March 24th, 2013



I love this book. Listening to it again today while building some jumps (turns out I'm more than a little short on equipment at home for practice these days).

There's a long half finished post about Nationals this year. I will eventually get back to it.

The short version of it is that I totally cracked this year under pressure. It was that essay in Malcom Gladwell's "Outliers" all over the place. I choked. It was like being a novice again - forgetting courses and not cuing jumps.

Yes, we had some lovely runs over the weekend, but the closer we got to being successful overall, the more I melted down. There are plenty of details that go along with this, but they really don't matter that much.

Anyway - back to "Wait" and why I had to jump up and run in here to dash off a quick post. I'll even leave this one public despite Russian Coach Purse selling commenters.

Frank Partnoy suggests in "Wait" that part of the trouble someone like me might experience is when to know when to delay a decision and when not to. When an expert can make that split second decision, but a novice needs to delay the decision as long as possible. I hesitate to use the word "expert" in relation to myself, but I do get around courses without much thinking these days at local shows. Perhaps with too little, in fact.

However, when it gets to be a high pressure event like Nationals, it's hard to be more of a "noob" than I am. Last year was our first AKC and USDAA Nationals. My expectations were not much, just to do respectably well and gather information about myself.

This year, I may have had expectations. Ten is a damn fast, damn good, dog. There aren't many that can match her speed. Yes, she has bars if I'm not perfect, but gosh, I get her around local JWW trials something like 80% of the time clean. So, reasonable enough to think we could go clean twice and at least expect a challengers berth. Especially after that TTB run on Friday. JUST be clean.

Ky is just a damn good dog. In fact, I'd say shes an awesome dog. Forgiving, fast enough, hardest worker ever, EXTREMELY trainable. Her "goal" would to be to get to 26" finals having given it our all on three rounds.

Yet with both dogs, when the critical runs came around I had novice handler errors. Ten's JWW run I got so rattled by a rattled bar and forcing myself not to look back at it, I did not push her hard enough to the back of the jump after the poles and we went off course.

Ky - oh my! She is SO good. Total rookie melt downs in Hybrid AND Challengers (which I never expected to make it into) and failure to work every jump.

Anyway. Mr. Partnoy's point is that we may think we are experts, but when presented with a certain problem set we may be no such thing despite our expectations.

I needed to handle all of those runs like they were the hardest International courses I had ever seen, with EACH obstacle being a difficult challenge. But no, I decided on some level I didn't need to . . . and kept both girls out of Finals again.

Live and learn and that ends this year's dwelling on the negative.

Great book. Next year I'll manage the pieces better - the ones in the ring and outside!