Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Some one asked me what my goals were for Miller and I had to really think. Well, he is 10 so I have to start being realistic. I would like to finish my P3 titles in USDAA but we only do a handful a year so that might be tough. For P3, I need three legs in standard and one leg in each of the games and I have one leg already in standard and in jumpers. I could just do a few shows with just jumpers and standard and then just do gamblers and snooker but it will be tough since we have so few shows to even go to. My other goal for him is to do better than we did last year at AKC nationals since we are qualified. I want to have more than two clean runs and five would be the icing on the cake. Not sure about qualifying for nationals in AKC at this point. I have heard that they are going to move it to FL in 2011 and that is too far for me to drive him. If it happens that he qualifies, I will be happy but I am not pushing for it this coming year. I would LOVE to qualify for nationals in USDAA again this coming year but again, it depends on where it will be. If it will be held in KY, I want to go for sure but if it is on the east coast, not going to go. I will just stay local and go to the local USDAA shows in Lawrence and Columbia unless Lori needs a traveling partner. Another MACH is not a goal as I don't like running for the Q so if it happens great, if not then no big deal. I am at this point not thinking about running him in preferred. The jumps are lowered but the a-frame and dog walk are not and I do think the climbing is harder on them than the jumping. I will cross that bridge when we get there but I don't think we are there yet. My biggest goal is to run him and have fun doing it and for him to have fun running and be pain free and make myself a better trainer and a better handler. If titles or MACHs happen along the way, then great. I am lowering my expectations for sure but we will have fun anyway.
Miller and I are headed back to the PT today in KC and of course it is raining. I can't catch a break with weather and driving but at least it is rain and not snow or ice! Am anxious to hear where she thinks Miller is with his injury. Ran him in class the other night, just a couple of runs and he did awesome. I saw my old boy but I was afraid to run him anymore. I do think we are in the point of his career where I am going to have to tone back a little bit. Gone are the days of doing 6 runs a day in NADAC or USDAA. Sucks though because I really want to get his PD3 title in USDAA and since we only have 3 or 4 local trials a year, will have to be super consistent and pick and choose what classes I do at what trial instead of doing them all. Guess it will save me money for sure! I wish USDAA would hurry up and announce where they are going to have nationals. I will go if it is in KY but not PA. It is looking like I will not be doing the USDAA trial at the beginning of January as I cannot find a teammate. Oh well, more money saved I guess.
I am getting alot of emails about my running him and I do appreciate everyone's concern. However, every dog is different and every injury is different. Protocols are written in general and I am going to do what is best for Miller. I will rest him and then see where we are at. He isn't three legged lame and it isn't consistent so it makes me believe that it isn't as bad as some of the other dogs we have seen with this injury. I think this is an injury I will probably have to manage for the rest of his agility career. I could rest him for 6 months and then bring him back and he could re-injure it the first run back. I am weighing all my options here for sure. He is 10, we think, and he may not have a ton of career left so I really don't want to rest him forever and give up what little career he has left. Saying that, he may run for another 2 or 3 years just to spite me! I do not think moving him to preferred is a solution I am going to explore yet either. Having had a dog that had an ACL tear and repair and then rehab and back to showing, I can tell you that it wasn't the jumps that got her, it was the climbing. Miller just got done doing multiple runs at nationals and never knocked a bar and that was at 22 inches, 2 inches over his normal height. When the time is right and I feel like he is ready, we will move down to 16 inches or just retire. My last run at nationals proves to me that he isn't ready to stop. He ran like he had a fire under his ass! You would think after 3 days of multiple runs he wouldn't have any gas left in the tank and I think that was his best run!
Well, I will post later on what the PT has to say. I am making the Sunflower trial my come back trial and we will go from there. I don't see any thing wrong with making a goal and then changing it if I have to.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Once again tons of decisions! We probably won't have tons of classes since we are officially in winter now and we train outside. I don't do much outside training with him but do need to keep him in shape for sure.
