I have enjoyed the last 3 SW Regionals hosted by Bay Team. The event is run smoothly and the people have always been so very nice. Northern Ca seems to have a special kind of humor and lightheartedness. Fun fun fun!!!!
The weather was PERFECT for running dogs….. I on the other hand was FREEZING!!!!! 🙂
There are 3 World Agility Events that have qualifying requirements. IFCS which USDAA is a part of and FCI which AKC is a part and the newest is WAO which UKI is part of. At each of these three events the USA sends a team to represent the United States of America. The process and qualifying requirements varies with each of these venues.
Daneen has been on the IFCS and the WAO world teams and getting selected or winning a spot on any of these teams is no small feat!!! I find the entire process very interesting. Keeping up with the rules, the qualifying dates and juggling 3 different venues keeps us on our toes….. Not to mention adding the AKC Agility invitational in there too 🙂
So each person wanting to try out for the IFCS World team has to attend a total of 3 events during the qualifying period. 2 must be regionals and 1 can be a 4 star event. Points are tallied from these 3 events and added to the points won at the 2011 USDAA National.
The top 3 points earners in each height win their spot on the IFCS United States World Team.
Of course this is the simple version and the rule book is quite long 🙂 But I wanted to give a little background for people that might not be familiar with agility or this process.
The Southwest Regional was Daneen and Masher's third event. They needed to do well in each class to get points towards the team selection process. Many of the other 12" dogs trying out for the team had already done their 3 events. And Masher was sitting in 5th place going into the Southwest regional. The pressure was definitely there…. each run counted. There seemed to be a certain level of peace and "knowing" …along with the HIGH level of excitement within them each time they stepped up to the line. It was beautiful to watch.
I have been fortunate enough to be Daneen and Masher's groom ( that's what they call it in England….
Here we call it "ASS" ~ Agility Support Spouse or in the conformation arena I would be called a "Bucket Bitch" )
Anyway you call it I have been honored to be a part of this great team and the ride has been AMAZING!!!!
I highly recommend that people competing stretch out of your comfort zone and compete at a higher level than you are used to…… enter a venue you don't normally do, enter a regional or a national.
From my perspective I have watched a certain maturity in handling pressure and a sense of calming that Daneen and Masher have gained in the last few years of competing. Handling stress and pressure is a huge part of this game…. whether the stress is from sitting on QQ # 19, praying for that last Super Q or elusive gamble or not getting the chance to walk the course….. Your dog FEELS that stress and pressure and getting a handle on your emotions can only make you a better partner for your dog!!!
I remember one of Daneen and Masher's first HIGH STRESS events. It was AWFUL!!!! EVERY SINGLE run counted for points. I was watching and videoing , Daneen was on the line with Masher and EACH one of us was on the brink of a stroke!!! Our hearts were pounding we were shaking and Masher's eyeballs were popping out!!! Daneen was shaking so bad that she couldn't even take Masher's leash off!!!
With each high stress event Daneen has worked hard at and is learning to keep the stress level in check and the pressure in perspective. It really has been amazing to watch. This tool of managing the stress makes the whole event easier on Masher. Now Daneen and Masher still get REALLY excited and Daneen still shakes but now it is more from the adrenaline rush after a run!!
Another part of this sport that I LOVE is watching teams on their journey towards the goals they set. I feel the aticipation and the joy for them as they work their way towards their goal. The "level" of goal is really not the point…. it's the work, and the friendships and memories along the way. One of my goals last year was 6 stinking weave poles with Aiden 🙂
So this weekend marks a WONDERFUL milestone. Masher ran the same course against one of his offspring!!! Zuma and Wendy did a fabulous job on their Steeplechase Finals run. Zuma was SUPER speedy and had they not had a baby dog oopsie, Zuma was RIGHT THERE!!!!!
Masher & Daneen ~ 2011 USDAA Southwest Regional 12" Grand Prix AND Steeplechase Champions!!!!
Lazer and Stunner had the BEST time!!!!
Milagro was the token non Papillon on this adventure!!
The dive home from Prunedale was spectacular. I just love the state of California!!!