Monday, April 26, 2010

Tournaments, bars, and "I hate Snooker!"

Driving to Salt Lake City for an outdoor trial in April? Am I crazy?

Well after a long drive in some scary weather, we arrived safely in Utah to enjoy a fun trial put on by a great club. We had perfect weather all weekend, and got to run challenging courses designed by one of my favorite judges.

I specifically travelled to this trial to hopefully earn a Grand Prix Q for the Rocky Mountain Regionals in June. We do not have many USDAA trials in Colorado and those GP Q's are hard.

Summit Q'd in Grand Prix with a 2nd place! Q'd in Steeplechase round 1 with a 2nd place! Q'd in Masters Standard with a 2nd place! Q'd in Relay (6th? our partner had two faults). and had the fastest time in Steeplechase finals, dropped a bar (more on that later), and still placed 5th. Gamblers was the last class on Sunday and since the gamble was not something I train my dogs to do, we decided to leave after Masters Standard and get over the pass before dark in case of another snow storm.

Summit earned his TM (Tournament Master) and SAM (Standard Agility Master) titles this weekend

He dropped only two bars the entire weekend. Saturday morning he dropped a bar in Jumpers. I wasn't surprised. It was the third bar at the beginning of the course that involved a 90 degree turn (pull) from a double. The grass was soaking wet from all the rain/snow the previous day and very thick. There were many bars coming down that morning.

The second bar was in the Steeplechase Finals on Sunday. I had rotated out of a front cross at the end of the weavepoles and flung my inside arm up in the air to cue the slightly off set jump and of course the bar came down. Breaking the flinging arm habit is obviously still a work in progress.

I was very aware of the timing and placement of my front crosses this weekend. I maintained eye contact, waited for my dog to commit to the jump before I started to rotate, I practiced rotating smoothly (no spin and go) and practiced PATIENCE. I got in several tough FC's this weekend (three FM FC's, and a FC landing side of a triple) without a single dropped bar. I think I am getting it! And Summit is obviously happy that I am finally getting it as he posted some VERY fast course times and the bars stayed up.

So he is now qualified to run in all three tournament classes at Regionals and is one GP leg away from being fully qualified for Nationals.

Sage was only entered in Jumpers Saturday morning (lovely run and a Q) and Snooker on Sunday. The Snooker course was tough to plan a flowing course and I knew that this was not going to be a course on which Sage could get a SQ. I planned a pretty tough strategy for Summit (and totally botched it) and so both Sage and Summit had ZERO points in Snooker. Both dogs took the same wrong course tunnel instead of the last jump of the 7-point combo (jump, weaves, jump). Of course, my lateral motion pushing out of the weaves cued the tunnel not the jump. I almost scratched Sage from the class but decided to just go for it anyway and it was the only class she was entered in. I really dislike Snooker (probably because I'm not very good at it) but I'm determined to improve my skills. It would just be nice if we actually got to practice playing Snooker more than six times a year. Maybe I can hire a professional Snooker handler for Sage's last Super Q?

The venue will be the same location for the Regionals. It was a great site with thick grass, lot's of open space for dogs to play, and a creek at the back of the field. It was quite warm on Saturday and after every run, Summit and I would race down to the creek and he would jump in and lay down (he loves water).

This Friday I have a Masters Handling seminar with Joan Meyer. This weekend we'll be hiking in the mountains (weather permitting).


Diana said...

WhooHoo, sounds like a great weekend!! Diana

kiwichick said...

Congrats on the Q's. Professional Snooker handler could probably make a mint especially if they could guarantee a Super Q LOL :-)

Elayne said...

I LOVE Snooker but I'm afraid I don't fall into the 'Professional' category.

Congrats on all the other stuff, sounds like a great weekend for you guys and worth the scary drive.

Kathy said...

It sounds like you have done awesome on your personal training goals and working on the eye contact, the FC and all and it sounds like it is really paying off. Absolutely terrific. Hope you have a great seminar on friday and you get some great weather for a hike!

Ricky the Sheltie said...

Wow - sounds like you guys did really well over the weekend! I'm glad to hear you are happy with the results you are getting on improving your timing especially on front crosses. We need to work on that here!

Good luck with the seminar and weekend hiking!

Christine said...

Wow, congratulations on the titles and managing the hair raising drive, And always stunning agility pictures :-) Its so great when you see the trianing paying off.

Kathy said...

That sounds like a really fun trial. Congratulations on your improvements with your FCs!