I was excited to write about Kort's Agility weekend but changed my mind & decided to do this post today. The wonderful thing about a personal blog is you get to give your opinion without anyone telling you not to :)
Some of these things I was thinking about on Saturday, but on Sunday it bothered me even more so hence the post .
I had Kim video Kort in his 2nd Excellent Jumpers run on Sunday. She came up to me after to tell me I would hear comments in the background from people watching so just to be aware. I listened to the video, it really was nothing too bad, they actually commented on what a nice dog Kort was & how wonderful he was in Scenthurdle. There was one comment in there about how I should have done a front cross at one of the jumps instead of the way I chose to handle it. See, nothing too bad.
What I take issue with is the fact that they felt they needed to comment at all. They know nothing about me or Kort, they know nothing about the fact that I pulled myself out of agility for almost a year as I was too hard on my dog. They don't know that I struggle with confidence in my handling & beat myself up about it more then anyone knows. They don't know that this was my first time ever in the Excellent ring , or that I suffer from Fibromyalgia which makes me unable to remember things sometimes, never mind an Excellent Jumpers course, which by the way was so very hard for me . They don't know we struggle financially at times & can't afford to take every class which would help make us a better team.
The other issue I had this weekend when overhearing general conversations, was that alot of people feel CKC Agility is a walk in the park, It is so easy you will Q every time, all straight lines, not challenging at all like AAC Agility. I myself have thought this aloud a time or two but have changed my mind. I saw many AAC Agility exhibitors that are in the Masters level in AAC, NQ , even at the Novice level, but does it really matter? For some people such as myself, Qing alone is a HUGE deal, or sometimes even not Qing is a huge deal. For instance Kort & I NQ'd our first Excellent Standard run, but wow was I happy!!! Omg it felt good to be in the ring running with Kort, man we have come a long way! When in the ring a fellow exhibitor came up to me while walking the course & said, "Welcome to Excellent! " & then helped me walk the course :)
It doesn't matter what organization I am competing in, the fact that my dog listened to me, followed my direction & managed to Q in spite of my sometimes poor handling, or bad timing, is a very big deal to "me".
Also, do you remember when you were a Novice? How did you feel when you made mistakes with people/peers watching you? Sometimes you might advance faster then your original core group & move up while members of your original group may be still struggling at the Novice level.
For example there is one girl who started with her dog the same year Kort & I started, She is still in the Novice level. Do people watching know she just had a baby 6 months ago so she can't train as much anymore? Do they know how hard she tries & struggles with that dog? Do they know that her dog finally laid down on the table this weekend, something she has not been able to get him to do for 3 yrs in competition? For her, this alone was huge...did you tell her congratulations?, or did you just not say anything because you have moved up the ranks & why bother? This particular girl is always positive, is always smiling & is always there cheering on people.
This is just an example of something from this weekend, but similar situations go on at every trial.
On Sunday Kort came close to getting his first Excellent Jumpers Q, the weaves were the 2nd to last obstacle, he got his entry but then missed the next pole & then missed the 11th pole. If the weaves were at the beginning he probably would have got them, but they were at the end & he was tired, he just couldn't do it. I was disappointed, I made sure to give Kort big big hugs & praise before leaving the ring, actually when he finished his weaves in the ring I said a big "yes ! " to him even though he did them wrong, I saw him glance sideways at me, he knew he had not done them right, he was disappointed he didn't do them for me, I know this because I know my dog. After in the tent I talked with Brad, we talked about how I remembered the course! & how really awesome Kort did in the ring. I worked on getting the disappointment out of my mind, positive energy only!! I struggle so bad with that!! Then Amanda & Sarah came up to the tent to tell me how awesome Kort had done. My instructors since Kort was a puppy were proud of us. They have seen our struggles, they know how hard it is for me. Just that praise alone made my day & helped to ease the disappointment.
My point is, next time you go to a trial, take a look in the mirror so to speak at yourself, make sure you are not in your own little world of self importance, or feeling you are better then everyone because your handling is better & you are a better handler. Maybe seek out those that are truly struggling & tell them good job, well done, as they leave the ring, it may just make their day.