Archive for Agility Trials

AKC Nationals 2011

Things started looking up on day 2 of nationals. I didn’t feel the same disconnect with Bella as in our ISC runs, but my nerves were still there. Our runs were still overall pretty pokey, but there were some moments where I started to see her speed/confidence coming out. Bel stuck her dogwalk contact in standard (perhaps a bit too well) and we managed a clean round. The final jump almost sent her right out of the ring though and I had to call her back quickly!

The hybrid round went pretty well until the A-frame where I looked ahead to see where I was going and broke eye-contact at a crucial moment. If you watch the video, this is what happens when you break eye contact with your dog!

Overall it was great fun and a very educational experience. We clearly aren’t finals material. Unfortunately some handlers view this as me selfishly wasting their time. Everyone has to start somewhere though and I’m not going to give up on the dream. Someday it may just come true….whether Bel is the one there with me or simply the amazing little dog who guided me through the first steps. I sure am going to have fun trying with my favorite little sheltie partner regardless!

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ISC Team Tournament

If I had to sum Friday up in one word, it would be disaster!

Bella and I were so disconnected. I was fighting my nerves in such an intense environment and she was overwhelmed with the atmosphere. Our Jumpers run featured a threadle, which Bel read as a 180. She would never have done that in practice, but I guess the atmosphere of nationals created so much of a disconnect that she wasn’t able to read my cues the way she normally does. For Bel with threadles I normally have to be careful not to give too many turning cues and really support the first jump with forward motion and a strong verbal “jump”. That certainly wasn’t the case here though! Things disintegrated from there with a missed weave entrance.

Standard was no better. I still didn’t feel the connection and she popped out of the weave poles early. Maybe I should have made my front cross a bit wider giving her more room to enter the poles with extension, but either way she should have stayed in. My handling was pretty iffy after that with some poorly executed turns and lateral sends.

So of course the only thing to do after these terrible runs, was to go for a walk, tell my dog she is the most amazing agility partner in my world and hope we can grow from this experience.

Best agility partner in my world.

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The most embarrassing thing I have done all year

Strategic Pairs: a game held at the end of Saturday’s trial to benefit the hospice that cared for a wonderful agility handler in her last days.

The rules are basically all obstacles must be taken in numbered order. The judge looks at number 1 until it is completed and then looks at 2….and 3 and so on. It doesn’t matter which dog takes it or what else is going on in the meantime. Fastest time wins.

We were not the fastest, but I think we had the most fun!

It was a fun game. I love these dogs and was actually very impressed with Tres (an adolescent agility baby) and his ability to remain focused on da mama in the face of what I consider extreme distraction.

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MadCo’s Fall USDAA Trial

Fun weekend of agility, but Bella and I were not at our best. We had more than our share of shabby runs and even some of ours Qs were hard to be proud of.

My little girl had her first real tire crash and ironically enough it was on a displaceable tire! It started with her breaking the tire on her first run in Standard and then in Gamblers she completely misjudged the opening and slammed into the side of the tire. It was very scary, but she got up and went right back through it correctly which gave me hope. She loves to play rough and tumble at home (literally tumbling around doing somersaults during zoomies), so I don’t think it really even phased her.

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Grand Prix Quarterfinals

Well, we E’d out in the quarterfinals. Kind of a shame, but I was proud of our attempt. It really clarified some training issues and Bella had fun with it regardless. She seemed to want to go again after we were done!

I’ve realized that Bella and I have a problem with communication regarding certain types of rear crosses vs. post turns. We had this same mistake occur at an AKC trial a couple of weekends ago, but I haven’t quite figured out how to fix it. I’m hoping that the 2-day handling seminar with Mary Ellen Barry and Jen Pinder we have coming up in a couple of weeks will resolve the issue.

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Steeplechase semi-finals

Here’s our semi-finals run. (I was so nervous I almost passed out after it was over!)

What a fun course! My handling left a lot to be desired (due to crazy nerves that I let get the best of me) which resulted in a lot of wide turns, but we ran clean and had fun. Didn’t make the cutoff to finals, but I am so proud of our effort at our first nationals and hopefully next time I won’t be as nervous!

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Steeplechase Quarterfinals

We made it to Cynosport! Here’s our very first run at a national (international really) event.

I was going for accuracy more so than speed in this round to give us the best shot at making the cut. A lot of other 16″ dogs had been popping, slamming their face in, jack-knifing their body in the weaves with handlers really pushing them and the surface being dug up around the weave poles. So my main goal there was to get her safely through the weaves by not pushing her at that point and it worked.

We made the cut to steeplechase semi-finals!

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