Tuesday, September 7, 2010

USDAA weekend and getting ready for Nationals

We had a fun three-day USDAA trial outdoors at a beautiful park at the fairgrounds. The weather was pretty nice. A little hot on Saturday but nice on Sunday and Monday. This location has very thick tall grass and there are usually quite a few dropped bars. Summit did have more bars than he usually does but I thought he did very well overall.

Saturday: Qualified in Snooker (4th place and one placement out of a SQ because I left out the #6 combo in the closing - duh!), Jumpers (forget placement), and Pairs (3rd I think), and placed 6th in Steeplechase Round 1 (with a dropped bar). Had a nice standard run too but dropped a bar. Had a great opening in Gamblers but the Gamble involved sending to a tunnel under the dogwalk to the teeter on the other side (layering the dw). I didn't even attempt the Gamble. As soon as I sent Summit to the tunnel and moved laterally, I expected a tight turn out of the tunnel in the direction of my motion, not exiting straight forward 15 feet ahead to the teeter. He was a good boy (and I told him so) and had a tight turn and came back to me on the other side of the dw.

Sunday: Qualified in Gamblers (a fun gamble involving a serpentine), Another nice Standard run but I sent him off course when I forgot for a split second where the course went next... but it was a nice run other than the wrong course jump. NQ in Snooker (we didn't get very far in the opening), 2nd place in Grand Prix and 3rd place in Steeplechase Finals.

Monday: Another nice run in Standard (one bar), Q in Snooker (again, one placement out of a SQ), NQ in Pairs (he missed a wp entrance and I didn't see it), and 2nd place in Jumpers.

By the time we ran Masters Jumpers there was a very high wind and the jump wings had to be weighted down with sand bags. I almost scratched since I saw no reason to run a jumpers course in high wind knowing a bar or two would come down. But when I walked it, it was so much fun (it included a pushout and a threadle), I wanted to run it and didn't care if we had a bar. Well no bars and second place (just 100ths off of first).

Summit earned his Tournament Master Bronze title this weekend. And he still needs that one SQ for his ADCH.

I am so happy with our teamwork. We are very much in-sync now. My timing is good and he responds instantly. I'm getting much better at setting efficient lines. What I did discover that we need to work on is his reading my turning cues for a FMFC (forward motion front cross). There were two places that needed a FMFC and Summit jumped fully extended and turned on the flat which gave him a very wide turn. I need to re-evaluate how I am cueing this. I'm pretty good at picking up the OA and rotating my shoulders into him but obviously those are not enough collection cues for him. Thoughts? Maybe more eye contact? his name?
I don't expect a lot of collection but at least some attempt to turn over the bar and not 20 feet on the landing side of the jump. The turn actually happens when I've stopped moving. We'll be working on FMFC's the four weeks before Nationals.

Soleil had a great time at her first outdoor trial. She played with a couple of BC puppies and met lot's of new dogs and people. We had our chairs ringside of the Masters ring and I was sitting there during one of the classes holding Soleil on my lap. She screamed at every fast dog that ran. I told Stacy, "I sure hope I'm up to handling this high-drive puppy!"

I put her on her long-line and we practiced circles. She's getting very good at reading my acceleration and deceleration. She was quiet in her crate unless I took one of the other dogs out of their crate and then she would bark "Hey, what about MEEEEEEE!" But after we left, she would stop barking and settle down quietly (according to friends).

So I'm getting excited about USDAA Nationals coming up in October. Our DAM team for Nationals is:
Donna Thomson with Indy, Stacy Peardot-Goudy with Sobe, and me with Summit. A FAST young dog team. Should be lot's of fun!

Next weekend is free and I think that Soleil may get to go for her very first hike (not offleash yet though, she'll have the long-line attached).


Kathy said...

I heard nationals are like six days this year? Are you going for the whole thing? WOW, that will be a great team and going to the nationals sure sounds like fun!!! I am going to look for you on the feeds. Hope Soleil has a good time on the hike, that sounds like fun. Congrats on the Q's and great runs and the tournament Master Bronze, what a cool thing when you are running with your buddy and feeling so in sync and having things going so well. Whoo hooo, congrats.

Morganne said...

Kathy, we are going for the entire event. Summit has a bye into the Steeplechase semi-finals. Yes, finally being in-sync feels so good with a really fast dog. It's finally coming together. I know you will feel that connection too! You work as hard as I do ;-)

Diana said...

Sounds like a great weekend. You guys will be awesome at nationals!! Diana