Sunday, November 11, 2007

Trial - Day 2 (Dream Fields)

After the fiasco of our last trial in October, it was great fun to play agility with a focused and into-the-game Walter this weekend.

Masters Snooker

This was our first try at a Masters Snooker course, where the time limit drops from 60 to 55 seconds and the number of required points increases from 37 to 40. For some reason my nerves were actually pretty calm, unusual for Snooker. It was a fun course consisting solely of jumps, tunnels, and frame. Walter ran well and didn't make me think on my feet. Our opening was #7 jump/tunnel combo, #6 frame, and #6 frame again, and we finished the closing for 49 points, a Q, first out of ten dogs and best run of our division. :-)


In this, our second try at Steeplechase (our first being at the October trial where he was Mr. Scatterbrain), my goal was to push for speed and get an idea about whether or not he has any hope in heck of ever qualifying in Steeplechase. He ran really well except for bobbling the weaves (got the entry but then immediately popped, but completed them on the retry). He was 2 seconds over SCT but had it not been for the bobble at the weaves and/or some crummy handling I did at the opening, he would have come in under time. So, Qs in Steeplechase aren't totally out of our reach. He finished third out of eleven dogs in his jump height.

Masters Jumpers

This was our second try at a Masters Jumpers course and my goal was again to push for speed. Early in the course I wrongly estimated his commitment point to a tunnel and booted it in the other direction for a front cross, so at the last minute he pulled himself off it. Brought him back to do the tunnel just so he'd know yes, I really did mean he should take the tunnel. This goofup messed me up for the next obstacle and I ended up sending him straight to an offcourse jump, but there was really no point in messing with his flow since he had only done what I asked, so we just continued with the rest of the course. Despite it being our first elimination, I was really happy with his speed and focus and left the course a happy camper.

This weekend I discovered how fun it is to run fast and be willing to risk some precision for the sake of speed and flow. Up to now I've just been kind of jogging along, so that's all Walter's been doing too. Going into today I wanted to push myself to run faster and do more front crosses and see how Walter would respond, and he not only picked up the pace but also seemed to have a lot more fun. :-)

Temp: mainly sunny, 5 degrees
Pre-trial exercise: none
Classes entered: 3 (Masters Snooker, Steeplechase, Masters Jumpers)
Qs: 1 (Masters Snooker)
Time/SCT: 48.45/55.00 (Snooker), 46.14/44.00 (Steeplechase), 33.14/35.00 (Jumpers)
YPS: unknown


Roxanne from Champion of My Heart said...

One of our early agility trainers told me that she's rather have us blow the curve 9 out of 10 tries, if Lilly was running fast.

I kind of like that mentality.

Then, again, with Lilly's current troubles, she's overly cautious about being accurate, so it's easy for me to say I'll take speed first.

Elf said...

It took me a couple of years to really start figuring it out, but running for the sake of running and not for the sake of Qs got much better performance out of my dogs. If we missed a jump or obstacle, unless I could do a fun, smooth curve back to retry, I started just going on, and I started pushing myself to be more aggresssive in handling, AND I discovered that my dogs often performed faster and better in a gamble...perhaps because I was working them at a distance, trusting them, and letting them go at their own speed rather than micromanaging them. My first agility dog had started shutting down instead of being a fast dog on course, and it took me so long to learn how to let go of worrying about Qs and really enjoy myself and push us both on the course.

It's hard to let go of those "Q" dreams sometimes--and I still have times when I'd pay anything to get that missing Q--but for the most part I and my dogs enjoy it more when we're out there for the blazing speed and the teamwork and in particular the FUN of it. I think you're on the right track.


Jasmine said...

This may be off topic, but congratulations on your new blog format for Lucy and Walter. Very sleek and funky looking. I'm looking forward fox your next flyball and agility adventures.

LucyandWalter said...

Roxanne and Ellen: Thanks for your comments on this!

One thing that really helped me get over worrying about getting the Q was a few trials ago when Lucy had a big teeter scare on her first run of the day. As a result I decided to make her bypass the teeter for the rest of her runs that day (two standard runs), which would mean there would be no possibility of getting a Q. It gave me a different perspective on the whole trial thing and despite no chance of a Q I still had a lot of fun running those courses. Ever since then it's been pretty easy to choose to run for the fun and challenge of it rather than be ultra-conservative for the sake of trying to preserve the almighty Q. However, I'm not there yet in Snooker where a goofup can mean a very expensive five seconds. :-D

Jasmine's human: Thanks! The interactive comments feature is kinda neat eh.