Jump height question
Lucy is 16.25" tall. She's always jumped 16" in every venue (or we'll drop her to skilled/whatever the name is to make it 16"). She is now 8 or 9 years old (our best guess).
This weekend for the first time, I entered her as a veteran, which drops her jump height to 12" in NADAC. Apparently I filled out the form though, and I signed her up as a skilled veteran, which double drops the jump height to 8". I emailed it to change it, and the trial coordinator (a top NADAC judge) recommended I keep it at 8.
I'm torn. The NADAC people recommend dropping the jump heights from the very beginning. They see no reason to ever jump dogs higher than necessary in an attempt to lengthen their careers. My trainer says Lucy is fine structurally, and doesn't believe careers are shortened from repetitive jumping, but from acute injuries. She says I can still jump her 16" if I want.
What are your thoughts? I'm embarrassed to admit that I'm on the verge of tears at the thought of cutting her jump height in half, but I don't know if that's pride, sadness that she's older, or that I feel like I'm "cheating" by dropping her when she doesn't show any strong reason to do it other than age.
What would you do? 8", 12", or 16"?