Ringing in the new year in MAD International style!!

Ringing in the new year in MAD International style!!

Well the boys and I kicked off the year in full swing. On Jan 15-17, 2011 we headed down to Raleigh, NC for Central Piedmont’s 4 Star event. This event is the first IFCS qualifying event of the year. IFCS is the international organization that hosts a major international competition every two years. The United States begins their selection process for the US Team a year before the competition. In order to be considered for selection to the US Team, dog and handler must first file an intent to compete form and submit it to USDAA. Scores are taken from the next 3 IFCS qualifying events that the dog and handler team enter. Zip and I are trying out for the US Team which will be competing in 2012. Typically the event takes place abroad but in 2012 the event will take place in the USA. I filed my intent to compete just prior to the CPA event, therefore this weekend was pretty important to us. The better we placed in our classes the more points we accumulate toward our IFCS qualification.

Zip and I had a pretty successful weekend. He placed well in all the team classes with his team finishing 4th overall. Zip was the #1 12″ dog for the team competition. We also had to compete in 2 international handling classes for IFCS consideration. I made a major mistake in the IHC Jumpers class which caused an off course. As much as it upset me to make such a devastating mistake I knew I needed to brush it off and move on in order to continue to be successful for the rest of the weekend. Monday was the last day of competition and we had finished up the tournament and team classes. The last IFCS qualifying class to run was the IHC Standard class. A few weeks ago Zip hurt his back while playing in the yard. Zip’s sports medicine vet advised us to take 2 weeks off so this weekend was his first weekend of agility. I was did my best to keep his body warm and loose but by Monday I think his back was a bit sore. I made the mistake of tugging with Zip right before a jumpers class that morning, this turned out to be a big mistake. He started the run fine, but at about jump #10, he stopped short and came trotting over to me. I immediately knew something was wrong. I took him back to the crating area and gave him an anti-inflammatory. I also went to see the massage therapist that had a booth at the show and she was going to try and squeeze him as soon as possible. Our next class was Gamblers. I decided to take him in the ring, run him conservatively and see how he was feeling. Zippy was a tropper! He did everything I asked of him and won the class but I could tell he was not himself. Our next class was the IHC Standard class so I knew I needed to decide whether or not to scratch him from the class. This would mean losing valuable points toward the IFCS selection for Team USA. My dogs’ health always comes first but it was still going to be a tough choice. Luckily after we ran Gamblers the massage therapist had time to work on Zip. I dropped him off and hoped she would be able to work her magic. The therapist was literally still working on Zip as the first dog in our jump height stepped to the line. She told me to take him over a couple practice jumps and keep him loosened up. I had about 3 minutes to get him to the practice jump before it would be our turn. My plan was to start the course but if I felt he wasn’t feeling good I would just stop and excuse ourselves. Well little Zippy gave me 110% on this run, I could not have been prouder. He finished clean and fast and our efforts were good enough for 1st place!! Here is the video of our run.

Looking back on the video I can tell he is probably a bit slower than usual but I think the massage therapist did the trick in loosening up his back and making him comfortable. After all the points were tallied up, Zip is currently in 2nd place in the 12″ division for IFCS selection. It is still very early in the year but I feel we put in a good showing for our 1st of 3 IFCS events.

Dasher had a great weekend as well. I had not entered him in the team classes as I wanted to focus on the Grand Prix and Steeplechase and hopefully pick up some titling class Q’s. I did volunteer to run Dasher on a team if there was a team in need of a partner and there were no other options available. Well sure enough the show manager asked if Dasher and I would team with someone who was without a partner. We agreed and it was a great decision! Dasher’s team ended up 3rd with a bronze medal!! Dasher also ended up #3 P12″ dog individually. On Saturday Dasher picked up an elusive Standard Q as well as a Grand Prix and Steeplechase Q. Very proud of the Dash-man!! Here is Dasher’s round 2 of P-Steeplechase:

Zorro also enjoyed himself in Raleigh. He did not run on a team but he did get 2 standard Q’s which finished up his Performance Master Agility Dog title!! What a superstar!! He is just over 3 years old and he is just zipping through his titles. What a long way we have come. This was the dog that had such confidence issues in the ring. He is so much more confident and he is really having a great time out there, so good to see!! Here is Zorro with his MAD ribbon:

He also earned another Snooker Super Q. Here is Zorro’s snooker run:

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