Q wise, we didn't have a great weekend. It felt a little frustrating because the courses were hard, but I walked them and was pretty confident in most of my plans. But, I didn't execute them correctly so we messed up here and there.
Many people said that the judges' courses were very technical, and that this judge is much more old school. I don't think I know enough about agility (and where it's been) to comment on his style, but I do know that these courses were significantly tougher than what we've seen in our last few trials. Not a complaint--we should be prepared for challenges like this!
I'm not posting all the videos or course maps (do you really need to see the dogs not get through the opening in Snooker?), but I'll try to comment on the ones that I think are relevant.
Now, I believe that my attitude has changed quite a bit when it comes to gamblers. But, I also know my dogs' limitations. Looking at this gamble, I knew it wasn't likely for either pup. Not only does the dog have to turn away from you, but then there is a discrimination, and a distance component! I really wanted to show this course map because I think it's one of the hardest gambles I've ever seen.
No videos, because it's boring, but Lexi took 1 and 2 then went to the far tunnel beyond jump 2 (I put her in obstacle focus and gave a lot of forward/push cues), so I can't blame her for that! Bentley turned the wrong way after jump 2 and came back to me.
Lexi: After the beginning, I was really pleased with this run. I was a bit disappointed, because we've been working on her recall to heels (foundation) and both times I tried it this weekend she dropped the bar. The one thing that I will say is that in this video I can see her slow down and collect, she just doesn't do it enough. I also feel like I should have moved out of her way faster, and I didn't. I stopped and marked the dropped bar, and that's why she took the off course, but I'm not worried about that. Really loved her RC to the weaves, and FC to the dogwalk. What a good girl!
Masters Pairs Q:
(Bentley not entered) Lexi: Definitely the easiest course, and Lexi's best run of the weekend. We were partnered with a former USA World Team member (no pressure!) but ended up running clean. Was really, really pleased with her turn to the tunnel. Lexi & Mickle's time was the second fastest of all the dogs there! (And there were some very speedy dogs there!) This was her 5th Masters Pairs Q, and therefore her Relay Master title!
Bentley: This was an ugly one. He missed the weave entry (though TONS of dogs did) and incurred 2 refusals there (Jonathan didn't give him enough space the second approach). Then he missed his a-frame contact. But, good news is that he got the dogwalk contact! So that was a small celebration. Then he got a refusal at the tunnel (totally Jonathan's fault for running away before Bentley was fully committed) so that was an E (3 refusals). The crazy thing is that the course was tough, but didn't seem that bad and it really got a lot of good dogs.
Lexi: Didn't really want to share this video, but there were some good things, plus I need to learn from my mistakes so I'm posting it anyway! Bad start when my FC to the weaves was late. But, I'm not sure why this judge called a refusal when Lexi jumped over my leg. Didn't matter because we followed that with a refusal at the weaves, but that was perplexing to me. Then we got off the dogwalk and I thought I set up the serpentine nicely, but clearly not. I left WAY too soon when I should have stood my ground. Darn--that would have been great practice! I really want to set that up and give it another shot. Really nice RC at the end, though!
Bentley: This course was the heartbreaker. I looked at the gamble and thought "Bentley can do this!" If I could get him in obstacle focus into the tunnel, he would definitely stay straight through that line of jumps. Well, I'm not going to post the video, but for some reason he pulled off the tunnel when I sent him (refusal = NQ), and then the judge whistled right when he came out of the tunnel and he stopped, then ran right to me.
Lexi: Kind of an ugly run. My opening plan was a bit odd because I thought she might have been spooked by the teeter in her previous gamblers run so I wanted to practice it. That made the opening a little odd, then she slipped getting into the weaves on the way back. I let her finish because she tried really hard to hang onto them, just slipped in the dirt. Then I didn't line her up properly (bad mom) and she took a nasty tumble on the dogwalk. I was so worried! She seemed fine, so I continued. (Don't worry, she got lasered right away and I put her Back on Track coat on right after this). I didn't think she'd have enough points, but I thought if I could send her to the tunnel from far enough away, and get down stream that she might take the straight line of jumps, and it worked! Somehow she had enough points, and she Qd!
(Bentley not entered) Lexi: Another "almost" run that was my fault. Again, I was really pleased with this run because there were some great moments! Just one mistake by me. Lexi came off the a-frame earlier than I anticipated (she pushed me ALL weekend), and I wasn't in position to cue the front cross, so since I was behind I kind of panicked and rushed it, and called her off. Good girl to her, though, because she listened and turned when told! Note the third crappy front cross at the weave poles by me. Seriously need to work on that! So though it was annoying to not Q, knowing that we were really close makes me feel a bit better. Still working through that timing component!
We stuck around for several hours waiting for this run, and for the Snooker run (no video or course map of Snooker--Jonathan messed those up!) and I was really bummed when neither dog did that well. I think we were all tired and a bit cranky at this point. Plus I think the course was really tricky! We didn't end up finishing until 5pm, and had an 8.5 hour drive home!
Bentley: Jonathan opted for the rear cross at jump 6, and just executed too soon. It's hard because Bentley commits really late, and he pulled off the jump. But good for him for keeping going since Bentley didn't make a mistake. After the mistake, you can tell that Jonathan's handling changes. He's moving faster and leaving Bentley to do some of the work. I wish he did that more often. The end was really nice!
Lexi: I knew this course would be really hard with Lexi, and really liked how she pulled through in a lot of the tough spots. LOVED her turn at jump 6 as well as the way she got into the tunnel. I struggled with how to handle the tunnel exit, and was afraid that she'd run into me if I picked her up on my right, so I opted for the RC. Mistake. She shot out and since I gave her no direction, took an off course. I also thought about handling on the other side of the tunnel (like Jonathan did), but with Lexi's penchant for rocketing out of tunnels, I thought she would just grab one of the jumps she saw. But then things went downhill. Yes, I cued the FC late after 14, but I'm not sure why she went so far beyond me and then kept going. I think she can tell that I quit, because then she came back and ran behind me. But again, this was a really, really tough course for us and there was some really nice stuff in here!