Friday, June 18, 2010

Portland Agility Club Trial Recap, June 12 & 13, 2010 (Trial 3 of 5)

I never got around to recapping last weekend's trial so I'm going to try to do it in a nutshell and just move on to this weekend. Suffice it to say, last weekend wasn't all it cracked up to be. Long story short, I had a problem with my entry I wasn't able to work out with the trial secretary (and AKC was less than helpful) so we ended up being entered in Excellent A Standard and Fast which was incorrect (Both runs should have been open level.) and accurately entered in Excellent B JWW. So I knew going into the weekend that we wouldn't have a chance of finishing the elusive third leg for our OA. Saturday morning as we were waiting to run, I made a decision. So often I watch the upper levels run and wish I could run the course. I decided running in Excellent Standard would provide me two opportunities. The first opportunity would be to run the course and see what the differences were from the open to the excellent level. Second, it would allow me to see if we were indeed ready for that level. Going into it with a more positive mindset or, as I told people, "making lemonade," made the runs all the more enjoyable even though if we qualified it would not count.

First run both days was Saturday. I'm not going to recap them as Sunday I missed our run and Saturday I used it as a warm-up and really didn't try for the send bonus. Here is the course from Saturday, though, for review.
Next was our chance at the Excellent Standard course.

This course definitely was designed with some pitfalls. The first was the fact that the #2 obstacle, the chute, way overshot the jump you had to go to for #3. This meant really being in position and calling your dog back at the right moment so as not to cause them to come toward you in the chute and get tangled. Then you had to go to #4 which was set at 90-degree angle to the #13 jump. Obstacle discrimination! The slightest handling bobble could cause the dog to go off course. Next was the teeter which was fine and then a jump to the weaves. It was nice to have the weaves set straight on - we've had a lot of 90-degree entries lately. Somewhere along the way I've learned to trust Vegas more with her weaves and she did great. She was on my left going through the weaves and we were turning the opposite direction after. It worked pretty well, if slightly slow. The video will show what I mean. Next was another discrimination area...the dog had to go to the table not the tire. It was a down on the table and she rocked. Fairly darn quick considering how much she dislikes this "move."

Next was another discrimination...the a-frame versus a tunnel. Fortunately coming off the table I could be in place to "block" the a-frame as I directed Vegas. Are we starting to sense a theme here? Next up was the jump to the a-frame and then a jump dead ahead of the a-frame. What I never considered Vegas would do so was slow to react and prevent her one error, an off course, was for her to take the jump to the left of the a-frame coming down. It looks far enough out on the map, and it was, but Vegas took that jump before I could stop her or call her off it. The rest was fairly straight-forward and if not for the off course, she was within time so would have qualified. So, opportunity number one - success! We truly were ready - and I learned to be more vigilant. Or so I thought....

Thanks to Lindsay for videoing us in this run!

Our last run of the day was Excellent B JWW. Another chance for MACH points. Another leg toward our MXJ. I blew it. Lesson not learned, or hadn't sunk in yet. Vegas took the tunnel right after jump #1...something I didn't anticipate or plan for. Craig says I wasn't watching her. I'm sure he's right.
He says I should have kept pushing her after to run it through as it should have been Q or not. He's right. Nonetheless, it was a clean course beyond that darn off course. Definitely tricky but what's nice is that we're handling it. Tight turns and jumps that could throw her off...they're not.

Sunday I missed our Fast run as I said. I got to talking. It turned out fine...I was considering scratching anyway. It was warm enough I didn't want Vegas to overdo it before JWW as that was the run we had the most to gain from. Just like the previous day, our next run was Excellent Standard. Same thought process...making lemonade.
This course had some people pretty peeved. The primary problem and where many teams got hung up was at #16-18. The tire to the jump (#17) was a really tight turn back with a sharp turn again following. Throw in a dog walk and it spells trouble. There are other obstacle discriminations present in this course, too, but not like the one from Saturday and nothing nearly as challenging as the aforementioned problem. However, I didn't really sense this being as big of a deal...perhaps because I wasn't running a wild and crazy BC or Doberman. Vegas ended up qualifying running the 62 second course in 61.51 with no faults. She was one of only two dogs in the 24" height category for Excellent A that qualified. Nice to know we could do it!

Our last run of the day was another shot at JWW. Our lovely friend Laura videoed for us. We didn't qualify again. I'm not sure what was "off" for Vegas that weekend for JWW, but we definitely we're cohesive, at least not at the beginning. I did register what Craig had said the day before though, and pushed her hard after our mistakes.

So, no keeper qualifying runs over last weekend. But, the standard runs showed me we have what it takes. And that was worth something.


Oh, and here are two pictures from Saturday taken by photographer, Joe Camp.

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