Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Summit Rocked at the DAPPR USDAA Trial!

A beautiful park in the Black Forest, perfect weather, USDAA agility, seven Q's out of nine runs and NOT A SINGLE BAR!

Pretty darn perfect!

I am so thrilled with both my dog's performance and his jumping. Saturday morning we had Gamblers. I did not attempt the gamble as it is not something I would expect my dog to do (a redirect at distance) so we worked our contacts and then left when the gamble buzzer went off. Then he placed third with a very nice run in Standard, GP I fell at the very end and although we lost some time, we did end up with a Q and 4th place. Steeplechase I did not execute a forward send very well and Summit did not turn and took a wrong course jump. Then we won pairs relay that afternoon.

Sunday, Summit won Standard, Q'd in Snooker, won Jumpers, and then won the IHC Jumpers class. I was very happy we ran IHC clean with no faults (lot's of handlers had faults) and then was thrilled when I found out we won.

Soleil had fun helping me scribe run (it was a long distance from the rings to the score table under the pavillion). She got to run off leash with a group of her Sheltie friends. She also got to play fetch and tug and visit the wading pools. She is starting to really turn on when she sees a dog running in the ring. She knows the game now!

Here are a few videos from the weekend. Feel free to laugh at GP. I really do look like a fish flopping on the ground. All I can say is it is a good thing I have a rear cross on the flat!

Grand Prix - 4th place

Masters Standard - 3rd place

Masters Standard - 1st place

Masters Jumpers - 1st place. This was a tough course and quite a few NQ's

IHC Jumpers - 1st place. Such a fun course and I LOVE threadles and pushes to the backside of jumps.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Great AKC Weekend for Summit!

We were down at Castle Rock for three days of AKC agility. Friday Summit won Standard in the morning and then had a beautiful run in Jumpers (fastest time overall) but dropped the second to last bar. Saturday we ran Jumpers first and he won by a full second. That afternoon he had a nice Standard run (third place) for his first Double Q for Nationals. Sunday, again we won Jumpers in the morning. I was looking forward to Standard in the afternoon. We had a great opening but as I rotated out of a front cross, my foot slipped in the loose dirt and down I went. I had just cued the Aframe when I started to fall, I immediately jumped back up but as I'm doing so, I see Summit half way on the upside of the Aframe looking down at me with concern (or puzzlement more likely) and just as I thought we were going to be ok, he jumped off the side. Dang!

I am so pleased with our performance this weekend. Specifically Summit's jumping. We are at a point now in our teamwork where a wrong course happens very rarely. Our NQ's have been because of a single bar in jumpers. There are a couple of factors that I believe have contributed to the improvement in his jumping.

1. Building his core strength. We do "On The Ball" exercises twice a week for 20-25 minutes each session.
2. Stretching (active and passive). Passive stretching after exercise (training, ball work, and following his cool-down after a run). Active stretching following his warmup before going into the ring.
3. Jump grids (from advanced jumping skills section in DJS)
4. Varying jump heights while sequencing during training sessions (20"-22"-24") which teach him to pay attention to his jumping effort.
5. Regular PT visits to catch any soft tissue issues before they become serious.

We have a heavy competition schedule the next three weeks and then a nice break.

Here are a few videos from the weekend. Including of course the blooper!

Friday Jumpers with Weaves - 1 bar

Friday Standard - 1st place

Saturday Jumpers with Weaves (1st place) (missing video of Standard)

Sunday Jumpers with Weaves - 1st place

Sunday Standard - NQ because of handler blooper.

This weekend is the Utah 4-Star event and I can't go because I am teaching (already had a substitute when I went to the SC Regional in TX). So I will be playing in AKC this weekend. I do need the double Q's for nationals but still would rather be at the USDAA trial. There are several top International-class competitors who will be in Utah who I would have enjoyed watching.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Soleil's agility training

I need to take recent pictures of Soleil. She is so beautiful even though she has blown her coat. From what Sheltie people have told me is this is typical after they finish a heat cycle and her coat will fill out in the Fall. Personally, I think less coat makes her faster ;-)

So we continue to work through DJS. We haven't sequenced more than 3-4 jumps yet. She has seen the spread jumps and the tire. I am focusing on executing the turns on the flat.

She is weaving 12 poles now but I only have her weaving once a week. We do work on entries with two sets of 2x2's (4 poles) several times a week. As usual, the soft-sided entry is the most challenging.

The a-frame is at full AKC height now and she is figuring out her striding. She is looking good. So far I've just sent her over a jump and then cued the aframe while running ahead of her since I am encouraging lot's of extension over the apex and building confidence. At some point, I will add an obstacle after the a-frame and work on handling. I plan to turn her on the flat.

I am in the process of searching for a group agility class for her. A beginner/intermediate level would be great. She really needs to train other than my backyard and needs to get on different equipment.

Summit has had two weeks off of agility training. He's done ball work twice a week and jogs with me. Yesterday we worked a sequence for the first time since the Regional. We have a three-day AKC agility trial this weekend and then trials every weekend for the next three weeks. Hoping to get those 6 double Q's for AKC Nationals. This time last year Summit was already qualified for AKC Nationals. This year, we missed out on almost three months of competition because of his hamstring injury.

I really hope he isn't Mr. Onebar Wonder this weekend!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Soleil's Running Aframe

Last weekend I decided to begin Soleil's aframe training. I have been hoping that she had the stride length for a running aframe. I started out running her over a very low aframe and with all the plank work she did this Winter, she ran over the low aframe with confidence and speed. I had it raised to AKC full height by the third day then I added a stride regulator at the top to create extension over the apex. I moved the stride regulator a few inches lower this morning and am happy with the results.

She appears to easily have enough extension over the apex and her second stride puts her in the yellow. The third attempt she has too much extension and speed and decides to try a one-strided aframe. I didn't see that until I watched the video as I'm trying not to look back or decel while she's running over the aframe. Shelties CAN fly!

She is focused downward until she pushes off from the second stride and then she looks up to see where she is going. I won't be practicing many aframes. At most maybe twice a week. Next week I'll add a tunnel before and maybe a jump afterwards so the aframe is in a sequence.

She certainly is a lot of fun!