After blissful day on the 26th Dec, the flu strikes. I am sick and I am shocked as I have not been sick like this since decades ago!!!!! So between the snow, the winter darkness and flu, Rivi's preparation for the WAO Tryouts was around 3 training sessions in 8 weeks - not good. Still tired...and with a niggling cough, I ummm and arrgghh do I go or not? Due to the heights being different at the WAO to the Kennel Club, UKA and FCI rules, we did not enter Zev and Big as they would have had to jump a higher height which in relation to their size was wholly inappropriate. Should I just go with Rivi, I felt mean for Zev and Big and then as Marc said the hotel is booked the entry paid, lets go.
So go we did, I was thrilled with the Rivioli, and I was pleased with myself. Sure I will always be loud when I run, all control of my voice is lost. And now I just have the attitude it is part of me and my guys don't care as they know loud voice equals great fun. There was fantastic courses to run, and bar one run, where I did a stupid handling error and sent Rivi off course, I handled good. But it was a good lesson for me, as now I know how to deal with that type of sequence. Rivi's showed the lack of training by having an uncharacteristic number of poles. It was a shock for me being out of breath after a run, the flu had really taken its toll on my fitness. I think we ended up about 12th overall. The event gave me lots of handling experience, dealing with the hanging around, how to deal with it from a psychological perspective. Just so productive all round.
I was smitten with agility all over again. In the depths of the flu I had consider knocking agility on the head, thinking rational thoughts about the ridiculous cost of fuel and lack of money to do other stuff. But after the first run I was buzzing and chuckled that I ever entertained the notion of giving it all up.
Rivi did her utmost for me, took the hanging around in her stride and was just so cute, I came away from the runs so happy, once I got over a blasted coughing fit. This was the first major tryout she has attended.
Why was I so happy, coz Rivi had a great time and I for the first time in agility felt like a 'grown up'. Coz despite the many wins and how well we do. 'Doubting Thomas' always wanted to get on my shoulder and I would argue with myself to remove the doubts but the niggle remained. And I knew that until I resolved this niggle it would have the potential to jeopardize my progression as a handler. But this weekend exorcised the 'doubting thomas' demon. Me and Rivi deserved to be there and that increased my enjoyment, the realisation that my handling has improved, so had my determination and belief.
I guess this probably is a bizarre read, as people say I come across as really confident and loud. Loud I am, blame my Essex roots ;-), the confidence has been as they say work in progress.
So to the organisers of the WAO Tryouts, thank you for a fabulous weekend. It was well organized, realistic and a fantastic experience. The people on ring duty did an excellent job.
To the individual winners and the opportunity to represent England, congratulations. There were awesome established teams and newer ones coming through.
Let the weather improve and training recommence :-)