A new depth.

Rev had her first competition back at 26″ over the weekend. AKC show, not far from school. We’ve been twice before, but the equipment wasn’t great and the grass could’ve been better.

Well, it’s a stunning show site now. Everything rubber, jumps are safe, soft grass that I pretty much drooled over all weekend. Lovely.

It was also Brave’s first time at this particular show site, and his first real opportunity to watch agility. I’ve shielded him from the experience pretty well in the past, but figured now was the time to test out his focus and impulse control.

My puppy is brilliant. While we all already knew that, I was still just in absolute awe. We’d sit or stand by the ring and every single time I asked him to give me a hand touch, he did. No questions asked. It didn’t matter how exciting the dog in the ring was, the hand touch game is obviously more fun.

At one point I did forget about his puppy-ness, as he was sitting so quietly by the ring. His head must have spun up quite a bit because all at once he let out a sudden, sharp WOOF. He then immediately turned back to me, almost shocked the woof came out of him at all. Oh my, I can’t even explain the cute.

He’s seven months old today, so we joked that the trial was his 7 month birthday celebration. All of his friends came to see him — Brave is the party after all.

I didn’t know what to expect from Rev in the ring over the weekend. This has been our plan for a long time now: we took the year off from 26″ and from big competitions. And we needed to. For so many reasons we needed to. And now that Rev is qualified for AKC Nationals in 2015 (the majority of her Q’s came from the 24″ class), we’re back up to work on Tryouts scores at 26″ and start sorting through our teamwork at the higher jump height.

Simple, on paper. Living it is an entirely different story. I wasn’t scared for this weekend, maybe somewhat apprehensive going in, and also really excited. But mostly I was deeply grateful for the opportunity to even try this again with Rev. To even run alongside her. The gratitude flows with ease these days, for every single run and all of the moments in between.

One thing I thought would not be helpful was babysitting. So I didn’t. I committed to each course, gave Rev all I had, and she lit up and met me all the way. We had four bars over the weekend — three in our first run, one in our last. The middle two runs were clean and electric. The first and last were just electric, tehe. They were all smart bars, and all errors I watched her fix the next time they came around. She’s magic, that Rev.

I didn’t talk about this much. I didn’t reference bringing her back to 26″ much, nor did I reference any other plan of action. But it didn’t really occur to me to be worried about what others thought except for once over the weekend. I’m still not sure why I worried about that one. My friend whipped the conversation around, telling me how excited she was for us to be chasing light in this way again. And then at the trial, just love. Only love for Rev and only love for me. I was surrounded by incredible people who looked out for us all weekend. Watched her move throughout the courses and watched for any missteps or any brilliance. Small gestures, but they were quite large in my heart.

Rev — after this weekend she’s been shining like I haven’t seen her shine in some time. It is not that she has been feeling poorly or anything; she has been well all summer. But Brave has been a lot. My absence for seminars has been a lot. Coming back to school has been a lot. She was not as vibrant as I know she can be.

But this weekend there was an energy between us that I can’t quite find the words for.

Four years ago we were in a similar situation — four years ago I decided to move Rev to 26″ and work towards trying out for the World Championship team. I was scared, I was giddy, and I had no real concept of what I was getting us into. I never could have predicted the immense pain and the immense joy of the last four years. Incredible. We were just babies playing a game. We’re there again, but now it is a new game, a new light, a new depth, and a new us.

We are pretty dang ready to jump in.

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