Been ages since I've written about an agility trial. This one was super fun - great courses (mostly), great weather, great people. Mostly I'm happy to even be able to go because March is our snowiest month and this trial often gets snowed out for me because while it's only just over an hour's drive, I have to drive through all of Boulder, all of Denver and then the green belt to Castle Rock. Didn't enter Team this year because the Denver rush hour traffic both ways on Friday was atrocious. I love Team but not that much. Though I heard this year was not so bad.
We started off Saturday with Masters Jumpers and ended Sunday with Biathlon Jumpers (ie Fancy Jumpers). I put them back to back on video with Sunday's run first and it's funny to see the difference between first run of the trial and last run. He was Crazypants for the first run, knocked 2 bars and had me worried that he's getting too old but looking at the video I think he was simply overexcited. I was early in the run order and didn't get enough warm-up plus someone from way down in the running order in Championship (we were in Performance) was at the warm-up jump for reasons I can't possibly fathom. In hindsight I should have booted her out but at the time I couldn't be bothered.
Biathlon and Masters Jumpers
Was pleased with both runs, Biathlon Jumpers being my favorite of the whole trial. So many people got taken out by the off course tunnel entrance at #6 and that's a particularly difficult challenge for Strummer but I got his attention early and he listened beautifully. To be fair, the jump was a double for Championship and only a single for Performance so he wasn't in as much extension but still, my timing was good and I made it up the opening line no problem. Had a weave pole bobble but I've given up stressing about his weave poles. I support him best as I can and he does what he does and I'm o.k. with it. But I was so pleased with how well we both did on such a technical course, felt so smooth and connected. Especially since it was last class of the day and we were both mentally tired.
Steeplechase Round 1
Steeplechase Round 2
Steeplechase Rounds 1 and 2
Somehow I managed to fall during the opening sequence of Round 1. Not sure what happened, my feet got tangled up or something. Ended up with some road rash and impressive bruises and swelling on my shin and a cut on my hand but not hurt really. And I got up and finished the course and still qualified for Finals though far down in the rankings due to lost time. We redeemed ourselves with a second place finish in Finals. More lost time due to popping out of weave poles but otherwise a nice fast run. I bought some smoked marrow bones with our winnings so Lola will get a treat as well. Plus I a bag of turkey hearts in the workers' raffle and bought a bag of duck feet. Yes my life has taken a strange turn.
Master Standard (Saturday)
Grand Prix and Masters Standard (first video is Grand Prix, not Standard)
Nice runs with little faults here and there. Of course he finally gets his dogwalk and misses other things. The missed A-frame in Grand Prix was a handling error, I was too far behind and this impacted the weaves as well. But otherwise a nice run, fun course.
Masters was another nice run but again with the weave poles and this left me a bit out of position for jump #17 where I ended up flat footed after a front cross after the weaves and ended up with (I think) a refusal at Jump #18. Should have kept him on my left but didn't plan on being behind. Got his dogwalk again, yay for that. Thankfully we had no problem with the chute. Much ugliness of photos of this on my Facebook this morning from other teams.
I didn't get video of Masters Challenge Standard but this was also a course of much chute ugliness, partly due to course design. A front cross between Jumps #5 and #6 was challenging unless you could leave your dog on the teeter and many dogs came off the teeter sideways. Then there was the risk of the A-frame/tunnel off course. And if you didn't time it right the dog would go into the chute at too much of an angle leading to them getting tangled which quite a few dog did. The trouble with a rear cross is that you also risked a bad angle or the same A-frame/tunnel off course if you shaped the line too much. Plus calling the dog while in the chute also led to tangling. I chose a rear and didn't bother to call his name, just let him come out turning the wrong way and let him turn on the flat before Jump #7. Wasn't pretty but it was much better than risking a tangle in the chute. However I had to go too close to #7 to manage his confusion and while I was able to pull off a front cross between #7 and #8 I was a bit behind and had to call him off #10 a little too hard/early and ended up with the off course tunnel entrance at #9 since I was too far behind. It was close though, wish I had video of it. Lots of people ended up with faults/off courses in this area. I also ended up with a wrong course at #18, again with the weave poles. Was surprised to see such a course design from this judge, I normally love her courses and I don't think I've ever seen anything like this before. Watching from the stands I almost decided to pull from this class but decided to just let him go straight in the chute and turn him on the flat and accepting whatever happened after that. Otherwise a very fun course. We got through #13-#17 and I was pleased for that.
Overall I had a great time, was fun to chat with people I haven't seen in a while and watch the other runs. Lots of great handling out there and some awesome performances from some of the baby dogs. Training has come so far these days, it was amazing seeing some of those baby dogs knocking it out of the park.