Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Fun Weekend at Springfield

This past weekend, the Stump Kids and I traveled with the Brews Brothers and Merinda to Springfield, Ohio, for what I had hoped would be a better weekend of agility than in Tennessee last month. Well, it turned out better for Dally, but not so good for Mesa.

So, we'll start with LaMesa first.

LaMesa went 0-for-4 on the weekend, but she has proven that she's come a long way from where she was in 2011. She made her debut in Excellent A Standard with clean runs...minus one bobble from me and missed weaves the whole weekend. The weaves were our nemisis the entire weekend for LaMesa--I don't know what that was all about because she nailed them in the back yard every time we've worked on them and she nailed them in Nashville last month. We could nail a clean set of weave poles to save our lives, well, except for our Open JWW run on Sunday, but we had already blown our one refusal allotment on a missed out signal by me (note to self: keep that darn arm out until she commits!) and had an extra refusal on the weaves before she nailed them.

But, on a positive note, LaMesa handled very difficult courses very well and she didn't knock a single bar! The Excellent Standard courses had a lot of twists and discriminations, and she handled them beautifully! Check out her runs: Saturday and Sunday Her Open JWW run on Saturday

So now we're working on weave poles (which she nailed 95% of her weaves last night in the back yard, of course) and trying to figure out why she tires out towards the end of her runs. She is in great shape, so I'm thinking it's mental exhaustion from excitement and lots of thinking...hopefully this will change as she matures in the agility ring.

And, yes, I am learning to not correct my own errors in the ring with Mesa--let's just go and have fun right now, the clean runs will come! I am still very proud of how she handled the courses and how far she is coming. She's a lot of fun to run, but I still have to remember she's still very green and she's a different dog than Dally.

As far as Dally is concerned, she definitely redeemed herself from her slow, worrisome runs at Nashville when she qualified only once just because of her slow times. We came out of the Champions Center with 40 PACH points, QQ #11 and an Excellent Standard Q, and three first places!

Saturday she was turning and burning through the courses. I even found myself running out of breath cheering her on through the weaves through each run because we were going much faster than I thought we would. Saturday's Standard run was great--fast weaves, fast climbs on the A-frame and dog walk, and a fast teeter! (And we all know I've been having problems with her dog walks and teeters.) We finished 11 seconds under standard course time.

Her Jumpers run on Saturday was a lot of fun--we were the very last team to run that day (the standard ring was empty and most the building was empty), so my friends were awesome in cheering us on through the course. I think Dally even got a kick out of the cheers and kicked it into another gear! See for yourself.

Sunday she was still riled up and finished her Standard run 17 seconds under standard course time! (No video as the rest of the Posse were already walking the jumpers course for 12-4", I kid you not, but you get the gist of the course by watching LaMesa's Sunday run.) She handled everything very well, with the tight 180 and the tunnel/dog walk discrimination.

Her Jumpers run, however, wasn't a big success as far as Qs go, but it was a lot of fun. For some reason, on a fast, tricky, but fun course, Dally decided to come out of the weaves at 10. I was shocked that it happened, so I stood up for a moment and then decided, OK, fine, you don't want to weave, we're gonna run! And run we did! I just took off through the rest of the course and made her chase me, just to see how fast she could run it. She did great, only bypassing two jumps after my front cross (little turd!!). Everyone was amazed at how fast she could really run. It was a lot of fun, and we celebrated with the tennie afterwards because....well, why not!? She ran fast, she had fun, agility's supposed to be fun, right??

After this weekend I feel more confident about Nationals than I did a month ago. We have one more trial (one day in Louisville) and a couple of weeks of regular classes before Nationals (countdown is on: I'll be flying to Reno exactly a month from today, and hopefully by then she'll have arrived with the rest of the gang). Until then we're going to continue working on conditioning, with a few weave pole exercises thrown in for good measure.

By the way, there is a great photo from the photographer at the trial that shows how much fun Dally was having this weekend. And a fun photo of LaMesa from the same jump that I just might have to order.

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