I really love this trial site. Two nice level grass fields, two judges, efficiently run, great prizes, nice rosettes, and decent vendors. I’d only ever been once before in March and Miles had a very hard time here due to all of the distractions around the rings. Fast forward 6 months and he was a rock star!
Excellent only as usual, so just Miles today. We drove in that morning and arrived about 1 hour before our first run….enough time to scope out a tent spot, grab course maps, walk the dogs, and start to obsessively walk the JWW course. The weather was cloudy with off and on showers for most of the morning, but eventually became quite sunny, hot and humid in the afternoon. Thankfully since it was tall to small we were done by 1:30ish, so we didn’t have to deal much with the heat.
JWW looked to be very fast without too many tricky spots. Judge Laura English (joined by Carla Boudrot for Sat/Sun) really had some nice courses all weekend actually. I planned to leave Miles in a short leadout with the idea that I’d beat him up the line for a front cross. Not happening though! He was more than happy to stay for the leadout and in hindsight I should have led out farther because I grossly underestimated his speed off the line. Whoa, he was smokin’! I actually just started my rotation for the front when I realized we were neck in neck so quickly switched to a rear. Miles is such a smart boy that he readjusted, kept the bar up, and pushed out of the rear very very well. The rest ran as I planned it, but with 2 slightly wide turns (I was late), and we Q’d for a 3rd place and 16 MACh points! He finished at 5.6yps, the fastest AKC JWW time yet!
Standard also looked quite fun. I was a bit nervous about my ability to get into position for the first front cross so I planned a rear. I clearly had enough time to get there for the front and the strong decel for the rear caused him a little confusion, but he was able to stay on course. Unfortunately, he did something funny in the weaves and kinda popped out. I think he saw something outside of the ring, but it’s not clear. I don’t think it was anything I did since I hadn’t changed my speed at that point yet. Otherwise, it was a perfect run!
I left the trial feeling really really good about the day. Miles was fast and happy. My handling seemed to be pretty good. But mostly my head was in the right place 🙂 I found the hotel without too much trouble and quickly set about taking the pups for a short 3 mile jog before cleaning up and heading out to find somewhere to eat and eventually settling down to sleep.
Couldn’t drag myself out of bed…was blissfully happy snuggling with lil’ Rue…and then somehow couldn’t get myself out of the door in time so we ended up being late to the trial. Novice FAST was first in Ring 1 and both dogs were entered, ack. My friend Michelle was nice enough to give me a fast loop of a plan that got us more than enough points and easily included the send bonus. Small to tall meant Rue was first and without many dogs entered it was only about 5 minutes before we ran. I told myself that today I wasn’t babysitting her and was just going to run. If she decided to speed up to chase me then great! And that she did 🙂 We had a fun and fast little run with good speed, nice distance, and a fabulous teeter that I quick released her on. I figured it was worth a shot to see if keeping her moving on the teeter would help. She ended up with a 2nd place Q!
I ran Miles the same way that I ran Rue. Poor boy was petrified of a plastic trash bag that they had put over the speaker next to the ring to protect it from rain. I actually wasn’t sure what he was going to do off the start line, but he was Mr. Speedy and finished the course in 14 seconds for a 1st place! What was really cool though was Rue was only 3 seconds slower than him 🙂
Excellent Standard was next in the same ring under Laura English. She designed a rather unique course that seemed fun a doable….gotta love a tunnel start! I tried not to listen to what everyone was saying about the trickiest spot and just tried to walk this course for me and Miles. Getting to watch the smaller dogs run it was only moderately helpful, but it allowed me to solidify my plan. Miles did very very well on this course and didn’t even blink an eye at the threadle pull through to the table (thanks Melanie for all the international flair course that we practice on). Unfortunately he had other ideas than lying down on the table and wasted 10 whole seconds to lie down. The boy still had enough speed to finish 8 seconds under for more MACh points. I am in love with his 3 strided a-frame in this course!
I quickly had to put Miles away in order to walk Novice JWW for Rue. If fact I had a conflict between the two rings and had to move Miles up in the run order due to the conflict and they were nice enough to keep the course open for me to walk a few times. Again, I wasn’t going to be waiting around for her and babysitting the obstacles in this course either. I wasn’t surprised that she was a little slow off the line to the weaves, but I left her in the weaves to get down the line and boy did she LOVE that! You can see her really turn on the gas to catch up to me at the tunnel 🙂 She never broke stride and cantered the whole time, yeah! Unfortunately she dropped the next to last bar, but I was very very happy with her performance! She seems to be getting the idea of this whole thing 🙂
Pretty much right after I was done with her in JWW, they opened the Open Std course for walk through, gah! The course was very flowing, again with a tunnel start, and not much different than Excellent. My goal here was speed again, but also keeping her happy and giving her early cues. I was a bit concerned that she’d think she was done after the a-frame as the next two jumps headed right to the exit, but we needed to make a 180 turn back the weaves at that point. This was going to be the most obstacles she’s ever done without reward to date. Well, after a slow trotting start, she turned on the gas and had a decent dogwalk (still not near her performance in practice) and a fabulous rest of the course. She didn’t even think about visiting the ring crew who was positioned after the table and before the chute. She also didn’t even think about leaving the ring. I can’t say that she was all to excited to do 12 poles and pretty much walked in them, but she finished them and then had a strong fast finish for a 1st place and her first OA leg!! This video has my friend’s run first, we run at about 1:35 in the video.
The last run of the day was Excellent JWW. Carla Boudrot was the judge for this course and she designed a very interesting course with more international nuances. I was decidely not anxious at all for this run. I walked a very different course for Miles than I saw most folks running it and chose to handle it with a lot of pushes and serpentines. Miles read each thing really really well and turned out a respectable time of 30.99 seconds. For some reason when I was done, I decided to go into the building to check the score computer and found that I was tied for 2nd place! Wow, a run-off? With Miles? Holy poo! I quickly brought him back to the car to cool off and rest to see if we’d indeed be running off for time. The girl who was tied with us decided to go ahead and run, so we were on! She went first and I guess dropped a bar or had an offcourse or something because I overheard someone saying that all I had to do was run clean. Miles was obviously hot and tired, but he ran nice and clean for me and earned his 2nd place for 12 points! Poor boy didn’t even want to fetch his ball when we were done….yet he did all that work for me. What a good boy he is. Sometimes I really think that I don’t deserve him….
We only did Fri/Sat of this trial as I planned to run a friend’s dog in USDAA Pairs with her and her other dog at our home turf on Sunday. I also entered Miles in PII Standard for the heck of it 😉