Spoiler alert: it was amazing. But, too be honest, before we left, I was filled with dread. I didn't want to do it. I told myself that if I still felt that way come trial day, we just wouldn't go. The very thought of trialing at all was stressful. I was worried that all the time we'd had off would make us look like amateurs. That Cedar and I wouldn't connect out there, and I'd end up frustrated and disappointed. Thankfully, I couldn't have been more wrong.
|Like a boss.|
I arrived in Boise a few days early, in order to have some time to visit with my friends and family. My friend TSB and I had the opportunity to go see a Bollywood flick at the local movie theater, and I got to hang with her and her horses. I got in some good time with my parents, and ate some awesome sushi and seafood. But the trial was still looming ahead.
|The amazing Hakuna Matata and I|
Thursday night, before bed, I thought about what I could do to make the trial more fun and less stressful for Cedar and I. I tried hard to identify just what made me frustrated and nervous, and had sort of a lightbulb moment. I realized that my transport to the ring was a big source of frustration for me. For our entire trialing career, I have asked Cedar to heel into the ring with perfect focus. Because she lacks impulse control and finds agility really stimulating, this is impossible for her. So, after fighting with her all the way to the start line, I've always been really irritated, even before we start running.
I decided to change things up and let her pull me to the start line. As long as she held her stay and was otherwise good, I would let that go.
It worked brilliantly. Beyond brilliantly. I was calmer, Cedar was calmer, we were both more focused and less worried about stupid shit. #winning.
Cedar and I were SO connected all weekend. We laid down some amazing runs, and ended up earning two new titles, in Excellent Jumpers and Standard. Better yet, we were having fun, and enjoying working together. It was awesome.
Here is my favorite Jumpers run:
And my favorite Standard run:
And here is a greatest hits compilation of all my favorite moments from the weekend:
Did we have a "perfect" weekend? No. But we had a damned good one. And, better yet, it was FUN. I had a blast, and my stress level was at an all-time low. Cedar was a fantastic teammate, and I would bet that she had a lot more fun, too. This is the most fun I've had, and the most relaxed I've been at an agility trial, EVER. Now I really understand how people can trial almost every weekend and not want to die.
This was also the first weekend that I truly felt that Cedar and I belonged in the upper levels. That we deserve to try, legitimately, for a MACH. And now I'm really, really excited.
Smiles all around :)