USDAA agility is tough. High jumps (26 inches for Tripp, who is 25 inches tall) and perfect "clean" runs to qualify for titles. What was I thinking starting out here? LOL (Well, as you may recall, it's simply because they allow colored dogs, so I wouldn't have to forgo trials due to creative grooming.) As competitive as it may be, I generally find it to be a pleasant experience. This weekend was particularly good. I really loved this judge, who was very helpful and nice, and obviously having fun. Makes for a great day, regardless of results.
On the plus side, Tripp earned a 2nd leg towards his first Gamblers title. I am hoping we can finish it later this year. We still have one in Standard class, but I may leave that outstanding and move to Performance division where the jumps are lower. Although this will be easier on Tripp's body, it won't necessarily make titling any easier!
On the down side, Tripp had a setback during training last week, slipping off the dogwalk and aggravating an old injury. Thankfully nothing serious enough to keep us from running agility, but plenty to make me worry. Of course, it doesn't take much to do that - we're all paranoid about our babies. I was actually a bit surprised to see him moving as well as he did when I played back the trial footage in slow motion. However, I also see movements that are not normal for him, confirming a slight imbalance (which we've been struggling with for a while). While he may be well enough to perform, we also don't want to push too hard and delay truly full recovery. Now I'm glad there are no more USDAA trials to tempt us for a couple months.
I set the video to slo-mo to evaluate Tripp's performance, but also found it helpful to see the subtleties of my handling. I included this & my notes in the footage below, since it may be of interest or helpful to other handlers. But since I am obviously FAR from being a pro, I would also welcome constructive feedback from knowledable agility folk.