Saturday, April 2, 2011

CRAC AKC Trial Saturday Report

First things first. Today I got coffee! lol

We arrived at the fairgrounds about 7:30 am. Today the place was in full swing with an all breed show, rally, obedience, and agility. Luckily we didn't have to park too far out, although being dry this morning it wouldn't have been a big deal. Grabbed our stuff and heading toward the building, the first thing we encountered was a pair of sheriff's posse mounted patrol. Vegas glances at the horses with little to no interest. Silly Leo starts barking - enough to make one of the horses shy a bit. Goofy boy - doesn't he know 1,500 pounds of horse is way more than he can take? We went in, got our sticker and maps, and settled down for a bit at our crating space. I scanned the maps, enjoyed my coffee, and worked with Vegas in her crate. Things took long enough that Vegas and I ran over to the conformation building at just the time our friends, Sandra and her Cardigan Welsh Corgi, Marble, were in the ring for their very first time. We watched the rest of their time and then cruised the rest of the building, stopping to chat shortly before heading back to agility. They were just building standard so I got Vegas situated and went over to walk. The course was really nice - again! Our judges are awesome this weekend. They seem to be nailing on the head the perfect balance of challenge and flow. Here is our standard course:
The tunnel starts are really growing on me. Luckily I have that extra second or two running a giant breed to get into place, too. So, the best way to describe what happened in this run is to explain what my plan was. I planned to rev Vegas up about 15 feet out of the tunnel and send her in then move across between the jump and chute. From there I had hoped to handle on the inside until the teeter, making a front cross after the teeter into the next sequence (8-9). I walked multiple scenarios for the a-frame, from front crossing at the triple before the a-frame to front crossing afterward. People were having issues with the #14 jump of the a-frame and, the lower heights had issues occasionally with an off course to #6 after the a-frame. I don't feel confident enough yet to rear cross the weaves. Getting in a cross and managing the weaves from the off side meant I would be in place to run up the inside, pulling Vegas with me and avoiding the off course pitfall of the dog walk. From there things would be fairly smooth.

What I didn't count on was Ricky Bobby the Great Dane. Okay, truth be told, I should have. She's been running amazing fast lately. And I've been revving her up before our runs so she should be getting in there and getting down to business. So I failed her. How? I wasn't in the right place at the right time. I'm quite sure I'm capable of getting there, fortunately. I just need to remember I have a faster dog now and plan my course better. All in all it didn't go badly at all. In fact our course time was the same as yesterday's although the SCT was lower at 62. I wasn't able to get a cross in after the teeter so I gave her the turn command, AKA flip. That worked well. She charged over the a-frame so fast though, I attempted a blind cross to send her into the weaves and lost her. I had to call her back and send her into the weaves. The result was a refusal and a couple of seconds in lost time. All my fault but she ran it out like a dream. I was just as happy as with a Q.

The way things were running, JWW would be last in the other ring. It was a couple of hours before we got to run again, unfortunately. I did get the dogs' legs stretched a bit then crated comfortably. I ended up working the Excellent Standard ring for the 20s, 16s, 12s, 8s, and 4s. Whew! It worked out perfectly that I then took the dogs out for a quick potty break, ordered some lunch, walked the course, and was able to take Vegas out again, run her around, visit with our friends, Andrea and Mike, for a minute, warm her up, stretch her, play with her, and still had time. Yes - things were running a bit slow in that ring! It was another nice course though! The only bad thing, in my opinion, was two tunnels, one of which was squared off at the back of the curve. The length into the tunnel and the first curve was so short I knew it wouldn't even accommodate Vegas before she was already having to bend her body.
Again, a tunnel start. From there we had a full circle in 2-6 that was interesting followed by a long straight line. The nice thing about this long line was that you could, as a handler, really move out as soon as your dog committed to #5 or was taking it and most tend to race to catch up. Knowing I can count on Vegas to take the obstacles in her path, this worked well and gave us almost too much momentum. I was afraid of her missing her weave entrance for just a moment but she nailed them like she has been this year. The hitch in our giddy-up came with that dastardly tunnel, #13. I'm not sure if I didn't pull out enough or maybe I should have given her a good ol' RFP, but she took the wrong side. Knowing it was a lost run, I didn't see the sense in sending her in the correct end so we moved on, pushing just as hard as we would if it was a qualifying run. I'm looking forward to seeing what her time was. I'm sure we lost a second or so since I know I yelled "no" when she committed to the wrong end of the tunnel. Call it excited utterance. It just came out but my continued motion forward hopefully made sure Vegas knew I wasn't upset.

All in all, a good day. How can I not be happy with a lightning fast Dane? We used to place last or next to last out of the 24" class. Now we're often 3-5 places from the last of those qualifying. It's pretty exciting and I look forward to tomorrow!

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