Sunday, June 17, 2012

Nationals--The Beginning

Well, we're home from nationals and I'm exhausted.  Here's a brief look at how things went:

Thursday we left midday and made the trek out to Altamont, NY.  The puppy rode beautifully in the car, and we set up our campsite with no trouble.  That night I walked Jonah around all the rings just to get him used to the area a little bit.  He seemed very relaxed and happy.  There was a lot of noise in the campground so we got to bed late, but I was feeling great.

Friday morning dawned early (check-in was 6:30), and I headed up to get my maps.  They didn't look bad.  Standard was especially easy looking.  The briefing seemed to take forever, but I finally got to walk my course and watch some dogs before going to get Jonah.

Round 1:  Wildcard Level 5
     This was not a pretty wildcard course.  The opening line was a straight line across the diagonal of the ring, with weave poles on either side of that jump line.  You started at one corner, ran across the ring, changed directions in the tunnel, and then came flying back down that line.  The weave poles were the "B" obstacles, while the tire in the middle between them was the "A".  The other A/B choice was a teeter or a double jump.  The approach to the teeter was nasty--you had to wrap a jump, go straight back about 10 feet and still have a 90 degree entrance to the teeter.  I took one look at that and thought it was too demotivating.  Jonah's not fast on the teeter anyway, so I went for the weave poles.  He started out well, and got the first weave poles nicely.  Then, coming out of the tunnel I was late with a FC and I don't think he could see the weave poles early enough.  He missed the entry and got a little flustered.  We got them done, though.  Then we were jumping the line towards Dave and Jonah got a little distracted, slowed down, but still finished the course alright.  Since it's a game, we weren't faulted for the weaves.  He was less than 1 second under SCT, which is very unusual for us.  So, it wasn't pretty, but we got the Q.

Round 2:  Standard Level 4
     This course was really really good looking on paper.  I was so excited to run it!  Yet, Jonah didn't get excited at the start line.  I kept trying to rev him up but he wasn't having it.  We went on ahead and he started alright but slow.  Then, 6 or so obstacles in there was a nice bending line of jumps near the scorers table, and he got distracted and ran past the tire.  I got him back going, and then was hoping the dw would get him going again.  Nope.  He trotted nervously across it.  His A-frame did look nice a few obstacles later, but then he ran past another jump.  We fixed it and then finished up the course.  He did speed up for the closing line.  This time we were 3 seconds under SCT with another messy Q.

Round 3:  Fullhouse Level 5
     Since he was being sticky, I planned the most wide open, running and flowing course I could find.  It wasn't a high point course--there were lots of jumps in it that are only worth one point.  It did its job, though.  He started a little distracted again, but then he really picked it up!  He was moving very well and finished the course quickly.  It wasn't enough points for us to place, but it was a Q I was really proud of.

Friday night we all slept very well.  Not our best work, but 3/3 Qs at nationals ain't bad.

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