Our first run of the day today was Open FAST. It didn't look too terribly bad, but I also wasn't going to really push anything in the hopes of qualifying. I do have to admit that I went into not as focused as I probably should have been and the send portion got botched. Though I have a feeling that it was kind of a sign of Heffner getting tired of the tunnels. He nailed the first jump and then hesitated and went wide of the tunnel entrance. I just continued on after that and let him run around a bit. No Q.
Next up was Excellent Standard. It was actually a pretty nice course. I like this judge to begin with and out of the two this weekend, she is far and away the better course designer. I'll get into that when I get to the JWW course. Unfortunately on this course, Heffner and I were both having an off day. My handling was lacking and bit late in a couple of areas. He didn't complete his weaves. And the final indication that Heffner has already had enough tunnels for the weekend was on the final tunnel when he refused the entrance and went around the outside of the tunnel. I took the hint, thanked the judge, and we headed out. For some dogs that might have garnered a time out or some sort of indication that what they had done wasn't okay. For Heffner, that was his subtle way of letting me know that he wasn't feeling it. Fair enough. He got loved on outside the ring by Kennedy and Rachel and that made him pretty happy.:0)
Our final run was Open JWW. Before we even got to the fairgrounds today, I had a bad feeling about how the JWW course was going to look just based on how this judge did the Standard course yesterday. I was not disappointed, unfortunately. When I picked up the Open map and looked at it, to be honest, I was annoyed. If you need to, click on the map to biggify. Do you notice how many times it is advisable to change sides? Do you see much in the way of flow? Especially compared to yesterday's course, this course is just stilted. I will admit that it ran slightly better than it looked on paper, but still, that's a bit much. But it gets better. Hopefully Kennedy will post an image of the Excellent course. I figured that if Open looked like this, Excellent was going to be really ugly. And it was. For someone who is just trying to finish a title, it would be annoying. For someone who is trying to get MACH points and those necessary double Q's, it's just not cool. There was LOT of grumbling about the jumpers course from a lot of people. Quite a few who were stating that the judge making up these courses most likely wouldn't run under a judge who did the same (she happens to be someone local, who also competes locally). I'm not saying that the courses should be easy so that qualifying is a gimme, however, this is AKC, NOT USDAA or one of the international style courses. Enough on that rant.
I walked the course and felt like I had a good grasp on what I needed to do. Heffner was the first dog on the course and we were ready to go. After a lovely start line stay and first couple of jumps, I basically got lost. Heffner can run pretty well as long as I'm confident in what I'm doing. When I'm running a course by looking at the cone numbers, it's understandable that it's a little hard on him. We did make it through. There was one knocked bar and a the weave poles were not completed correctly, but I didn't care and continued on. The tunnel at the end was the most painful. He was so slow going in that I felt pretty bad. I threw a little party once he got out of the tunnel and then we made it over the last jump. The ending was quite nice. It's all that stuff in the middle that didn't work out so well.