Monday, November 16, 2009
Okay so we are on the road and I thought I would go ahead and put my thoughts on paper so that I can upload them later to the blog. The drive is long and boring and mom is driving so I can type. Okay, overall thoughts about the trip first. Had a ton of fun. USDAA nationals really is the most fun nationals that I have been to. So much to do and see and buy for sure that you never get bored. Dock dog diving, flyball, disc dog, herding, and of course agility to keep you busy. Great times with your friends, multiple runs a day, and challenging courses make USDAA nationals so great. I love the international flare that we see on USDAA courses, with a mix of tight and trappy to wide open and running full out. I LOVE strategy games, especially when you have a teammate to help you plan and strategize. Even though our team didn’t finish in the top, we did end up in the top half of the teams and I think that is quite an accomplishment with miller being injured. I truly felt like the refusal we got in jumpers, in snooker, and in PGP semi finals were because of his injury. Miller does not refuse obstacles so he had to be hurting enough to not take some obstacle that I tell him to take. I am not so sure that him running past the weaves in the gamblers was also because of his injury. He had just done two a-frames, two teeters, and two tunnels plus multiple jumps and chute before he had to go weave and he could have been hurting.
Onto feelings which are many as usual. I am very glad we came, I think I would have regretted not going and I did have a ton of fun with my mom as we always do. I don’t see mom except for at national events now since we don’t go home for either thanksgiving or christmas so it makes national events so much more special. Some times I think my sadness at events ending isn’t really that the event itself has ended but yet that mom will be leaving for another so many months. At least for this, I get a week of her before she heads back to TN. You know last year, I had all of these mixed emotions about nationals including the fact that I felt like I needed a border collie if I was ever going to do anything at nationals. I am happy to report that I don’t feel that way anymore. I am disappointed that every dog in the finals is a border collie and that there were a lot more dogs in performance that were border collies this year. Makes getting into steeplechase finals very hard, even in performance but I no longer feel that need to have one. I saw hundreds this weekend and they just don’t do anything for me. I have my baby deuce and even if we have to do performance because he measures into the 26 inch height group, I don’t care. I don’t see the fun in knowing you have no chance in hell in making any of the finals because your class is dominated by border collies. It has to be about me and my personal goals. If I set certain goals for myself and I meet them, then that is good enough for me. I just don’t think I can have a border collie ever (yeah famous last words right?).
I am human so I am disappointed that we did not make finals again this year. I do feel like his refusal in semis was either because he was hurting and could not make that turn or he just didn’t know what the heck that tire was. Their tire jump is a huge almost car tire thing on a weird frame and I am not so sure he didn’t even know what the heck it was. I do think it is very weird that he ran to the outside of the tire for his refusal but what is done is done. I wish our team could have done better but again, I think the majority of his refusals were his injury. I do wish I had done better in snooker as that is my favorite game to play with him but for whatever reason, my brain blanked and we sucked it up and it is over with. I think Tammie and I are going to team at a couple of shows this year before nationals again next year so we can get more practice together. I think Buzz and Miller complement each other style wise and they make a great team.
I am very proud of our group for the few that did make it into the finals. This year was Patti and Bailey’s first year even being here and she and Cassie with Roxy made it into the finals for team which is awesome! We have a ton of very talented dogs here in the KS/MO/NE area and I think we represented well. Cassie even won steeplechase for P16 against some very tough competition! We should find out soon where they are going to hold next year’s nationals. If it is in KY, we are there and if it is in PA, we won’t be making the trek. I did feel like this could be miller’s last nationals but am feeling that maybe the big red boy isn’t done. He had some great runs despite his injury and I do feel like we can overcome this injury. I don’t think he is ready to be done and I am not ready to retire him. I just hope we can find enough USDAA shows to get qualified since we will be missing our local USDAA trial and possibly the December USDAA trial in St. Louis.
Okay getting off of here, getting ready for Meade KS and the most awesome onion rings you have ever put in your mouth!
Friday, November 13, 2009
Next run of the day was PGP semi finals. This year I felt like I was a ton more focused and more relaxed. The big ring has really huge clunky equipment including a teeter that is mammoth and a huge tire jump, bigger than any he has ever seen. I did felt like he ran a little slower than in standard but still was doing okay till about mid course. I felt myself getting ahead of him and I felt like I was having to cheerlead him on alot more than any of the other runs. The dog walk was near the end of the run and he practically walked down it and I knew something was not right. His bark had gotten a little bit higher but not as bad as in Lincoln. I did a front cross to bring him over the tire to me and he ran around the tire to the outside. I am not sure if he just couldn't jump it or didn't know what the heck it was. We have never seen a tire like that and I will try and take a picture of it so you can see how odd it looks. I decided to just finish out the course and run out so he didn't take a jump and we got an E but at that point it didn't matter. You have to run clean and he had the refusal so who cares. I decided that it wasn't worth it to run him in steeplechase semi finals if he was hurting so I scratched him so that maybe we could run tomorrow in team gamblers. Our team was sitting in 74th place but we both had clean and fast standard runs so maybe that will bring us up in the standings. Unfortunatley, I don't think any of our group made it to the finals tonight so we will probably not go and watch since we have no one to cheer on.
