Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter from The Stump Kids

The Stump Kids celebrated Easter with a quick walk around the University of Kentucky Arboretum--I ran a very hilly half-marathon yesterday so I needed to shake out the legs and they wanted out and about.

Afterwards, they got to see what the Easter Bunny (or "Easter Hundy" as LaMesa calls him) brought them: Some "Bunny Ears" (OK, they're really pig ears, but don't tell them that):

Then apparently LaMesa wanted some of the chocolate Matt got me because she was caught red-pawed in the middle of opening up a Reese Peanut Butter Egg.

"I don't know who would do such a thing, mom!"
Luckily we stopped her before we had a repeat of Halloween 2011 (where she ate 8 fun sized Snickers bars, with no upset stomach afterwards).

Hope your pups enjoyed the holiday!!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

2013 AKC Nationals Part 4: Hybrid & A Little Disappointment

Sunday dawned a little earlier than the past few days--the walk thrus were starting at 6:30 instead of 7:30. We had the Hybrid round to go before it was determined who was going to the Finals and who would be battling it out in Challengers for a spot in the Finals. Dally and I were sitting 10th--a great spot to make a repeat trip to Challengers.

The course opened up a little difficult if you have a dog who is slow to start, like Dally is. There were a couple of ways to work the opening, and I guess I chose the wrong one. After the first jump Dally stopped to sniff and wondered past the plane of the second jump, which garnered a refusal. After that bobble we actually turned it on and ran a decent course. There was a tight flip off the double into the weaves that could have been handled with a rear cross on the flat after the double (which Dally isn't a rear-crossing dog) or a post turn. I chose the post turn and hoped for a tight turn...Dally gave me that tight turn, but I might have made my move too early, which caused a knocked bar.

We were knocked out of contention for the Challengers Round--finishing with a score of a 290 (out of 300) and in 18th place (out of 35) in the 4-inches Preferred. I was frustrated with myself because I realized, after the fact, that this was the same opening we had on the Challengers Round last year when Dally and I made it, and the same thing happened because of how I handled it. If I had done my front cross between jumps one and two, she most likely wouldn't have stopped to sniff (which, by the way, is the first time she's ever done something like that, ever). And the dropped bar...well, I could have probably tried to not go so tight on the turn, or maybe it was just one of those times she jumped awkwardly.

Judge for yourself:

But, I'm proud of my little Corgi. We've come a long way. This was the same weekend, five years ago, that started our competition career in agility. Five years ago, if you had told me we would have qualified, and competed, at the AKC National Agility Championships not just once, but twice, I wouldn't have believed you. If you had told me five years ago that we would have earned our Agility Championship, I wouldn't have believed you. I've had people tell me, "She's not an agility championship caliber dog..." And yet, she really is!

Dally has done more for me than I could ever have imagined, considering I found her litter for sale in the Indianapolis Star want ads and I saw her come tumbling out of a barn stall with the rest of her brothers and litters.

So what if I didn't accomplish my goal of going a perfect 3-for-3 and getting back into the Challengers Round? A fellow competitor reminded me that she has competed at Nationals many times and has yet to qualify for Challengers, and I did it last year in my first trip! And, we came out the best of the rest of the Posse with two clean rounds. We live to see another trial another weekend.

I've been asked if this was Dally's last Nationals. I'm not going to say yes, or no. Quite frankly, I wasn't sure we'd qualify for this year, and we did. I know the qualifications have become tougher, yet again, and I'm not aiming to trial a whole bunch to try to get those points and Qs. I want to focus on LaMesa and her training--we're starting to finally click and come together, and it's time to put energy towards her. Dally will still be competing, possibly making a run at PACH2 (we have a while before we're even close, though). So, we'll see.

I'm proud of how our weekend ended up. I'm done being disappointed in myself. Time to move on and enjoy my time with both of my girls in the agility ring!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

2013 AKC Nationals Part 3: Rounds 1 & 2

Quick update: Dally and I made it back to Lexington Monday evening. It was a long drive, but Merinda was a great driver. I'll be finishing up our wrap-up throughout the week, along with a write-up for The Daily Corgi.

Saturday dawned early and already warm--in the 60s! It was definitely different from how things were back in Lexington! We arrived at the Expo Center in time to grab our course maps and head over to the Mustang Arena, where both our runs for the day were going to be held. The day before we had watched our friend Camille run her Papillon, Gus, run in the same arena and the birds were swooping in and out of the rings, so I knew we had to be careful with those distractions. 

Jumpers was first. I thought I had Dally all riled up and ready to run in the course, but she started off a little slow. It was a winding course, but she stayed with me and only looked over at the birds once. She even handled a back jump like a pro (I'm so glad I had been working her on those in practice!). I had walked it with the hope of using some blind crosses, but I was worried that she might take that opportunity to chase the birds, so I stuck with all front crosses, and it still worked out pretty well:

First round--Clean!

Just a few hours later we were preparing for our Standard run. This was one course that I definitely needed her to listen to me. There were quite a few 180s and some off-course chances. Again she was a little slow, but for once I was alright with that because I wanted her to stick by me and listen. I wasn't planning anything fancy, I just wanted to try to give her the best shots for each obstacle as possible.

