Strummy and I had a DOCNA trial last weekend. Very small entry thanks to some big AKC trial in Denver, one of those deals where they have the beauty contest and the agility on the side and who knows what all else. In any case it made for short, fast paced days at the DOCNA trial which is just how I like them. On Sunday I was able to sleep in, get 3 runs in and be home by 11:30, just as the first of the flurries of an incoming snow storm were starting. That's my kind of agility trial.
I was not so happy with the courses though, especially when Sunday's courses were slight variations of Saturday's courses. I know, every DOCNA trial I bitch about the courses and yet I still enter. Hard to turn down a trial that's a 17 minute drive though, especially when there are no other trials and not much to do in winter and Strummy loves it so much.
We had some great runs and some not so great. Several times Strummer flipped away from me to take an off course obstacle. It's happening more frequently lately and happened at the seminar too. Tracy said he's very 'subtle', something I've always known and struggled with. If I don't call his name soon enough to cue convergence and his line takes him over the opposite side of the mid-line of the bar, he continues on his line even if I'm running the other way. I have to be so precise when I handle him. This is even more so on the straightforward yee-ha courses. I have a tendency to abandon him in an effort to keep ahead. Tracy helped me with this at the seminar but it'll take a while to become more automatic.
Saturday's Runs (Standard, Snakes & Ladders, North American Challenge)
Sunday's Runs (Standard 2 & 3 and Time Gamble)
The flipping away is obvious on the NAC run on Saturday's video (last run on video) and on Standard 2 on Sunday's video (2nd run on video). The course is nearly the same after the tunnel under the dogwalk and both times he's over the bar on the wrong side of the mid-line and takes the off-course A-frame, after jump 15 on the NAC map and after jump 13 on the Sunday Standard map below. Saturday's Standard course was nearly identical to Sunday's Standard shown below and after going off course in the NAC I did call him to cue convergence and he got the turn no problem so on Sunday I was sloppy about it and once again he was off course onto the A-frame.
This could very well be our last DOCNA trial. Strum turns 10 next month and is showing no signs of slowing down (he won one of his Standard classes by about 14 seconds and I believe was fastest dog of all heights/divisions) but you never know. I'll probably skip the 2 summer DOCNA trials. Last year the August trial had the same exact courses as the year before and I can't be bothered losing a summer weekend of training and/or fun in the mountains to risk doing the same course 3 years in a row. It's not the judge's fault and DOCNA has really been phoning it in lately with the courses with them being either the same courses we've run before or very similar and similar courses within a weekend. Money and time in the summer are too precious to squander on these repetitive courses so our next possible DOCNA will be in November when we're back indoors and there's nothing else on the schedule. Provided Strummy is still running by then.
In the meantime our next trial is USDAA in March in a couple few weeks. I wasn't going to enter because there's always a big spring snow storm and I either have to eat my entry or I end up spending money on a hotel when I live just over an hour away. I hemmed and hawed and finally decided not to go but yesterday I was lamenting not having a trial until May when I got an email from someone last night looking for a last minute team. In general my motto is, 'When in doubt say yes' so I agreed. At least the club has a cheap hotel rate of $64 with the La Quinta so if I get stuck down there it's not too bad of an expense and the hotel is nice, I stayed there last year. Should be fun and I'm looking forward to it - Team and Biathlon, my favorites.
We were able to sneak in a fun agility practice yesterday with our training partner before the incoming snow storm. People get so wound up about storms around here and I'm guessing it'll be about 8 inches, not so atypical for the Denver area in February. So funny coming from Chicago and seeing how people let the media wind them up about snow. I made the mistake of stopping at the store at noon on my way home yesterday and wow, it was like Christmas, I had to drive around the lot to get a parking spot and I thought a fight was going to break out at one point. You would think the Zombie Apocalypse was coming.