Last weekend we headed out to Asheville for one of my favorite agility trials in one of my favorite cities. It’s held indoors on dirt with 2 rings and I was certainly curious to see what Mr. Miles thought of it after the 3-ring circus of the preceding weekend. All week he had been acting totally normally and was his typical crazy self in his Tuesday night class. He had a great experience at this trial site last May, so I was hopeful for a good weekend. I headed out Thursday afternoon in time to set up and hit the B-match. Both dogs did one 90sec run and they had a blast. Miles did 2 successful teeters, but thought about the 3rd one. Otherwise he was brilliant. Lil’ Rue had a blast chasing me with her bunny fur tug while we avoided the teeter and hit every other obstacle 🙂 Melanie and I then celebrated by going out to Doc Chey’s noodle house downtown.
After a less-than-restful sleep (Rue was too excited by the fact that there were 4 other dogs in the room, hehe) we arose at 6am to get ready for the day. Tall-small today with Exc. JWW first. The course looked fun and Miles was the first 24″ dog. We did our typical warm up and headed to the line. Unfortunately, I didn’t support the 2nd jump and earned us a refusal. Miles turned out a pretty decent run otherwise despite some sightseeing.
Rue faired better with the 2nd jump, but took the wrong end of the tunnel. I honestly thought she’d probably do that, but was mainly focused on just keeping her running so didn’t do much other than run at the tunnel. If I had rotated for a FC, she would have nailed it, but again I didn’t want to slow her down. Just wanted a fast and fun first run for the weekend 🙂
The Exc. Standard course was very fun. The opening was very similar to JWW, so I knew I needed to make it a point of supporting the 2nd obstacle better for Miles. He had a great run, but got called for the up on the teeter. He kind of turned wide and I *think* thought about refusing it, but then got on from the side above the yellow. The rest of the run was fabulous. A little slow on his table, but not horrible.
I pulled Rue from all Standard runs this weekend to give ourselves more time for her teeter retrain.
Last run of the day for us was Open FAST. I planned two different courses for the dogs. I wanted to test M on the teeter a bit and also wanted to try a 90 degree soft side weave entry with a rear-cross. Pretty ambitious, but he handles those fine in training. Well he had a great teeter and hit his entry, but then spaced out for a second and didn’t wrap back into the poles. I restarted him, but then he popped out at pole 10, so we just went on. He handled the gamble like a champ and we got just enough points for a Q and his first OF leg.
I actually planned a totally different course for Rue than the one I ran. There was an AKC rep at the trial and he decided that the gamble line needed to be moved out which changed my whole plan for her. I didn’t have much time to walk a new one, so I just kind of winged it. Again just going for speed with her…I wanted to give her several opportunities to chase me (she loves that) and I wanted to give her the chance to get on her favorite obstacle, the aframe. I think she had a blast in this run! Look at how much speed she picks up both when I push on her line out of the first tunnel and again after I leave her after the frame. She got her first OF leg and her picture in the Asheville Citizen Times for this run 🙂
I left the trial site around 4pm as they were getting ready to run Excellent FAST to go back the hotel, work out on the elliptical trainer and shower before meeting several folks for dinner at a local Thai restaurant. The food was great and the converstation was even better 🙂
A bit more of a restful sleep and Small-Tall today, but still up at 6am with Melanie as she has 2 dogs in the 16″ class. I headed to the trial site around 7:40 for the obsessive walk-through and then took myself for a 9 mile run in the foggy mountain air. I got back in time to watch the 16″ dogs tackle JWW which helped to solidify my plan for my pups. I walked the course again a few more times and then had to wait for the large 20″ class to be nearly over before Rue’s turn. She handled this course amazingly well and again really accelerated when I pushed in on her line off the start. I need to remember to go in a support her more in pinwheels and such. She has no problem sending out to obstacles, but she’ll slow down if I’m not driving into them with her. She was decently fast off the line with this run too 🙂 This made her 2nd AXJ leg with a 4th place finish and her best time of 5.2yps!
