It seems like a lifetime ago, but I suppose it was only a few weeks back that we were loading up and heading to Nanaimo for the AAC Nationals. At the risk of sounding like a Pollyanna, everything was perfect! The ferries were on time, the weather was gorgeous, the hotel was as wonderful as I'd remembered it, the site was great ... getting nauseous yet? :-) But seriously, I can't think of much that I would change. From the fantastic volunteers to the friendly judges, everything was just spot-on.
This was Wick's third Nationals. My only goal was to get a placement in one of the Jumpers rounds. Wick is a really good Jumpers dog, but at the last two Nationals, we've had absolute trainwrecks in Jumpers. On Saturday, our goal was met, when Wick ran a nice clean Jumpers 1 and placed 3rd in her class. Because she is such a good jumpers dog, I wasn't surprised so much as relieved. But when she got the gamble in Gamblers 2, plus a ton of opening points, and earned a 9th place ribbon (yes, they give placements to 10 - wahoo!), I was totally and utterly floored. Two gambles in a month? After almost a decade of futility? Just ... wow ...
Speaking of wow, Rex blew me away at Nationals! That he qualified was a huge surprise, and I had zero expectations of him. Boy, did he bring it! On the first run of the day on Saturday, Standard 1, he went clean and 20 seconds under time! Holy #$@! Then he went clean in Jumpers 1! This is a dog who seems to be stuck in Advanced Jumpers, for goodness sake!
On Sunday, Rex had another surprising performance - only one bar in Jumpers 2. Filled with enthusiasm, after waiting for what seemed like hours, Wick and I took to the course ... and promptly blew up. WTF? I think we had at least two off-courses, one my fault and one hers. Arrggh! So much for a podium finish for the Wickens. Both dogs ran well in Standard 2. Each had a refusal on the same jump - perhaps a handling issue? :-) So when all was said and done, Rex ended up out-pointing Wick by 10 - whodda thunk? Wick finished 16th of 34 dogs in 16" Vets, and Rex was 36th of 84 dogs in 22" Regular. And I, I was bloody happy with both of them. For complete results, click here.
And here's a video of some of the highlights of our time in Nanaimo. Next up - the Kingston Sheep Dog Trials!