I'll start with a few general comments, then talk about Bentley's performance. I'll create a separate post for Lexi.
- It was COLD! It was about 20-30 degrees outside, windy and we had freezing rain on Sunday. The trial was indoors, but it was one of those large metal horse barns and it often felt colder inside than out. There were heaters, but the club did not pay to have them turned on (apparently it's very pricey).
- Previously footing had been horrendous at this location. Several members of the clubs in the area contacted the owner and voiced their concerns (he believed that the footing was fine) and this time there was improvement (based on what I heard from others). However, there were some pockets of soft sand, and by the second day there were a lot of knocked bars all around.
- This was the first trial where Jonathan and I tried to run "our" dogs for the first time. I still left Snooker for him (his favorite!) and I ran Bentley in Jumpers (my favorite) and Gamblers (Jonathan was feeling discouraged). It was a lot of fun, but I don't envy those that run more than one dog in an event at a time. It was confusing and tiring to run two dogs in the same event--especially with only a few dogs in the class.
- It seemed to be a weekend of almosts! There were not a lot of 100% clean runs. That's not to say that we didn't qualify, or that I didn't feel good about a lot of the runs, just that we weren't ever really 100% in sync.
Unfortunately, this is not Bentley's class. I felt that I had set up a pretty good plan for him, trying to keep him mostly in obstacle focus. But, towards the end I fizzled out (the effects of my cold catching up with me after having run two dogs back to back) and didn't set him up very well. Also, I should note that only 3 out of 60 dogs did perform the gamble, so I can't feel too bad. By the way, if you can't tell from the video, the gamble was red jump, far white jump, tunnel (discrimination), and then far green jump. Toughie!
And this is where our weekend of "almosts" with Bentley began. He really needs Standard Qs, and was so close both times. Sorry about the bad video, for some reason it just wouldn't focus! Unfortunately, this is also where Bentley's creepy contacts made a reappearance. Our criteria for him in training is a 2o2o, but it seems like something we only get part of the time in a trial--and I'm okay with that...but this weekend was pretty bad with the creeping. Positives were that he didn't miss any contacts, and his downs on the table are a bit faster. I really liked his ending (you can't see it but the turn from the chute to the close end of the tunnel was tough) and then his wrap to the last jump was perfect. He dropped a bar and thus NQd.
Bentley's new favorite obstacle is the dogwalk (dogwalk = cookies) and he ran out when Jonathan took his eyes off of him and he grabbed it. So, this was an E. Also, he dropped a bar. I'm blaming it on the footing here. Very happy with his a-frame in this run, though!
The agility gods smiled upon Bentley in this run! He missed his weave entry going both ways, and yet still managed to Q. Several dogs in the class were eliminated, so Bentley was able to qualify. Jonathan said the first missed entry was because Bentley was considering the tunnel and committed to the weaves late, and the second one was Jonathan's fault because he wasn't in the correct position. Another pretty nice a-frame here. Jonathan was late on the FC cue towards the end which is why Bentley went so wide.
Masters Jumpers: Q
I was quite happy with Bentley in this run--he saved me! Really nice send at the blue jump to the far right. I cheated a little bit as I actually ran Lexi right before this and made a mistake. Lexi missed the white jump coming out of the tunnel, so with Bentley I took extra care to cue him in so he would catch it. I almost held him too long, though, and had to push him out to the green. You might be able to hear me say "Out out out! Yay! You saved me!" Sometimes I'm weird mid-run :)
Masters Snooker: Super Q
In typical Bentley fashion, he steals another Super Q even though he doesn't need it. I swear this dog has more Super Qs! The snooker course was really tough. It was the first time I've seen a course where all obstacles had to be taken in a certain direction in the OPENING (so nothing was bidirectional). Because of it, it was almost impossible to get all 7s or even high point values. Really nice speed for him--and no issues with the tunnel/a-frame discrimination. (If you think this course looks easy--take a peek at Lexi's run on the same course. It's a totally different ball game with an obstacle focused dog!)
Steeplechase Finals: 2nd Place
First time I've ever seen this. Obstacles 2 and 3 were both the yellow tunnel! He drops the double in the corner, but at this point in day 2, the edges of the ring were really sandy. You can see his a-frame take a turn for the worst, though. What is he thinking? Clearly it's time to go back to targets (for the 19857867th time).
Another SO close! More creeping on the a-frame, though. And then, the dreaded refusal. This reminds me of the "little old lady" drill that Stuart had us do. Apparently it wasn't enough! You can hear our friend "Bentley, what the heck?" haha! Other than that, this was a great run. Though you can start to see him creep on the dogwalk here, too.
Again, close but no cigar. Really nice recall to heel off the table--I didn't have a lot of confidence in that! Bentley refuses the jump as Jonathan peels off a bit early to set up for an RFP (a late add due to the difficulty of the upcoming section for a lot of the dogs that ran before him).