The results from yesterday’s NADAC trial: out of 6 runs. Gatsby placed in 4 and qualified (!!) in 2. He got first place and a qualifying score (“Q”) in the second round of Jumpers and second place and a Q in Tunnelers. And then he got first place in Touch N Go and second place in the second round of Regular.
This was our second ever NADAC trial (and our third overall trial). At our first NADAC trial in the beginning of June, we didn’t Q in anything (though he managed to place). I entered him in Novice for that trial, which looking back on it now, I probably shouldn’t have. I should have entered him in Intro instead. We’re still very much a couple of n00bs in the world of competitive agility, so I think Intro is much more fitting for us right now. In CPE, we’re still in Level 1 so I should have thought about that and considered that when I entered the June NADAC trial.
The courses we run in our classes are much more complex and of course, harder that the Intro courses we ran in yesterday’s trial. Gatsby does very well in class and lately, he’s even been getting his weave pole entries right consistently (he does the full set of 12 in class). But obviously, classes and trials are very different and they feel differently for Gatsby. There’s also of course the adrenaline and excitement that go along with trials (and a bit of nerves on my part), so it’s a very different setting for the newbie team. I’m glad that NADAC is offering the Intro level now. It’s great for trial experience and it happens to be a full titling level.
Gatsby did MUCH better yesterday. He was a bit more focused and more controlled yesterday. It also helped a LOT that I tried REALLY hard to be as calm as possible. Watching the videos from our first 2 trials, I could tell I was super tense/frantic. I think I was just so nervous and a bit scared that he would get the zoomies (which he did on his very first run at his very first trial — literally ran right out of the ring). I kept telling myself to be calm and that it’s okay if he corgs or gets the zoomies. I told our trainers that we were going to be competing this weekend and they told me: “Good luck. Always remember fun first. You stress - he stresses. It’s always about playing with your dog and embracing the goofy dog in him.” (Emphasis added)
I think those words really hammered it home for me — that it’s not about the Q’s or the ribbons. I definitely was more relaxed yesterday since I kept those words in mind during our runs. I still had the initial start line nerves — yes. But when I watched the videos, I didn’t think I was as frantic when Gatsby corg’d (because…of course he corg’d). At one point during our Touch N Go run, he decided it would be fun to go grass swimming. Just…right there. In the middle of the ring. Just grass swimming. And I just…laughed. I looked up at corgdad (who was videotaping) and just laughed. Because you should have seen his face. He was so.damn.happy.
And that’s really the point of all this: to have fun and to make sure Gatsby is having fun and is happy.