This year’s USDAA Nationals aka, Cynosport was held in the mile high city of Denver, CO. I decided driving was not an option for me as the drive and time off work would be too much, plus the idea of a short 3 hour flight sounded much more appealing. In order to take both Dasher and Zip to this event I recruited my husband Brandon. Since I would not be able to take both dogs in the cabin with just myself, Brandon came along to take the second dog as well as be there for moral support. Another plus to having Brandon come along is that he took some great pictures of me and the dogs in action! I know that hanging out at a dog show for 5 days can get a bit boring for someone who is not showing a dog so I am extremely grateful to Brandon for coming along. He did get some biking in so the week was not a total bust for him 🙂
We started off on Wednesday morning with a warm up class. This was our only run of the day. Both dogs ran great, Zippy surprising missed his DW contact, something that rarely happens. Dasher had a decent run as well, I think one bobble but for the life of me I can’t remember what it was.
Thursday morning was our first day of official competition. We had team Snooker Steeplechase semi-finals and P-Grand Prix semis. Dasher seemed to be having a hard time on the artificial turf, he could not seem to get a good grip and his turns were wider than usual. We had also had some rain the night before so the grass ring we were supposed to run P-Grand Prix semis in was flooded so we were moved to a turf ring at the end of the day. Dasher’s Snooker run did not go as planned, I took my eye off him during a long run across the ring assuming he was right there with me. Unfortunately Dasher had other ideas and ended up taking the finish jump. Zippy’s snooker run was much better, we had a great run right up until the #7 in the close, which was 6 weave poles to a jump to 6 more poles. I was a bit too far behind him going into the first set of poles and never said weave so by the time he figured out he needed to take the weaves he got in the 2nd pole. We ended up with a respectable score of 50 points. Dasher put in a nice Steeplechase run but unfortunately at this level of competition his wide turns really hurt us. Even with a clean run we did not make the cut off for finals. Zippy put in a nice solid run in Steeplechase semis and made it back in to finals on Friday night, yay!! Our last class of the day was Dasher in P-Grand Prix semis. It started off well until my misplaced front cross caused a refusal at the frame. It was all down hill from there, I had officially ticked off the terrier and the barking commenced all the way through the end of the course. There would be no finals for Dasher this year.
Friday started off with Dasher and Zip getting a full work up with David, our PT guy. Dasher’s feet were holding up well so far. David and Ria were nice enough to let me laser them each night after we were finished running. Zip’s back was acting up this week, which was not a good sign. Dr. Sandy worked on Zip a couple of days before we left and told me his back was pretty sore. I rested him and gave an anti-inflammatory for 2 days. David noticed it was still pretty tight but after some massage and laser it was a bit better. It was definitely something we needed to keep an eye on for the rest of the week.
We started the day off with Team Gamblers. Dasher put in a decent run, unfortunately we did not get our gamble points as the buzzer went off before we made it over the finish jump. Typically I am not one who blames someone or something else for things not going well in the ring, but in the case of Dasher’s team gambler run I have to put blame on the equipment. The teeter in the main ring was very heavy and very slow…ridiculously slow. The teeter was in our gamble and I was literally eye to eye with Dasher as we waited for it to drop, and waited, and waited. By the time it did drop we were out of time and did not make it to the finish jump. That was pretty frustrating, especially at such a large and important event. Many small dogs had fly off’s on that teeter and since this teeter was used in the main ring we saw 6 out of 12 big dogs fly off in Grand Prix semi-finals later in the weekend. I believe since the teeter was taking so long to tip dogs thought it was the DW and kept running. A frustrating situation all around. Zip had a decent gamble run, but he missed his first DW contact and unfortunately dropped a rail in the gamble which negated our gamble points. I know the dropped rail was due to his sore back and in hindsight I am thinking his back could have thrown off his striding and could be contributing to his missed contacts. Luckily we redeemed ourselves in Team Jumpers with a nice clean run on a tricky course. Dasher’s team jumpers run did not go well, I miss cued a jump and he back jumped, giving us an “E.” At the end of the day Zip competed in the IFCS Jumpers class where he put in a really nice run but the last jump was the triple and he crashed right through it. Looking at the video he seemed to take off from a good spot, he jsut wasn’t able to get the lift he needed. Again, I think this was due to his back, poor guy! I know he gave me 110% so I was super proud of him. At the end of day two in the team competition Zip’s team was sitting in 2nd place!!
Saturday was another packed day for us. Zip had the IFCS Standard class which went really well. Zip ended up 3rd in our jump height for the 12″ USA dogs so we were able to participate in the IFCS Relay class. Unfortunately that class did not go well for us. I misjudged a turn and Zip went wide and went under a 26″ jump so that was a big fat “E” for our relay run. I felt really badly for my teammates as they put in really nice runs. Grand Prix semifinals did not go our way as well. This time I think I turned Zip too tight and he ended up going into the off course tunnel instead of getting on the DW. I was pretty upset with myself over that one as I really wanted to make it back to Grand Prix finals the next day. Our last class of the day was team Standard. There was a bit of pressure to run clean as our team was sitting in 2nd place. Luckily Zip and I put in a good run. We were called on our AF contact, which is only 5 faults, so we were happy with that. The other members of our team put in nice runs as well keeping our team in 2nd place coming into relay finals. Dasher’s last class of the week was team standard. I think we both finally got ourselves together and we put in a super run. We ended up 4th in the class! Could not have been prouder of my Dashie!! Saturday evening was Steeplechase finals. Zippy put in a super run, he gave me everything he had and I would not have changed anything. We did not make it on the podium, I think we ended up 6th, but it was a great night!
Sunday was team relay finals, this was our last chance to make it on the podium. I knew we had a strong team and we know how to turn it on when it really counts. Since I was the odd height dog on our team I had no option on what side of the course to run. Luckily, I was comfortable with my side of the course. I know Zip and I could pull it off. Zip and I had a nice strong run with no faults, the rest of the team had a couple small bobbles only costing us a couple of faults. After all the math was calculated team “Hijacked at the Border” ended up 2nd overall!! Yay!! We made it to the podium!! This was a long journey for our team, it was our third attempt with each time being so close. That’s the thing about the team event, all the stars have to align not only for you but for your other 2 teammates as well. It is a grueling, nail-biting event but it keeps me coming back for more. I am so thankful for my teammates, Mary Ellen and EZ, Jenanette and Rumble, and Judy Reilly and Sony, three top notch dog and handler teams that never give up and always step to the line with their game faces on. Big thanks and big hugs to you ladies!!