Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Last qualifier prep fun match

A bit of a shock to find that the Standard course tonight was the Challenge course from Sunday! Well, we gave it a try. It really wasn't a good run - I went into it in defeatist mode, and Walter wasn't enjoying it. Our second try I ran him at 16" instead of 22" and went into it with a better attitude; he looked MUCH happier this time. It was fun trying the tricky handling bits and I just kept going when we went off course. Oh I should mention we tried the weaves in our first run but once again he kept popping at pole 10. Not wanting to demotivate him, we skipped the weaves on the second run.

We did just one try on the Gamblers course since it was getting late. Unlike other fun matches, this one I treated like a real run instead of just practicing the gambles. We ran at 22" this time since it was a nice wide open course. Walter ran great, getting a mini twice (tunnel to jump) and the main gamble in time. The challenges in the main gamble were a distance frame (heading away from the line) and an out tunnel with an offcourse jump possibility. I wasn't sure if he'd do the frame but he was pretty confident, and the out tunnel wasn't a problem.

This was probably our last practice before the one-day qualifier next week. My goal is to avoid costly off-courses but at the same time not overmanage him and keep him happy. If we don't qualify for Nationals then we'll do one of the Steeplechases on Friday just for the fun of it and then get ready to watch lots of great teams!

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