Since today is the Vernal Equinox, it's time to start thinking about the year ahead. It's time to dust off the equipment, take inventory of what needs repair/replacement/cleaning, invest in some fresh batteries, and organize it all so that an event's worth of necessities can be tossed into the car without too much scrambling. It's time to start reading the premium lists for the springtime events and to think about what to enter when.
Another way I mark the start of the dog-event year is to clear off the bulletin board in the sunroom. Back when I was still actively trialing with Seamus, I'd hang the ribbons and rosettes he'd earned from it in a given year onto the board. At the beginning of the next season, I'd remove them, pack them away, and hang the new year's booty. This has now become an unofficial ritual to mark the new dog-show season. (So what can you do with all the old ones? I had Dinah's BPISS rosette from the '06 BCCC National framed. There are also quite a few people who will take your collected ribbons and stitch them into a quilt, wall hanging, chair back, or what-have-you. This site shows a bunch of photos of finished examples. Maybe someday I'll do something similar with mine, but storing all the ribbons in Rubbermaid boxes in the downstairs closet is still much easier than trying to figure out where to hang a quilt.)
2010 was relatively slim for us in terms of spoils -- we only entered three conformation shows, five AKC rally trials, one UKC rally trial, and a bunch of APDT rally trials -- but we did bring home enough bling to cover the bulletin board. Each one marks some pretty nice memories: the weekend we finished Dinah's Canadian CH, BOS for the second year in a row at our Regional Specialty, her AKC RN and RA and APDT RL1 titles, Badger's 4th in Veterans at the BCCC National... Still, they make a pretty nice collage...
Now that the bulletin board is bare again, it's time to start thinking about the year ahead... and train, train, train! Dinah's litter sister Buffy is now competing in APDT Rally in the UK and is on the verge of earning her RL1 title, too.