05 September 2018

Banksy likes to keep me guessing.

In March 2017, she crashed on a jump in the covered arena at Santa Rosa, and for the next couple of months after that, I couldn't tell if she was too injured to jump, or too scared to jump, or both. Mostly she didn't want to turn left over jumps, but it spread to all the jumps. So I gave her a few months off, no vets could find anything wrong with neck or shoulder her after that, and she was good to go. She was still nervous about jumping, and was afraid to jump if I did a lead out, so we just went to the no startlines, all the time style of running, which is thrillingly exciting at best, terrifying and impossible at worst. We scratched from any upcoming trials and she didn't compete or train too often that year, but started competing again in September that year. She made it to the podium in Steeplechase at that Western Regional.

The rest of the year, got to run in just 4 trials, where she earned her ADCh, and get qualified for Cynosports. She won 3 out of 4 Grand Prix's she ran in so had a stack of byes, this would be our year for big events! The plan was to use them up traveling to exotic far away lands like Arizona, SoCal and Washington, trying to get some byes for Cynosports and practicing going to a big event and not messing up, and trying to win. We only made it to Arizona in April, and we did mess up, and we didn't win. So good thing I made the plan to practice!

In April 2018, right after Arizona, she had her mysterious stroke/seizure/mystery weird event. That left her with a draggy right hind foot. I was just happy she was alive after that, and her doing agility ever again would have been a bonus. We just walked slowly around the neighborhood for weeks while she dragged her foot, and I was hoping that wouldn't be her permanent new life. We scratched from upcoming trials, and in our year for big events, I her pulled off our team for the Camarillo Regional. But it started to drag less so she could walk longer and further, and eventually I started to train her a little, to see if just a little toe drag on the tip of her toe would affect her running. It seemed ok.

In June 2018, I started her back to running on contacts. She fell off a dog walk for the second time in her life, the first time being at Power Paws when she was young and I hadn't stabilized it, she never liked doing dog walks there in that spot after that. This time I didn't see, I just heard her come off and when I looked up, she was running next to me. I worried that her still slightly draggy toe talking late to her brain caused it. And later on that evening, when I brought her down to class to demo something, lame on her left front. Vet couldn't figure out what it was. I scratched her from upcoming trials, including pulling her off another team. I gave her time off. And then she was ok.

In August 2018, after just a light training before I taught, I pulled into my driveway after an evening teaching classes, and she climbed out of the car on 3 legs. Her right hind, the neurological foot was all wrong. Next 2 days, every time she got up, 3 legs. Then, magically gone after 2 days. I ran her in a couple classes at a local trial, after winning Saturday's Grand Prix, she was walking funny on that right hind again. I scratched her from the rest of the weekend. Took her to the vet on Monday, she was walking fine, vet couldn't find anything except for the neuro foot wasn't talking to her brain again. I told my team, we didn't have any replacements in mind, so I walked her carefully around the neighborhood on a leash that week. No funny steps, and her brain and foot were back on speaking terms. I let her have one off leash walk in the woods by the end of the week, no funny steps or 3 legs, so I ran her in the Regional. She ran great. Only things that happened were direct results of handling errors on my part.

Right before Steeplechase Finals, she started walking weirdo while walking near a flapping tent. Left hind bad! But not panicking, I suspected a burr and grabbed her and pulled it out, she had the panic attack for us and didn't want to go near the tent anymore, which was right by the ring. That's so Banksy. She got over it though and went in and ran her heart out, but later wouldn't get up on the podium because it was near a flapping tent. So I didn't make her. Banksy's mind just works like that, and I'm used to it.

So Cynosports? No way. She keeps me guessing too much to plan a big trip. Even if I had earned the Grand Prix bye (we only have a Steeplechase bye), too much stress to spend so much time and money worrying about keeping her in one piece. Even training her is nerve wracking since I don't know what happens to her when she's had her weird injuries. Her Steeplechase time was within a second of Kirk's, who is as fast as it gets and we're usually at least 2 seconds behind, so that would have been fun to try for the finals, but I think we'll both be happier staying home and going back to forest running.

So another year, no tries at being champions. But when I remember that 6 months ago, I didn't know if she would ever be able to take a jump again or run another dog walk, there's no way I can be disappointed. After all that, anything active she can do is a bonus, and based on her pattern of the last year, there will probably be more future things that pop up. Banksy definitely does everything on her own terms, and she's so amazing that however she does things is cool with me. Agility is definitely her number one, it beats the beach, forest running, and even her other favorite sport, finding the soccer goals to run around on soccer fields and then catch a low flying flippy. Preserving her to be able to do agility and run fast wherever she wants to until she's old and creaky is my big goal now, that's how she'll be a super champ.


Jenn said...


Sad you won't make it out to see us (in AZ) but I get it. Rollercoasters are only fun at the amusement park.

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