We had a great weekend in Columbia, South Carolina for our last freestyle competition for this year. We had a wonderful time. The drive long, but it was an easy drive - especially since my friend Yvonne from Little Rock and her dog Aspen were able to make the trip with us.
The girls did very well. Roxie finished her Sassy Senior Championship on Saturday with a 1st place. This is our 25th WCFO title together. This little pup has come a long, long way. On Sunday, I bumped her up into the PDP (champion) class - and she got her first leg. I don't know if we'll continue to pursue this title or not, since you need five Q's with a 9.5 in both technical merit and artistic impression. That's a lot to ask from an older dog.
The other highlight is that Roxie & Shelby did a wonderful job on their brace - earning their first two advanced legs. We now only need to qualify their routine one more time for them to become the first brace champion team ever. It will be a challenge as it is a very hard class to qualify in - doing an advanced routine with one dog is hard enough, but trying it with two dogs at the same time is borderline crazy. I was just so happy to see Roxie having a good time again. Looks as though she's maybe moved past her worried about brace, so I'm hopeful we may be able to earn that last leg eventually. We still have a lot of work ahead of us.
Shelby did nicely and got her first two PDP legs. Her performance was not as solid as I would have liked with some focus issues at the beginning of each routine. So, we definitely know what we will be working on in practice. Seems like a good time to go back and reinforce the basics.
Pixie did a wonderful job on her Novice HTM routine. Saturday was a little shakey with a big attention break, but she still managed to squeak out a qualifying score. Sunday was probably the best I have ever seen her do this routine and it was darn near perfect for her. It's a pretty basic routine, but she's really starting to show some polish and potential.
Pixie and Shelby also did their brace routine and earned their first two Novice legs. I mostly entered to continue to get a feel for how these two work together. On Saturday, they came up with a really nice combination that we'll work to formalize. I also now have some ideas to start working a solid routine so that we can start trying to make it up as we go along. I'm hearing a circus theme in my head...
I was really excited to watch the other brace team. Melissa and her two pharoh-hound/basinji crosses did an amazing routine to "Walk Like An Egyptian". It was just wonderful and is probably one of the best brace routines I have seen.
All in all, it was a very good trip. It was also my first judging assignment, and I was very pleased that both Peggy & Cameron and Mandy & Sadie passed their proficiency tests. It was funny - judging was both easier and more difficult than I thought it would be. Doesn't make sense - but that is kind of how it felt.
I was also really excited to be able to watch my friend Yvonne and her dog Aspen finish up their championship. I met Yvonne several years ago when she and her friend Cindy came to one of my workshops. It is so exciting to see how far they've come and to know that they've also developed a passion for freestyle.
Needless to say, after such a successful weekend - our drive home was pretty easy. We even made it from Columbia all the way back to Little Rock on Sunday. Well, I guess we technically arrived on Monday morning - but who cares. We were singing and dancing in the car all the way home. I'm sure the dogs (and those who were driving past us) thought we were crazy - but isn't that part of the fun?
This is our last competition for this year, and it's been an amazing year. Lots of titles finished, and lots of awards that have been won. I'll take a little time off and then start setting our goals for next year... but for now, sleep is my top priority!