Friday, October 22, 2010

Nationals update

It's been a busy week at work and I've just gotten a chance to give a short update on Nationals. It was six long days in Louisville, KY. The first three days we only had one run a day which created a LOT of downtime. I am hoping they shorten it to just four days next year. The venue was ok. However there was a lot of dust which made it uncomfortable to watch in the stands for very long. USDAA is aware of the dust problem so I'm sure they will remedy that problem next year.

Summit ran VERY well. He was awesome! We had nice runs in all the team events and were sitting above the cutoff for team finals until a bobble during Team Snooker by a teammate. However, we still ended up 39th out of 205 Championship teams. Not bad for a young dog team.

I made a handling mistake in both the Steeplechase semi-finals (pulled him off a tunnel) and in Grand Prix quarterfinals (I failed to see a potential line to an off course tunnel at the start). But other than my handling errors, Summit ran very well in both tournament classes. The best part is he only dropped one bar (European Standard) and would have placed 4th but for the bar.

I am not happy about the handling errors. Especially pulling him off the tunnel in Steeplechase since I did the exact same thing three weeks ago at a local USDAA trial during the steeplechase run. After making that mistake at the national semi-finals, I don't think I will do that again. MUST SUPPORT ALL TUNNELS!

I also came home with a couple of  training goals and a realization.

Training goals:
1. Convergence
2. Recalls to heel
We have both the above skills but I really saw them applied at a very high level at Nationals. Especially during the Steeplechase Finals. Both of these skills create tight turns and efficient lines. All the teams who made the finals were very skilled - good handlers and fast dogs. However, it really came down to who had the tightest turns and set the best lines.

Ok, so not a total surprise but again, I was reminded that running a local trial just to be clean to qualify (or get a double Q), does not prepare one for competing at a national event. Not even close.

So my plan is to incorporate more agressive handling in our local runs in order to push myself to handle at the next level.


Soleil was the perfect puppy! Nothing fazed her! She handled the environment at nationals like a pro. She relaxed in her crate (indoor crating area was noisy), she tugged outside, inside in the stands overlooking the rings, and ringside. She slept through the night in her crate in the hotel room. She met lot's of people including children, other dogs and puppies. She pranced around the venue like she owned the place. I got to see several of her relatives run (including one who is on the US World team and one who is on the Canadian World team) and met her half sister who travelled all the way from Mexico to compete at the Nationals.

Here is a quick video of her running around the backyard yesterday. She does not ever stop moving so it is hard to get a video.

I plan on videoing some of our training sessions this weekend.

Edited to include GP Quarterfinals course map and analysis.

Summit went into the tunnel after wrapping #2 (wrapped to the inside). I was out of position and didn't see the line to the tunnel until afterwards. The rest of the run was clean and fast. Many teams faulted in the box  (took the wrong course #18 after #15). Other common WC's were the wrong end of the tunnel after the triple, tire after the teeter (instead of weaves) and tire after the #10 Triple. And a few dogs with running contacts took #11 tunnel after the dogwalk.


Diana said...

Glad you had a good time at Nationals. I watched some of the event online. Lots of trouble with dogs not running clean (I think it was sunday). Its usually not like that at nationals. Im not critizing because I cant run clean either and Im just running at local trials. Its was just weird. I wonder if it was because it was 6 days long and the dogs or handlers were tierd. The surface looks slick too, I think I saw 3 handlers fall on Sunday night. That also was unusual. Diana

Morganne said...

The courses this year were way more technical than last year (where it was all about speed only). That is why I am thrilled with our team performances because the courses were so tough. I'll post Grand Prix so you can see the tough lines. Also, yes, the ground was hard and had some washboards. Summit slipped in some of his turns. And yes, by Sunday, people were exhausted and most left early, missing GP finals.

Elayne said...

Thanks to Kelly I was able to see a bunch of your runs (as well as other CO competitors), you guys had some awesome runs. All the courses looked really technical. Will have to try setting up some of the challenges from them for practice, especially that dogwalk sequence from the GP Quarters. Yikes.

That Steeplechase A-frame/straight tunnel set-up was a tough one for a fast dog. Support that tunnel for too long and you're out of position, pull off too soon and, well, you know what happens. It was such a tight timing issue for a fast, responsive dog.

Kathy said...

Soleil is sooo adorable, she looks like a busy girl and so confident, look at how she carries her head. I LOVE your wrap up, really neat to her your thoughts on what is needed at a national event.... That six days for a trial so far away does seem like so much and I know a lot of people werent able to go because they could not be gone that long from school or work....that does seem like just so long....Hope they work that out next year and the dust situation

Ricky the Sheltie said...

Sounds like Summit did really well at such a long trial! I don't know how you guys do it. I am sorry you weren't happy with all of your handling but it is awesome that you came away with such specific things to work on and the determination to really push yourself at local trials. I admire you so much and can't wait to see your next trial videos!

Soleil is darling and FAST! Ricky never stopped as a puppy either and the majority of his puppy pictures are completely out of focus!