Tag Archives: American Kennel Club

Reflections…It’s about the Journey!

19 Mar

During this past weekend at the AKC National Agility Championships, I did a lot of reflection about the journey agility has taken me.

I heard a lot of people talking about what their goals were for Nationals.  As I reflect back the last few weeks, I don’t really know what my goal was going into the weekend.  I’ve been struggling.  Struggling in trying to decide what to do with the string academy…should I try to keep it going or should I go find myself a 9-5 job that I know will pay the bills.   Struggling with training…it’s winter and it’s hard to train, but I need to train.  Struggling with trailing…I love to trial but it’s so expensive.  There’s been a lot on my plate.  But WHAT was my goal…

Saturday morning, I played my arrangement of the National Anthem while AKC Rep Rich Mackintosh sang.  I was nervous, I’m not usually nervous to perform.  It went well, but it could have gone better.  From the outside, it was fine, but on the inside something was missing.

I went from that to Round 1 – JWW.  We walked the course at 8:00 in the morning, but I was dog 253 so I had a long time to wait.  I had a plan, I felt good about my plan.  I walked to the line and it felt good.  It felt good until the jump after the weaves when I over-rotated and she took an off course jump.  In the past, I would have melted…but Saturday I was mostly ok.  I was told many times in the past…”If you want to be someone in the agility world, you need to win something.”  One of these days I’ll finish the “Is Winning Everything” Series.  But for now…just know Winning isn’t Everything!

After Round 1 I didn’t have much time before I had to walk for Round 2.  I needed to take care of my dog, Miss Bria, knew that she was wrong as we went back and fixed our mistake.  She really didn’t want to play after our run.  We left the arena, went outside and played.  I connected with my dog, I gave her a hug and we went for a walk.

While waiting my turn for Round 2, I ran into a friend and we had a talk.  After that talk, I knew my goals.  My goal was to Run with NO REGRETS and not be afraid to FAIL.  I’ve always wanted to do well, we all do, but in doing so many of us often go into a “careful” mode of running.  Our dogs always give us 100% so why should we give them anything less.

I walked to the line in Round 2 – Standard with a new outlook.  I ran it like I meant it and oh my was that one of the most fun runs I’ve every had.  I was worried about that course.  It was hard, it was eating teams one after another.  It challenged my skills.  I’ve been struggling with rear crosses and it was pretty hard to handle this course without them.  I did ONE and it was GREAT.  I ran that course like I owned it.  It wasn’t perfect, but it FELT good.  That’s what counts!

That night I did a lot of thinking.  “Run with NO REGRETS and don’t be afraid to FAIL” went through my head many times.  I didn’t sleep much.  I was awake by 4:00AM.  That morning I played the National Anthem by myself.  I let it rip and it felt good.

Next up – Round 3 Hybrid…After I walked, I tried something new.  I pretty much forgot about everything else going on and spent time with my dog.  She and I hung out together for well over 2 hours before going in the ring.  As we entered the ring, I felt connected.    We walked to the line, took off the leash and I pet her like I do before every run.  I enjoyed that run more than any run I’ve had in a long time.  It felt good, I was playing the game with my dog.

Bria and I had an amazing nationals!   It may not show on paper, but this weekend will have a lasting impact on our career together for life.  As I was driving home, a song came on my iPod.  I was thinking and not really paying much attention to what I was listening to.  I’ve listen to this song hundreds of times before. But then something caught me, I started the song again and the tears started down my face.  I knew I’d finally found “HER SONG.”

This morning, I found all her runs from the 3 AKC Nationals that we’ve attended and put most of them to “her song!”   She’s an incredible little girl and the journey she’s taken me on has been simply amazing.

From now on, I plan on running with NO regrets, not being afraid to FAIL and enjoying the JOURNEY!

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