Saturday, May 26, 2012

Addendum to "Trajectory"

A friend pointed out a serious problem with yesterday's post entitled "Trajectory".

As she read the post, she thought I was saying that according to my understanding, successful all-age dogs can and typically do run in Qualifying stakes as well.

As my friend pointed out, that's not the case. But actually, it's not what I was trying to say.  Unfortunately, I didn't communicate effectively.

What I was trying to say is that right now Laddie is not skilful enough to compete successfully in all-age stakes, but hopefully someday he will be. That is the goal of our training, as opposed to somehow managing to earn some Qual ribbons.

In referring to an all-age dog who managed to sneak into a Qual, I wasn't trying to suggest that that has ever happened. I guess it could happen if someone wanted to cheat with look-alike dogs, but it could not happen within the rules if the dog had had success at the all-age level, or even had won two Quals  Such dogs are not eligible to run in a Qual.

But here's what is true: If a day comes when Laddie is ready to compete with all-age dogs, as is our goal, but at that time he has not met any of the conditions that would make it illegal for him to run in a Qual, then if I entered him in a Qual at that time, I would expect him to win it. The same of course goes for any dog ready to compete successfully in all-age stakes but still permitted under the rules to run in Quals, unless the Qual happens to have more than one such dog that day.

Accordingly, I was trying to say that I don't want my attitude to be, when a judge for example looks at Laddie's big, looping sit and calls it a slipped whistle, "Bad break, too bad I didn't get a judge who accepts Laddie's big, looping sit."  Instead, I want my attitude to be, "Ah, there's one more thing to work on before Laddie is ready to compete successfully in all-age stakes." Yeah, fixing it might also result in Laddie winning a Qual along the way, but that's almost beside the point.  The purpose of Laddie running Quals is for me to gauge his progress.  When the gauge tells me that he's ready to run in all-age stakes, he will also happen to win the Qual, not squeaking by but because he's clearly ready to compete at the next level.  If he doesn't win the Qual, it's not a failure, it's just a helpful indication of where we are on our journey, our trajectory.

As to the moral quandary I was dealing with: If I wish for Laddie to win a Qual, it's not that I'm wishing for anyone else to lose, it's that I'm wishing to find that we have met our objective of preparing Laddie for the next level of competition. 

This does not mean that my emotions accept our unsuccessful performances comfortably.  Not getting called back to the next series, or running them all but not getting a placement, is not fun.  But that's my emotions talking, not the analytical part of my mind.


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