Saturday, November 15, 2008

Morning Star trial - Day 1

[note highlights/lowlights video in post from Day 2]

Hoo boy. 6 classes today and 5 more tomorrow, all in the big, wall-less, airy fairy Ring 1 with weird stadium lighting, echo-y sounds, and potential threats lurking at every corner. Walter hasn't run an awful lot in this ring and when he did, he most always lacked focus. Looking around a bit bewildered, running past jumps, slow to respond, that sort of thing. As a handler, kind of like being used to driving with power steering and all of a sudden it's gone and you need a ton of oomph just to move the wheel a few inches. So my hope was that this full-fledged immersion would, by the end of it, help him realize it's nothing to worry about, and oh yeah, can I please have my power steering back?

Jumpers: Actually not too bad a start to the day. Took the wrong end of a c-tunnel, could be because he was in his la-la land but more likely it was bad handling. Handled a four-jump serpentine well (well enough anyway) to my surprise as we haven't practiced serps in ages. Then ran past the second last jump in traditional la-la land style.

Snooker #1: Losing position on course + taking eyes off dog = backjumped red + TWEET

Standard #1: Argh - a tunnel refusal early in the course took us out of the running for the third Q we need for MAD title. Bummer since the rest of the course went fine including fabulous weaves (offside, sending him ahead and keeping wide lateral distance).

Standard #2: A dogwalk/tunnel discrimination right off the bat and for some reason I decided to try it running with him instead of leading out. Needless to say that didn't work - ended up with a refusal. Great weaves again (same as before: offside, send, give him lots of space) but this required a hard push to the next jump and Walter does not push well so another refusal as he ran past the jump.

Team: Walter popped his weaves close to the end but, being Team, 5 faults such as for popped weaves are "ok" provided you come in at least 5 seconds under SCT, so I hand-waved him through the last three poles. Walter's partner, a steady little sheltie vet, went clean and we were fast enough to get a Q, Walter's first in MTR.

Gamblers #1: Scratched him from this event as it was the last of the day, he and I were tired, and it was a hard gamble that he didn't have a chance of getting anyway (send-ahead to the far end of a c-tunnel).

Off to the motel where a good night's sleep was challenged not only by the usual insomnia but also by a couple of doofuses who kept knocking on each other's door and speaking at full volume in the hallway at 1:30 in the #@$^&*&% morning. The dogs, however, had excellent motel manners and were quiet and relaxed the whole night including when other dogs started barking. Seems they're maybe finally getting used to the whole motel thing?

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