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in the end

Well, the 2016 trialling and agility season has officially finished for us this weekend.

Thank. goodness.

Not that we haven’t had a good year. We’ve had an amazing year in terms of dogs and agility. But it has been non-stop weekends of trials or seminars for the last month and a half and all of us are ready to just stop, sleep, recover, rest. My hip-flexors are asking for a rest, my neck, my back, even my triceps, though I’m not sure what part they play in agility aside from maybe carrying the crate to and from the car. I imagine that if I have all these little niggles, that Loki is feeling exactly the same.

Some events, some seminars, have melded from last year into this year, but we have been busy. 2016 has been full. We’ve trained with some top Australian handlers, more than once. We competed in the Nationals and came so close to getting into the finals, with both dogs – at the fault of either one bar, or just not being quick enough. We’ve driven thousands of kilometers, trained with Jouni and Isabelle from Sweden, which was amazing. Trained with Dave Munnings – also amazing. I was told I could get a spot on the Australian Team for WAO but with everything else going on, didn’t apply this year. Lumen gained her Masters Jumping title, and her Excellent Agility title. Loki had no titles but started to knock less and less bars in his last few competitions, showing promise for what’s to come.

I feel like I’ve grown significantly as a handler through the second half of this year. I’ve improved my timing with both my dogs, but Lumen I think in particular, on certain handling moves, and have become more aggressive in the way I handle. I’ve learned how to work Loki through a course, and while we still have a long way to go, it’s the first time I’ve felt we’ve been a team.

My little training club on the side has grown, too, and I’ve been so enjoying seeing my couple of advanced students experience success, consistently, with their dogs.

The end of this year has opened up an idea in me, a potential for something exciting and scary in the future, for stepping WAY outside my comfort zone and embracing a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. If I can make the pieces fit, if I can pull together all the threads that need to be woven, if I can find some other metaphor for ‘getting my shit together’, then maybe… maybe on the horizon in 2017 will be a year even more full, of learning, of experiences, of agility, of mountains, of hikes, of rivers and lakes and new friends. We’ll just have to see if I can pull it all off.

For now, we’re going to charge toward the end of the school year, wind down my classes at home, pack away the equipment, get back into conditioning (all of us!), hit the beach for long walks, try and avoid snakes, and sleep in.

I <3 these guys

choice

I recently read an article on a questionable news site that highlights the pitfalls of most new year’s resolutions in the language we use to make them. About how if we “should” do something, it becomes more like a chore, like an expectation, or that we are not currently enough how we are now, we should be more. It talked instead about making choices for the year, to have ownership and control over the actions you’ll take. To acknowledge that you are enough already, and powerful for choosing to be more.

I kind of like that.

So, as I’m sitting here, pretty sure that I have a stress fracture in my foot, frustrated that it’s already been a week and not yet diagnosed except by Dr. Google (who is also telling me that runners who get this fracture end up having surgery. Shut up Dr. Google, I’m not having surgery.), and despite having a Doctor’s appointment tomorrow to discuss the results of the X-ray that I’m 99% sure will be inconclusive (Dr. Google also tells me that these kinds of fractures only show up on X-rays after 4 weeks, leading me to believe that the Dr I went to doesn’t know anything about anything), and will then have to tell her I want an MRI, get the MRI and wait for the results for that… I’ve been thinking about the new year.

Here are the choices I would like to make:

  • I choose to be more forgiving of training problems when they come up, to accept the journey as it is and not feel rushed to fix things. After all, I recently saw on a video by Tereza Králová that it took her nearly a year to find a way that worked to teach her dog Running Contacts. So time is ok, we can take time.
  • I choose to look after myself – to be fit and strong so I am a good teammate for Loki (though, ironically, I think my foot injury came from jumping-jacks and long distance running. So much for exercise).
  • I choose to look after Loki, and schedule time to keep his body fit and strong.
  • I choose to be present in my life – at work, at home, in agility, and to live fully in the moments of joy.

 

So that works.

And in the meantime I’ll be moping about my foot and swimming laps at the pool.

I fricken hate swimming laps.

 

… oh, and Lumen has just started limping randomly. Sweeeeetttt.