of years.  Well that's what it feels like till the end... THEN it feels like I need an oxygen tank.  Rowdy is very, very fast particularly when he's running seamlessly from obstacle to obstacle. 

A trial environment is different than class, so I'm trying to adjust my expectations back to the "let's just have fun with it" setting.  It's difficult, now that I've gotten a taste of the awesome runs we've been having for the past several weeks in class.  But we have eight runs (2 Standard, and 6 games), so I'm hoping to at least have a few runs that are of the quality we've been doing in practice.

Here's hoping we don't have any of THIS this year.... Rowdy visiting the ring crew during one of our runs last year (so disappointed she is shunning him!  Please lady, don't you have something in your pocket for a poor cattle dog?)...

Paul and Brutus move to Level 2 in Standard this year after two solid runs in last year's trial.  I've been their "weave pole coach," since those are added in level 2. They're doing great, and I love to see them run - both truly enjoying the moment, with such wonderful teamwork.

OK, this is Brutus Lure Coursing... don't have an agility pic handy.  :)