Miles had a great run going. He allowed me to take a decent lead out, but I didn’t support two of the jumps after the tunnel well and he went around them. Again, in training this wouldn’t have been an issue, but obviously in a more stressful indoor venue he needs more support for me. I keep forgetting that he’s only 4yrs old and just a baby dog too! However, I must remark that he had gorgeously fast poles in this run and it was actually a 5.9yps run…woot!!
I left after these runs to take a shower and collect myself for Standard. It was going to be a long day with Excellent FAST predicted to run until 8ish. So I brought a change of clothes back to the site so that we could all just head to dinner straight from there.
I was excited for Std with Miles because it really looked like a course that we could execute well despite having to go through a box twice, yikes. I made sure to support and work every obstacle with him and he did fabulously. Unfortunately he turned wide and ran around the second-to-last jump. I don’t think that was my fault, but just that he didn’t see it when he landed from the previous jump and I was hauling butt to the finish so he just came with me 😉 He had a fabulous teeter, but was a bit tentative going into the tunnel in the corner due to the photographer. He recovered from that despite giving them a sideways glance twice on the dogwalk and had a pretty decent down on the table. Overall I was very pleased with this run.
I had a conlict between his Standard run and Open FAST, so again didn’t really get a chance to walk the course much. I came up with the same plan for both dogs for the sake of sanity. I actually missed both of my runs while doing Standard, so they had to quickly squeeze me in at the end. This meant that Miles didn’t get much of a break at all and then there was just one dog between him and Rue. Miles did a fantastic job with the course that I planned and handled the gamble really well. He got himself 73 points, a 1st place and his second OF leg! I was super thrilled since he had zero downtime between the runs. I had to beg for help from a friend to take him out to play fetch while I ran Rue..
Rue’s run was pretty spectacular as well. I mishandled her weave entry so we had to reattempt them, but otherwise she was fired up. I got a beautiful blind cross in after her frame, but then called her too hard for the tunnel discrimination in the gamble and she came to me instead of into the close end of the tunnel. Amazingly she kept working for me, found the right tunnel hole and had a smokin’ finish. Unfortunately, the refusal cost us the bonus and the Q. I love how we just ran in the ring and started running the course. I’m sure that will be difficult to replicate in the future, but she liked it 🙂
I stayed to watch my friends run in Excellent FAST and then we all headed out for some Mexican food before I retired to the room to watch the Duke game.
Finally a decent night’s sleep! Again, up at 6am and frantically packing up my stuff, showering, and grabbing the essential cup o’ joe before getting to the site. Today was Tall-Small and it started with Standard. Miles was again the first 24″ dog and I just knew that today was our day. He had been doing so well, but just little oopses here and there had been keeping us from the Q. I was pretty pleased with this run. He was a bit slow on the dw, but then picked up speed. He had a gorgeously fast sit on the table and somehow avoided being called for the up on the teeter today. He again went wide on his turn and hopped on from the side. Something to be aware of for training, that’s for sure. He got a Q for this run, 17 MACH points, his 7th MX leg, but no placement. He came in 5th.
Again, Rue was not entered, so we had a bit of a wait for JWW. This was a fun course that allowed me to start with both dogs. Miles did a fantastic job through the box again and turned out a respectable run for MXJ leg #7, 11 MACH points, and QQ #4!!
Lil’ Rue was not as thrilled with this run. I was admittedly worried that she’d visit the scribe right off the bat with the way the start line was facing. So I decided to put her on my right which forced a rear at the tunnel, but also opened up a choice b/w the jump and the tunnel off the line. She definitely is slower and concerned when she’s faced with that and I should have known better. She released her stress by visiting a ring steward briefly, but I was able to refocus her and burn up the rest of the course. Thank goodness she was fast for the finish because we squeeked by with a Q and her AXJ title even though she was 4 seconds over time, phew!! She took 4th again for this run.
Overall, the dogs had a great weekend and I had a ton of fun hanging out in the mountains with friends, both new and old. We now have a bit of break in trialing. Miles is entered locally for USDAA just in Perf. Speed Jumping and Perf. Grand Prix on 2/13…hoping for a bye or at least some Q’s to get him fully set for Nationals. Then we head to Florida for a 4-day Awesome Paws Camp at Wendy Pape’s place with her, Linda M., and Carrie Jones. On the way back, I’m hitting a 3-day AKC trial in Savannah, GA.