Sunday, May 31, 2009

Blaze 2nd Place Finish AAC Ontario Regional Championships

Blaze and I with his Ontario Regional 2nd place ribbon, his Masters Steeplechase ribbon, and his National Qualifier ribbon. Thanks Helen for the photo!

May 29th to 31st was the Ontario Regional Championsips for the AAC. Blaze and I competed again this year, and finished in 2nd place in the 16" Double Drop Veterans class. We ran great, and had 5 clean runs, all well under the standard course time. In the Gamble event on Saturday, I made a critical handling error that caused Blaze to fault before completing the final gamble... He went on to complete the gamble successfully, after a brilliant opening of 55 points, but we did not get the 35 points for the main gamble because of my error. This error actually cost Blaze 1st place, the chance to be a regional champion. I was heartbroken, and so very angry at myself for doing that one split-second move that sent him the wrong way around a jump. I actually really couldn't believe my eyes when I saw that Blaze had the opportunity to be in first place at a regional event... and then, I was in even more disbelief that I actually messed this up! And, we were not in first place because of default, i.e., not because every other handler had bad runs that weekend, we were in first place because we were actually faster and clean.... WOW! So, he received two first place ribbons for his jumpers and standard runs on Saturday, an amazing accomplishment, and three 2nd place ribbons for all of his runs on Sunday. In addition to that, he earned 2 Steeplechase qualifying scores on Friday, one of which gave him his Masters Steeplechase Dog of Canada title, Way To Go Blaze! Overall, it was a great weekend. I somehow managed to keep my head together on Sunday to help him do 3 clean runs. I was so angry at myself for my handling error on Saturday, I was really struggling Sunday morning to keep my head "clear" for the day. All I needed was to be a mess going into the ring and subsequently messing Blaze up in his runs.... I'm not really sure how I managed to overcome that and have a great day on Sunday. Must partially be do to trial experience. You cannot teach experience.... words to live by.

In less than 2 months time, we are off to the Natioanal Championships in Ottawa. It is a great honour to have qualified again this year to be a national competitor. This year's theme for the Ontario Regionals was "Enjoy the Ride".... Well, that we certainly did.