Thursday, December 16, 2010

Fleet Feet December CPE Agility Trial

This is a couple weeks overdue, but better late than never...

The weekend Vegas and I were supposed to be at the AKC Agility Invitational in Long Beach, CA, instead we were at a CPE trial in Turner, OR. We weren't able to make it to Long Beach; the cost was too prohibitive, sadly.

We went into the trial with only two legs left needed from one of the games (Jackpot) to complete our Level 3 title. Knowing we only had one chance was kind of a bummer but we'll get it the next time around in 2011. My goal would be for Vegas to have her C-ATCH before the end of 2011.

Alright, so Saturday brought us Full House followed by Standard, Snooker, and Jumpers. Vegas was running really well that weekend and having a lot of fun. It was quite cool, but not like last year for the same trial where we were all fighting to stay warm with it in the teens.

Here is the first course:
I planned a course that allowed me both to use as many of the higher point garnering obstacles as possible while also working some areas we needed to work - primarily the a-frame. I long ago allowed Vegas to perform this obstacle with a running contact because it's hard on her body to stop that much weight coming down a steep pitch, but sometimes it means she's prone to flatten out her landing by jumping/striding past the contact. So we're working on it again. She ran really nice and Qd in that run.

Next up was Standard. We had a combined Levels 4, 5, and C course which is pretty normal. What wasn't normal was only have sets of 6 weaves. It meant we needed to perform them twice, but it was fairly odd for Vegas, I think, as she didn't expect to be done so quickly. Here's the course:
I had a small amount of concern over the push to the tunnel when faced with the dog walk as an alternative, but fortunately it was early in the weekend and she took the tunnel just fine. There were some awkward moments in the course and it didn't flow very nice, but Vegas handled well again, and we qualified with a two point fault for going slightly over time. I will say this, however, this course had five tunnels. Five. Is it any wonder we went over on time?

Here's where things stalled out a bit. Levels 3, 2, and 1 were broken down into individual courses. Even though some of those levels only had 10 dogs or so in the entire class, a course had to be set, walked, and then run. It was a couple hours before we were done waiting for all the standard levels to be complete.

Our third run of the day was Snooker. I used to make this course into a nemesis but since I got over that head game, it's actually kind of fun. Fortunately I have some good friends who run CPE with me and are good at planning course strategy, too, and that helps. Sometimes the course they choose works for me - and others it does not, but it's nice to bounce ideas off each other.
We ended up using the three reds closest to the center and right side of the course as it is viewed above and using five (twice) and six (once) for our color obstacles. I believe we got through number six before the whistle rang out and we had to run to the table. Another Q!

Last up for Saturday, and thankfully not the last run of the weekend, was Jumpers. Here's the course:
Three tunnels, but otherwise a fun course. One thing I notice even more now as I review the video is, when Vegas is moving at a decent clip, she's not clearing the jumps by a whole lot. Fortunately she's not slinky-dogging them like a BC, but considering how much she can clear the jumps by, seeing her flow over them so closely is an interesting site. Not an altogether comfortable one, either. It means there isn't a lot of room for error on my part whereby I could cause a knocked bar as she tries to adjust mid-air. This run I have video for.

It was a nice way to end the day and helped to soften the blow of not being in Long Beach with the rest of the Pacific NW competitors.

Our Sunday lineup included Jackpot, Standard, Wildcard, and Colors. Jackpot we have struggled with the last couple of trials in that I seem to plot a poor course and run out of time without accumulating enough points. Here is what we were faced with that Sunday morning:
This course was nice in that it offered two Jackpots and allowed for handlers to perform both if possible. I went for the easier of the two as I didn't foresee Vegas being cooperative to send out to the far jump after the a-frame. She ran well and easily achieved the 15 point Jackpot. From there we just got to play and, thanks to our friend, Rachel, we had a nice course set up and basically did what we knew we needed to and kept grabbing random and accessible obstacles until the whistle blew. Jami videoed for us, and here it is:
Yay for Vegas Qing and earning one out of the two remaining legs we needed for our Level 3 title.

Then we had Standard.
Another Standard course with too many tunnels and slight bump adjustments that skewed the flow. But as had been the case the entire weekend, Vegas performed like a dream. She Qd again leaving us with just one more Level 4 Standard leg before moving on to Level 5. What a good girl!
Our next run and the seventh of the weekend was Wildcard. This is another fun course where, in my mind, I get to choose the lesser of two evils three times. :) Whereas a lot of people like to choose tunnels when they can, I, of course, rarely do, for Vegas' sake. Our selections were 2B (the invisible double), 6B, and 8A.
Yay for Vegas, again. Seven for seven.

Our last run was Colors. Both Colors and Wildcard are great runs to finish the weekend with, in my opinion. They're shorter courses, usually just 10-12 obstacles, and don't require a ton of brain power (like Snooker). They're quick and keep everyone moving in and out of the ring. Did I mention they're fun? Here's our Colors course:
I chose the square course as it seemed the best option for us. There was a little bit of tugging in a couple areas such as after the tunnel to the number three jump then following the weaves into the bottom side of the tunnel, but Vegas ran well again and pulled off another Q and an 8 for 8 weekend. We had fun, got to hang with good friends, didn't freeze half to death, and I was occupied enough that I didn't dwell on what I was missing in California.

I haven't filled out my book yet to see how many legs for everything we need in Level 4 but my goal is definitely achievable. I'm anxious to push through and be done with CPE for Vegas because it's really becoming a tunnel heavy venue and the older she gets the more I worry about that. She didn't show any wear for the weekend, fortunately, but she's quite the pampered princess with taking her supplements (Body Sore) and sleeping on a heated bed.

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