Putting on performance pants

I am continuing to explore the joys of being a soft touch. Juno, and Frodo, and to some extent Chipper, all require this of me, and so I continue to work on becoming. Becoming quieter, lighter, gentler, asking not telling, being demanding of myself and not so much of them.

Really, REALLY focusing on performance and not outcome. It’s easy to SAY I’m focusing on performance and not outcome when I know that the outcome is highly likely to be very good (i.e. Solar, having reached comfy sneakers stage). It’s NOT so easy to say I’m focusing on performance and not outcome when I have no idea what the outcome will be. When I look in the results book and next to Juno’s name, it says NO TIME, over and over and over again. I can’t help it, I’m in this for the outcome. If I wasn’t, you’d never see me at a show.

But that’s a half-truth, because I’m in it for the type of outcome that can only be HAD with a particular type of performance. If you look on paper, Juno and I have had 25 runs now, over the past three weekends, and we have a qualifying result on TWO of those runs. But we have had the makings of brilliant performances in ALL of those runs. Juno and I went to the line 13 times this past weekend, happy for every run. Not only happy, I even got a start line lead out in a couple of those runs. Friday’s runs were absolutely exhilarating, and left me feeling high all day long. It was absolutely amazing. I have, in the past, been able to get myself in to the proper headspace for one or two runs in a weekend, but NEVER thirteen. By the end, we were both tired, but it was a GOOD tired – and I decided to stop at thirteen, scratched the last few runs, and headed home. No ribbons, but a HUGE sparkly sense of accomplishment.

Am I getting anywhere? Will these lessons stick? I sure hope so…

Here are a few runs from this past weekend, at the USDAA Trial.

I hardly have any agility shots of Juno, because historically, I see them and she just looks sad. But for the past couple of weekends, we’ve had a LOT of happy shots, and I’m looking forward to many more.