(above) Lil’s Versatility NATCH photo with Judge Ron Young. It was cool that Lil earned this Championship Title under a judge who knew us from the East Coast.
I didn’t feel any pressure about this run being for Lil’s V-NATCH, because Lil runs Weavers courses well. The only reason we lacked Elite Weaver’s Qs is I tend not to enter this class when it is offered late in the day on Sundays, which seemed to be fairly common on the East Coast (this is not a complaint though). I just personally prefer to run Elite Weavers (3 sets of 12 poles) with a fresh dog. But since moving to Colorado in July, I’ve found many trials offer Weavers on Fridays, so we were able to get 8 needed Elite Weavers Qs (for a total of 13) over the past 6 months.
(above) Lil’s Versatility NATCH run at Mountain Dog Sports on Friday.
Elite Weavers was the first class of the trial. Lil was acting tentative outside the ring so I ran this course with as much enthusiasm as I could muster, thinking Lil would appreciate feeling that type of energy to avoid feeling bogged down by the soft, deep dirt or feeling concerned about the environment which smelled strongly of horse poop and pee (Yucko). Lil got her Boogie On about half way through the first set of poles and finished well under SCT. She ran incredibly well all weekend long, Q-ing 11 of 14 runs and as usual the few NQs were due to handler errors. I was (and am) so happy because this was the first trial at this site where Lil felt like her confident little self. 🙂
(above) Lil running Elite Touch N Go on Saturday
By Day 2 of the trial, Lil felt entirely confident when entering the horse arena. The tentativeness I felt on Day 1 and at previous trials at this site was gone. I loved how tightly she wrapped the hoop and barrel. If you watch her wrap the hoop, you can see she was so tight, she had to hop over the timer foot. 🙂
(above) Lil running Elite Regular on Sunday
This is one of my favorite runs of the weekend BECAUSE we NQed early on. The turn after the dog walk seemed so easy on Round 1, that I took it for granted on Round 2. I guess I forgot it was easy on Round 1 because I handled it vs. stood there facing the tunnel while watching Lil run into it. Duh! But as a result of this early off-course tunnel, I decided to run the rest of the course from a self-imposed handling box. Lil aced it…and she looked like she LOVED the distance. 🙂
(above) Lil running Elite Chances Round 1 on Sunday
Having recently participated in Paula Goss’s Advanced Distance workshop, I knew exactly how I wanted to handle Chances courses this weekend. I knew WHERE I wanted to be, and WHEN I wanted to be there to show my dog the correct path ahead. I handled Round 1 and 2 the same way with Lil and Jake and both dogs ran the course beautifully.
(above) Lil running Elite Chances Round 1
(above) Lil running Elite Chances Round 2
(above) Jake running Open Chances Round 1
I made the same mistake with Jake both rounds and pulled him off a hoop but I was so happy with how well he ran this course both rounds. This was a tough weekend for Jake. He found the temptation of huge mounds of horse poop along the one side and the back of the arena to be too much to resist on about half of his runs. But on Sunday, I only lost him to horse poop on one run.
(above) Jake running Open Chances Round 2
(above) Lil running Elite Chances on Friday
The Chances course on Friday was one of the most challenging courses I’ve encountered. There was only one Q in the entire Elite class. Lil didn’t Q due our only missed dog walk / tunnel discrimination of the weekend, but I loved how well she ran the uniquely challenging portions of this course. The coolest thing for me was that I knew exactly WHERE I wanted to be to send her out to 2 jumps after the second tunnel….which was as far away as possible from the tunnel exit when she emerged. My plan worked beautifully.
Another challenge I felt really good about was the left turn after the first tunnel. Once again, I knew WHERE I needed to be.. and WHEN I needed to be there in order to pre-cue that left turn before Lil ran into that first tunnel. Plus she totally aced running through the “box” in the center of the course twice. The first time was straight through 2 hoops to the far entrance to the purple tunnel. The second time was from the exit of the purple tunnel OUT to the jump.
(above) Jake’s Open Chances Q on Friday
Jake Q-ed this very challenging Chances course in Open, which was particularly challenging for him due to the proximity to huge mounds of horse poop in that area of the ring. I almost lost him twice. The Q was saved by the Open line having a narrow channel in which the handler could walk in front of the tunnel, which helped me coax him back into “working mode.”
Jake’s contacts were PERFECT all weekend long. So were his tunnel/ contact discriminations. There were many things to feel good about which helped balance out numerous Es due to Jake wolfing down huge mouthfuls of horse poop. SIGH. Good thing we don’t need no stinkin’ Qs. HA HA and true!