Wednesday, March 28, 2012

PAC/GSDCO AKC Agility - March 17-18

Wow am I behind - AGAIN! This post will cover the AKC trial from St. Patrick's weekend. The trial was jointly hosted by the Portland Agility Club (of which I'm a new member!) and the German Shepherd Dog Club of Oregon. Gotta stop right here and say - these two clubs put on some of the best trials in our areas. They keep their entries lower than many of the clubs, they run things well, have great hospitality and ribbons, plus those running things manage to be pleasant when asking for help. So thanks to PAC and GSDCO for a fun trial!

This trial was held at our normal stomping grounds, the Clark County Fairgrounds, in the horse arena. Each day first dog on the line wasn't until 9 am but, of course, on Saturday I always show up before the crack of dawn (almost literally) in order to make sure I have crating space. You just never know what to count on despite all the room there and I also don't want to crate where the pigeons nest and mess the most! So we arrived about 7:15 am - whew! At least the lights were on and we were able to get all set up and settled well before the show got started.

As per normal, we had Standard first and JWW second. At this point I don't recall the run order of the days but it doesn't much matter I suppose. Without further ado, here's the courses and my summary/results:

So here we have a tunnel start so of course I began with a good run in...somewhere right along the plane of jump 3. My goal then was to book it out toward #7 so she would see me first as she came out of the tunnel. At first I considered just moving laterally from the tunnel to the landing side of #2, but then I figured she might take the jump at too much of an angle and possibly knock the bar or certainly then start things off rough going forward with moving at poor angles. So that worked well - although she shot through the tunnel like a mad dog! The angle to the dog walk wasn't great, but it was shape-able. From there I liked the run into the tunnel - the speed she could get plus the fact that tunnels were now done and over with. Over #7 (after fretting over the down contact on the a-frame), I know dogs were likely to catch site of the tunnel. My plan was to stay on the inside and not front cross until the table. Worked well. The next most difficult part and one a LOT of dogs had trouble with was the sharp and rather abrupt turn to the chute after #12. That, of course, was our Achilles heel, although not for the typical reason.
I had planned to blind cross into the chute. Vegas' idiot handler did something else so nobody to blame but myself. At that point with a knocked bar I let myself fall into "Oh crapdom" until the weaves. It was the first time Vegas has missed a weave entry in almost 18 months. Talk about a slap in the face to come back to reality. The game was on again - my head went back into it anyway - and I drove her to finish the course like I normally would. I really hate when I let disappointment get me and interrupt my handling. It really isn't fair to V - she was just doing what I said, nothing more. Thankfully I wasn't upset with her, just upset at the loss of the Q and points. But the end result either way? She had fun so I'm glad I could get back in the game with her.

SCT: 67
Yardage: 180
There were 9 Qs. Our time was 54.34 which would have put us between the 8th and 9th qualifers.

Next up, JWW. This was a difficult course to walk even divided into just 24s and 26s. Check out the jump that got used three times! One through four was fairly straight forward. Then it was a matter of leading out to #5 while she was in the tunnel. I planned to shape the turn to #7 by pushing out and making the curve into #6. I had hopes of making a cross of some sort in there but wasn't sure how it would work out. If all else failed I figured on a front cross after #8 or a rear after #9. In the end, I believe I was able to get a front in after #7 and a blind in between 9 and 10. Something funny happened for the pinwheel 13-16...not sure if it shows up on the video. Walking it I was hoping to afix myself somewhere central and hope she would extend out to the jumps. But instead I sort of got caught up in turning and my turns got large until I was almost in the middle of #16 before I realized it and moved back in.
Without sounding too self-confident or conceited or anything, I knew Vegas would pull it off. Usually if we bum out on Standard we get JWW; not sure why that happens. She's just a JWW queen, I guess. :-)
SCT: 44
Yardage: 155
Our time was 38.07 We were 8th out of 12 qualifiers (Yay!) earning five more points. Go, V! 
The opening was the trickiest part of this course. We had to get our dogs into the off side of the tunnel without them taking the dog walk. The dog walk was at least as close as it looks in the map - truly next to nothing for a long-strided big dog. This was one of those rare times I wish I had a lead out. But I don't... My plan was to start Vegas out way over on the left side (although still straight) at #1. Then I needed to book it out in front of #2 and send her into the right end of the tunnel with my right arm (handling from the left). Watch the video for what I never considered! Four through eight were fairly straight-forward although there was a little concern if the dogs took #7 too deep that they'd go for the a-frame. Most dogs were okay. From #9 coming out of the tunnel it was a fairly straight line over 10 and to the teeter. The rest was fairly well and good. My conundrum was how to handle the a-frame (#14) to the panel. Did I front cross at the end of the frame or did I rear cross the panel? I went with rear. Vegas seems to miss the contact more often if I try to cross in front of her on the frame. Something about crowding. 

Yay VV! SCT of 68; 183 yards. Our time: 53.36 - 14 points! 14 dogs qualified; we were 14th. Very pleased with this run. Vegas handled it very well - and happily. She's getting so consistent on her a-frame, although I won't ever let up, and while it crossed my mind that the panel was on a turn, she handled it just fine too. Guess our panel issues were just a passing thing at Rose City. 

Okay, another two tunneler (bummer!).... My plan was to blind cross between 7 and 8 but first I had to be sure I drew her straight/toward me between 5 and 6. Lots of dogs were taking 16 as an off course between the two. The straight stretch between those jumps confused them, I guess. I planned a rear cross at the tunnel, a blind between 14 and 15, and that was it to the end. 
SCT: 42
Yards: 150
Our time was 36.03. We were 11th out of 12 qualifiers and earned another five MACH points.

Weekend Count: Three Qs. Two JWW legs, one Standard. 24 points.
MACH Totals: 577 points, 23 QQs

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