Second round--Clean!

We ended the day in 10th place overall. I was very happy with both of our runs. The rest of the Small Dog Posse had some little issues here and there, so we were leading the crew and doing our best to represent.

Our two clean round ribbons from Saturday.

The evening was spent relaxing and an early bedtime--we had a very early morning on Sunday for Hybrid!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

2013 AKC Nationals Part 2: Arrival & Warm-Up

Thursday Dally, Porter, Merinda, and I had a relaxing morning that started with breakfast, then a quick trip to Fort Leonard Wood base to salute the troops, and get a few photos. Then we were off to finish our trip west towards Tulsa!

Saluting the troops at Fort Leonard Wood in St. Robert, Mo.

And no trip to Tulsa is complete without stopping at the "World's Largest McDonald's" and taking a photo with Will Rogers in Vinita, Okla.
Did somebody say "French fries"??

Finally, we arrived at the Tulsa Expo Center and set up our stalls: 1 for the dogs, and 1 for the humans. After check-in, we looked around the venders before getting settled in our hotels--we'd have plenty of time to shop and take more photos later.

Friday was another laid back day for the Corgi Crew--Dally and Porter were just doing the Warm-Up Standard run, which didn't count for anything, but it was good to get them out on the equipment and in the rings to get a feel for everything. Dally's run was a little wide, but I was happy with what she did. You can watch the video here.

Then we took the time to take some more photos at the facility, as well as meeting up with the majority of the other Corgis competing at Nationals for a big photo.
A flower pot o'Corgis!

This is the main arena, where three of the rings are.

There are lots of Corgis (Pembroke and Cardigan) competing here in Tulsa!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

2013 AKC Nationals: Part 1 St. Louis

The first part of our trek was a relaxed one. After Dally had her chiropractor appointment, Merinda, Porter, Dally, and I were on the road headed west. We were only going to drive about 6 hours to St. Roberts, Missouri, for the first part of our trip, so we took it easy. We decided to stop in St. Louis for a photo opportunity at the Gateway Arch and the Mississippi River.

Here are a couple of our favorite shots:

Looking so regal

The Mississippi River and the Casino Queen in the background.
Dally and Porter are so famous, park rangers ask for their photo!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Packing It Up, Heading West

This weekend was all about enjoying the hint of Spring that hit us. After my long training run (part 10-mile race, part 5K warm-up to get 13 miles), I took the Stump Kids to a show 'n go at Goose Creek. The one bad thing about the show 'n go was how close it was from the end of my race (I was heading back to the car at 11, the show 'n go was at noon). 

The show 'n go had three nested courses, and I, of course, had to start walking one of the harder ones first. And, of course, I quickly realized that I did not have enough legs left to keep up with LaMesa, who was loving the beautiful weather and chock full o' energy. And she was so off the grid, I couldn't get her to keep her start line stay long enough for me to get to a comfortable spot to start the runs. It made me realize that if I'm not running with her, our timing is off, which means knocked bars and not-so-tight turns. Needless to say, our first course was a disaster. But our second one, which was the easiest one, turned out better (she was a little worn out).

For Dally, it was my chance to do a couple last minute tune-ups on the weaves, teeter, tight turns, etc., in preparation for Nationals. Thankfully (or maybe, not thankfully?) I had enough legs to keep up with her better than LaMesa, so we were able to have clean runs. She ran happy, was fast in her weaves, and listened well, so that's all I can ask for right now.

Sunday Matt and I took them to go walking around Keeneland Race Course, where we could turn them loose and they could just trot or run beside us, take in the new smells, and burn some energy. We threw the tennie a few times, since we had lots of space and they loved it. It was definitely a great way to work out some pre-Nationals jitters and get some fresh air. 

I think they enjoyed it:

LaMesa tends to be like Matt's little shadow.

Can't you just here the, "Zzzzzooooooooooooomm!!!!!" as she sprints by?

Now we're all about washing last minute items, starting to gather snacks, and putting together packing lists for Dally and myself. We're loading up Merinda's car and heading to Tulsa Wednesday afternoon, after Dally's chiropractor appointment. We'll be driving part-way and staying in Missouri that night and then finishing the trip Thursday. 

Don't worry, we'll be blogging, tweeting, and Instagramming from Tulsa. Be sure to follow!!

Twitter: @TheStumpKids
Instagram: MLA317

Friday, March 8, 2013

Dally on the Daily Corgi!

Be sure to head on over to The Daily Corgi to read Dally and Porter's preview for the AKC National Agility Championships! I'm working with Laurie to do updates during Nationals and hope to try to get some other Corgi teams featured.

Right now we're doing some last minute "Corgi Conditioning" with long walks/runs in the park after work. Tomorrow we have a show 'n go at Sandra's (after I run 13 miles, of course) and then I'll start getting things together for our trip West. Dally, Porter, Merinda, and I will be headed to Tulsa Wednesday. I'll try to do a better update this weekend, but I'll definitely be blogging, tweeting, and Instagramming from Tulsa!

Dally competing at AKC Nationals in Reno, Nev., last year.