|Every dog has it's day! Not to be for the UK Wildcats this year...|
I was fairly confident that Jefferson would NOT get the gamble considering we have never practiced nor trained this move from a distance. The gamble was jump, tunnel, turn around and go back in the tunnel, then jump. Jefferson is not too fond of going back in tunnels when I am close, let alone from a distance. Some handlers recommended calling the dog over the gamble line and then re-sending them into the tunnel, but the judge had set-up a lovely off course jump to make that a very difficult proposition. So, since I was "not feeling the love" for the gamble, I decided to go for it and get as many points as I could in the opening. And we sure did! Jefferson followed me like a real pro and we had the judge running really fast in order to keep up with us!! We were going so fast that he accumulated 25 points in the opening - we only needed 15 points - AND we even accumulated MORE points than the "faster" Border Collies. Yay! I chose the dogwalk, A-Frame 2x, and weave poles 2x. Since he performs these pretty fast whenever he is "on," I was thrilled with my boy! So, when the buzzer went off, we were in perfect position for the gamble...jump - tunnel - and then I attempted to send him back in the tunnel. Poor boy looked quizzically at me like I was nuts, so he ran over and took the chute instead. LOL. Oh, well....we had fun and ran together FAST as a team.
Our next run was Advanced Pairs and our original partner bailed on us so we were assigned an accommodating partner. Unfortunately for us, she was "working" on her contacts, so we did not "Q" thanks to a couple of faults on her side. Otherwise, Jefferson and I ran clean, with one little hiccup at the teeter before he took it.
Third up was Standard. Oh, how I would LOVE a clean run! It was not to be, and Jefferson would have no part of the teeter, but had a beautiful down on the table so I made up my own course to keep him running with me until the end. This was our first "Elimination" of the weekend. I knew I had to let this run go and put it behind us so we could prepare for Steeplechase.
Steeplechase was our last run of the day and the heat was definitely on! To be honest, I was the most anxious about this run since there were 71 competitors - ten in our 16" height class - the most we have ever competed against, including World Team members and really fast Masters doggies. Not to mention, the walk through was just plain crazy with so many people on the course at the same time. But, I had Jefferson resting in the shade and I was ready to handle the course in order to give Jefferson the most information he would need in order for us to be successful. I was proud of my front cross after #4 so I could set-up the serpentine into the tunnel. I got there spot on and he was following me very well. Another area that was a bit of concern to me was the pinwheel of #9-10-11-12 to the A-Frame. I had walked this a couple different ways, but watched a Performance Team about our speed run this and decided to run it differently that I had walked it. I did a front cross after #11 to keep his speed going, having confidence that Jefferson would take the A-Frame with gusto and bring it on home with the 2nd pass through on the weave poles. What a risk - but with high risk, comes high reward! Jefferson and I nailed it and we finished fast and clean and earned our first ever Steeplechase Q! I was sooo excited to have finished with our strongest run of the day after our worse run of the day. What a great run as a Team!
The best I can do is to show the course map because my dad had technical difficulties in recording our run. Here's the map:
So glad we had a great Saturday because our Sunday was pretty lousy! Oh, well...every dog has it's day and our day was Saturday. But after our complete meltdowns in Standard and Steeplechase finals (the temps were in the mid 80's and we were the only Starter Standard Team in Steeplechase finals and had to run back-to-back), I rested and cooled off Jefferson and we had a sweet Advanced Jumpers run. We almost ran clean, but I did not decel and cued Jefferson to take the off-course tunnel rather than the jump. I opted to not go back and correct him and get the missed jump because he was running with me and took the obstacle that I had cued him to take; albeit, the wrong one! But, we started together and finished together. More importantly, I am confident our Q's will come in due time.
Team J-Dawg has a few training projects to work on over the next month. These include distance work in having Jefferson learn to turn around and take an obstacle like a tunnel back-to-back; confidently taking the teeter every single time; decel cues vs. acceleration; and finally, building endurance to run agility in the heat. What a great time at Dog On It!! We hope to go back soon.
"Every dog has his day, unless he loses his tail, then he has a weak-end."