Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Agility Weekend Recap!!

As I mentioned, we had a really great weekend up in Elma, WA for the CPE agility trial! They were also some pretty long days. And because I'm so brilliant, I chose to drive back and forth both day. I won't be doing that again. We'll stay in a hotel next time! I can usually make the drive in around 2 hours with minimal traffic and good weather. Unfortunately it poured and was windy for a lot of the drive. This helped to make for some long days! We were leaving the house by 5 am both days. Saturday night we got home a little after 10 pm (it was also a full trial with only one ring) and Sunday we got home around 9:30pm. Loooooooooooooooong days! But Heffner was a trooper! Unfortunately I didn't manage to get any video. I brought my camera and had a few friends there, but when it was getting close to our runs, I just wasn't paying enough attention to remember to ask someone to video for us. I will make sure to rectify that next time! We had some nice runs too! And at least one that I'm sure was pretty entertaining.
First up on Saturday was Fullhouse with all levels running the same course. I picked a nice flowing route that worked well for us. However, I underestimated my dog. I had the perfect route planned with EXACTLY the number of points that we needed to qualify. That's the first warning flag. While walking the course I planned on taking the A-frame that's over the tunnel. While running the course, I assumed that there just wasn't any way that Heffner would choose a tunnel over the A-frame and kind of half-assed my commands and didn't support my dog. Who then chose to take the tunnel. Unfortunately the buzzer went off before I could scramble and get those two remaining points. We missed qualifying by two points. What's the point difference between the A-frame and the tunnel? That'd be 2 points. D'oh! Otherwise, he was running really well and I was pleased.:o)
Next up was Standard. It was a nice course that I didn't really anticipate having any problems with as long as I got myself into the right positions. Thankfully I held up my part of the bargain and Heffner happily cruised his way to a qualifying run, taking first place!
Next up was Jackpot! And it was a fun nontraditional course! I can say that with enthusiasm because we're still at the lower levels and don't need to accrue quite as many points as the upper levels do. As long as the handler stayed within the box, all obstacles were worth double points. With a 10 point bonus if you could send your dog out to the table from within the box. I just basically planned to hop into the box and stay there running Heffner around the outside until we accrued enough points. And that's just what we did! I tried a send to the weave poles from within the box, but it was still a little further out than we've worked on so far. Otherwise he nailed everything else. I didn't properly set up our send to the table and didn't build up enough momentum with him for him to go charging past me to hit his favorite obstacle to jump on. So I had to step outside of the box to get him on the table. But we had a lovely qualifying run and took another first place!
Our final runs of the day were Colors and Snooker. Colors was another lovely course that we sailed through with a Q and another 1st place! Not much to say about that. Just a nice course. I could ask for a few less tunnels, but Heffner was hitting those tunnels at full speed and not shaking it off after emerging. I'll take that as a thumbs up that he's doing fine. He also got rubbed down in between runs, which probably helped.

Snooker was the last course we ran and was raring to go. Not only because I wanted to get headed home, but because I felt that I had a plan that would work out nicely. My plan was to accrue a little over the minimum amount of points that I needed so that I could avoid the two tunnel combo at the end of the sequence. Once we had enough points, Heffner and I cut loose for the table! Another qualifying run and another first place!

I think that Heffner was really enjoying the games courses this past weekend. I was having fun making things up and racing him to the table and I know that he had to be feeding off of that. When mom is happy and out there having fun running around with him, he's a happy boy.:o)

Sunday morning came all too early and we loaded up for the second day of the trial. It didn't rain too hard on our way up, so we made pretty good time.
First run of the morning was Jackpot and I was again excited to go! The send portion was definitely doable as long as I maintained momentum and I knew that we could get the opening points. As we were finishing up our opening section waiting for the buzzer to go off so that we could do the jackpot (this was a traditional Jackpot and we needed to wait for the closing buzzer to attempt it), the timers started yelling out something about the time and we were just waved on to do the jackpot. So we did, and nailed it!! Once we were done, I learned that there was a problem with the timer and it hadn't actually started. Our judge (one of my favorite CPE judges, Cheryl Huffman) had them keep the points we earned for the jackpot, but asked us to redo the opening. I was more than happy to do that. Heffner was still up for it and seemed happy that we got to play more on the course. We ended up accruing more points the second time around and nailed back to back weaves! We started off the morning with a lovely qualifying run and a first place finish.:o)
Next up was Standard. We had kind of an off run. It was decent, but Heffner just seemed a little off and knocked two bars. We're only allowed one knocked bar for Standard, so no Q there. He got some extra stretching out time and neck rubs after that run because I was a little concerned that maybe he was feeling a little stiff. We had some time before our next run, so we both dozed inside while the other levels run and the courses were changed around.
Next up was Wildcard. I had a plan for avoiding as many tunnels as I possibly could. Unfortunately, the requirements for the course were such that I couldn't avoid doing at least one. But if I could pull Heffner off the tire and get him to take the left jump instead of the right jump that was RIGHT in front of the tire, we would only have to take one tunnel. You probably already guessed it. He took the right jump and we had to do two tunnels. But he did great and thankfully I had planned for the possibility that that would happen and was able to switch gears. I've had problems with that in the past and thanks to me, we've missed out on qualifying. This time though, we qualified and took first place!
The last runs of the day were Snooker and Jumpers. First up was Snooker. As long as we kept our reds up, I had plotted a course to get us our points and avoid as many tunnels as possible. And we did it! As soon as we got our last points, it was time for Heffner and I to race towards the table! He was all too happy to sprint with me (okay, so it was mostly ME sprinting) across the ring toward the table to end the time. We qualified, but took second place.

Final run of the day was Jumpers. At this point, I could tell that Heffner was starting to get tired. And I couldn't blame him, I was pretty beat as well. The Jumpers course was another nice course and I didn't see to many problems. We sailed through it with a clean, qualifying run and took second place.

Aside from being minus one dog, it was a great weekend and I am uber proud of how well Heffner did. It just all came together and he was really synced in with me. It was a great feeling and I am really hoping that it continues!


Laura, Lance, and Vito said...

What a fantastic trial! That first jackpot looks really fun! It's too bad you didn't get any video of the runs I would have loved to see him having fun out there

Amy / Layla the Malamute said...

Awesome trial! Thanks so much for posting the course maps. A lot of people where we train do CPE but their descriptions were a little confusing. Seeing the maps make it easier to understand. I'd like to try it next time it's in the area. The courses look like they have a really nice flow to them!