Friday, June 15, 2012

Successful Return to the Agility Ring

A happy Vallhund having the time of her life at Buckner.

So the last blog post I wrote I talked about our return to the agility ring after a little hiatus. Then I took a hiatus from blogging—sorry!

Our runs at Hamilton were great—Dally went 4-for-4 (two QQs for #11 and #12) and 53 PACH points! She also finished her MXP2 (interestingly, she finished her MXP at the Fall Hamilton trial in September—nice, huh?)! I was happy with her runs and she thoroughly enjoyed her return to the ring, which is exactly what I was hoping for.

LaMesa’s runs were great, considering it was her first full weekend in Excellent A Standard and Jumpers. We had a couple of bobbles—mostly missed weave pole entries. So needless to say, that’s something we worked on a lot since then.

Then a couple of weeks later, we headed to Buckner, Ky., in hopes of more QQs for Dally and a Q for LaMesa.

Dally’s funny because it’s like she knows just when I need to be humbled. Every once in a while, when I know that Dally’s feeling good and we’ve been successful lately, I only think about the points (one of the disadvantages of focusing on qualifying for Nationals). We ended up going 2-for-4 on the weekend, with the two NQs being near-misses because of little things. In Saturday’s Standard run, we were running so fast I didn’t support a double leading up to the A-frame and she ran right by it (21 points missed out there, but I was so happy she was happy to run). We qualified in Jumpers later in the day with 9 points and second place. Then on Sunday, I made sure to support everything in Standard and we qualified with another smoking run of 20 points! Then just as I was thinking about getting QQ #13, in Jumpers, Dally skipped past the 9th weave pole (the second-to-last obstacle in a trying course). It could have been an 11 point run, but that’s OK. I was still smiling as we crossed the last jump.

LaMesa was the rock star of the weekend! No, we didn’t get a single Q, but she showed so much potential and so much happiness in our runs! Each missed Q was just one little bobble—a pop out of the weaves due to being distracted by duct tape, a knocked bar on an otherwise clean run, etc. The funniest run was our last Jumpers run. It was a trying course with 180s, figure 8s, etc., but she stuck with me through the whole thing. However, in the 180, she reminded me of her athleticism. After I sent her over the first jump, I pushed her out to come back around for the second…as she was committed to that jump, I started my front cross to move forward (as I’ve been trained). LaMesa saw me moving on and, as she was lifting up for the jump, she moved her body to miss the jump, but sail over the cone! I started laughing and we continued on to finish the course clean.

I was proud of myself through the weekend because I kept the runs fun for both girls. Because of my extreme competitiveness, I usually try to train on the courses if we mess up and are already NQd. But I’ve learned that this stresses the dogs and makes the events no fun—which can be discouraging down the road. So even if we made an error (whether it was my error or theirs), I moved on (save for one re-try on the weaves with LaMesa after she first noticed the duct tape) and we ran and celebrated. And you know what? It was a fun weekend!

This weekend we head to Queen City. I’m itching for the last two QQs needed for Dally’s 2013 Nationals qualifications (though we’re stuck at needing 242 points to hit 400) so maybe I can get that out of my mind. So far we need eight more QQs and 306 points for our PACH (just eight more QQs for our PAX). With LaMesa, I feel our time coming—we’re so close to a perfect 100 and our first Excellent Q.

I’ll do better at updating later!