Cynosport Here We Come!

09 Oct 2011Steve Schwarz

Bright and early Tuesday morning Meeker and I hit the road and drive to Louisville, KY for the USDAA Cynosport Games aka USDAA Nationals. This will be the first National level competition in which I’ve ever competed. Last year Meeker’s back injury kept us from competing, but I went there to watch and get a feeling for what was involved, but watchin’ ain’t doin’…

This year Meeker and I haven’t ever gotten to a point where we have been practicing very frequently. He jammed his right front outer toe and was sore up through his triceps in June and that kept him sidelined for about 4-5 weeks and I’ve been taking it easy since it is easy to re-injure. According to Dr. Christine it is the kind of thing that can become a chronic injury. Sure enough three weeks ago he came up limping right front after agility practice. We went to TOPS the next day and it was only his toe this time. An X ray showed nothing bad, so it was laser treatments at TOPS twice a week and daily treatments with my home LED laser. At this point his toe is only very slightly swollen and he is moving smoothly. He’s been on the equipment in the backyard once this week a little w/o any additional soreness.

So we are going! I’m fortunate that agility pal Loretta Vojtech arranged to have two of the TOPS’ vets come down to Cynosport and they’ll be available to work on Meek if he gets sore. I am so fortunate to train in an area with such a high caliber of trainers, dog and handler teams, and support staff/services!

I’m in a team with two very experienced handlers and dogs: Kevin Kent with Shade and Anne Johnson with Ya Ya. I came up with our team name: “Old Age and Treachery”, as in “Old age and treachery will overcome youth and skill”. Before you ask, it isn’t our dogs that are old either. We should do pretty well, we ran together at the NC Regionals and came in 14th with one E against some pretty stiff competition.

So what are my goals for this competition? Completing our runs, not screwing up, and most importantly not breaking Meeker :^) As long as he is running well I’d like get out of the quarterfinals in Grand Prix and Steeplechase. There are a lot of very fast 22 inch teams so it will certainly be a challenge. Meeker does best on tight, technical courses so Steeplechase will be the tough one for us.

But the big challenge is for me. We haven’t done any practicing in three weeks and at the last trial I was uncharacteristically tentative in my handling; I did more rear crosses in one course than I used to do in an entire day! So I’ll have to step it up! I’m signed up for the “Play It Again Grand Prix” round on Tuesday afternoon so we can get a feel for running on the dirt and the contact equipment. We normally run on mats or grass so dirt will be a new experience for us too. With all this time off Meeker will be amped out of his mind and flying around the course.

Here’s our schedule, which might be helpful to other 22” Championship teams in Group B (no guarantee it is correct!). It would nice if the software that generates the confirmations would generate this type of walk/run schedule as well. It could be generated for each program/height or even for each handler and combine all their dogs into one schedule. I might contact the developer and suggest it.

DateStart TimeEnd TimeArenaRingProgramHeightClassRun/Walk
Tue3:003:15West Hall5CH22Play It AgainWalk
Tue4:00 West Hall5CH22Play It AgainRun
Wed8:308:40West Hall4CH22Team GamblersWalk
Wed3:45 West Hall4CH22Team GamblersRun
Thu8:008:10West Hall5CH22Team StandardWalk
Thu10:54 Broadbent2CH22SteeplechaseRun
Thu1:44 West Hall5CH22Team StandardRun
Fri7:307:40BroadbentMainCH22Grand PrixWalk
Fri8:008:10Broadbent3CH22Team SnookerWalk
Fri1:56 Broadbent3CH22Team SnookerRun
Fri3:19 BroadbentMainCH22Grand PrixRun
Sat7:307:40Broadbent2CH22Team JumpersWalk
Sat7:457:55BroadbentMainCH22Grand PrixWalk
Sat9:30 Broadbent2CH22Team JumpersRun
Sat10:51 BroadbentMainCH22Grand PrixRun

USDAA will be broadcasting the finals and the main ring on CynosportTV. The website has a kind of wonky user interface: you create a login, login, add the video stream to your library, and then select the video in your library. Once selected you find the “watch it now” link and click it.

I’ll try to post our results to my AgilityNerd Facebook page as we go.

If you are going to the competition keep an eye out for me, I’d love to meet you! Wish us luck!

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