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.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Relaxing At Home

Agility training and trials have been slow goings for us, so not much to talk about training or trial-wise, so I thought I'd share a few photos of the girls just relaxing at home.

(Dally would be so embarrassed if she found out this photo of her in an inappropriate position was streaming the inter-webs.)

One of the rare times LaMesa has sat still long enough for me to get a good photo of her!

This was the girls' Valentine's Day photo. 
Dally: "Appy Dal-entine's Day!" 
LaMesa: "Happy Valhund-entine's Day!"

We return to action this weekend in Ohio, so we'll have updates from there!!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Stop the Action! (Photos from 2011)

I finally got some new photos of the girls from one of our Fall 2011 trials. I'll post a few at a time, but they turned out so good! (I'm very thankful for the gift certificate for Paw Prints Photos that I won at the Queen City Dog Training Club--it's way too expensive for me to order photos at trials most of the time!)

Our routine before every run for LaMesa: Kiss on the nose, sit, give paw, and stay until I say "OK!"

I love how Dally's stump hairs are flying! She loves running at Queen City and always gets lots of PACH points there!

Can you tell how much LaMesa loves doing agility?? This is actually one of the best jumping shots I've seen of her because she's not flailing out her hind legs and over-jumping. 

And down goes the Corgi!!! This was towards the end of a Standard run, so she was really booking it down the A-frame!

More photos to come soon, I promise!!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

A Milestone for LaMesa

This past weekend the Stump Kids ventured south to Franklin, Tenn., for an agility trial with the Nashville Dog Training Club. It was our first trial in more than six weeks (which was perfect timing for LaMesa to be spayed in December), and we hadn't done much training, so I was excited to see how they'd fair.

Dally started us off with a rather slow Excellent Standard run that resulted in a Q and a handful of PACH points. I'm not quite sure what her deal was, but this was her only Q the entire weekend due to slow times. Her Excellent Jumpers run saw her over time by a couple of seconds, and the same with her runs on Sunday. It was very odd because normally coming off of a layoff from agility she's always rearing to go. Plus, I had done our usual warm-ups and massages prior to the run and she seemed ready to go at the start line. This concerns me because of the AKC Nationals coming up and I want her to be at her best in Reno. I don't know if it's because of the dirt flooring (which she normally has no problems with) or what. I wouldn't think it was her conditioning because we've been going for longer walks (on black top and through the grass/brush at the park) and working on a stability ball for core strength (thanks, Merinda! [More on this in a later post, I hope.]). Whatever the reason, I'm hoping she'll be back to her old self at the next trial in February, where we will once again be running in a horse arena on dirt (exactly like in Reno).

LaMesa, on the other hand, was a rock star over the weekend! I was so proud of her! She started her weekend off with a smooth, clean run in Open Jumpers for second place and her second leg. It was also her first ever 100 score since we've been competing! I was a little concerned going into the weekend with her weaves because at home she started popping out at the ninth pole when she was on my right side. All this weekend, though, she was on my right side and never popped out. (And she only missed one entry--coming out of a fast tunnel on Sunday, but it was after she had already knocked a bar in Open Jumpers for an NQ. Oh well.)

Then, hours later (many hours later), she amazed me in Open Standard with another clean run for another second place! This also finished up her Open Standard title to move her up to Excellent A. I didn't enter her in Standard on Sunday because I wasn't sure how the trial would move and I didn't want to make us stay later than needed. She'll make her Excellent A debut in February, where I hope she can finish her Open Jumpers title as well.

And did I mention that two years ago, this was the very first trial we had taken LaMesa to? I had just gotten her from her breeder, Debbie Tapp, the week prior and she made her first road trip with her big sister. Such fond memories...

Speaking of big sisters/brothers, my friend Merinda added a new furry pal to the pile in January. Porter (LaMesa and Dally's best friend) is a big brother now to Stout, a black brindle Cardigan puppy who is full of energy. You can follow her blog on the Brew Brothers and watch Stout grow up into what I'm sure will be a very active and happy boy! (I've got a cute video of LaMesa and Stout playing that I'll try to figure out how to embed directly into the blog, instead of linking to YouTube.)