Monday, February 21, 2011

Another Milestone

I'm proud to announce that Belle and I reached another milestone at this weekend's QCDC NADAC Trial.  On Sunday, we completed Belle's second NATCH with a qualifying run in Chances.  The NATCH bar we received is particularly special since it was signed by Sharon Nelson when she was here in October.

I put my all into almost every run.  I was getting tired and punchy by the last run on Sunday, Hoopers, and although it was a qualifying run, it was not pretty and it was not smooth.  However, the Q was all that really mattered since that was the last Q we needed for Champs.

During the last week, I've been working on getting Belle to respond with a loud bark to "Are you ready?"  I had tried giving her a bark command at the start line in the past, but wasn't very effective in getting her excited.  Asking a question to elicit a bark seems to be more exciting.  Maybe that's because "bark" is such a harsh-sounding word, and by using a question instead, you can vary the tone and energy of your bark cue.

Increasing my ground speed seemed to get Belle's little motor running--especially the running lead outs.  I made some handling mistakes--pulling when I should have pushed, pushing when I should have pulled.  The worst bobble we had was on Saturday's jumpers course.  Belle sliced over a jump I was layering and almost got stepped on.  I'm not quite sure what caused her to come over that jump, but I hope nothing like that ever happens again since one or both of us could get hurt.

When I let Belle out this morning with the others, I came to the realization that there is a definite limit to how much faster Belle can run a course if I depend on my own speed to motivate her.  Handler energy is not just a matter of how fast you can run, it is also a function of how much of yourself you put into a run.  I feel like I can truly say I put in a 100% effort into all of our runs except for the last one on Sunday.  Even when I wasn't running physically, I was running and pushing mentally.

One last brag.  Sunday, David and Dusty went 4 for 6, which is huge.  Additionally, their Chances run was one of those runs of a lifetime.  At least it was for me.  I hope David felt the same.  I'm really sorry we didn't capture it on video so that we could enjoy it again and again.

1 comment:

  1. Huge congratulations to you and Belle on your NATCH 2, and on such a successful (and fun) weekend!