We had a long, fun day at a DOCNA trial yesterday. A 2 hour drive means an early morning wake up call which typically means I'm in a terrible fog for my first few runs and maybe the whole day if I'm lucky. Somehow I managed to pull off a great day without the aid of caffeine.
Miss Lola had a perfect day, when does that ever happen??!! 4/4 Q's and one of them in the North American Challenge (NAC) which qualifies her for Championships in 2010. Her NAC run was beautiful, a clean run and first run of the day for me. It was the one run I cared about since I'm hoping she'll be sound still in a year's time and there's talk that Champs may be in Colorado. I was thinking I should have gone home right then because it wasn't going to get much better than that. But she went clean in her Standard runs too, though in both she had some distracted moments and ran off but I managed to get her back on course in plenty of time. It's worrying though and I'm keeping my eye on her for physical problems. Her Jumpers run was flawless with a little bit of barking at me for pulling an RFP on her. I hate that move but she's not been trained for my preferred alternative as Strummer has been so I'm stuck with it and neither of us are happy about it but we pull it off. She was the only dog in the 20" vet class so she automatically got 1st in all her classes but she's first of all the 20" dogs for some of her runs, can't remember which ones. I love running Lola, such fun my big-mouthed red girlie.
Strummer managed 3/5 Q's making a total of 7/9 overall which is pretty good for me, especially after the last couple of trials. He was 4/4 on his dogwalks and 6/6 on his A-frames but his teeter went right out the window and he missed every weave entrance. We'd been working on that too and he'd been doing great. He started out his trialing career without having weave issues so I'm not sure what's going on but the solution will be more practice with him being wound up. We've got 6 weeks or so until his next trial so plenty of time to work it out I hope.
He had a clean run and 2nd place in the NAC but I was behind and late in my handling, resorting to rear crosses at some places where I'd planned fronts. He had some wide turns and run-bys so he was a whopping 11 seconds behind first place. It wasn't the prettiest of runs but he did get all his contacts and made it through a full set of weave poles once I got him in them.
His first Standard run was a disaster. He had maybe 4-5 hours between runs and I was working every class I wasn't running in so I couldn't give him too much attention in between. He was wound up about as tight as he gets when I finally got him out and of course it was thundering and I tried to get him calm and focused but he was jumping out of his fuzzy skin. He had a wonderful flip from the dogwalk to the tunnel and his A-frame was good but otherwise something of a train wreck. Poor guy went sailing over the teeter and I yelled 'HEY!' at him and had him redo it properly but afterwards I realized that the poor guy probably thought it was the dogwalk. I'll have to work on that verbal 'teeter' cue so he knows what's coming. And also work the teeter while he's wound up.
His second Standard run was much better, a knocked bar after the dogwalk and then he got tangled up in the weaves and I didn't want to fix it. I got behind at one point because I slowed and waited behind to be sure he slowed for the teeter and I ended up not handling a serpentine as I wanted to but an otherwise nice run with a lot more calm and focus.
His Strategic Time Gamble run was very nice except for another bungled teeter. I whipped him around to have him do it again and you should have seen the look of terror in the judge's eyes as she ran backward to get out of his unexpected path. I felt bad but I had no idea she was there when I sent him around. Otherwise though it was a nice run and a Q.
His Jumpers run was fabulous, a Q and 1st place. 5.99 yps, and that was with a bobble at the start line when I inadvertently released him before I'd led out due to some confusion on my part about whether the timer was ready. I was behind on a line of 4 jumps so there was some slight confusion which cost a few fractions of a second. I'm convinced he can go over 6 yps if we have a perfect run. He was calm and focused when I took him out for this last run of the day. It only took 4 runs to wear him down. I need to figure out how to get this kind of calm out of him at the start of the day.
Of course I only have the 2 worse runs of the trial on video. I came home from the trial feeling really good about things then spent today pouring over the videos noticing all the bad stuff, especially my arm still flying up which I thought I'd had under control for the other runs but who knows. I probably shouldn't post them since they weren't a good representation of the trial as a whole but I've got them so may as well.
I spent every run either working or running except for the very first run of the day and didn't get home until nearly 7:30 pm so I woke up exhausted this morning. It's been a while since I've done a full day like that with a long drive. Plus I'm not used to running 2 dogs in 2 different levels, it meant an extra 5 courses to walk. It's good to get tired like that every once in a while though. I still managed a mountain bike ride up at West Mag though Jonny drove to a different parking lot so we could cut the 2 hour ride down to 1 hour, 25 minutes. It was a gorgeous, perfect fall day and I was glad I hauled my butt up there despite being so tired. Don't know how many more weekends like this we'll have up there.