Monday, December 04, 2006

Losing Contact

Let me just say, spending the entire weekend cooped up in a dusty horse arena really sucks. I don't know why I signed up for every possible class (5 per day). It seems like fun when I'm filling out the application forms but somehow by 3:00 pm I've had enough. I should have gone home in between the longer events (ie standard) since I was only 20 minutes away, I'm sure I did that last year, but somehow it didn't occur to me this year. Even if it had, it's not like I can do much of anything with just a couple of hours and it was so freaking cold this weekend I would have spent the time indoors on my butt anyway so I guess I should quit my whining.

I was hoping for some speed and enthusiasm this weekend and boy should I be more careful about what I wish for. Cody was absolutely flying all weekend long which was great except that Mister Hyperpants felt it a waste of his time to hit his contacts. Most of our blown Q's were because he was launching & flying off contact equipment left and right. Silly boy was so amped up he couldn't quite keep it together. On the plus side he was more or less paying attention to me on most of his runs, didn't seem stressed out in the least the whole weekend and was having a yeeha time running those straight open courses. Lola seemed to be having fun as well though she wasn't as speedy as Cody. I'm starting to fear that she may have an injury. She was having some trouble with the weaves during one of her runs and it should have been fairly straightforward. She was poking through them during the warm up for the same run so maybe something was sore. I thought I saw her limping for a few steps early last week so I'd been resting her all week and hadn't seen any other signs of lameness but I know how well these dogs hide their pain. I may try a chiropractor before going to the full on orthopedic vet.

The Elite courses were really simple even by NADAC standards yet we still managed only one standard Q for Cody and none for Lola. Mostly this was due to the various distance challenges as most of them involved contacts and neither dog will handle contacts at a distance during a trial. Cody sometimes will, but not this weekend. Both dogs got Q's for both their Jumpers runs, Cody was booking so fast he even mananged a Q despite a refusal and wide turn. He finished up his 'Outstanding Elite Jumpers' title (100 points or 10 clean runs at the Elite level), whoop de doo. Even the Chances courses which are the distance tests were fairly easy, I was surprised Cody didn't pull them off. Even Lola managed to get a Q. Lola had a beautiful Tunnelers run but I walked the course wrong and left out a tunnel, DOH. She had a nice Touch & Go run too (all tunnels & contacts) but she launched off the last A-frame just a tunnel away from the finish line. Argh.

Overall, I was pleased with speed & motivation for Cody. Lola was faster than she's been but still lacking the drive she used to have. I'm going to have her checked out just to make sure nothing's wrong physically. She's getting older and she's a big dog so it's natural for her to slow down a bit but still I'm a bit worried. I was not at all pleased with Cody's launching contacts fiasco though Lola had a few nice dogwalks. Still some balking & barking on the A-frame though. This will need to be my main focus in training for next month. I felt very unchallenged by the courses, even for NADAC. They seem to be getting so easy, I'm not sure how much more I want to do. I'll probably do a few classes and only one day of the NADAC trial next February just to keep in practice for competition. I wish we had more USDAA!!! Can't wait for the USDAA trial next month but then there isn't another one until April. I suppose it's just as well, I should be spending more time practicing anyway.

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