I definitely felt a little rusty going in to this trial. Miles and I had not trialed since Concord the first weekend in July and really hadn’t done much sequencing work due to missed classes and being on vacation. On Tuesday night before the trial, I did manage to force myself down to Bon-Clyde (same place as this trial) for a drop-in class and I’m SO glad I did. Not only did we have some dust to blow off of our handling, but Miles got to work through a minor teeter issue. Both were invaluable experiences! On top of that, I got the opportunity after class to work Rue on the dogwalk. That was really fun and very important for her to do. She’d only ever been on my dogwalk and one of the dogwalks at PBH, so to get on new equipment and especially with the sand surface was crucial. Her hits were all perfect to top it all off 🙂
So despite that, I was still feeling odd heading down to the trial on Saturday morning. Plus we had moved up to Excellent Standard and I knew that class was first, so that created a bit of anxiety as well. However, as soon as we got there, those feelings abated. The course was fantastic with lots of flow and not too squished in. I planned the beginning with having Miles on my left over the dogwalk to use me as a buffer between him and the crowd which worked great. He did sneak a peak at the judge, but didn’t slow down. All was going great until I miscued a turn after the tire and then he decided to look at something and misjudged his take off and knocked the first bar of the double. The sand surface certainly doesn’t help in those situations either as it’s definitely tougher to correct a poor jumping attempt than it would be on a better surface. The remainder was fantastic and he had a great weave entry with good speed. I can tell his head is lower in the poles too…yay for all the work I’ve been doing with the baby poles 🙂
Next we had Excellent JWW and I only needed one more leg for our AXJ. I thought the course looked great and I made a good plan. Unfortunately, I wasn’t prepared for the rocket speed that Miles brought out for this run and I fell behind by the 4th obstacle and never did catch up! I should have changed my plan and gone for a rear, but busted it to try to make the front cross. Well I made the front but when I finished my rotation I was right up against the jump….oops. That caused Miles to go around the jump earning a refusal, dang it! But we finished strong and again had another amazing weave entry! No video for this run…somehow there was a technical failure 😦
On Sunday, the schedule was reversed so we started with JWW. By now I really really wanted that Q so I chose to handle a little more conservatively and chose rears in several spots that I probably could have pushed for a FC. It was a tight course with lots of room for errors in my big striding dog, so I felt this was the safest, albeit slower option. Well it worked and we turned in a 5yps time for a 1st place and our AXJ!!
Last was Standard. It looked fun with a couple of tricks, but I was feeling confident that I had a good plan. Again I chose to start with him on my left to buffer the dogwalk which forced me to have to push out to the poles and then push again to get the tunnel entry. I thought it might be risky, but I would rather risk that then him getting a refusal on the dogwalk from croud pressure. Well, it worked great. I could tell the monkey wasn’t going to stop in his 2o/2o so I just drove in to push and he brilliantly hit the weaves! Then I had to go and mess it up by telling him “Milesy go box” as he was taking off for the panel jump and caused a dropped panel. Argh. Everything else was great except I messed up on my push off of the teeter and we couldn’t quite get the tire, but in any case I was most pleased. I thought this was the best he’s ever run a Standard course to date. Very fast and happy and confident.
So we were 1/4 this weekend, but I couldn’t really ask for anything more from my formerly indoor phobic, teeter phobic doggy! He really was amazing and I have no doubt that we’ll get these Q’s quickly now that we’re in sync again 🙂 Plus we got the most important Q we needed for our AXJ. One thing I learned from this weekend is that it seems that Miles goes fastest if I give him minimal warm up time and pretty much take him from his crate to potty then have enough time to do a few tricks before entering the ring. Something to experiment with for sure. So now I just need to gather up my Standard Q’s in short order so that we can start trying for the 6 QQ’s needed for Nationals. We don’t have a ton of time and I’m totally fine with not qualifying, but I thought it would be a fun goal to see if we could achieve it this year. If not, there’s PLENTY of time next year 🙂
Up next: Show and Go locally to run Rue and maybe Miles this Saturday. Then I managed to get 1 Excellent A Standard run by random draw back down at Bon-Clyde in 2 weeks!