After we got done running, Mom and I took Miller back to the RV and massaged him and tried to stretch him. He wasn't very receptive to stretching so we decided to ice him down and let him rest. Grabbed Deuce and went back to the field to cheer the rest of the group on in their runs. Deuce got a new tug toy and got to play with another little red merle puppy. He also got to watch some dock dog diving and some flyball and disc dog. We let him play in the puddle again and I am going to try and get it on video as it is the funniest thing I have ever seen. He gets the butt scooting zoomies when he gets in water or weird surfaces so running him in agility is going to be an adventure. Bought some pictures that Tien Tran had taken of Miller that were really good and did some other shopping. I am such a whore to vendors at dogs shows!
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Next we walked Performance Grand Prix Quarter Finals and boy what a tough couse. I think they post the courses on www.usdaa.com so go over there and check it out. What a tough entry to the a-frame and no way to really make it better. Jumps 10-12 are also going to be hard as I am going to do two front crosses but alot of people are going to do serpentines. The course has lots of options which makes it a very tough quarter final.
The final walk through was snooker and wow, what a tough snooker course. Tammie and I just planned a course that is the best for getting points for our team. I hope I can keep my head about me if he knocks bars. Snooker is our best game as he is so handler focused but he has to keep his bars up to play the game.
I don't run till 10:30 so I have had tons of time to rest and to work on Miller. He stretched out nicely and has been very happy so I am hoping we run well today. I will blog part two after we run!
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
So once again the dogs woke us up at the crack of dawn and I couldn't go back to sleep. Guess that is why we have a crate in the bedroom for those times when you need a few extra minutes of zzzs and the baby thinks you are wrong LOL! We headed out of Holbrook AZ and desended on the mountains and the forest. We passed through the Sitgreaves Forest and Tonto Forest to go all the way to Mesa to pick up the RV. The scenery was as usual breathtaking and the steep grades weren't too bad. I let mom drive again so she has pretty much driven the whole trip but on her own accord. She is a control freak like me (got if from her for sure) and I think she likes it better when she is driving anyway. So far she has driven over 1500 miles! We got to the RV place at the pick up time and got our RV. We watched the video on how to use the RV this year but pretty much knew everything we needed to know from last year. Mom did a great job of driving it, only almost ran over someone once but it wasn't her fault, jerk tried to undercut her. We got to the campground and got set up fairly quickly. Mom and I waited till the air conditioning had cooled down the RV and headed out to Walmart to get all of our meals. We ate a quick dinner and then hit the hay early after taking the dogs out for a nice long walk. I truly love the desert, at night only of course. The weather is so nice and pleasant for sitting out under the stars. I think this is my favorite part of being here, the great weather and just spending time with Mom and the dogs.
Deuce has done really well with everything, other than leaving him in the RV last night while we went to Walmart. I think he had his fill of being in a crate and I don't trust him enough to leave him loose in the RV. Although there isn't much for him to get into, he does like to scratch on the door and on the windows when I leave the RV, and I can't afford to pay for damages to the RV. Our neighbors were very nice and said that it didn't bother them and I have his kong and peanutbutter to keep him occupied from now on.
Day 4 we get to set up our crates and they run European Standard, and the VENDORS OPEN! I was entered but I think I am going to give him one more day of rest before I run him. He seems a little stiff still and on the opposite leg now. I am doing lots of massaging and stretching which seems to be going well. I am still not so sure it is his illeopsoas. To me he seems to be stiff in his hock in his right leg but this could be a spill-over from his original injury, who knows. He still isn't visibly lame and I am sure I am over analyzing every little detail of his walk and his jumping and his just being. I never watched him this close before and am afraid this may be the way it is going to be from now on out. He is 10 and he has had a good 5 years of running so this may be the start of things to come. I hope not!
