Sunday, February 19, 2012

ADG USDAA: Big Ups, Big Downs!

Sorry I forgot to post a trial preview.  I'm not sure how that slipped through the cracks.  Anyway, the trial's over now so it's time for the recap.

Round 1:  Steeplechase
     I thought this would be a good chance for Jonah to get a Q in Steeplechase because there were no masters classes today, so I was hoping most of the masters teams wouldn't come.  Well, that was partially true, but there were still 18 dogs in our division (only 2 or 3 dogs in any other height category--yay 22"!), and many were very competitive.  I didn't think it was that bad a course, and I was feeling pretty good about our chances.  Well, that didn't last for long.  The beginning of the course looked like this:

Well, Jonah was excited and started good and fast.  He was flying through the weaves and I started to peel off so I could get in a landing side FC on 4.  My lateral distance pulled him out of the poles at pole 11.  Not wanting to go back to the beginning like I should have, I tried to get him back in at the last pole, but he was confused and back weaved.  Grr.  So, by obstacle 3 we were eliminated.  I was frustrated, but the rest of the course actually ran pretty well.  I was a little flustered after the weave incident and ended up changing some of my handling on the fly because of it, but he went clean the rest of the way and was running pretty well.  His A-frame contacts looked great.

Round 2:  Advanced Gamblers
     So when they gave out course maps, our gamble wasn't numbered.  It looked like this:

I stupidly hoped for the best, thinking the first jump would be the unwinged one on the line, with a 90 degree turn to the left to the poles.  I thought that if I got him going fast enough at the jump he would jump big and the weave entry wouldn't be bad.  Well, it turned out that the first jump was the winged jump, so we had to layer the other.  It was extra tricky because, as this map shows, the winged jump was right in the corner of the ring.  The obstacle closest to it was a chute pointed away from it, so it was just very difficult to get there.  I watched all the performance dogs go and no one qualified.  I watched the first few championship dogs go, including one dog who is really phenomenal (won the GP national title last year), and no one qualified.  It was really hard.  So, I didn't think we had much of a chance.  We had a nice opening, though, and when the buzzer rang we headed over to the gamble.  I'd timed it pretty well.  I sent him out to the jump and then pushed and yelled "Out!  Weave."  And he did.  While he was weaving I had a conscious moment of, "Be quiet Katie.  You better not screw this up."  And I didn't.  He went straight to the end and flew over the final jump.  So...we actually WON our first Advanced Gamblers!  I don't know what to think, but it's pretty awesome!  A few other dogs did end up Qing, but the rate was very low.

Round 3:  Advanced Standard
    This was not a hard course.  However, Jonah saw his dad from across the room while we were waiting to start, and it was pretty much over before we started.  His opening line was alright, but then we got to a tight spot with a RC.  I didn't give him a great line, and I take full blame for him missing the jump.  But his brain totally left at that moment.  It took me a while to get him back going.  But then, before I knew it, he was off looking for his dad again.  It was pretty embarrassing.  He'd do a couple obstacles and then totally disconnect.  This was the same dog that had just had a phenomenal gamblers run.  Not this time.  He jumped immediately off the table, he missed an easy weave entry, he ran past jumps.  Then, after he finished, he left the ring without me to go find his dad.  It was awful.  I had to be stern with him to get him to wait long enough to put his collar on.   So...his contacts did look excellent, but that was about the only thing that went right on this course.  Sigh.  Maybe next time.
     This last run was so frustrating because I don't know how to practice it.  Dave comes to our classes regularly and Jonah never even notices.  Yet at trials he can't seem to focus if Dave is anywhere in the room.  The only way to practice is to have Dave at trials, which then means we don't do well.  It's not a great situation.  I'll have to think more about options, but for now I'm frustrated.  At least we had the awesome gamblers run!

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