Sunday, November 18, 2012
The big suspense for this weekend was whether or not we'd get our final Starters leg for our AD title and our ticket out of Starters. I've been unwilling to spend too much money on Starters games classes, hoping to get our minimum in the games but those Standard legs have been stubborn - a missed dogwalk here, a knocked bar there, so many 5 fault Standard runs. We had titled out of Gamblers and needed one more Snooker leg so I entered those classes but I didn't want to blow the money on Starters Pairs and Jumpers so only entered 1 class - Standard - on Sunday in case we didn't get the Q on Saturday. Kind of putting all our eggs in the Standard basket. But I was about in tears at the thought of hanging around until the end of the day for Starters Jumpers.
Saturday's Standard course, well, it wasn't looking good for the dogwalk.
The dogwalk and weave poles are our 2 worst obstacles so of course the main challenge to the course is a difficult weave entry off of the dogwalk. The masters and advanced courses had this same challenge and most everybody struggled with it. Even many dogs that made the entry struggled to hang on and popped out. It looked like the kiss of death for a running dogwalk.
Thankfully the Gamblers course had the chute through the weaves set-up so I was able to practice the sequence ahead of time. And Strummer missed both the dogwalk contact and the weave entry. I was behind and he curled to the left and nearly took the chute, a fate that several dogs suffered in all the classes.
So for Standard my plan was to be way ahead. I thought about a blind or front cross at the end of the dogwalk but thought I'd likely end up blocking his view of the poles. In the end I stayed near the end of the up ramp as he exited the tunnel, stayed still and kept eye contact just long enough to make sure he made it onto the up ramp and then ran like hell, thankfully making it to the weaves before him with him on my right. He still missed the entry but got his dogwalk contact and I was able to quickly bring him around and send him back in to the weaves. No refusals in Starters so we were o.k. I managed to keep my head for the rest of the course, even got some nice collection and a tight turn into the tunnel at Jump 11. A front cross between 13 and 14 and we were out of there. And out of Starters at 7 1/2 years old. SO happy. I was tempted to ask the judge if I could have a victory lap. 1st place as well, icing on the cake.
And as if my cake needed any more icing, the club offered next day move-ups so I was able to enter Advanced Standard on Sunday. And the little stinker got another Q and 1st place, putting me into diabetic shock. Maybe we'll even make it to masters before it's time to retire.
The course was fun, very similar to masters, just a couple of angles tweaked on a few jumps but otherwise the same course.
Strum missed the teeter to weaves entry but no refusals in advanced. I don't often practice contact to weaves and this is the second trial I've seen a challenging dogwalk to weaves entry in Starters (the other one was even worse) so it's a good reminder that I need to practice that sort of thing. There was also a challenging dogwalk to weaves challenge in Grand Prix Semis at Nationals this year. Not something that typically occurs to me to practice. Most dogs got this entry o.k. though some were lost to the tunnel.
The judge's counting at the table startled Strummer a bit. I told him he was a good boy and he seemed o.k. but that's another thing to practice. Might have to start going to my club's course run-throughs to practice that.
In all a fun but short weekend for me since I had only 1 class on Sunday morning. The trial had a very small entry, only 16 dogs in master standard and 11 in P3 standard. Can't ever remember such a small masters class. There was an AKC trial going on so maybe that was part of it. The trial was done before 4:00 on Saturday and I was done just after 9:00 a.m. with my one run on Sunday. Don't know if Strummer has ever Q'ed both Standard runs in a weekend so I was very very happy and so ecstatic to be out of Starters. Not too much difference typically between masters and advanced so we'll finally be able to enjoy some more challenging courses. I really enjoyed the judge and her courses this weekend. She was awesome with the nesting so the course changes moved quickly and she had some fun, creative challenges.
The only downside was that the club didn't turn on the heat. It was warm enough outside, 50's and sunny, but freezing inside the arena, even at mid-afternoon. It was fine while you were running but the rest of the day . . . brrrr. And I jump set for 4 classes on Saturday but was still cold. Thankfully only had the one run on Sunday. I'm hoping enough people will say something that they'll put the heat on for the Dec.-Jan.-Feb. trials. I know the club is trying to save money but this is a false economy if everybody is miserable all day long. I'll bet most people, myself included, would happily have paid and extra $2 per day to put the heat on and if Dec. is bad as well I may pull my entry for Jan. and skip Feb. Hard to pass up trials that are just 20 mins. away but agility is not worth being cold like that all day long.
Nonetheless looking forward to DOCNA at the same venue in 2 weeks. Maybe we're on a roll with this dogwalk thing.
Starters Standard Q, 1st place
Advanced Standard Q, 1st place
Titles: Starters Standard
Dogwalks: 2/3 (67%)
A-frames: 4/4 (100%)
Weave entries: 0/3 (0%) didn't pop out at all
Knocked bars: None
Teeters: 3/3 (100%)
Table: 2/2 (100%) fast, perfect table, worried with judge's count though
Off courses: 1 in Snooker, 1 in the opening of Gamblers
No refusals or run-bys except at the weave poles.