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Mom decided to drive all day so I may be driving tomorrow as long as we aren't in the mountains. I can't believe she drove all day today as she drove all yesterday too from TN and we went out last night to Mel's and listened to my favorite local band VSC. Mom listened but was not really into the music but got to meet alot of my friends. We got in around 12 and both crashed. Speaking of crashing, even though I just sat in the passenger seat, I am super tired. I am still getting over a stupid cold and i think it has me zapped. Didn't take any pictures today so nothing to post. Will probably take some tomorrow for sure!
Thursday, November 5, 2009
I think for so long I thought we weren't going that it is just now kicking in now that we are. I have not even started packing so will probably do that all day saturday while mom is driving in from TN. I also would like to give the house a good cleaning before I leave so that it may be okay when I get back. Tony is a typical man and not very observant to details so there could be a dead body on the floor and he would probably just step over it. He is also battling a cold and now I have it too. I have an awesome immune system so I am hoping my body can get through this quickly. Being sick really hurt me at AKC nationals and I need 100 times more brain power for this so I need to be 100% healthy by next thursday.
We got our run and walk orders via email yesterday and I almost threw up! I get so nervous before these big events but when I get there, I seem to calm down. As I said in my previous USDAA nationals blog from last year, you get so stressed there that you don't have time to be nervous. Don't get me wrong it is a ton of fun but the pressure to do your best is high, especially when you are surrounded by so many great handlers. This may possibly be Miller's last USDAA nationals so I want it to be his best. I just hope we can run like I know we are capable and I hope the injury doesn't make me even more nervous. I hope I can just plan my runs like normal and not even think about the possibilities. He has responded so well to the PT and has been so happy that he is getting to more agility stuff now. After nationals, we will probably take a huge break from showing and start back up in January with the sunflower trial. This is going to mean missing at least two USDAA trials that are local which means qualifying for next year might be tough. I like to get things like qualifying out of the way early as I think it really affects my running when I am trying to reach a specific goal like nationals or like a MACH.
What really excites me more than anything is that Deuce is getting to come with us. This will be his first big show and I think he is going to love it! There is so much to do at nationals for sure! Dock dog diving pools to swim in and jump in, lure coursing, herding, and tons of demos to watch to name a few. Tons of training opportunities and tons of new sights and sounds to encounter await little Deuce. I will be taking tons of pictures so look for those and more on my facebook or my puppy blog. We will probably take tons of pictures on the way to and from AZ as well. We are going to make the trip out longer so it is easier on miller so we plan on doing alot of sight seeing and stopping. Mom has her laptop too so we should be able to upload pics fairly regularly and also blog. I felt like I was going to explode last year and I think blogged to the wee hours of the morning so it will be easier to get it out a little bit at a time instead of all at once.
Well, better get back to working! Just wanted to pour a few thoughts out here!
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
This was the answer I needed to decide whether to go or not for sure. I will probably still be cautious and worried but between all of my friends and my mom, we should be able to keep him loose and limber. If he shows any signs of hurting, we will stop. Thursday will be our biggest day with three runs planned for that day. If we can get passed that, we should be okay for the rest of the week with two possible three runs on friday and one possible two runs on saturday. Mom is bringing her laptop so we can hopefully keep my blog and FB updated with how things are going. We are going to leave early on sunday so we will be on the road an extra day which will be nice for me and mom! Okay off to work the puppy who thinks I have totally forgotten him since miller gets all of the attention right now.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Monday, November 2, 2009
I guess for now I am just going to wait and run him this week and see how it goes and then decide. I HATE this kind of decision. The really bad part about this is that it is causing some major tension in mine and tony's relationship. He thinks I should just not go, and he is not being very supportive at all in my decision to possibly go or even to go to a PT. This makes things not fun in the Coleman household for sure!
Sunday, November 1, 2009
This brings me to my next quadry which is how do I know he is okay to go? I feel like he is unsure too. I want to run him towards the end of this week and see how he feels. We have to let the RV people know four days in advance of picking it up that we aren't going to come, so by Friday or Saturday we need to know for sure what is going on. I feel like if I run him say on thursday night and he is lame, then that is a good indication that he is not going to be able to go to nationals for sure as he would only have one week left to rest. I really think if he can't run and do a course by this week then all bets are off. I am sure resting him right until we have to run will be the best but then is he going to come up lame on that very first run at nationals? Wouldn't it be better to know now versus waiting? I am so confused and so conflicted. I want to go but want to do what is best for him and if letting him just rest for several months is the best, then that is what i want to do. Decisions, decisions, decisions.