This weekend found the Stump Kids and me in Springfield, Ohio, at the Gem City AKC Agility Trial playing in the dirt at the Champions Center. It was two days of lots of dust and dirt, with some chilly breezes outside. The arena's heated (thankfully), but the crating area was still a little chilly, which meant the dogs all felt good when it was finally their time to run.
The trial was running tall to small, so Jodi and I headed up Saturday morning. We took our time, but apparently we didn't take enough time, because when we showed up at 10:30, the 20-inch dogs were still walking the course! Needless to say, it was a long day--I didn't get to do my first run with LaMesa until 2:30 on Saturday.
The one thing I hate about this trial is how it runs. One ring is always behind while the other is always ahead. Both Saturday and Sunday was a day of waiting, waiting, waiting, then hustle! I'd run LaMesa in Standard and watch my friends run 8-inches, then hurry to get Dally to run. After Dally's run I'd have to get her back to the crate quickly (no Corgi Cooldown) and hustle over to the Jumpers ring because they were walking the 12"-4" class while we were still finishing up in the Standard ring! So we'd be done within a couple of hours, after spending many hours waiting all day! Way too crazy.
Anyway, LaMesa's runs on Saturday weren't as good as I had hoped they'd be. I was still on a high from our weekend in Nashville, so I was hoping she'd repeat with solid weaves. Both runs saw her slipping in the loose dirt and coming out of the weaves. (She'd nail her entries, though.) Both times I stopped, froze, waited for her to offer the weaves, and then we'd start the weaves over, and she'd do all 12 just fine. So, no Qs on Saturday, but she handled things very well.
Sunday I made sure I decelerated more for her weaves in hopes she wouldn't slip/trip out of them like the previous day. We got our first Excellent Standard Q on a great run (and first place) with a 44.64/68! The second to last jump I heard her tick and I was afraid that meant the triple (last jump) was going to come down, but every jump stayed up!
In Jumpers, I ended up losing her behind me as she tried to go back to the weaves a second time (she was solid in them), but I called her back to me (no refusal) and sent her to the next jump. Unfortunately the next jump was the double, and her rhythm was off, so down came the jump. Otherwise, it was a great fast run, and I was happy with how she handled everything. It just goes to show that when you train weaves so much, they'll always want to go to them on the course! ;-)
Dally's weekend was one of mixed emotions as well. She Qd in Masters Standard on Saturday, but with a rather slow time, coming out with only 8 PACH points (she usually averages around 15 in Standard). I had to take her back to her crate quickly, which meant no cooldown or tennie toss (but I did give her some SPAM), so I could walk the Jumpers course. She must have not approved of that because when it came time for her to run in Jumpers, she walked out of the weaves. So, I sent her back in them again and after about 8 she just came out of them. I didn't know what else to do, so I just took off running and made her run. It was a great opportunity to work on some blind crosses, though, so I'll take that as a learning opportunity.
Sunday saw a faster Dally in Standard--she was rocking it and came out of the ring with 25 PACH points! She even weaved quickly and looked like she was having fun. This time I made sure to take a little extra time with her afterwards (but not too much, unfortunately) and let her eat some SPAM and get a little extra love before I had to put her in the crate and rush to walk Jumpers. I had hoped that'd fix everything, but in Jumpers she once again walked out of the weaves. I was at a point where I wasn't sure if I should put her back in the weaves, pick her up and walk out, or just run. I just ran and made her keep up with me.
If anyone knows my history with Dally and agility, it's been a long road to have her enjoy agility and to run happy. She's a soft dog (though that Corgi exterior tries to cover that), so it's a fine line to try to tell her she was wrong in what she did. I watched my videos--I didn't do anything out of the ordinary for her to come out of the weaves. If this wasn't our last trial before AKC Nationals, then I probably would have carried her out of the ring and hope that we could work through the problem at the next trial. But, we aren't going anywhere until we head West to Tulsa, so I wanted last experience in the ring to be a positive one. So from now until Nationals, I'm going to be doing a little more intensive training with her and hope she'll have her act together by the time we step in the ring. She was naughty at our last trial before Nationals last year and then made up for it in Reno, so let's hope she does the same this year...