Tuesday, May 27, 2014
Yesterday we left home at the buttcrack of dawn (that would be 4:38 a.m.) to drive over to Sheboygan for some AKC fun. I entered this trial more or less at the last minute after the trial secretary posted that they still had openings. It's been a nice, cool spring, so I thought we'd take a chance on some possible rain and do some agility outside. Because at least it would be cool, right?
Or not. It was freaking hot! Hot AND steamy, because it started raining as we were walking the first course of the day. It stopped before we started running (except for the brief, tiny shower that started right before Secret ran), which more or less just made it super humid and gross.
That said, this trial site was perfect! We truly had the best of all worlds, as we got to run in some really lovely outdoor grass rings and the dogs got to spend their day in the comfort of the air conditioning in their lovely indoor arena. We would gladly go back to Sheboygan Dog Training Club in the future! It really was a beautiful site. The roads on the majority of the drive were crappy and bumpy, but the 3 hour and 10 minute drive really wasn't that bad. And the trial didn't start until 8:30 -- that extra half hour was pretty much the deciding factor between me driving over the day of vs the night before.
Now.... I can not grumble about the courses because I knew full well the style of this judge going into this. His courses are about as vanilla as vanilla can get. We ran in Karl's JWW ring in Cannon Falls and it was the course I likened to a NADAC Open Jumpers course with a set of weaves thrown in. But whatever, we were just going to have a fun day of playing agility outside. The biggest surprise was the spacing. It felt like I was walking a teacup course. The bars were already set at 24" when I walked it so I didn't stride it out like I normally would, but it was tight. I don't think Secret minds that, though. The short spacing tends to work well for her.
Secret did well on this course. As I mentioned above, we had a quick little shower right before going into the ring. All this really did was make things slick for us. I think it was the landing of the triple where she fell onto her shoulder, but she picked herself up and kept going. I used all blinds in this run. Her weaves started out a little cautious but then picked up speed nicely. Secret got 3rd place, 9 speed points and her MXJ on this run!
Kaiser seemed happy to be running outside! I always feel like he jumps better in natural lighting and he did really well yesterday. I got in all fronts with him except where I threw in the blind between 14 & 15 (with nothing else in the path I figured it was safe!). Kaiser won his class (and there was actual competition this time!) and got 17 speed points.
I was concerned about the start of this course for Secret because it didn't allow for much, if any, movement on my part. She did well with it, though, and was running very happy through the first part of this course. I picked her up on my right out of the #9 tunnel, which was my original plan, but it was solidified when I saw dog after dog going to the a-frame instead of the table when the dog was on the left. I raced her off the table to squeeze in a blind cross before the teeter. This was a risk, because the off course jump was only a short 6 strides from jump 14.
Secret had a great teeter and moved off confidently over the triple and through the tire. She hit her weave entry and then got a totally blank look on her face as she veered off towards the fence to her right. There was a peanut gallery sitting just outside the fence, but I can't imagine that would be that much of a distraction. Watching the runs in the Std ring, I would venture to say that AT LEAST 50% of the dogs were faulting at the weaves yesterday. There is absolutely no reason for it that I can see so far as course design goes. It was a very straightforward entry. And it wasn't even the entries that were getting dogs. Many were getting pulled out by something after they were already in. Someone suggested maybe it was the breeze coming in from that direction. I have absolutely no idea, but it was the oddest thing.
So of course I had a complex when it came time to run Kaiser. His run started great, too, and he got his table!! Yay! That is always reason to celebrate! I was waffling back and forth on whether or not to push for a front before the teeter or to hold back and cross him on the exit (which I knew he wouldn't really like). I got enough of a head-start off the table that I was able to get there in time for the front. Kaiser hit his weaves and stayed in them, so I figured we should be home free. I *may* have took off for the finish jump a stride too early, but Kaiser is not known for leaving his weaves early. But he did, at pole 10, and that was that. We became one of the 50%+ who faulted at the weaves.
We were completely done, packed up and on the road by 11:45 a.m.! It's probably a little insane to drive almost 6.5 hours for a trial that lasts just over 3 hours. Oh well, it was fun! And we got home just after 3:00, which meant we still had plenty of time to go swimming. By the way, I do not suggest walking 1 mile each way in flip-flops... The dogs did not understand my need to walk slower than usual. It was the perfect day for a swim, though, and everyone enjoyed themselves. And Secret managed to completely destroy the new Chuck-It bumper that I *just* got (this was its 2nd trip to the river). Sigh. That was the last one available at Petco, too, so hopefully we get a new shipment in soon. I work tonight, so I'll have to look for a replacement. Because lord knows Secret isn't going to chase a boring old tennis ball into the river...
I sent in entries to the AKC trial at Think Pawsitive for the 4th of July weekend (to run Friday/Saturday). We don't have any more AKC planned until then, unfortunately. The only thing we have in June is NADAC in La Crosse, so odds are high that everyone will get to play a bit that weekend. Maybe even Kizzy, we'll have to see how adventurous I'm feeling.